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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
The E9X is the 4th evolution of the BMW 3 series including a highly tuned twin turbo 335i variant pushing out 300hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. BMW continues to show that it sets the bar for true driving performance! -- View the E9X Wiki

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  #1  
Old 12-10-2012, 04:27 PM
FormulaIndy FormulaIndy is offline
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Control Arm Removal

I had an "oops" moment and busted my right front lower control arm (335i). What's the easiest way to get this thing off? I can't separate the nut from the bolt because anything that I try to grip the ball joint with just slips when I ratchet on the nut. Any suggestions? Hacksaw?

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  #2  
Old 12-10-2012, 07:12 PM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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Have you tried putting a jack under the ball joint and lifting the jack? This has worked in the past for me with balljoints to put enough tension to remove the nut.

Also, I have never looked at the bolt type, but is there a hex socket in this bolt (like a shock) where a hex key can be used to keep the bolt from spinning as you remove nut?
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  #3  
Old 12-10-2012, 07:17 PM
roadkillrob roadkillrob is offline
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Should be a torx socket head to the bolt to hold it while you turn the nut.
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  #4  
Old 12-10-2012, 07:22 PM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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Since you are dam near almost done removing one lower control arm, was it hard removing the bolt that holds the bushing to the subframe? This looks like a total DIY candidate.
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2012, 07:41 PM
FormulaIndy FormulaIndy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluskye View Post
Have you tried putting a jack under the ball joint and lifting the jack? This has worked in the past for me with balljoints to put enough tension to remove the nut.
I have not, but that's an interesting idea that I might have to try tomorrow.

Quote:
Also, I have never looked at the bolt type, but is there a hex socket in this bolt (like a shock) where a hex key can be used to keep the bolt from spinning as you remove nut?
Does not appear to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadkillrob View Post
Should be a torx socket head to the bolt to hold it while you turn the nut.
I'm not following. The exposed part of the bolt is the ball joint itself:



Where would the socket head go?



Quote:
Originally Posted by bluskye View Post
Since you are dam near almost done removing one lower control arm, was it hard removing the bolt that holds the bushing to the subframe? This looks like a total DIY candidate.
It hasn't been removed yet. The only thing I've accomplished so far is snapping the control arm in half, which you can't see in the first photo. Both halves are still attached to the car, at the moment.
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  #6  
Old 12-10-2012, 07:50 PM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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See that hole in the top of the bolt, above the nut... a hex or torx bit goes in there, and allows you to use a wrench/racheting wrench to take the nut off without spinning the bolt. Two tools required to take off that nut.

Once you loosen the nut, keep it on at the top of the bolt (habit to protect thread and keep the arm from falling off). You have a couple options to lossen the balljoint if its stuck:
1. Tap the nut with rubber mallet downward
2. Use ball joint tool
3. Use pry bar to loosen ball joint
4. Smack knuckle with hammer to loosen balljoint

Last edited by bluskye; 12-10-2012 at 07:54 PM.
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  #7  
Old 12-10-2012, 07:54 PM
FormulaIndy FormulaIndy is offline
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Ah, beautiful. Thanks.

edit - But I couldn't really use a ratchet on it since it would cover where the hex bit goes. I guess I need to find an old fashioned wrench. Any idea what size the hex bit would be? The nut is 21 mm.

Last edited by FormulaIndy; 12-10-2012 at 07:57 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-10-2012, 07:57 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluskye View Post
See that hole in the top of the bolt, above the nut... a hex or torx bit goes in there, and allows you to use a wrench/racheting wrench to take the nut off without spinning the bolt. Two tools required to take off that nut.

I'll say - not all that much room! What do you recommend?
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  #9  
Old 12-10-2012, 08:01 PM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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Old fashion fixed size crescent wrench and a rachet to hold torx/hext bit to loosen it =). Probably sucks more if you dont have a lift and contorted under the car.

Looking at the first pic, I would think SAFELY removing that balljoint in the background temporarily would give you more room to remove the ball joint you really want to get off. Sucks, I know but it may work.

Last edited by bluskye; 12-10-2012 at 08:06 PM.
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  #10  
Old 12-10-2012, 08:13 PM
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Orient330iNYC Orient330iNYC is offline
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its likely a #40 torx bit. you might want to spray the threads with some pb blaster before, the threads look pretty rusted.
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  #11  
Old 12-10-2012, 08:15 PM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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21mm nut and #41 torx? That is a big bolt eh?
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  #12  
Old 12-10-2012, 08:26 PM
FormulaIndy FormulaIndy is offline
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Thanks for the tips everyone. I'll pick up some hex/torx socket bits and PB Blaster on my way home tomorrow and see if I can't get this done.
.
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  #13  
Old 12-10-2012, 09:20 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Umm, lock the biggest set of Vise Grips you have onto the ball end of the joint. Rotate the nut until the Vise Grips whack up against something that doesn't move. Spin the nut off. Sheesh.
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  #14  
Old 12-11-2012, 06:24 AM
FormulaIndy FormulaIndy is offline
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You should try that and let us know how well it works out for you.

The problem isn't that I'm not strong enough to keep the vise grips from moving, it's that the ball just spins in its grips. I've tried it from every possible angle. You simply cannot clamp it with enough force to hold the ball in place. So long as it takes more torque to loosen the nut than it does for the ball joint to spin in the vise grips, that will never work.
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  #15  
Old 12-11-2012, 08:06 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FormulaIndy View Post
You should try that and let us know how well it works out for you.

The problem isn't that I'm not strong enough to keep the vise grips from moving, it's that the ball just spins in its grips. I've tried it from every possible angle. You simply cannot clamp it with enough force to hold the ball in place. So long as it takes more torque to loosen the nut than it does for the ball joint to spin in the vise grips, that will never work.

No problemo, FormulaI + DSX.

Ya'll are gonna have this in yer shop sooner or later anyway - now is a good time!

Just think of the savings. No salary; no taxes. No ObamaCare extreme tax; no vacations and/or emotional demands! Maybe they'll set up shop in Stepford. Combine the two....makes the work day so pleasant....
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  #16  
Old 12-11-2012, 10:22 AM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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Using a vice is short sighted ... how do you plan to re-install a new control arm using a vice clamping the threads and not damage them? Do it the right way all the time.
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  #17  
Old 12-11-2012, 11:26 AM
jburke4689 jburke4689 is offline
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Bluskye, look at the picture. The Ball joint is not going to be reinstalled. It is going to be replaced.
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  #18  
Old 12-11-2012, 11:31 AM
Braumin Braumin is offline
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Um, bluskye... the new control arm comes with the new ball joint and threads. He just needs to get the old one out and vice grips would be fine here (or a pipe wrench or something like that)
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  #19  
Old 12-11-2012, 11:52 AM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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He has to install NEW ball joints with the new CA, hes not gonna use a vice grip to install new ball joints guys .... may as well remove the old ones the way he would install new ones, with the proper tools as BMW designed.

There is no savings use vice grips, you will still need the torx/hex bits eventually is what I am saying.

Last edited by bluskye; 12-11-2012 at 11:55 AM.
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  #20  
Old 12-11-2012, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluskye View Post
He has to install NEW ball joints with the new CA, hes not gonna use a vice grip to install new ball joints guys .... may as well remove the old ones the way he would install new ones, with the proper tools as BMW designed.

There is no savings use vice grips, you will still need the torx/hex bits eventually is what I am saying.

Bluskye, there are many capable optometrists available, accessed by appointment or shopping mall walkin.

Also, Costco has a large kiosk for the visually impaired re: prescription reading glass for clear vision.

.

Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 12-11-2012 at 01:02 PM.
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  #21  
Old 12-11-2012, 01:59 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Rip that sucker out of there using a Vise Grip. When the new control arm is installed the new nut on the new ball joint will lock right down tight without having to grip the ball joint stem with anything! It's the rust and corrosion which is making this job so tough.
Crikey, we do two or three of these that way every single day. The torx end of the stud is to keep the stud (ball) from spinning when you are disassembling a good ball joint from the knuckle. When the joint has fallen apart because the damn thing is junk, then get out the mother of all Vise Grips and lock it onto the ball and spin that nut off there.
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  #22  
Old 12-11-2012, 02:30 PM
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Zeichen311 Zeichen311 is offline
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^^^ That. Some additional tips, if the biggest baddest Vise Grips you have aren't up to the job (these are in no particular order and can be tried separately or in combination):

- Wrap the ball in a rubber sheet--like one of those $0.99 jar opener thingies--then clamp the VG down on that as hard as humanly possible. Sometimes this gives you better purchase than hardened-steel-on-hardened-steel. Sometimes. :-/
- Clean the ball THOROUGHLY with a degreaser.
- Apply Liquid Wrench, Kroil or similar penetrating oil to the threads, let sit an hour or so, repeat several times.
- Blowtorch, baby! (Heat the nut to expand it slightly.)

(Last resort: Buy a nut splitter.)
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Last edited by Zeichen311; 12-11-2012 at 02:35 PM.
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  #23  
Old 12-11-2012, 05:15 PM
jburke4689 jburke4689 is offline
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DSX, When do you recommend replacing ball joints. Is there a recommended mileage? thanks,
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Rip that sucker out of there using a Vise Grip. When the new control arm is installed the new nut on the new ball joint will lock right down tight without having to grip the ball joint stem with anything! It's the rust and corrosion which is making this job so tough.
Crikey, we do two or three of these that way every single day. The torx end of the stud is to keep the stud (ball) from spinning when you are disassembling a good ball joint from the knuckle. When the joint has fallen apart because the damn thing is junk, then get out the mother of all Vise Grips and lock it onto the ball and spin that nut off there.

FYI, installing M arm/ball joint, simply tightened nut t'torque. No spin, maybe friction, knuckle?

Old stock arm came off easy, no rust noted. Now I don't know how that happened!


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Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 12-11-2012 at 05:39 PM.
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  #25  
Old 12-11-2012, 05:42 PM
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Orient330iNYC Orient330iNYC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeichen311 View Post
^^^ That. Some additional tips, if the biggest baddest Vise Grips you have aren't up to the job (these are in no particular order and can be tried separately or in combination):

- Wrap the ball in a rubber sheet--like one of those $0.99 jar opener thingies--then clamp the VG down on that as hard as humanly possible. Sometimes this gives you better purchase than hardened-steel-on-hardened-steel. Sometimes. :-/
- Clean the ball THOROUGHLY with a degreaser.
- Apply Liquid Wrench, Kroil or similar penetrating oil to the threads, let sit an hour or so, repeat several times.
- Blowtorch, baby! (Heat the nut to expand it slightly.)

(Last resort: Buy a nut splitter.)
or grind flats into the ball with an angle grinder. forget about using a file or a grinding wheel on a drill, its hardened steel. an angle grinder will make short work of it. i've used one to cut a broken kryptonite new york lock. it takes a bit, and you have an impressive shower of sparks, but even that was cuttable with an angle grinder.
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Last edited by Orient330iNYC; 12-11-2012 at 05:44 PM.
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