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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 12-24-2012, 07:42 AM
Kain23 Kain23 is offline
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Thrust arm ball joint stuck. Help!

Tried replacing thrust arms this weekend. Drivers side came out with moderate force, passenger side will not break free. I tried some heat, breaker bar, holy water, sledgehammer, nothing would get ball joint seperated from the knuckle. I ended up stripping the screw in the seperator and had to cut it free. Any suggestions? I would really like to avoid the walk/drive of shame to the mechanic. I've heard of a hydraulic ball joint seperator, but cannot seem to find one.
thanks.
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  #2  
Old 12-24-2012, 09:01 AM
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BMR_LVR BMR_LVR is offline
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Was the ball joint separator the one from Harbor Freight? I had the same thing happen when I couldn't get a ball joint to separate. I had the entire assembly out of the car and was doing it on a bench top in a vice. Once the threads stripped, I couldnít turn it either way and I had that same sinking feeling. I finally said the heck with it and got a 4 pound sledge and whacked the crap out of the separator and the ball joint came loose. I was lucky because that was the last one that I needed to separate to complete the front end rebuild.

Based on your situation, the only thing that I can think of is to get the proper ball joint separator (it's $$$) or remove the entire knuckle and take it to a machine shop.

In retrospect, and if I have to do it again, I am going to put pretty high tension on the separator, let it sit for a few minutes, whack it a couple of times with the hammer, tighten it a little more and repeat the process until I get it free.

I know this may not have helped much, but I wish you the best of luck. Let us know how you finally get it resolved.
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Steve

Calypso Red 1992 525i with 200K miles

1991 735i - Sold
1992 525i - Sold
1995 325is - Sold
2000 528i - Sold

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  #3  
Old 12-24-2012, 10:46 AM
Kain23 Kain23 is offline
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Thanks for the reply. Yup, it was a harbor freight seperator. I cranked it down as much as possible let it sit for about an hour and then proceeded to beat the snot out of the back of the seperator trying to pop the ball joint. No luck. Where did you find the actual BMW tool?
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  #4  
Old 12-25-2012, 02:33 PM
ricks5series ricks5series is offline
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Hey, I'm about to attempt replacing my front thruster arms. Anyone have a decent link on the process? I'm considering using M5 bushing instead of the stock ones. Not much more $$$ but read they are much stiffer.
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  #5  
Old 12-25-2012, 06:24 PM
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luckydog luckydog is offline
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It s the tie rod fork is the one that works,.you will just break ball joint forks they are to big. Recommend a suspension shop for strut cartridges and upper control arms install ,alignment will be necessary. If your shocks are good,the stock 750il bushings work just fine pre- installed on the control arm.
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  #6  
Old 12-26-2012, 07:37 PM
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Radian Radian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricks5series
Not much more $$$ but read they are much stiffer.
The M5 bushing is just a better design all around to begin with. IMHO unless the car happens to be a stock-class concours, there's no justifiable reason not to go with it when you can.
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  #7  
Old 12-27-2012, 07:13 AM
Mr._Graybeard Mr._Graybeard is offline
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There's a plate at the bottom of the strut/axle assembly. The ball joints of the thrust and control arms and tie rod attach to it. You can detatch the plate from the strut housing by removing three bolts. If you have the big bolts out of the suspension arms at the bushings and the tie rod detached, you can take the whole plate/suspension arm assembly off the car and take it to a bench where you can apply force most effectively. Here's an image from realoem: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/diagrams/m/n/5.png

The plate I'm describing is just below #15 in the diagram.


HTH
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  #8  
Old 12-27-2012, 07:37 AM
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BMR_LVR BMR_LVR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kain23 View Post
Thanks for the reply. Yup, it was a harbor freight seperator. I cranked it down as much as possible let it sit for about an hour and then proceeded to beat the snot out of the back of the seperator trying to pop the ball joint. No luck. Where did you find the actual BMW tool?
Sorry I havenít gotten back to you on the tools. Just as a disclaimer, I haven't purchased these tools so I can't speak to the quality or how well they work. Here is a site I had saved for BMW tools:

http://www.samstagsales.com/bmwtools.htm

Hereís the ball joint tool page that has several different tools:

http://www.samstagsales.com/bmwtools.htm#suspension

Hereís another one, but I donít know if it would work any better than the one from HF:

http://www.amazon.com/OTC-6297-Ball-...=5336612388-20

Hope this helps some.
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Most problems are usually something simple !

Quote:
Originally Posted by noego View Post
It's Deja Poo - as in, I've heard this **** before.
Steve

Calypso Red 1992 525i with 200K miles

1991 735i - Sold
1992 525i - Sold
1995 325is - Sold
2000 528i - Sold

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  #9  
Old 12-27-2012, 08:11 AM
snowsled7 snowsled7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr._Graybeard View Post
There's a plate at the bottom of the strut/axle assembly. The ball joints of the thrust and control arms and tie rod attach to it. You can detatch the plate from the strut housing by removing three bolts. If you have the big bolts out of the suspension arms at the bushings and the tie rod detached, you can take the whole plate/suspension arm assembly off the car and take it to a bench where you can apply force most effectively. Here's an image from realoem: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/diagrams/m/n/5.png

The plate I'm describing is just below #15 in the diagram.


HTH


^^^^ THIS ^^^^ is the answer.

Do not bother fighting it on the car. You can remove the entire plate from the car and only have to pop one tie rod joint. I found the inside one the easiets to seperate.

Then a hammer and a block of wood will work faster than any of the pullers made.
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  #10  
Old 12-27-2012, 08:36 AM
S406 S406 is offline
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I had a similar issue when I did mine. It took a lot of beating with a sledge and pickle fork.....It got to the point that I didnt care if I broke or damaged anything. I just beat it till it popped out. I was swinging an 8lb long handled sledge like a golf club...
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  #11  
Old 12-27-2012, 02:59 PM
Bugsie Bugsie is offline
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Hi everybody.

I had the same problem (BMW build tough) and the best solution that I found, and I tried a lot, was to remove the plate and remove it on a bench. Sounds to much work, but it's not that hard: just bolts to loose.

After the work, and for caution, I took it to line up the wheels.

Best of luck.

Best regards

Fernando
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  #12  
Old 12-29-2012, 08:55 AM
Kain23 Kain23 is offline
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Thanks everyone for the replies. I finally got if out with some mapp gas and a bigger hammer. Now after I buttoned everything back up and took her for a drive, I'm still getting the shake while braking The car feels a lot better, but still noticeable. I'm left thinking I'm just going to have to replace the lowers and the tie rod ends.
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  #13  
Old 12-29-2012, 09:03 AM
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luckydog luckydog is offline
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It was the Shocks on mine. look for signs of fluid leakage.
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  #14  
Old 12-29-2012, 11:06 AM
Kain23 Kain23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckydog View Post
It was the Shocks on mine. look for signs of fluid leakage.
shocks are good, new tires, new rotors, and very recent balance and alignment. Still not better.
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  #15  
Old 12-29-2012, 11:52 AM
Mr._Graybeard Mr._Graybeard is offline
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The bushings on the lower arms are subject to less stress than the thrust arm. I like Lemfoerder 750il thrust arm bushings (mine are going strong after 100K miles) but Meyle arms/bushings should do for the lowers.

If the tie rods have a lot of miles, yeah, why not replace them. It could save you the hassle of getting a third wheel alignment after R&Ring the lower arms and finding the problem persists.

BTW, just to ask a dumb question, are you on to the flood of crap suspension parts that have afflicted the aftermarket? Gotta be careful about any "bargains" out there.
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  #16  
Old 12-30-2012, 08:00 AM
snowsled7 snowsled7 is offline
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The best course of action, at minimum, is replacing upper and lower arms and tie rods all at the same time. In other words, everything attached to the strut plate. You also need to consider the pitman and idler arms connected to the cross link inboard of the tie rods.

Excellent advice not to cheap out on these parts as well. Meyle or Lemforder, anything else and you WILL be doing this again in six months or less.
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  #17  
Old 12-31-2012, 10:03 PM
upallnight upallnight is offline
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You can preload the ball joint with a ball joint separator tool and smack the collar that the ball joint is being held in and the shock wave along with the preload from the separator should pop the ball joint loose. Use a BFH not one of those carpenter hammer.
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  #18  
Old 01-01-2013, 06:06 AM
snowsled7 snowsled7 is offline
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I am flat amazed at the number of posters that still insist on doing this job the hard way.

I do not own one of those ball joint tools, just an old pickle fork. By using the method reccomended by Greybeard, the same method I discovered when I did the job, it can be done in under and hour. That would be both sides, uppers, lowers and tie rods.

Once on the bench, you do not need a BFH or a special puller. You do not need to fight it, just work smart
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  #19  
Old 01-01-2013, 10:05 AM
ricks5series ricks5series is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowsled7 View Post
I am flat amazed at the number of posters that still insist on doing this job the hard way.

I do not own one of those ball joint tools, just an old pickle fork. By using the method reccomended by Greybeard, the same method I discovered when I did the job, it can be done in under and hour. That would be both sides, uppers, lowers and tie rods.

Once on the bench, you do not need a BFH or a special puller. You do not need to fight it, just work smart
Thanks Snowsled7,

I haven't begun but will utilize Greybeard's method very soon. Seems logical in that when all of the bushings are removed from the car's suspension points, there would be less stress and binding at the ball joint ends, making them easier to remove.

Last edited by ricks5series; 01-01-2013 at 01:04 PM.
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  #20  
Old 01-01-2013, 11:20 AM
Bugsie Bugsie is offline
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Hi everybody.

Wise choice Ricks5series. Remove entire thing.

Best regards
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  #21  
Old 01-03-2013, 07:56 AM
Kain23 Kain23 is offline
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Hi again,

So as I stated I still have the shake when braking, I got a chance to get back under the car and noticed the right LCA has a small amount of movement in it. I can twist it about a mm or two on the same plane as the wheel (towards front and back of car). Do you think this is enought to cause the amount of shaking I'm still getting? Also is there a easy way to test the Tie rods? I'd hate to change parts that are still functional.
thanks.
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  #22  
Old 01-03-2013, 08:23 AM
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BMR_LVR BMR_LVR is offline
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Yes. That is enough play to cause your problems. If the lower control arms are that worn, then the tie rods are likely shot as well. The only way that I know to test them is to see if there is play. However, just because you don't feel any play does not mean they are good.

Unfortunately, the front suspension on these cars wear out I just rebuilt my entire front end recently and just bit the bullet and purchased the high quality (and therefore higher $$) parts. That is my recommendation to you if you can swing it financially.

You can replace the components one at a time until you get rid of the shimmy, but the old components will likely cause increased wear on the newer items.

Either way, good luck.
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Most problems are usually something simple !

Quote:
Originally Posted by noego View Post
It's Deja Poo - as in, I've heard this **** before.
Steve

Calypso Red 1992 525i with 200K miles

1991 735i - Sold
1992 525i - Sold
1995 325is - Sold
2000 528i - Sold

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  #23  
Old 01-03-2013, 10:10 AM
Kain23 Kain23 is offline
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thanks for the reply. I'll check them this weekend. Does the center tie rod generally wear or could I just get away with doing the outers?
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  #24  
Old 01-03-2013, 10:52 AM
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BMR_LVR BMR_LVR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kain23 View Post
thanks for the reply. I'll check them this weekend. Does the center tie rod generally wear or could I just get away with doing the outers?
I don't know if they wear at a diffierent rate or not

If I recall, the center rod assembly was rather pricey. You may want to try just the outers to see if that works. Just keep in mind that the center will be X number of miles more worn than your new outers and may give up the ghost sometime.

Good luck
__________________
Most problems are usually something simple !

Quote:
Originally Posted by noego View Post
It's Deja Poo - as in, I've heard this **** before.
Steve

Calypso Red 1992 525i with 200K miles

1991 735i - Sold
1992 525i - Sold
1995 325is - Sold
2000 528i - Sold

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  #25  
Old 01-03-2013, 07:08 PM
snowsled7 snowsled7 is offline
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Do the inners and outers as a unit. Doing the uppers without the lowers and still having a problem should have been a lesson When you go to do this job, at a minimum, I would do uppers and lowers (control arms). If you are going to do tie rods, the inner and outers are the minimum. The idler arm, pitman arm and swaybar links completing a lower front end rebuild. Then you have the shock cartridges and upper strut mounts. On a 20 year old car, if you want it to drive as intented, this is the list you will have to work through. Welcome to BMW
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Last edited by snowsled7; 01-03-2013 at 07:11 PM.
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