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Old 07-09-2011, 04:10 PM
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Radian Radian is offline
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Location: Tucson, AZ
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 814
Mein Auto: '91 535i 5-spd
E34 535i control & thrust arm replacement (vid & pics)

Last year the car started pulling and settling into its suspension ever so slightly during braking. After inspecting the front end and reviewing the maintenance records I researched pricing and labor involved in replacement parts for the front end. Figured it was within my abilities. Last weekend I had the time to accomplish a front end change out.

I was going with Lemforder parts, so I could go with any bushing I wanted. After careful consideration, I chose M5 bushings. It's a daily driver and the roads here suck so I wasn't going with spherical replacements. The M5 type have plenty of very stiff rubber as you can see in the picture. They also appear to receive the least amount of complaints from owners over the long haul.

As I removed parts, it became evident the previous mechanics didn't really know what they were doing. All of the ball joint studs had anti-seize on them. Only the one shown in the video took any effort to remove. The other three could've been removed with a light whack from a ball peen. The steering arm to strut bolts had low-strength (purple) thread locker on them, where they are supposed to have high-strength applied. No washers on any of the nuts holding down the bushing-frame bolts.

The whole front end was a mis-mash of parts. Febi and Boge control arms. The Febi looked almost like an original part. It exhibited much more surface corrosion and the bushing was starting to get eccentric. I was pleased to find Meyle thrust arms. After 80,000 miles, the bushings were quite worn, but the ball joints and boots [on all the arms] were still holding up very well. The car was not shimmying at all.

Earlier in the year I had replaced the tie rods and sway bar links which were Karlyn. I would have to agree with other mechanics that they are utter trash.

If you look carefully at the non-M5 [535i] bushings with the plastic bumpers removed, you can see how eventually the corners wear through the rubber encompassing the inner surface of the bushing and can start knocking on the metal. At the end of the video, you can see that a worn bushing takes very little effort to deflect.

After everything was installed, I picked up some ballast to establish trim height, and torqued the bushing bolts to spec over the local quick-lube's pit. [thanks guy's ]

BTY - There's a pic or two floating around the net of a guy using 50 lb. bags of Quikrete to establish trim height. Although I did that too...I wouldn't recommend it. Use bags of salt or other media that's not as messy. I covered everything in the car with trash bags because if you just look at a bag of Quikrete wrong, it'll pee dry mix on you.

I would've liked to have made a better video, with close-ups and all, but I only had one day to pull off the front end fix. Good camera setup-execution can get very time consuming.


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Last edited by Radian; 07-15-2011 at 08:44 PM.
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