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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-25-2011, 06:58 PM
ElwoodBlues ElwoodBlues is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 530i Sport
Anyone tried this balljoint tool on 530i front sport suspension?

http://www.amazon.com/OTC-6297-BALL-...1091106&sr=1-3

Description on another site says "OTC Tools #6297 Ball Joint Separator, Drop-Forged Steel, Adjustable Up to 2 in."

Has anyone used this on their 530i front suspension overhaul? Is it the right size and right amount of travel?

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  #2  
Old 03-25-2011, 07:51 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
Get the Harbor Freight tool ($18) and spend your savings on beer. This one looks identical except in silver vice black. The HF tool works on all I6 front suspension ball joints. Use cn90s tip and put the nut flush with the end of the ball joint bolt to improve tool purchase. Worst case, cut the ball joint bolt. That works every time.

Note: neither of these tools will probably work on the V8 front control arm ball joint bolt as that is extra long.
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  #3  
Old 03-26-2011, 04:54 AM
xc17pilot xc17pilot is offline
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Mein Auto: '04 X3/'03 X5/'00 528i
+1 to the HF tool. I just used it last week on front ball joints and it worked perfect!
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  #4  
Old 03-26-2011, 05:30 AM
timarnold timarnold is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 bmw 525i
I have this one & it does not have a large enough capacity between the fork & screw.
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  #5  
Old 03-26-2011, 01:12 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Dunno if this helps but I just did a /balljoint(F3) in the bestlinks and this is one of the threads that popped up:

- How to make your own ball joint replacement tool (1) & what balljoint tools to use (1) (2) (3) (4) & where to buy a front wishbone (1) or rear ball joint press (1) (2)

EDIT: I added this link.

Last edited by bluebee; 03-26-2011 at 01:14 PM.
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  #6  
Old 03-26-2011, 03:04 PM
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Jason5driver Jason5driver is offline
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Mein Auto: E39 hamster w/ pin-wheel
Quote:
Originally Posted by timarnold View Post
I have this one & it does not have a large enough capacity between the fork & screw.
Yes it does.
The Harbor Freight tool adjusts.
Look at Cnn's DIY for the front suspension.
He uses the tool with clarity.

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1312326
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Last edited by Jason5driver; 03-26-2011 at 03:05 PM.
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  #7  
Old 07-30-2011, 03:30 PM
E39Convert E39Convert is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 540i w/Dinan Stage I
Just a note to those 540i owners planning to use the HF tool for the wishbones...the jaws don't spread wide enough. The wheel carrier on the 540i has a thicker section at the ball joint location than the 528i does. The tool works for the thrust arms but not the wishbones.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason5driver View Post
Yes it does.
The Harbor Freight tool adjusts.
Look at Cnn's DIY for the front suspension.
He uses the tool with clarity.
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  #8  
Old 07-30-2011, 05:30 PM
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Jason5driver Jason5driver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E39Convert View Post
Just a note to those 540i owners planning to use the HF tool for the wishbones...the jaws don't spread wide enough. The wheel carrier on the 540i has a thicker section at the ball joint location than the 528i does. The tool works for the thrust arms but not the wishbones.
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=466479


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  #9  
Old 07-30-2011, 08:51 PM
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GSA1 GSA1 is offline
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Mein Auto: '01 & '02 E39 530i Sports
I used the harbor freight tool this past week. I had never attempted suspension work before. It was easy to use and popped the tie rod ball joint in 10 quarter turns. I walked away for some water and within 3 minutes it popped and dropped. $19.99
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  #10  
Old 07-30-2011, 09:39 PM
E39Convert E39Convert is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 540i w/Dinan Stage I
Thanks! Looks like I didn't search long enough to run across that tool mod...oh well, guess I'll do a bit more searching for the next project. I decided to pop the thrust arm out of the way with the HF tool and then used a traditional ball joint separator to pop out the wishbone. Worked pretty good! Just wish someone hadn't installed the polyurethane bushings as they were a huge pain to remove from the sub-frame.
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  #11  
Old 07-31-2011, 11:12 AM
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nyclad nyclad is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 530i Sport
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSA1 View Post
I used the harbor freight tool this past week. I had never attempted suspension work before. It was easy to use and popped the tie rod ball joint in 10 quarter turns. I walked away for some water and within 3 minutes it popped and dropped. $19.99
Damn...lucky you. I spent a few hours messing with the HF tool, even sprayed the ball joint down with PB Blaster, and still ended up bending the HF tool. Good thing is that Harbor Freight immediately let me trade that in for a new one. A combo of heat, hammering, and PB Blaster while I had the HF tool attached finally made the ball joint pop out. http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...&postcount=139

Last edited by nyclad; 07-31-2011 at 11:17 AM.
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  #12  
Old 07-31-2011, 07:58 PM
helpmyfive helpmyfive is offline
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Love the HF tool. Used it lots. Works every time. I ran the fork on my bench grinder to allow it full insertion. Much better.
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  #13  
Old 08-21-2012, 10:31 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
Tool Talk:

Old topic but I want to ask you guys a question....re Brand Name.

I have been using the Harbor Freight Ball Joint Separator w/o any issues, here it is:
http://www.harborfreight.com/3-4-qua...tor-99849.html

The questions are:

1. OTC 6297 Ball Joint Separator: is it any better?
http://www.amazon.com/OTC-6297-Ball-.../dp/B0015PN010

2. How about ZD Mak Tool?
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  #14  
Old 08-21-2012, 11:29 AM
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Jason5driver Jason5driver is offline
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Mein Auto: E39 hamster w/ pin-wheel
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Tool Talk:

Old topic but I want to ask you guys a question....re Brand Name.

I have been using the Harbor Freight Ball Joint Separator w/o any issues, here it is:
http://www.harborfreight.com/3-4-qua...tor-99849.html

The questions are:

1. OTC 6297 Ball Joint Separator: is it any better?
http://www.amazon.com/OTC-6297-Ball-.../dp/B0015PN010

2. How about ZD Mak Tool?
I have the HF separator, and the ZD Mak tool as well.
The ZD Mak tool is junk.
You feel how cheap and lightweight the metal is.

Thanks!
Jason
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  #15  
Old 08-21-2012, 11:57 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Mein Auto: '99 528i, M52TU w/stick
The HF tool is definitely cast. My first one broke on its first use.

The OTC tool is reported to be forged steel. If that's true, it simply has to be a tougher tool.
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  #16  
Old 08-22-2012, 04:34 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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For something that performs a very simple function (separate ball joint), "better" can be construed in many ways: Cheaper? Faster to use or work? More reliable (stronger)? Easier to use? etc. I think the quality of the HF tool can be variable (many seem to break). And I think the ball joint interface varies between every car (some release easily, others are more difficult to release). I, for one, use the HF tool and it does what it is supposed to do in a reasonable time frame without difficulty at a very affordable cost. Hence, I do not believe the other tools are any "better".

Last edited by Fudman; 08-22-2012 at 04:38 AM.
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  #17  
Old 08-22-2012, 07:06 AM
BhamDave BhamDave is offline
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Location: Birmingham Alabama
 
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Posts: 49
Mein Auto: 2001 530
The HF tool is junk in my opinion. I broke one on the first use. I thoroughly abused the OTC and it held up.

The OTC does need a little grinding on the end to create a flat to grab the top of the ball joint bolt.

The last thing you want to have happen when working on your car is to get it partially disassembled and break a critical tool. The additional cost of the OTC is good insurance against this happening.
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