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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 01-09-2012, 06:31 PM
fivepointnine fivepointnine is offline
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control arm question

which control arm is the one that normally wears out first? The "upper" or "lower"? Im thinking the lower but want to be certain, I found a DIY and it looks rather simple to do. My symptoms are that you can feel a "shift" or sorta "clunk" when hitting the front brakes hard and you can hear a clunk and feel a little bit of looseness if you go over a speed bump fast. Bavauto has the lowers for a decent price
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  #2  
Old 01-10-2012, 04:56 AM
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mlukas161 mlukas161 is online now
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Usually the front one wears out first. This is also called the UPPER control ARM, thrust ARM and tension strut. It's the one that attaches to the down facing ball joints.
The bushing that attaches to the frame gets worn and causes the clunking noise when you brake.
It's a common problem on e39 5 series cars and on x5s.
Parts will cost around 150 per side including the new balljoint which must be replaced at the same time.
I'll try to attach a link to a DIY when I find it.
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Last edited by mlukas161; 01-13-2012 at 08:13 AM. Reason: wrong name used - Upper Control Arm ( not lower ) typically wears out first
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  #3  
Old 01-10-2012, 07:02 AM
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I'll second that opinion; the lower ones wear out first. I had them replaced along with the ball joint when I had to replace the front struts last summer.
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  #4  
Old 01-10-2012, 12:05 PM
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Here is a link to the DIY I used when I replaced my Tension Struts.
http://www.xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-foru...6756491-a.html
Removing the ball joint is the most difficult part of the job IMO.
Also, make sure to use a torque wrench and torque everthing with the X3 on the ground.
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  #5  
Old 01-10-2012, 04:57 PM
fivepointnine fivepointnine is offline
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so you just used the old control arm as a form of extension to hammer on?
you think that slide hammer trick might work?

and is it the balljoint that actually goes bad or the bushings on the arm? (meaning can I get away with using the old balljoint)

Last edited by fivepointnine; 01-10-2012 at 04:58 PM.
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  #6  
Old 01-10-2012, 07:01 PM
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I soaked the balljoint in pb blaster and it was fairly easy to hammer out. And, yes, I used the old control arms and hammered on the top if the arm to get the balljoint out.

You have to replace the balljoint at the same time because BMW redesigned the control arms and they won't work with the taper of the old ball joint. At 100,000 miles its good to replace the balljoint anyways.

It's not a terrible job. I did notice a difference right away and the clunking disappeared.
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  #7  
Old 01-10-2012, 07:26 PM
fivepointnine fivepointnine is offline
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cool, thanks, seems easy enough...do you do an alignment afterwards or is that if you replace the other control arm?
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  #8  
Old 01-11-2012, 05:30 AM
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gzep23 gzep23 is offline
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i too get the kind of "clunk" when i first hit the breaks, it feels like the frame itself is moving forward over the wheels...idk how to explain it....hopefully this is the same problem...i have one month left on my power-train warranty, would this be considered under power-train?
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  #9  
Old 01-11-2012, 08:26 AM
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Check out this thread from a few months ago. No alignment need from what I understand.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...ght=thrust+arm
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  #10  
Old 01-11-2012, 06:49 PM
fivepointnine fivepointnine is offline
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did the new ball joints go into the steering knuckle OK? or was there some difficulty there.
Im thinking about going to Harbor Freight and picking up a cheap, big slide hammer to do the job
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  #11  
Old 01-11-2012, 08:06 PM
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New ball joints go in with no problem. There are 2 torx bolts that hold the ball joint flange in place. I don't think you'll need a slide hammer... But it may help. Not sure. I'm pretty impressed with what pb blaster and a small sledge hammer was able to do.
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  #12  
Old 01-17-2012, 03:40 PM
fivepointnine fivepointnine is offline
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where is the cheapest to get the arms/BJ's from? so far from what I have found bavarian auto is about the cheapest at about $340 for both arms and 2 ball joints.
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  #13  
Old 01-18-2012, 05:43 AM
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I got mine from http://getbmwparts.com

31-10-3-443-127 LEFT TENSION STR 1 at 97.98
31-10-3-443-128 RIGHT TENSION ST 1 at 97.98
31-10-3-438-623 WHEEL SUSPENSION 2 at 56.38 = 112.76 ( 2 ball joints )

All original BMW replacement parts.
No free shipping though, whereas Bavauto is free if you spend over 150.
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  #14  
Old 01-18-2012, 09:29 AM
fivepointnine fivepointnine is offline
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thanks!
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