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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 08-28-2014, 09:26 AM
milst milst is offline
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front suspension issues

I have a 2003 525i with some front suspension issues. Had the sway link arsms replaced and that quieted it down alot but there was still a banging at low speeds in a parking lot (5mph). Also when I would slow to a stop side on light and hit a pot hole, the front would sometimes shake violently for about 3-4 seconds and then settle down.
So--went to aBMW dealer and they said it was a strut. Bought the parts myself and took it to my mechanic to do ( because BMW dealership too expensive). Put in Struts, mounts shims and bump stops. Still have the problem--nothing changed.
Took it back to the BMW dealer to have them diagnosis since I know suspension can be complicated. Now they tell me that a bushing was suppose to be replaced on the left front tension strut. I cant find this "bushing" online anywhere. They also say that the tension arms ( also called radius arms) need to be replaced. All at a cost of $575. I cant find tension arms or radius arms online either.
I hesitate to ask the dealer too many questions because I think they just changed too much....
ANy help appreciated
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  #2  
Old 08-28-2014, 09:57 AM
edjack edjack is online now
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They might mean item 4 or 11: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...17&hg=31&fg=05

At least on the V8, the rubber bushings on the tension strut are liquid-filled. Once they dry out, there's a good bit of play in the connection.

I bought a pair here, and they offer solid bushings. Call for particulars. http://www.eaceuroparts.com/parts/pa...ge/31/2003/338
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Last edited by edjack; 08-28-2014 at 10:07 AM.
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  #3  
Old 08-28-2014, 10:06 AM
milst milst is offline
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So a tension strut is different than a strut? I replaced the struts but those are more
Like shocks.
I guess the bushing inside that tension strut is the problem? I don't see a control arm on this diagram?
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  #4  
Old 08-28-2014, 10:06 AM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Your front end problem sounds like a very worn ball joint and that is dangerous. I do not mean to scare you but if the ball joint separates, you will lose partially the steering in that wheel.

There are 2 front control arms on each side-the lower and the thrust arm (it is the curved one).
There ball joints are easy to diagnose but you need to jack up the front of the car, support it on jack stands so the front wheels are hanging. Then squeeze each ball joint with a pair of 16 inch slip joint pliers. If there is any play (movement), the ball joint is worn out.

Obviously your dealer does not know what they are doing and are throwing parts at your car-a very expensive and stupid method of fixing cars.

You need to take the car to an independent shop that knows about BMWs and have the front end diagnosed. www.bimrs.org is a good place to look for such a shop.

Last edited by johnstern; 08-28-2014 at 10:15 AM.
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  #5  
Old 08-28-2014, 12:50 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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The suspension system is not that complex although it is sophisticated. The tension strut is also called the thrust arm. It is one of the two control arms in the suspension. The other arm is formally called a wishbone but most refer to it as the control arm. The thrust arm bushing is liquid filled and tends to leak over time. That can cause some of your symptoms. Brake shimmy is another symptom. I would also check each ball joint as those can also contribute to the problem. You don't give your mileage. That can reveal the likelihood for suspension issues. More than 100K and bushing/ball joint failure is possible, more than 150K and it is likely. If you replace the thrust arm, go with the solid rubber HD bushing made by Meyle. This cannot leak.
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  #6  
Old 08-28-2014, 02:12 PM
milst milst is offline
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front suspension

The car has 82K miles on it.

I thought about the ball joints too but you would think taking it to a BMW dealership they would diagnosis it correctly...
They told me: bushing in the front left tension strut needs replacing. So my question is this the tension strut need to be replaced or can just the bushing be replaced? If so--dont seem to find a part for that--might have to the whole arm.
They also said: tension arms ( radius arms) need to be replaced. Totla for both of these things were $575

I could see the bushing causing the banging but my bigger concern is the shaking when hitting a pothole at low speed. Never had that in any car so....

Also said the control arms are loose--I would assume then that is the wishbone arm? That was another cost of $565.

So I am thinking the dealer wants to replace both arms--wishbone ( control ) and Tension strut. Saying nothing about the ball joint.....

Thanks for all the help
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  #7  
Old 08-28-2014, 03:54 PM
1hander 1hander is offline
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replace the wishbones and the thrust arms

the shake is from the bushingo n the thrust arm being blown out....

stand in front of the car with the wheels straight and kick the tire at about the 10oclock position (the tires 10 oclock) kind of concentrating the force to the top and youll see the whole thing deflect back and then come back... thrust arm bushing

also when your driving .... find a speed bump (not a huge speed bump) or something tto that effect and go over it at about 3 -5mph and youll hear and feel a thump.... thats the center of the bushing slapping around inside its housing.

replace both on both sides ...... dont forget to check the tierod ends... sounds like they are bust to... a really badly worn ball joint on the tierod end will cause it to shimmy when you hit potholes.

if you count the threads on the tierod ends before you take them off you can install the new ones and get them 99 percent back to the original position and put off a wheel alignment for a bit, but i would get it redone asap to avoid weird tire wear
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  #8  
Old 08-28-2014, 04:04 PM
Aussie528iT Aussie528iT is offline
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Tension strut/arm bushing is No 5 here.

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...17&hg=31&fg=05

The price is BMW dealer price but available cheaper from other suppliers such as Pelican Parts etc.

RonR
99 528iT M52TU
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  #9  
Old 08-29-2014, 06:45 AM
milst milst is offline
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suspension

Sounds like I am being told to replace the thurst arms ( tension struts), control arms ( straight ones) refferred to as the wishbones and the Tie rods? That is alot of parts. Since I have done the sway links and struts already, not much else to replace. Throwing alot of parts at it.....and alot of money

The control arms or wishbones are the lower correct? the only one not being replaced is the upper control arm which looks very similar to the thrust arm but at parts geek.com they list them seperately--thrust arm, control arm upper ( not being replaced) and the lower control arm or the wishbone....

Thanks
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  #10  
Old 08-29-2014, 06:55 AM
milst milst is offline
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Looks like I am now reading that the thrust arm, tension strut and the upper contol arm are the same thing? Why would a parts place listed them differently and with diffeent prices? How confusing...
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  #11  
Old 08-29-2014, 03:15 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milst View Post
Looks like I am now reading that the thrust arm, tension strut and the upper contol arm are the same thing? Why would a parts place listed them differently and with diffeent prices? How confusing...
Those are all the same thing.
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  #12  
Old 08-29-2014, 04:15 PM
Aussie528iT Aussie528iT is offline
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There is a difference between the I6 and V8 front subframes and the arrangement of the control arms is different.
In the I6 the control arm that goes forward to the front of the subframe is referred to as the tension strut or arm.
In the V8 the control arm goes backward to the rear of the subframe and is referred to as the traction or thrust arm.

No5 here
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...64&hg=31&fg=05

Unfortunately the terminology tends to get mixed up and causes confusion with those not familiar with the differences between the I6 and V8 front suspension subframe and control arm configuration/layout etc.

Hope this helps
RonR
99 528iT M52TU
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