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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 04-24-2013, 07:12 PM
Bennt771 Bennt771 is offline
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Question Control arm replacement question

Read a few articles on the replacement of the control arm and have a quick question.
Everyone seems to be using a "speciality" tool.
Can you not use a ball joint separator "fork" tool?http://www.ebay.com/itm/BALL-JOINT-S...item1c17cbcd02
I am replacing the whole arm with two new ones complete.
Is that tool used http://www.ebay.com/itm/AK381-SEALEY...item53f7daa10a so you can reuse the joint end?

Last edited by Bennt771; 04-24-2013 at 07:21 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-24-2013, 07:29 PM
helpmyfive helpmyfive is offline
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Here is the tool you need: Separator

It makes the impossible ball joint and tie rod separation a walk in the park. You can change the control/thrust arms in 30 mins or less. I bet with a little practice you can get it to 15 mins.
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  #3  
Old 04-25-2013, 05:00 AM
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Fudman Fudman is online now
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I'm not sure what you are asking but you cannot reuse a ball joint. Since you are replacing both arms, that point is moot. While the HF tool (and similar third party ball joint separators) is serviceable, it has limitations. The pivot point has just two locations. This limits the opening of the tool and requires the jaws to open at an angle. If you look at the BMW tool, it has a variable pivot point, that uses two threaded compression bolts. This is important because the HF tool (and all the others except the BMW tool) tends to slip off the ball joint bolt end because the jaws are at an angle when fully opened. That angle prevents the tool from achieving the proper purchase on the bolt end. The BMW tool is able to open wide enought to maintain a near parallel orientation of the two arms. This makes removal a breeze. There are three things you can do to mitigate this issue:

1. Use lots of PB BLaster and give it time to soak in.
2. Screw the ball joint nut on so that it is flush with the end of the ball joint bolt. This larger surface area reduces the possiblity for the tool to slip off.
3. If neither of those work, remove the nut and cut the ball joint bolt with a hacksaw about 3/8" above the steering knuckle. The reduced overall bolt length reduces the angle of the tool which increases purchase and allows for easier ball joint removal.
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:57 AM
Bennt771 Bennt771 is offline
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Can you not use a ball joint separator "fork" tool?http://www.ebay.com/itm/BALL-JOINT-S...item1c17cbcd02
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  #5  
Old 04-25-2013, 08:51 AM
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Fudman Fudman is online now
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Yes you can and many have done so.
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:39 AM
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My advice on the ball joints: use a good penetrant spray on them before you try to use the tool on them, and then when you use the tool if they don't budge just tighten moderately and let it sit. Moderate pressure and about 30 seconds and they will usually just pop. If they don't move and you just keep cranking with the harbor freight tool it will probably break is since it's not of the highest quality (it's $20, what do you expect). What Fudman said about using the nut on the end of the bolt is also important and will make it easier.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:29 AM
helpmyfive helpmyfive is offline
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Control arm replacement question

I'll admit I'm no pro but the HF tool has worked perfectly for me. I ran my bench grinder between the forked end to allow deeper grab. It snugs way in tight and allows the pressing end a good angle to push from. I might get one of ten slips. If I ever broke the tool it would be a miracle.


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  #8  
Old 04-28-2013, 08:38 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Dunno if it helps, but typing /balljoint in the bestlinks netted this among others:
- How to make your own ball joint replacement tool (1) (2) & what balljoint tools to use for the I6 & V8 (1) (2) (3) (4) & where to buy a front wishbone (1) or rear ball joint press (1) (2)
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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