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E60 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series (E60 chassis) was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E60 is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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Old 01-18-2014, 02:25 PM
banglenot banglenot is offline
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Location: Ft. Lauderdale and Connecticut
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 947
Mein Auto: 2007 530
Thrust Arm Replacement

Did my thrust arms yesterday, at 70K miles. Handling is much improved. No more buzz in the wheel at 50-60 mph, and the steering response is tight again.

Couple of observations:

1. The old bushing rubber looked OK, but the improvement in handling tells me that the bushing can wear out without visible cracking. They just get soft over time. Just to note you don't need to see bits flaking off to have a worn bushing.

2. FWIW, the balljoints on the arms were good at 70K. No wear that I could discern. Probably could have got away with just bushings, but what the hell. If the balljoints were worn I would have been screwed.

3. Preloading the bushing is an interesting challenge. Since I was on a lift, I found the best way was to leave the bushing nut a hair loose, screwjack up both front wheels until the car was light on the front lift pads, and tighten down the bushing nut.

I say both, because one at a time really distorted the swaybar and I was uncomfortable with that kind of mismatched loading. In all the vids, the job was done by loading only one wheel at a time. After doing the job, I have to question the one-wheel approach in the vids.

For safety, put a third screwjack under the rear frame member to make sure the car doesn't slip off the lift when the weight on the front jackpoints gets light.

It was a lot more loading than I had assumed -- the wheel assemblies were higher in the wells that I would have eyeballed. At proper loading, when you tighten down the bushing bolts the thrust bushings will be at the correct resting angle in their frames. I doublechecked the measure from the top of the wheelwell, to the center of the wheel bearing. It matched the measure when the car was back on the ground. Just saying that eyeballing is (of course) the wrong way to do it.

Finally, thank god we finally have a good DIY garage down here (garageyourself in north Miami). I was much more comfortable doing the job on a lift. The shocks were dirty and it took some muscling to get them to move in their frames. Would have hated to do it lying on the ground.
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Last edited by banglenot; 01-18-2014 at 02:30 PM.
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