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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 06-11-2013, 12:05 PM
fauxsuper fauxsuper is offline
fauxsuper
Location: San Diego
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 47
Mein Auto: 1998 Z3 2.8
1998 Z3 Control Arm Replacement and Powerflex Bushing install

In the middle of a Z3 control arm replacement.

I was going to replace the control arm bushings with some powerflex ones, but after getting it up on jackstands, the wheel movement turned out to be due to a bad outer ball joint on the drivers side and I also noticed a cracked boot on the inner bushing on the passenger side, so I ordered a new set of Meyle arms through Pellican along with a new hardware and set of sway bar end links, as the boots on them were looking suspect.

The tie rods ends are only 10,000 miles old and look good and seem fine. I'm not sure how old the shocks are and I thought of replacing them while I was at it, but I think I'll just put it all back together, once the brown truck arrives, and see how it drives. (any opinions out there on front struts?)

I've only had the car a few months, so it's not been totally right since I bought it, but I suspected problems from the way it handles rain grooves or bumpy pavement, and sort of mushy steering response. Once I've got it back together, I'll have a better idea of how it should feel.



Since I didn't need to preserve the ball joints, I just bashed away on a pickle fork. The inner ones popped fairly easily (after I managed to get the nuts off) but I ended up using the Harbor Freight joint separator to get the outer ones to pop. Sort of flimsy looking and feeling, but it worked at least two times. The threads on it look a little worse for wear, (yes, I greased them) b ut for $20 bucks, I cant complain.
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Last edited by fauxsuper; 06-14-2013 at 10:05 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-11-2013, 03:40 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
BMW CCA 1405
Location: Louisville, KY
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,643
Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by fauxsuper View Post
... I just bashed away on a pickle fork. The inner ones popped fairly easily (after I managed to get the nuts off) but I ended up using the Harbor Freight joint separator to get the outer ones to pop. Sort of flimsy looking and feeling, but it worked at least two times. The threads on it look a little worse for wear, (yes, I greased them) b ut for $20 bucks, I cant complain.
What is a pickle fork? Can you find and post the link from Harbor Freight for that joint separator?
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  #3  
Old 06-11-2013, 04:04 PM
fauxsuper fauxsuper is offline
fauxsuper
Location: San Diego
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 47
Mein Auto: 1998 Z3 2.8
Ball joint Separator Tool and Pickle Forks

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Originally Posted by vintage42 View Post
What is a pickle fork? Can you find and post the link from Harbor Freight for that joint separator?
Pickle forks are the long chrome things in this picture that look like oversize Barbecue tools, the ball joint separator is also the black device in the photo to the lower right:



Here's a link to the tool: BALL JOINT SEPARATOR


When the ball joint pops, it makes the coolest "crack" noise: like winning a free game on an old flipper-style pinball game.
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  #4  
Old 06-14-2013, 10:10 AM
fauxsuper fauxsuper is offline
fauxsuper
Location: San Diego
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 47
Mein Auto: 1998 Z3 2.8
I finished the installation of the contol arms and Powerflex Bushings and did a short write up of it on my blog site. The Powerflex bushings make for a fairly simple, low-hassle install, and I'm happy with the end result:

http://fauxsuperblogs.com/2845/contr...-arms-control/

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Last edited by fauxsuper; 06-14-2013 at 10:11 AM.
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  #5  
Old 06-14-2013, 12:11 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
BMW CCA 1405
Location: Louisville, KY
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,643
Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
Very nice DIY writeup. I filed it and will no doubt use it someday.
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  #6  
Old 06-16-2013, 11:24 AM
JackDuggan JackDuggan is offline
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Location: Fredericksburg, VA
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 65
Mein Auto: 2001 Z3 3.0 Roadster
I used a Harbor Freight ball joint separator too, but the "CRACK" I heard was the tool breaking. I ended up using the pickle fork to get the out ball joint separated. I've had good luck with some other Harbor Freight tools, and their prices sure are low, but I would recommend caution using this separator on outer ball joints. Maybe mine was defective, I've seen a video of a guy using and impact wrench on one and popping a ball joint. They gave me my money back, so no complaints.
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  #7  
Old 06-16-2013, 12:41 PM
fauxsuper fauxsuper is offline
fauxsuper
Location: San Diego
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 47
Mein Auto: 1998 Z3 2.8
Safety Precautions

Quote:
Originally Posted by JackDuggan View Post
I used a Harbor Freight ball joint separator too, but the "CRACK" I heard was the tool breaking. I ended up using the pickle fork to get the out ball joint separated. I've had good luck with some other Harbor Freight tools, and their prices sure are low, but I would recommend caution using this separator on outer ball joints. Maybe mine was defective, I've seen a video of a guy using and impact wrench on one and popping a ball joint. They gave me my money back, so no complaints.
I'll admit that I kept the brake disc between the tool and my face and wore fairly heavy gloves while getting the ball joints to come free. I also used a long breaker bar and very steadily ramped up the pressure. You could feel the tension building up, like a guitar string being would up until it breaks; you kind of wince in anticipation.
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Last edited by fauxsuper; 06-16-2013 at 12:43 PM.
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  #8  
Old 07-22-2013, 10:16 AM
AB1945 AB1945 is offline
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Location: The Villages FL
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 110
Mein Auto: '01 Z3 & '02 325i Wagon
I find the best way to separate ball joints is to use a separator, then once you have it loaded up if the joint doesn't separate by itself then give it a whack on the side with a hammer. Works for me!
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