BMW Cars 1999-06

Lower Control Arms

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Bushing Replacement



The bushings must be pressed out of the housing bores. BMW bushings are notoriously hard to press out of the housings. Use a high capacity hydraulic press, penetrating lubricant and the proper sized mandrels for the press. Do not use sockets to try to replace the bushings. Mark the relationship of the bushing to the bore for correct replacement positioning.



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. With the vehicle loaded and at normal ride height, the gap at A in the lower control arm bushing should be 0.028-0.067 in. (0.7-1.7 mm)-E30 3 Series



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The lower control arm bushing arrow should match the cast boss on the bracket-E30 3 Series

The bushings must be pressed out of the housing bores. BMW bushings are notoriously hard to press out of the housings. Use a high capacity hydraulic press, penetrating lubricant and the proper sized mandrels for the press. Do not use sockets to try to replace the bushings. Mark the relationship of the bushing to the bore for correct replacement positioning.

The bushings must be pressed out of the housing bores. BMW bushings are notoriously hard to press out of the housings. Use a high capacity hydraulic press, penetrating lubricant and the proper sized mandrels for the press. Do not use sockets to try to replace the bushings. Mark the relationship of the bushing to the bore for correct replacement positioning.

E30 Models


Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. With the vehicle loaded and at normal ride height, the gap at A in the lower control arm bushing should be 0.028-0.067 in. (0.7-1.7mm)-E30 3 Series



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The lower control arm bushing arrow should match the cast boss on the bracket-E30 3 Series

The bushings must be pressed out of the housing bores. BMW bushings are notoriously hard to press out of the housings. Use a high capacity hydraulic press, penetrating lubricant and the proper sized mandrels for the press. Do not use sockets to try to replace the bushings. Mark the relationship of the bushing to the bore for correct replacement positioning.

E36 Models
  1. Remove the control arm as outlined in this section.
  2.  
  3. Measure the distance between the inner bushing sleeve and the control arm's pivot pin shoulder, and note for installation.
  4.  
  5. Matchmark the control arm spindle to bushing and the bushing to bushing bracket as illustrated.
  6.  
  7. Press off the bushing using suitable press tools.
  8.  
  9. Place the replacement bushing on top of the old bushing and duplicate the matchmarks on the replacement bushing. Place a thin flat blade screwdriver through the replacement bushing sleeve aligned with the matchmark, and duplicate the matchmark on the opposite side of the replacement bushing. Then place a straightedge across the replacement bushing and duplicate the outer matchmark on its opposite side.
  10.  
  11. If reusing the bushing bracket;
    1. Press out the old bushing. If necessary insert a hacksaw blade through the bushing and cut the outer shell from the inside outward, to allow the outer sleeve to contract.
    2.  
    3. Carefully clean the inner portion of the bracket.
    4.  
    5. Align the matchmarks of the replacement bushing and the bracket, and press the bushing into place.
    6.  

  12.  
  13. Align the matchmark on the inner sleeve of the bushing with the matchmark on the control arm.
  14.  
  15. Coat the control arm spindle with an approved anti-friction agent or turpentine, and press the bushing until the measured clearance between the inner sleeve and the control arm's shoulder is attained.
  16.  
  17. Install the control arm immediately and place the vehicle with all four wheels on the ground, on a level surface, weighted to achieve the normal operating condition as follows:
    1. All except convertible and Z3:

      150 lbs. (68 kg) in front driver's seat
       
      150 lbs. (68 kg) in front passenger's seat
       
      150 lbs. (68 kg) centered in rear passenger's seat
       
      46 lbs. (21 kg) centered in trunk
       

    2.  
    3. Convertible and Z3:

      150 lbs. (68 kg) in front driver's seat
       
      150 lbs. (68 kg) in front passenger's seat
       
      31 lbs. (14 kg) centered in trunk
       

    4.  

  18.  
  19. Allow the vehicle to sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the anti-friction agent to evaporate.
  20.  
  21. Test drive the vehicle and check for needed wheel alignment. Align as necessary.
  22.  

Removal & Installation



  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle. Remove the tire and wheel assembly.
  2.  
  3. Remove the mounting bolts that fasten the bottom of the strut to the steering knuckle.
  4.  
  5. Remove the cotter pin and castellated nut. Use a suitable ball joint remover to press the ball joint end of the control arm off the steering knuckle.
  6.  
  7. Remove the self-locking nut. Then, remove the through bolt and the washers, slide the inner end of the strut and bushing out of the front suspension crossmember.
  8.  

To install:

  1. Note the following points:
    1. Make sure both washers are replaced to cushion the bushing where it contacts the suspension crossmember.
    2.  
    3. Replace the bushing if it is worn or cracked.
    4.  
    5. Use a new self-locking nut on the bolt fastening the inner end of the strut.
    6.  
    7. Align the bottom of the strut with the steering knuckle so the tab on the arm fits into the notch on the bottom of the strut. Install the bolts with a locking type sealer.
    8.  
    9. When installing the arm ball joint onto the steering knuckle, tighten the nut until the cotter pin hole lines up and then use a new cotter pin in the nut.
    10.  
    11. Final tighten the through bolt for the inner end of the arm after the vehicle is on the ground at normal ride height.
    12.  

  2.  

  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions section.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle. Remove the front tire and wheel assembly. Use a piece of wire to prevent the strut from extending to far and damaging the brake hose.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the rear control arm bushing bracket where it connects to the body by removing the bolts.
  6.  
  7. Remove the nut and disconnect the link on the front stabilizer bar where it connects to the control arm.
  8.  
  9. Unscrew the nut which attaches the control arm to the crossmember and remove the nut from above the crossmember. Then, use a plastic hammer to knock the stud out of the crossmember.
  10.  
  11. Unscrew the nut to the point it contacts the strut housing. Remove the bolts connecting the hub to the struts. Press off the ball joint where the control arm attaches to the lower end of the strut, using the proper tool.
  12.  

To install:

  1. Clean the threaded holes in the hub. Install new micro-encapsulated hub mounting bolts to the strut and torque to 58 ft. lbs. (80 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Make sure the ball joints studs and the bores in the crossmember and strut are clean before inserting the studs. Replace the original nuts with replacement nuts and washers. Torque the ball joint nut to 47 ft. lbs. (65 Nm) for 2 wheel drive. Torque the control arm to subframe nut to 61 ft. lbs. (85 Nm) for 2 wheel drive.
  4.  
  5. Install the control arm bushing bracket and torque the bolts to 30 ft. lbs. (42 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Install the stabilizer bar link and torque to 43 ft. lbs. (59 Nm).
  8.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Exploded view of the front suspension-5 and 7-Series

  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions section.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the front end. Do not place the jackstands under any suspension parts. Remove the wheel.
  4.  
  5. Remove the 3 bolts holding the steering knuckle to the bottom of the strut.
  6.  
  7. Remove the ball joint nut and press the stud out of the steering knuckle with a ball joint remover tool.
  8.  
  9. Remove the nut and bolt at the subframe end of the control arm. Remove the control arm.
  10.  

To install:

  1. Install the control arm to the subframe using a new nut and washer on both sides. Do not torque at this point.
  2.  
  3. Clean the grease and dirt off of the ball joint stud and bore. Install the ball joint stud into the steering knuckle and torque the new nut to 67 ft. lbs. (93 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Clean the threads and bores of the steering knuckle mounting bolts and the strut housing. Install the bolts, using threadlocker, and torque to 80 ft. lbs. (110 Nm). There is a groove that will align the strut and knuckle.
  6.  
  7. Install the wheel and lower the vehicle to the ground. Load 150 lbs. into each of the front seats and in the center of the rear seat. Torque the control arm to subframe bolt to 56 ft. lbs. (77.5 Nm).
  8.  

E30 3 Series
  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the precautions in the beginning of this section.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle. Remove the front tire and wheel assembly. Use a piece of wire to prevent the strut from extending to far and damaging the brake hose.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the rear control arm bushing bracket where it connects to the body by removing the bolts.
  6.  
  7. Remove the nut and disconnect the link on the front stabilizer bar where it connects to the stabilizer bar.
  8.  
  9. Unscrew the nut which attaches the control arm to the crossmember and remove the nut from above the crossmember. Then, use a plastic hammer to knock the stud out of the crossmember.
  10.  
  11. Unscrew the nut and press off the ball joint where the control arm attaches to the lower end of the strut, using the proper tool.
  12.  

To install:

  1. Make sure the ball joints studs and the bores in the crossmember and strut are clean before inserting the studs. Replace the original nuts with replacement nuts and washers. Torque the ball joint nut to 47 ft. lbs. (65 Nm) for 2 wheel drive and 61.5 ft. lbs. (93 Nm) for 4 wheel drive. Torque the control arm to subframe nut to 61 ft. lbs. (85 Nm) for 2 wheel drive and 72 ft. lbs. (100 Nm) for 4 wheel drive.
  2.  
  3. Install the control arm bushing bracket and torque the bolts to 30 ft. lbs. (42 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Install the stabilizer bar link and torque to 43 ft. lbs. (59 Nm).
  6.  

E30 Models
  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle. Remove the front tire and wheel assembly. Use a piece of wire to prevent the strut from extending to far and damaging the brake hose.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the rear control arm bushing bracket where it connects to the body by removing the bolts.
  4.  
  5. Remove the nut and disconnect the link on the front stabilizer bar where it connects to the stabilizer bar.
  6.  
  7. Unscrew the nut which attaches the control arm to the crossmember and remove the nut from above the crossmember. Then, use a plastic hammer to knock the stud out of the crossmember.
  8.  
  9. Unscrew the nut and press off the ball joint where the control arm attaches to the lower end of the strut, using the proper tool.
  10.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Control arm bracket mounting. Matchmark the control arm position before pressing the bushing off during replacement-E36 3 Series shown, E30 3 Series similar



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Control arm to subframe mount ball joint-E36 3 Series shown, E30 3 Series similar

To install:

  1. Make sure the ball joints studs and the bores in the crossmember and strut are clean before inserting the studs.
  2.  
  3. Replace the original nuts with replacement nuts and washers.
  4.  
  5. Tighten the ball joint nut to 47 ft. lbs. (65 Nm) for 2 wheel drive vehicles and 61.5 ft. lbs. (93 Nm) for 4 wheel drive vehicles.
  6.  
  7. Tighten the control arm-to-subframe nut to 61 ft. lbs. (85 Nm) for 2 wheel drive vehicles, and 72 ft. lbs. (100 Nm) for 4 wheel drive vehicles.
  8.  
  9. Install the control arm bushing bracket and tighten the bolts to 30 ft. lbs. (42 Nm).
  10.  
  11. Install the stabilizer bar link and tighten to 43 ft. lbs. (59 Nm).
  12.  
  13. Install the wheel and tire assembly and carefully lower the vehicle.
  14.  

E36 3 Series


Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Control arm bracket mounting. Matchmark the control arm position before pressing the bushing off during replacement-E36 3 Series shown, E30 3 Series uses the same design



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Control arm to subframe mount ball joint-E36 3 Series shown, E30 3 Series uses the same design

  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the precautions in the beginning of this section.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle. Remove the front tire and wheel assembly. Use a piece of wire to prevent the strut from extending to far and damaging the brake hose.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the rear control arm bushing bracket where it connects to the body by removing the bolts.
  6.  
  7. Remove the nut and disconnect the link on the front stabilizer bar where it connects to the control arm.
  8.  
  9. Unscrew the nut which attaches the control arm to the crossmember and remove the nut from above the crossmember. Then, use a plastic hammer to knock the stud out of the crossmember.
  10.  
  11. Unscrew the nut to the point it contacts the strut housing. Remove the bolts connecting the hub to the struts. Press off the ball joint where the control arm attaches to the lower end of the strut, using the proper tool.
  12.  

To install:

  1. Clean the threaded holes in the hub. Install new micro-encapsulated hub mounting bolts to the strut and torque to 58 ft. lbs. (80 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Make sure the ball joints studs and the bores in the crossmember and strut are clean before inserting the studs. Replace the original nuts with replacement nuts and washers. Torque the ball joint nut to 47 ft. lbs. (65 Nm) for 2 wheel drive. Torque the control arm to subframe nut to 61 ft. lbs. (85 Nm) for 2 wheel drive.
  4.  
  5. Install the control arm bushing bracket and torque the bolts to 30 ft. lbs. (42 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Install the stabilizer bar link and torque to 43 ft. lbs. (59 Nm).
  8.  

E36 Models
  1. Loosen the lug bolts 1 / 8 turn using a crisscross pattern.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle. Remove the front tire and wheel assembly.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the rear control arm bushing bracket using a suitable 17mm tool, by removing the bolts.
  6.  
  7. If equipped, remove the front stabilizer bar bracket locknut where it connects through the control arm.
  8.  
  9. Install one lug bolt and attach a heavy gauge wire from the lug bolt to the coil spring to hold the steering knuckle from stretching the brake hydraulic line.
  10.  
  11. Remove the locknut which attaches the control arm ball socket spindle to the crossmember using a 22mm ( 7 / 8 inch) deep well socket and ratchet and remove the nut from above the spindle. Use a plastic hammer to rap on the side of the control arm ball socket, or use a wide ball joint separator to avoid damaging the boot and release the spindle from the crossmember.
  12.  
  13. Loosen the lower ball joint locknut using a 19mm ( 3 / 4 inch) boxed end wrench, then use an open end wrench to turn the locknut until it can be loosened by hand. Use a ball joint/tie rod end removal tool to release the ball joint from the steering knuckle, then remove the locknut and lower the control arm from the vehicle.
  14.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Use a 22mm (7/8 inch) deep well socket to loosen the control arm-to-crossmember ball socket spindle



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Loosen the lower ball joint locknut, then insert a suitable removal tool to press out the tapered spindle. Pressing on the nut prevents damaging the threads



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Once the lower ball joint is removed, unfasten the lower control arm bushing bracket bolts



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. If the ball joint spindle spins when attempting the remove the locknut, grasp the spindle with a pair of needle-nose locking pliers



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Use a wide ball joint separating tool to prevent damaging the boot, and separate the spindle from the subframe



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Carefully remove the lower control arm from the vehicle



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. A side view of the right lower control arm. Note the position of the rear bushing if it is to be replaced



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. A top view of the right lower control arm

To install:

  1. Installation is in reverse order of removal, noting the following. Tighten the control arm fasteners as follows:

    Rear control arm bushing bolts: 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm)
     
    Control arm ball socket spindle-to-crossmember bolt: 63 ft. lbs. (85 Nm)
     
    Ball joint-to-steering knuckle bolts: 48 ft. lbs. (65 Nm)
     
    Sway bar bracket-to-control arm bolts: 31 ft. lbs. (42 Nm)
     

  2.  
  3. If during installation, the tapered ball joint spindles rotate before the locknut is tightened:
    1. Seat the spindle by tapping on the ball joint with a soft faced hammer, or use a block of wood between the ball joint and a hard faced hammer.
    2.  
    3. If seating the spindle failed to work, use a needle-nosed locking pliers or C-clamp to squeeze the components together.
    4.  

  4.  
  5. Install the wheel and tire assembly, then carefully lower the vehicle.
  6.  
  7. Check the vehicle for proper alignment.
  8.  

 
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