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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 02-02-2010, 12:51 PM
XLR8 XLR8 is offline
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Time to replace the thrust arms...

Just destroyed a front pair of Z-rate tires. I had a minor front end shimmy at 55-65mph, and eventually notched a nice saw-tooth pattern in the outer-edge of my left front tire.

I'm assuming this is caused by driving (and hard cornering) too long on poor thrust bushings. Is this assessment accurate?

If so, I'm going to be in the market for a new pair. I've never done this before. Has anyone used the EAC tuning thrust arms?

http://eactuning.com/e39-thrust-arms...ngs-p-453.html

The pair seems to be about the same price as Bavauto's OEM units (these are the lower control arms correct? The part ## don't match up between Bavauto and EAC).

Any other brands/suggestions I should be aware of before performing this rather expensive (with front tires) repair?
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  #2  
Old 02-02-2010, 01:01 PM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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Yes I use the Lemforder with Meyle HD Bushing and love it.
It is worth the money.

I wrote it for my 528i, your 540i is a bit different but the idea is the same.
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=399580
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  #3  
Old 02-02-2010, 08:28 PM
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They are cheaper at OEMBIMMERPARTS.
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[---Quote (Originally by Tex330i)---
You can warranty a turd, that way when you have a problem you can exchange it for a new turd.---End Quote---
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Old 02-03-2010, 06:37 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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You don't give your car's mileage but if you have more than 75K miles, your fault analysis is probably correct. Shimmy is often directly related to worn tension strut (thrust arm) bushings. Your presumption that the shimmy caused the uneven tire wear is also a good one, especially if you drive hard plus the added weight of the V8. Even if the tire wear is NOT caused by the thrust arm bushings (maybe bad alignment?), replacing them is a good idea if you exceed 75K miles.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack View Post
They are cheaper at OEMBIMMERPARTS.
I don't think those ones are Lemforder mfr'd w/ Meyle bushings like CN90's. THey're 100% Meyle mfr'd, right?

btw...my car's still riding on factory original bmw thrust arms, w/ no signs of failure...
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHoang View Post
I don't think those ones are Lemforder mfr'd w/ Meyle bushings like CN90's. THey're 100% Meyle mfr'd, right?

btw...my car's still riding on factory original bmw thrust arms, w/ no signs of failure...
I'm pretty sure they are but if someone can confirm all the better. Here is the wording.

5-SERIES THRUST ARM / TENSION STRUT BY MEYLE
"E39 5-Series thrust arm strut which is also referred to as the tension strut. Arm comes with heavy duty bushing installed. Made by Meyle."

Mine are miserably failed and I'm gathering parts for my front-end suspension overhaul now. I'd bet money that yours are too but since it's happened gradually you may not have noticed.
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[---Quote (Originally by Tex330i)---
You can warranty a turd, that way when you have a problem you can exchange it for a new turd.---End Quote---
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:34 AM
oembimmerparts oembimmerparts is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack View Post
I'm pretty sure they are but if someone can confirm all the better. Here is the wording.

5-SERIES THRUST ARM / TENSION STRUT BY MEYLE
"E39 5-Series thrust arm strut which is also referred to as the tension strut. Arm comes with heavy duty bushing installed. Made by Meyle."

Mine are miserably failed and I'm gathering parts for my front-end suspension overhaul now. I'd bet money that yours are too but since it's happened gradually you may not have noticed.
We offer both the meyle hd and the oem, Our meyle hd models are meyle all the way(bushing and joint), We have never had a issue with them.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:36 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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Actually:
-EACTuning: Thrust Arm is Lemforder but bushing is Meyle HD (I have this and love it).

-Meyle also makes the Thrust arm, so if you buy Meyle Thrust Arm, then you have the HD Bushing in there from factory. But the balljoint is Meyle.
Then the difference is in the balljoint.

The Lemforder arm that I removed from my car at 100K: Bushing was long gone, balljoint has very very slight play, if any.
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  #9  
Old 02-03-2010, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Actually:
-EACTuning: Thrust Arm is Lemforder but bushing is Meyle HD (I have this and love it).

-Meyle also makes the Thrust arm, so if you buy Meyle Thrust Arm, then you have the HD Bushing in there from factory. But the balljoint is Meyle.
Then the difference is in the balljoint.

The Lemforder arm that I removed from my car at 100K: Bushing was long gone, balljoint has very very slight play, if any.
So do you recommend replacing the entire arm or just the bushing? This is something I've been struggling with for the last month or so while researching parts and prices. Obviously it's A LOT cheaper just to swap out the old bushing with the HD bushings but I was concerned about not changing the arm with a new balljoint.

OEMBimmer thanks for confirming!
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[---Quote (Originally by Tex330i)---
You can warranty a turd, that way when you have a problem you can exchange it for a new turd.---End Quote---
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  #10  
Old 02-03-2010, 08:47 AM
oembimmerparts oembimmerparts is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack View Post
So do you recommend replacing the entire arm or just the bushing? This is something I've been struggling with for the last month or so while researching parts and prices. Obviously it's A LOT cheaper just to swap out the old bushing with the HD bushings but I was concerned about not changing the arm with a new balljoint.

OEMBimmer thanks for confirming!

Mack, I would say it depends on the mileage of the arms you have now, If they have over 60-70K you are going to be better in the long run doing the entire arm. If they are low mileage arms with blown bushings then you may be better doing just the bushings.
The real down side to doing just the bushings is the time and tools to do them, but as I said if you arms a low mileage the difference in cost may be worth it .
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:55 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack View Post
So do you recommend replacing the entire arm or just the bushing? This is something I've been struggling with for the last month or so while researching parts and prices. Obviously it's A LOT cheaper just to swap out the old bushing with the HD bushings but I was concerned about not changing the arm with a new balljoint.

OEMBimmer thanks for confirming!
Mack,

Couple things:

1. Bushing vs whole arm, by the time the factory bushing (which is liquid-filled) is gone, usually around 50-70 or so, the balljoint is not far behind.

In contrast, my 1998 Volvo V70 control arm (solid bushing and ball joint by Lemforder), at 100K miles, the balljoint was loose but the bushing was still good.

This is 2-cent opinion:
- Liquid-filled Bushing: 50-70K lifespan
- Solid Bushing: 100-140K lifespan

- BallJoint:
a. Good reputable mfg like TRW, Lemforder, Meyle: about 80-120K.
b. Junk like Hamburg-Technic or Karlyn (made in Taiwan): about 15-25K (search the Volvo forums and you will see tons of angry people from using Hamburg-Technic).

As Max said, Meyle is probably as good as Lemforder, but cost less than Lemforder.

BTW, there ia another player in the field "FEBI", which I have no experience about, other than they make decent pulleys for my car!

Do a google search on "BMW Meyle vs Lemforder" and see what you get, just a thought!

PS: the hard-core bimmer enthusiasts use Lemforder.

Meyle has mixed review:
http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e34...get-vines.html

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1172849

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1383268

http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/498229

Last edited by cn90; 02-03-2010 at 10:01 AM.
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  #12  
Old 02-03-2010, 09:58 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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I have read that replacing the bushing can be a major PITA. Sometimes easier is much better than cheaper.
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  #13  
Old 02-03-2010, 10:06 AM
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Well my Indy will be doing it so I don't really care if it's a major PITA Still, it looks like I'll be best going with the entire assembly with the HD bushing pre-installed. Thanks for all the great info!
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[---Quote (Originally by Tex330i)---
You can warranty a turd, that way when you have a problem you can exchange it for a new turd.---End Quote---
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  #14  
Old 02-03-2010, 04:03 PM
jieg jieg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
I have read that replacing the bushing can be a major PITA. Sometimes easier is much better than cheaper.
i had the bushings changed by a tire shop, I witnessed the job, they used a simple bench press, it was a straight forward procedure, not really a PITA
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:18 PM
XLR8 XLR8 is offline
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I think my car is mid 80-90k so I am definitely in need of the arms. I noticed the shimmy late in the season and thought I'd tackle it this spring. Sadly the tires didn't hold up. Which is sad because they are only 1 year old and I paid good money for the "extended warranty".

I'll probably have the tire shop check 'em out anyway and see if a tire defect accelerated the wear (it's only the left front tire which is bad). Job looks fairly straight forward, it just seems like tightening the bolts with the weight in the car while on level ground seems nigh impossible with a sport package. Any tips on this part of the procedure?


---edit

One more quick question, should I perform this procedure BEFORE buying new tires (and drive with my saw-tooth worn tires stressing the new arms), or should I replace the tires first then repair the tires? There is still plenty of life left in my front tires if you think they will wear normal once the problem is corrected.

Last edited by XLR8; 02-03-2010 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:54 AM
larryshomework larryshomework is offline
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Dumb question #437 - is the thrust arm a control arm? If so, is it the top or bottom control arm. If not, what the heck is it?
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:11 AM
oembimmerparts oembimmerparts is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryshomework View Post
Dumb question #437 - is the thrust arm a control arm? If so, is it the top or bottom control arm. If not, what the heck is it?
The trust arm is the upper control with a S bend in it.
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:52 AM
wyowolf wyowolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
I have read that replacing the bushing can be a major PITA. Sometimes easier is much better than cheaper.
You can use poly bushings, about 70$ or so, just drill out the old bushing, and replace with poly, you dont have to press them in. I have been thinking of going this route...
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:17 AM
MANGOSTENE MANGOSTENE is offline
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I just installed 19s with new tires on my '02 540i and I'm really feeling the wheel shimmy now more than before. Reading the posts on here, I don't think I saw this addressed. My apologies if it was, I may have overlooked it but couple of questions:

1) What's the added benefit of replacing the actual OEM arm with a Lemforder or Meyle and not just replace the bushings themselves aside from this being the easier task compared to just the bushings?
Is it performance based? Longevity? Reliability?

2) Are Lemforder or Meyle cheaper/more expensive/comparative to the OEM arms? Not really looking to go hardcore on the car, just need the shimmy to go away and squeeze out as many miles of normal driving after these parts are
replaced.

3) Obviously it'll be cheaper to just replace the bushings parts cost wise than having to shell out for the arms plus the bushings but (someone correct me if I'm wrong) is the consensus accurate then that the cost will be offset because the mechanic will have an easier time replacing the arms along with the bushings with completely new ones therefore the labor cost will be lower?

MANGO
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by wyowolf View Post
You can use poly bushings, about 70$ or so, just drill out the old bushing, and replace with poly, you dont have to press them in. I have been thinking of going this route...
Noo...

I installed the purple poly bushings almost exactly a year ago. They simply moved the shimmy from 55-60 mph to around 65-75 mph. Last time I checked them, they look worn and slightly chewed up at the ends! I'm slowly gathering parts to replace the entire thrust arms with the Meyle HD solid bushings.
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Old 02-09-2010, 10:01 AM
oembimmerparts oembimmerparts is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MANGOSTENE View Post
I just installed 19s with new tires on my '02 540i and I'm really feeling the wheel shimmy now more than before. Reading the posts on here, I don't think I saw this addressed. My apologies if it was, I may have overlooked it but couple of questions:

1) What's the added benefit of replacing the actual OEM arm with a Lemforder or Meyle and not just replace the bushings themselves aside from this being the easier task compared to just the bushings?
Is it performance based? Longevity? Reliability?

2) Are Lemforder or Meyle cheaper/more expensive/comparative to the OEM arms? Not really looking to go hardcore on the car, just need the shimmy to go away and squeeze out as many miles of normal driving after these parts are
replaced.

3) Obviously it'll be cheaper to just replace the bushings parts cost wise than having to shell out for the arms plus the bushings but (someone correct me if I'm wrong) is the consensus accurate then that the cost will be offset because the mechanic will have an easier time replacing the arms along with the bushings with completely new ones therefore the labor cost will be lower?

MANGO
By just replacing the bushings you are leaving the other end(ball joint) which in many cases is already worn out as well if the bushing is but not always the case.
Lemforder would be oem so that would be the same as what the car came with, The upside to the meyle is the bushings are heavy duty.
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Old 02-09-2010, 10:34 AM
MANGOSTENE MANGOSTENE is offline
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Thanks for the info OEMBimmer,

Is this the thrust arm for the V8? Says "traction" strut arm but pic shows a thrust arm?

http://www.oembimmerparts.com/catalo...47/4105099.htm



MANGO
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Last edited by MANGOSTENE; 02-09-2010 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 02-09-2010, 10:06 PM
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abanjableu abanjableu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack View Post
So do you recommend replacing the entire arm or just the bushing? This is something I've been struggling with for the last month or so while researching parts and prices. Obviously it's A LOT cheaper just to swap out the old bushing with the HD bushings but I was concerned about not changing the arm with a new balljoint.

OEMBimmer thanks for confirming!
What about labor? In other cars I have had a full assembly was cheaper than the labor to press new bushings?...Diy bushings cheaper - indy full assy less expensive?
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:43 AM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryshomework View Post
Dumb question #437 - is the thrust arm a control arm? If so, is it the top or bottom control arm. If not, what the heck is it?
Not a dumb question at all.

I explained the whole concept here:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=399580

In many FWD cars such as Toyota Camry, or my 1998 Volvo V70, the Front Control Arm is a SINGLE piece of "A-Arm": 2 bushings and 1 ball joint.

BMW and some fancy car makers "split" the "A-Arm" into two (2): Total is still 2 bushings but now you have 2 balljoints (instead of 1). Once you split the A-Arm into 2 pieces, you give them different names, but essetially they are control arms anyway from the engineering stand point. In theory, you can name them "front and rear" control arms, but this will cause confusion with the rear axle parts! Thus the words "thrust arm and control arm".
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:49 AM
oembimmerparts oembimmerparts is offline
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Originally Posted by MANGOSTENE View Post
Thanks for the info OEMBimmer,

Is this the thrust arm for the V8? Says "traction" strut arm but pic shows a thrust arm?

http://www.oembimmerparts.com/catalo...47/4105099.htm



MANGO
Yes that is it for the V8 models.
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