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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-14-2012, 09:05 AM
m3likey m3likey is offline
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Location: gainesville VA
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Mein Auto: 1995 m3
Change Control arms myself?

Ok so the major thing i keep going back and forth about is if I should change/learn how to change the control arms on my car or not take the risk and just pay more to get a shop to do it...I have done some work on my car, little things like change the thermostat and water pump, i had fun doing it. You def learn a lot more when you actaully working with your hands. Pretty much lets say, 1-10 ten being the hardest. Lets say changing the water pump and thermo is a 4 outta 10, what would u say out of experience is a control arm job? Add in tools and all the others things that go into the work.......I am a fast learner and obvisoulsy if i had all the really nice expensive tools i could do it.
Btw i have a 95 m3, teh CA set on pelican parts will be $500
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  #2  
Old 02-14-2012, 09:11 AM
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jonesin jonesin is online now
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Location: Fort McMurray AB
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Mein Auto: '96 328is Cosmos
http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/tech...eplacement.htm



I got this btw, from http://bimmerdiy.com a GREAT site for doing a lot of jobs. THey link to others sites which have full write ups making our lives easier.

Ed
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  #3  
Old 02-14-2012, 09:16 AM
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cmybimmer cmybimmer is offline
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its pretty straight forward.. If you buy the control arms with the bushings pre-pressed then its basically bolt on.. The only thing I'd say is moderately difficult is removing the ball joint that is connected to the control arm without the proper tools.. When I did mine I had access to the Highschool auto lift and used their equipment.. It was STILL a pain in the ass to take off the ball joints, but managed to loosen em out..

If it were me, I'd do it for practice ... Just don't fck up, no pressure
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  #4  
Old 02-14-2012, 09:17 AM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Location: Seattle, WA
 
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Control arm replacement is quite easy. Sometimes various items can be tough to break free, but if you have a big enough hammer (mini-sledge) and a breaker bar, you should find it to be pretty easy.

When I did it for the first time (I've done the job twice), I had a really hard time getting one of the outer ball joint studs to drop out of the outer steering knuckle. I beat it with a pickle fork and regular household hammer for hours, but it wouldn't budge. Then I finally had the genius idea to get a bigger hammer. Two solid thumps with a mini-sledge and it dropped right out. Moral of the story is to have the right tools for the job. I had no trouble at all when I did the job the second time. Took less than two hours.
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  #5  
Old 02-14-2012, 09:44 AM
m3likey m3likey is offline
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Location: gainesville VA
 
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wow, two hours......hmm so so i dont have a lift, only have the car stands. Bimmerdiy.com may become my new favorite website

So thats what i am working with, i am planing on buying the whole piece all put together already, so that will make it easier, i dont have a lift and i will have to buy a sledge hammer. So with what i will be working with id say i could it right?

Last edited by m3likey; 02-14-2012 at 09:45 AM.
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  #6  
Old 02-14-2012, 09:48 AM
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jonesin jonesin is online now
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Location: Fort McMurray AB
 
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Mein Auto: '96 328is Cosmos
Yes, the first time it took me ~ 2 hours too, with just hand tools and stands.
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I grew up in a time when the internet was just a baby. Grammar back then versus now... holy cow. You could watch the degradation of society as the internet became more mature.

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  #7  
Old 02-14-2012, 09:59 AM
m3likey m3likey is offline
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Location: gainesville VA
 
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ok, now that i know it is possible for someone with my tools/experience to do, i feel comfortable with trying to do it. thanks for the info and links!!
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  #8  
Old 02-14-2012, 11:00 AM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Yeah, I just did it on jack stands with hand tools in front of my house. Easy peasy.

And the mini-sledge I am referring to is something along the lines of this:


http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-to...dle-95129.html
You don't need a full size sledge, but a full size would work if you already have one laying around. It'll just be a bit harder to maneuver.

And you'll want a pickle fork like this:


http://www.harborfreight.com/11-3-4-...ator-1740.html

This stuff can be purchased at any auto parts store.

There are also a few tricks that make life easier. One of those tricks is figuring out a way to prevent the ball joint studs from spinning when you are loosening or tightening the nuts. They have a tendency to just spin as you rotate the wrench, which can be quite annoying. Fortunately, I've had great success by simply using the floor jack to put a little pressure on the ball joint from underneath. Not so much pressure that you actually start to lift the car, but just enough to hold it in place while turning the wrench. Works like a charm.

Otherwise, it's just a matter of making sure you have the right size wrenches. If you are not replacing the tie rods, there is no need to disconnect them.
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1998 BMW 328is
1966 Pontiac GTO
2007 Subaru Impreza 2.5i 5-door
View my photos: Caught in the Wild
For sale: E30/E36 front sway links
For sale: OEM E36 328 catback

Last edited by ZeGerman; 02-14-2012 at 11:08 AM.
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