Reply to Thread

Post a reply to the thread: Lower control arm bushings

Your Message

Click here to log in

Please correctly re-type the phrase f o o t d o c t o r in the form box. Re-type it without the extra spaces and put the one space where it should be. We apologize for having to do this but this silliness helps slow the spammers.


Additional Options


Topic Review (Newest First)

  • 05-20-2012, 03:05 PM
    Robert Platt Bell

    Dry Rotted Tires

    I've noticed michelins tend to get hard as rocks after five years.

    I had michelins on one of the 318iC's and swapped the tires and rims with the other car - problem goes away, and moves to the other car (after replacing the lower control arms, etc!!).

    Had the offending tires balanced, fixed the problem for a few hundred miles.

    Same thing happened on the X5 - 7 year old michelins "suddenly" get lumpy. Put on new Yokohamas (The P255/55 R18 Michelins were $275 each, ouch) and no more wobbly.

    ALSO, check your wheel bearing endplay. My friend has a CLK500 (A nice teutonic hotrod) with the front-end shimmy, and you can literally feel the right front wheel move back and forth when you pull on it - the wheel bearing is shot.

    Just some suggestions.
  • 01-19-2011, 12:12 PM

    don't think you "wasted" money on those parts

    Those are all parts that wear out and need to be replaced and can cause vibrations. Best to eliminate all of those likely culprits since they should be replaced anyway. I'm sure the car feels much better with all of those fresh suspension parts (and vibrations cured).

    You might try to find out if those 17s (and the rubber on them) are good or not. If there are any bends in the rims you might be able to have them straightened. And if there are defects in the tires you can always replace those. Expensive but you might be able to use the 17s as you originally intended.

    At this point you're probably just happy to leave it alone and enjoy the car as-is :)

    1996 BMW 328i
    2003 BMW F650CS - R.I.P. 8/25/2004
    2005 Suzuki SV650S - 3/26/2005
  • 01-14-2011, 06:56 PM
    Brian 328is

    Alignment shop

    I was referred to the alignment shop because of the particular machine they use for alignment. For twice the cost of a single alignment, you got lifetime coverage.

    While maybe not the highest quality shop, but I've already recovered my costs in required alignments.

    They recover their costs by recommending bogus repairs be performed. Last visit, they said I needed an oil change, valve cover gasket, belt, and spark plugs. I didn't need any of that. The bill would have been $650. I passed, and walked out with a free alignment ($0).

  • 01-14-2011, 06:50 PM
    Brian 328is

    Yes, rim change final step

    It shook after all of those steps and finally went away when you went back to the 15s?


    Did you ever have the 17s checked for trueness?

    No. Maybe I wrongfully assumed they were good.

    Out of all of the work I did (or some of it, I paid someone to do)

    These parts were defective, and needed replacment anyway...

    Front sway bar bushings, qty 2
    Lower control arms, qty 2
    Front strut mounts, upper, qty 2
    Front tie rods, qty 2
    Tie rod lock plate, qty 2
    New front passenger wheel hub
    Four new shocks
    15" rims & tires

    ...while these parts, I think I may have wasted my money

    - Lower control arm bushings, 1996 M3 urethane upgrade
    - New front hubs & bearings
    - New 17" tires after performed the work, there was no change.

    In the parts I needed, I visually inspected them, and yes, they were bad. The shocks were verified to be defective by the Bilstein factory, and replaced for free (Yes!).

    At least the front end is probably good for another 100,000 miles, and my "cost per tire" went down for replacement tires.

  • 01-05-2011, 05:21 PM

    was the rim change the final step?

    It shook after all of those steps and finally went away when you went back to the 15s?

    I wonder about those people that install wheel spacers. Do they have problems with shaking?

    btw did you ever have the 17s checked for trueness? I'm not sure who's doing your tire balancing, but it looks like you're doing alignments at a shop that does lifetime alignments. I'm sure there are exceptions but in my experience those shops are usually the NTB type places. I wouldn't expect that kind of outfit to identify subtle defects in wheels. You've clearly gone to great lengths to solve this though, so I understand you may have already sought out the best service available in your quest.

    I had NTB mount my current set of tires, on my factory 16-inch sport package wheels. They didn't find anything wrong with the wheels. This summer when I had them re-balanced at a quality euro shop that knows what they're doing and knows these cars really well, they found that 3 out of 4 rims were bent. The road force machine also showed that all four tires are junk. Not uneven or excessive wear but inconsistencies in the internal structure, which means uneven pressure applied across the contact patch. Re-balancing made everything 90% better so I'm just going to live with the bent wheels.

    Glad to know I'm not the only one in the e36 psych ward!

    1996 BMW 328i
    2003 BMW F650CS - R.I.P. 8/25/2004
    2005 Suzuki SV650S - 3/26/2005
  • 01-05-2011, 04:24 PM
    Brian 328is

    Aftermarket rim offset vs. stock rims

    I just found out that the 17" aftermarket rims I had installed had a rim offset of 35mm, where the recently installed 15" stock rims have an offset of 40mm, a difference of 5mm, or 1/5 of an inch.

    In my limited knowledge of front suspension design, I'd say that is significant, and it no longer shakes.

  • 12-16-2010, 04:03 PM
    Brian 328is

    How to fix 65 mph steering shake in 2 years

    It took me 2 years and $2,400, but I fixed the shake in the steering wheel at 65 mph.

    Here's what it took:

    Lower control arm bushings, 1996 M3 urethane upgrade
    Balance four tires
    Alignment, 4 wheel alignment
    New front passenger wheel hub
    Front tires, Sumitomo HTRZ II, Tire
    Rear tires, Sumitomo HTRZ II, Tire
    Front sway bar bushings, qty 2
    Lower control arms, qty 2
    Front strut mounts, upper, qty 2
    Front tie rods, qty 2
    Tie rod lock plate, qty 2
    Alignment, 4 wheel alignment
    Alignment, 4 wheel alignment, lifetime warranty
    Rotate tires
    Balance four tires
    New front hubs & bearings
    Four new shocks
    15" rims & tires

    ...over a 2 year span. Tough to say what was the one cause, but I wouldn't wish this on anyone. Most of the front end work was needed anyway, but I know I wasted the "Sumitomo" tire purchase, as I ended up going back to stock 15" rims and tires.

    I called the admissions office at the psycho ward, telling them to no longer expect my weekly visits.

  • 12-20-2008, 10:34 PM

    Nice thread. Good info. Thanks!

  • 12-20-2008, 12:21 AM
    Brian 328is

    All done, repair summary

    New tires without wheel alignment, causing poor tire wear - January 2006

    Replace lower control arm bushings, with M3 upgrade. $40 parts, $20 labor. After repair, steering shake only at 60 mph.

    Balance and alignment. $74 labor. Solves 60 mph steering shake. During repair, one lug nug breaks in half.

    Replace wheel hub. $109 parts, $65 labor

    Total recent repairs (not tires) - $149 parts, $159 labor.
    About $300....not bad.
  • 12-15-2008, 02:00 PM
    Brian 328is

    Thanks. I'll look at it more, and get back to you

  • 12-15-2008, 02:18 AM
    Steve G

    It's the hub that has the threads, not the rotor.

    You could try drilling it out but the threads in the hub are probably shot.

    Unfortunately the hub is more difficult to replace than the rotor.

    Is it a front or rear wheel?

    FWIW I had the same problem on a Volkswagen and had to replace the hub. It was caused by corrosion. Now I always put thick grease on wheel bolts.
  • 12-13-2008, 04:12 AM
    Brian 328is

    Alignment & balance worked, but one more thing...

    "4 wheel alignment & balance" worked (fixed the steering wheel shaking at 60 mph, previous "braking only" shaking was fixed by lower control arm bushings), but the mechanic performing the job said one of the lug nuts was cross-threaded by a previous mechanic (how many of you have heard this before?), and that he wasn't going to touch that wheel. He said if he tried to remove it, the bolt will break off, and half of it would be stuck inside the brake rotor.

    Well, I had him lower the car from the lift, I took a rachet, and yes, the bolt broke in half, with half of it stuck inside the brake rotor. With no way to prove he did it, I paid him, and drove off with 4 out of 5 bolts holding the wheel on. I made it home with no problems.

    Now, what do I do about the brake rotor? Drill out the stuck bolt and take a metric tap to it?

    Any help?

  • 11-04-2008, 12:35 PM
    Brian 328is

    More repair details for Woods

    I used dish soap (see "how to" post in this thread). It helped me manually push the bushings on halfway. The dish soap quickly evaporated or dissipated (don't know where it went...absorbed?), and soon their was no more lube effect.

    Good suggestion about "out of balance", but I didn't have any shaking without the brakes on prior to my recent (weekend of Nov 1st) repair, so not 100% sold on that suggestion.

    I'm kind of at a loss on what to do now, since the parts are brand new. Maybe get it aligned, then see.

    Thanks Woods. Any other help?

  • 11-03-2008, 04:51 PM

    Re: So, how does the car perform now? Help!

    What did you use to lubricate the bushings? 90 minutes is likely not going to be a problem.

    Yes, the car will need an alignment after this job (especially if you only got the bushings "close"). If the shaking is occurring at a speed right around 50mph, then it's likely you have a wheel that is either bent or out of balance. Have the wheels balanced at the alignment shop. Also be sure to torque your lug bolts properly and to spec afterwards.
  • 11-03-2008, 12:18 PM
    Brian 328is

    So, how does the car perform now? Help!

    During reinstallation, I pushed and hammered and pushed and hammered, and could only get the new bushings onto the control arm "pin" half the depth of the new bushing. Again, half of the bushing depth was on the pin, half was not.

    After so much frustration and cussing, the bushings sat in this position for about 90 minutes while the special tool was made. After the tool was made, it took about 10 minutes per side to finish installing the bushings onto the control arms. The car was then lowered and sat overnight.

    Before this repair, the steering used to shake only during braking greater than 50 mph. Now, no steering shaking during braking ever, but it intermittently shakes at various speeds during normal driving. So this is worse, or more bothersome, than before.

    My concerns are
    1. I took longer than 30 minutes to install the bushings onto the car, as Bentley and Understeer recommend.

    2. I didn't mark the depth, or axial position of the bearing to the control arm "pin", prior to removal, so I got fairly close to it on reinstallation.

    3. After this repair, and still shaking, does the car need an alignment?

    Any help?

  • 11-03-2008, 12:03 PM
    Brian 328is

    How to replace lower control arm bushings

    These are my notes. It may have been different for others.

    Raise car onto jack stands as high as possible. You’ll need the room. Be wary that the stock car jack may run out of threads. If possible, put car onto a lift.

    The two 17mm bolts that hold the bushing assembly come off very easy.

    Prior to removal, mark how deep the old bushings are installed on the control arm “pin”, as you want to duplicate this upon reinstallation.

    To help with removal of old bushing assembly, use a “spider” removal tool, and also center drill the control arm so spider doesn’t continually drift off control arm during use.

    After removal of bushing assembly from car, the metal carrier ring from the car lays flat on one side, but does not lay flat on the other side. Obviously, lay bushing assembly flat, square, and flush with bushing press during bushing pressing and removal. Note rotational clocking of old bushing in relation to carrier ring, as you want identical clocking for new bushing.

    When installing new bushings in carrier ring, again pay attention to which side of carrier ring is flush and square, and rotational clocking.

    When reinstalling bushing assembly, pushing by hand, or hammering the bushing assembly is a futile exercise, with no progress made. Dish soap is an acceptable lubricant. Make the special tool, as shown in under$, where first hole of control arm closest to bushing is used to push bushing assembly onto car. With much less effort, bushing slides right onto control arm pin.

    Lower car, and let sit for several hours.
  • 10-29-2008, 11:53 PM
    Steve G

    Wow, that was 5 years ago.

    Yes I did install the 96+ M3 bushings, with help.

    I don't think they affect the ride, but the steering felt more positive. That said, it's not a fair comparison when the old parts are worn out and cracking. I also put on new Bilstein HD struts at the same time, so there's another variable. I like the M3 bushings mainly because they should last longer.

    My memory is not great, but I think I can answer my questions from 2003:

    1) No difference between left/right.
    2) It doesn't matter which side faces front/back.
    3) I think the "thicker" rubber for the original parts was left/right. So we just followed the same pattern with the new bushes. (If the original had the thicker rubber up/down then we followed that.)
    4) Yes, you will need to press the new bushings into the carriers (sometimes called "lollipops"). I don't know if it's available but if you can get the lollipops with the bushings already installed then you won't have to worry about that part of the installation.

    Hope this helps.
  • 10-29-2008, 04:54 PM
    Brian 328is

    Steve G, have you done this job?

    Did you install +96 M3 bushings? How's the ride? Better? Stiffer?

    Can you answer your own questions from your post:


  • 10-28-2008, 05:09 PM
    Brian 328is

    Sorry, should have searched first

    Plenty of relevent info in the archives.

    Should have searched before posting new message.

  • 10-28-2008, 02:43 PM
    Brian 328is

    Lower control arm bushings

    I have the characteristic of bad lower control arm bushings, steering wheel shake above 50 mpg when brakes are applied. I've had this for a while now, and it is getting worse.

    What is the negative of not repairing this? Has anyone else had this job done at a garage? If so, cost?

    Great DIY link below. Seems above my ability, and I don't have special tools.


Posting Permissions

  • You may post new threads
  • You may post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
1e2 Forum