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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 05-22-2015, 02:25 PM
rdl rdl is offline
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Disappointing experience with Lemfoerder

I've been chasing an annoying low speed rattle/click for the last 5k miles. It behaved like a failed ball joint in the right tension link, but I found that hard to believe since both sides were replaced only 50k miles ago with Lemfoerder links (actually, the only old front end parts now are knuckles, hubs, rack and brakes) I couldn't detect any looseness in the ball joint so I tried checking a dozen+ other suspects.

Anyway, after running out of alternatives & finally finding a tiny bit of play in the ball joint after the the rattle had become unbearable, I replaced it with a TRW tension link & the symptom is gone.

BTW, I'm on rough roads once in a blue moon; even then only gravel, not Detroit style suspension wreckers. And I've never had any "big thumps." There isn't any explanation except a quality problem. I've considered Lemfoerder to be a premium brand ... but a ball joint that lasts only 50k miles? I sure hope this was a one off & not an indication of slipping quality.

Anyone else with long term Lemfoerder experiences, good or bad?
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  #2  
Old 05-22-2015, 03:27 PM
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eparayno eparayno is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 530i
They're more than likely made in different countries now. Probably all big name and top brands are. Some Lemforder parts for Volvos are made in China now.
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  #3  
Old 05-22-2015, 05:36 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Bummer! My Lemforder thrust arms (w/Meyle bushings), control arms, tie rods and sway bar links are holding up OK after 55K. Gotta keep my fingers crossed!
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Old 05-22-2015, 07:22 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
1+,

My Lemforder parts work fine after some 50K miles too...
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  #5  
Old 05-23-2015, 08:39 AM
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SSJRICH 540i SSJRICH 540i is offline
00 E39 540i/6 M Sport
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Mein Auto: '00 540i M sport
50K Miles for any suspension part to fail is not that bad

And just fyi TRW is 100% made in china.

It doesn't matter if you are off roading the vehicle or not. All roads suck balls. You can't judge the amount the ball joints should last by how comfortable you commute it.

I see trucks (yes I know they are quite a bit heavier) blow throw ball joints in 20,000km consistently. They all say I don't beat on my truck. Sure. But it wont matter what ball joint we replace them with, they wear out.

ANY suspension part can wear out "quickly" It all depends on your driving style, and where you drive. BMW and European cars in general have a very nice and quite ride quality about them because they are engineered that way. But just because you don't feel it, doenst mean its not being beat on.
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Old 05-23-2015, 05:58 PM
bimmernut1 bimmernut1 is offline
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The Lemfoerder thrust arm bushings failed on my M5 in less than a year. Couldn't believe it. I went back with OEM and won't use them again.
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  #7  
Old 05-24-2015, 02:01 AM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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Mein Auto: E39 540, E36 328is, E83x3
The lemf's i put on the e36 the boots dried out and ripped almost immediately, But the joints are holding up just well for a few years like that now,

I put BAV brand on the 540 and those seems to be much better quality,

I jus =t go with BAV when available
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  #8  
Old 05-24-2015, 04:26 AM
rdl rdl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSJRICH 540i View Post
50K Miles for any suspension part to fail is not that bad
...
And just fyi TRW is 100% made in china.
...
That may be true of "economy" or "value" line parts. But sure isn't what I & my acquaintances have experienced over the years with OEM quality parts. Imagine the uproar if some brand's new cars routinely needed a front end overhaul at 50k miles - whether GM, Toyota, Hyundai, etc., etc. (well maybe Yugo ... )

After deciding to try something other than Lemfoerder, I found that Moog has two lines of suspension parts. The C line is their Problem Solver range described with premium features such as ball joints made with their patented sintered metal "gusher" bearings. The kind of stuff that made Moog the Rolls Royce of suspension parts when I was a teenager. The (relatively) newer R line is described as suitable for "price sensitive" customers with no mention of features. However the stores almost never highlight this difference or even mention it - one has to check carefully to determine what is being sold & sometimes it's impossible.

Now interestingly I found that a Google search for "moog reviews" over several auto brands turned up reports at two extremes with none in the middle:
- I've used Moog for years & they are bulletproof - won't use anything else
- tried Moog and it failed in a year - so much for Moog quality - never again
However, none of those people made any mention of whether they installed C line or R line parts. I suspect they weren't aware which they had.

Anyway, I'm hoping that Lemfoerder is still a "C line" producer & hasn't quietly switched to "R line" quality in the interest of profits ... and bonuses for the CEO before he retires and the chickens come home to roost.

I didn't know that TRW were Chinese produced. Actually I first tried to source a Moog C line part, but that didn't work out for various reasons. I'd seen TRW is an OES to BMW and other premium car brands. And sometimes recommended as a good alternative in E39 forums. So I though I'd give them a try. Oh well, time will tell if I blundered or not.
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  #9  
Old 05-24-2015, 09:42 AM
billdo billdo is offline
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Too bad, this thread ia 3 days late for me. I had to order a tie rod and went with lems, because I thought they were OEM.
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  #10  
Old 05-24-2015, 06:20 PM
rdl rdl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billdo View Post
Too bad, this thread ia 3 days late for me. I had to order a tie rod and went with lems, because I thought they were OEM.
No need for regret.
My experience is one data point, which isn't proof of anything. And even if it turns out that Lemfoerder quality on E39 parts isn't as good as it used to be, which brand do we know is better?

I didn't intend to start a stampede away from Lemfoerder. FWIW, I'd recommend the brand. They were and are an OES to premium car brands. I simply wonder if there is something better for our E39s. And the answer is - maybe, maybe not. There are certainly some reported to be much worse. And no evidence there is anything better.
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