Very doable job. Total time for this DIY was just 3.5 hours. Specific to 525I owners out there, I do have additional advice to help you along in this DIY.
1 - Universals for the socket wrench - NOT NEEDED. You'll be able to reach every single bolt either with a socket or spanner and turning the steering wheel to accommodate the wrench. Also, there's a step where you have to loosen and then lower the sway bar to get at the thrust arm. Again, I think that's specific to the design of the 540's, but for the 525I, there is no need to touch the sway bar or it's end links.
2 - You'll definitely be removing body panels under the car. The panels that will have to be removed are: lower 1/2 fender well, lower engine cover, and there's even a cover for the bushing side of the tension strut as well. So you'll be making good use of that 10mm socket, 8mm socket, and philips screwdriver.
3 - Keep an allen wrench handy. I may have overlooked it or not read the directions from various DIY's, but you will definitely need an allen wrench to hold down the ball joint bolt as you are tightening it down and setting it into the steering knuckle with your 21 or 22mm spanner wrench. However, once your ball joint seats itself in the knuckle you should be good.
4 - As for pre-tensioning the bushing side when you tighten it down per BMW specs, (150lbs in the rear seat, 50 lbs. weight in the trunk, yada yada). I didn't do that. I basically took a measurement from the ground to the bottom center of the fender before I did the work. When I was done, I had my 200lb. dad sit right on the radiator area (ahhh! oooh! - no worries that area seems to be able to hold a lot more than 200lbs.). I got under the car and torqued down the bushing bolts to spec. Took another measurement and got a spot on match.
Lastly, the ball joint removal tool is a must have for this job. Be sure you've really jammed the fork side into the ball joint crevice and that the hammer part that fits over the threaded bolt covers it well. Tighten like crazy and POP! (I wore earplugs, but it is very loud)
Seat of the pants result? Simply awesome. No more shimmies at 40-50mph and no more shimmies when braking at any speed. Definitely tighter steering around corners. As for comments from other threads about car driving like it's new again, I can't say that. But who knows, maybe when it comes time to change the upper control arm, links and other ball joints, I may get that feeling.
Props to Hotswimmer for this awesome DIY.
- 2008 R350 Mercedes Wagon
- 2003 M3 Coupe - Alpine SMG
- 2001 530i - 5 speed, Anthracite Metallic, Sport Package
Last edited by aa240sx; 09-13-2010 at 10:08 AM.