Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > 5 Series DIY

5 Series DIY
Knowledge Is Power! ~ The place for do-it-yourself threads on a variety of topics. Start a thread describing a particular job (oil change, cooling system overhaul, brakes, shocks and springs, etc.) or search for one you need help with!

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-16-2013, 10:06 AM
Dackelone Dackelone is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Bayern, Germany
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 118
Mein Auto: 535i v8
Originally Posted by ninetyseven View Post
Can anyone tell me exactly which hand tools are necessary here. I am going to need to buy some more sockets and open end wrenches I guess. Are the 16 mm and 18mm sockets really necessary here?
IF you don't have the proper tools, let a pro do the job. As for which sockets you need... didn't you see/read page one of this thread?

Or even this thread...
Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2013, 08:25 AM
dgdoc dgdoc is offline
Registered User
Location: MD
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 88
Mein Auto: 2001 540i/6spd
I just completed the job on my 2001 540 with 158K miles.

I used the method advocated by several folks of leaving the strut in place, loosening the ball-joint nut so it was flush with the top of the ball joint stud, then used the Harbor-Freight ball-joint tool. I installed the HF tool and started applying pressure. After each increment of tightening, I would stop, and tap the end (on bottom) of the Harbor-Freight tool with a 24 Oz hammer to keep it firmly engaged with the top of the ball joint stud - and also to apply some shock to the stud while under pressure. Repeated this process a couple times and on the 3rd time, *BANG* - Much louder than I thought it would be and it didn't help that my ear was pretty close to all of this. I wasn't using earplugs the first time, but did the 2nd time. Once the ball joint stud had broken free and dropped, it was free to rotate and the nut has locking threads so can't remove without holding the stud. I used a hex-wrench to stop the stud from rotating for the last few threads and removed the nut (using the open-end side of the wrench).

Looking at this part of the job in retrospect, I think it might be easier to drop the strut so you can remove the ball-joint nut while the ball-joint stud is still locked up in the knuckle. Also, would like to use a torque wrench on the ball-joint nut rather than just tightening by feel.

As far torquing the bushing bolt, I jacked up the suspension until the car was barely off the jack stands, then put a torque wrench on the back side where the nut is. To do this, I had to remove a small plastic panel from the back of the fender liner to gain additional access to fit in a 1/2" torque wrench. Before jacking up the suspension, I put a wrench on the bolt side to hold the bolt from rotating. This has to be done before jacking, otherwise the sway bar interferes and makes it very difficult to get the wrench on the bolt head. Also, I did not want to get under the car while the suspension was jacked up -- bad idea!!!. BE SAFE!. I was able to torque the nut (to 81 ft/lbs) from outside the car, without being underneath.

Lowered the suspension and re-installed the sway bar. Also noted that the bushing on the Lemforder Thrust Arms was of a different design. Can see this as well as all the cracking/wear on my original bushing (See pic below) and was really shot. The ball-joint end was also loose.

Drove the car and the slight shimmy when the car/tires were cold is gone. It's much tighter and also seems to track a little better on the highway.

Almost like it was when I picked it up in Munich 13 years ago!!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_2424.jpg
Views:	148
Size:	128.4 KB
ID:	405492  

Last edited by dgdoc; 11-03-2013 at 04:46 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2014, 04:42 AM
josemedeiros007 josemedeiros007 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 122
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 4Dr
Thank you for your DIY it was helpful as was CN90's

My lower factory control arm snapped in half while driving and making a U-turn, granted the Thrust arm bushings were gone, unknown to me at the time, and the vibration I had at highway speeds was misdiagnosed by the alignment shop as a bent wheel which is not bent. The control arm was also bent, which may have been when it was towed and owned by the previous owner. The factory camber and caster is now back to normal.

I also replaced my passenger side upper thrust arm & lower control arm, and was wondering what might be causing this wear on the thrust arms, I know that this sounds crazy, but it looks like some one took a die grinder and ground the control arm in hopes that it would snap while I am driving. I checked the inner wheels and see no scraping marks, which should be there if that was what caused the gouge on the arm. All four control arms I replaced have a BMW logo, and part number on them so they are probably the original upper and lower control arms.


Jose F. Medeiros
408-256-0649 Google Voice
San Jose, California
"There is nothing you can't accomplish if you let another man take the idea"
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	PICT0002.jpg
Views:	74
Size:	112.9 KB
ID:	430280   Click image for larger version

Name:	Thrust Arm.jpg
Views:	73
Size:	125.8 KB
ID:	430281   Click image for larger version

Name:	ControlArm1.jpg
Views:	65
Size:	136.3 KB
ID:	430282  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2014, 06:59 AM
k.w.crater k.w.crater is online now
Location: Bethany Beach DE
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 120
Mein Auto: 2003 745li
There's no reason any suspension components
Should look like that, also these grinds look new, no dirt in the grinds.
Sent from my HTC6500LVW using BimmerApp mobile app
Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2014, 08:50 AM
josemedeiros007 josemedeiros007 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 122
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 4Dr
I was thinking the same thing, some one must have used a battery powered die grinder. When I had the car aligned in 2010 and it was on the alignment rack I looked at the suspension components and do not recall seeing such markings.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2014, 07:15 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,463
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
This is useful information, posted today ...

Originally Posted by rdl View Post
I don't believe one can reliably check thrust arm bushings to eliminate them as suspect.

I had at least one fail yet visual inspection and push/pull by hand and pry bar found no difference side to side. Once I removed them, one side bushing oozed a black oily liquid, the other side didn't. So at least one was in fact bad. With two new t-links my symptoms disappeared.

I then redid the push/pull tests. I found the compliance to be the same, or at least I couldn't tell the difference between before and after. I'd agree that this was not a scientific comparison of old to new or even side to side. OTOH, I've never seen BMW specs of force vs flex vs damping in order to perform an accurate measurement for pass/fail. Or the equipment to perform it.

It seems to me that the only practical avenue is to renew t-links or the bushings if you have the symptoms and no other less expensive suspect cause can be found.
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2014, 05:38 AM
beamza beamza is offline
Registered User
Location: australia
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 540i sport
I know its an old thread however big thanks to original OP and also others who have chipped in. Here is my take. Yes leave the strut in place. Use an open end spanner and undo the ball joint nut until it goes as far as it can up. Use a small mallet and knock with lightness around the arm near the ball joint. Good chance I will just drop then continue to undo nut and easy out. If it doesn't, here is what I did (as one didn't budge).

Take off the two 18mm bolts on the back of brake calliper and remove and suspend calliper. Undo disk screw with hex attachment and take off disk. Undo the 3-4 10mm nut bolts holding the disk dust guard in place and then using tin snips, make a cut across a thinner part (its easy to cut and also put back without any real negative effect).and open it slightly and slide off hub. This then allows perfect access to the ball joint from the front. Use a ball joint fork tool and knock it in. Then if it still doesn't pop, once the fork is in place, knock down on the fork (small mallet). This should budge the arm no problems. It may not be the perfect solution, but once car was up on jacks and wheel removed it took me about 30 mins each side to replace the arm. Did as others and used jack under wheel to lift car a little off stand each side then tightened control arm up. Car is vey nice after. All the best. Craig

Last edited by beamza; 07-24-2014 at 05:42 AM.
Reply With Quote


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > 5 Series DIY
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
E39 Faq chivas E39 (1997 - 2003) 101 06-26-2014 04:56 PM
DIY - 528i OIL Change (E39) 6 cyl GOKOOLJAPAN 5 Series DIY 56 12-18-2009 11:08 AM
ATTN: E39 540i Owners - Check these Hoses! (TECH) Schnell5 E39 (1997 - 2003) 13 02-01-2006 04:35 PM
E39 Brake Duct HOW TO ARTICLE Schnell5 5 Series 0 02-18-2005 06:09 PM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:45 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms