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E60 / E61 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series E60 Sedan was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E61 wagon followed shortly there after. The E60/E61 5 series is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-18-2020, 01:15 PM
habbyguy habbyguy is offline
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Broke the knuckle pinch bolt off...

Started what I figured would be a couple hour job. I didn't really remember how painful it is to work on a car that's ever (!) been in the frozen north (my 2006 530xiT spent its first few years there).

Long story short, I was taking apart the driver's (left) side suspension to remove the (really worn out!) strut, and it was all going well enough until I tried to remove the big 18mm bolt that pinches the knuckle clamp around the strut cylinder. I did get the nut off (had to use a breaker bar, but it came off OK). I had sprayed everything in sight with PB Blaster to (hopefully) loosen it up, but no joy. When I put the breaker bar on the bolt and gave it a mighty heave, I thought the bolt broke loose... but it snapped off about 1/4" (7mm) below the face of the knuckle.

I'm betting that there's zero chance that I'll be able to do anything cute like grab the exposed threads on the other end and back it out, so figured I'd tap into the collective wisdom of the (BMW) universe here.

My best guess is that I should pull EVERYTHING off the knuckle (brake caliper, rotor, control arms, tie rod end, and axle) until ONLY the strut holds it in, then drop it out of the car, and see if I can use a torch to liberate it (keeping in mind that the strut will still be attached).

Or maybe I'm better off just sourcing another knuckle somewhere... (hello, eBay!!!).

What would y'all do in a situation like this (other than buy only cars from the southwest like I've done since living in Arizona)?

Last edited by habbyguy; 02-18-2020 at 01:16 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-18-2020, 01:38 PM
habbyguy habbyguy is offline
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A quick check shows a few likely replacements available (used) from eBay. I'm tempted to order one, as I can't imagine that getting this one sorted out is going to cost less than the cost of a much better (aka "less rusty") unit from eBay.

I'm comparing numbers, and it looks like this one should work... https://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-2004-20...ry!85202!US!-1

I ordered it since it will be here by Friday (minimizing the down time).

That'll give me time to order the 12-point socket I need for removing the CV axle nut.
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  #3  
Old 02-18-2020, 01:52 PM
twh twh is offline
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Couple of things...

No way to drill out the remainder?

On the CV axle nut....if you pull the shaft out, you need the shaft install tool or it will be near impossible to get the shaft back in. There aren't enough threads coming through for the nut to grab without the tool. A couple recent forum threads on this.
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Old 02-18-2020, 01:53 PM
dharmabmw dharmabmw is online now
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Not sure if you have the tools but you might consider replacing the axle bearing at the same time. It's an ugly job but since you have the replacement knuckle with an unknown bearing in it, doing that now might save you some grief later.
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Old 02-18-2020, 01:54 PM
yellaboyla yellaboyla is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habbyguy View Post
A quick check shows a few likely replacements available (used) from eBay. I'm tempted to order one, as I can't imagine that getting this one sorted out is going to cost less than the cost of a much better (aka "less rusty") unit from eBay.

I'm comparing numbers, and it looks like this one should work... https://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-2004-20...ry!85202!US!-1

I ordered it since it will be here by Friday (minimizing the down time).

That'll give me time to order the 12-point socket I need for removing the CV axle nut.
Hey shoot me a pm. I bought one that I really dont need. We can work it out. And yes, take it all off. Easier than trying to get it out. Been there

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  #6  
Old 02-18-2020, 02:57 PM
habbyguy habbyguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twh View Post
Couple of things...

No way to drill out the remainder?

On the CV axle nut....if you pull the shaft out, you need the shaft install tool or it will be near impossible to get the shaft back in. There aren't enough threads coming through for the nut to grab without the tool. A couple recent forum threads on this.
I'm sure it's possible to drill out the old bolt, but because of the placement and the need to drill it out of both halves of the clamp - AND the general ugly nature of my existing knuckle, I think it only makes sense to replace the entire assembly.

And thanks for the advice on the axle tool - I had read (passingly) about that, and will make sure I have one in hand before I do the reassembly.

FWIW, I realized that there's really no big problem with putting the car back together (not that I'd start out across the country with it tomorrow). I figure that there's NO way that knuckle is going to give up its death grip on the strut, and hey - even if it did, it's not going to go anywhere if I'm not doing a real Dukes of Hazzard move with the car (and probably not even then). ;-)
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  #7  
Old 02-18-2020, 03:04 PM
habbyguy habbyguy is offline
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Originally Posted by dharmabmw View Post
Not sure if you have the tools but you might consider replacing the axle bearing at the same time. It's an ugly job but since you have the replacement knuckle with an unknown bearing in it, doing that now might save you some grief later.
Good advice - thanks! I do have a 12-ton press in my garage, and have done similar bearings before (at least I THINK I have). ;-)
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  #8  
Old 02-19-2020, 05:14 AM
l1tech l1tech is offline
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Spray the broken bolt with some penetrating oil, which you already have but do it again. Heat it up and then drive out the broken bolt. It is seized in the knuckle but after some lube and heat it should hammer out, And yes I would remove the strut with the tension strut attached. Even if it wasn't seized I would do it like this as it makes the job soooo much easier.
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  #9  
Old 02-20-2020, 10:51 AM
habbyguy habbyguy is offline
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Thanks for the advice I1tech! I'll be doing that on the other side.

I've been looking for any info on swapping out the front wheel bearings (since I'll have at least one of the knuckles out anyway). But I can't find any instructions on what it takes to swap out the bearings on an AWD E61 (plenty showing how to do it on an E60). Does the knuckle have to come out, or can the bearing be pressed out / in with the knuckle on the car?
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  #10  
Old 02-20-2020, 10:56 AM
twh twh is offline
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I would imagine that an AWD E60 and an AWD E61 are going to be the same in the front end.
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  #11  
Old 02-20-2020, 10:56 AM
audiophool audiophool is offline
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E61 is same as E60 if AWD.
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  #12  
Old 02-20-2020, 03:48 PM
dharmabmw dharmabmw is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habbyguy View Post
Thanks for the advice I1tech! I'll be doing that on the other side.
....,............can the bearing be pressed out / in with the knuckle on the car?
That would be a hard no. Way easier to remove and replace it off the car. Also requires heating the knuckle in the oven and chilling the bearing overnight in the freezer.
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  #13  
Old 02-21-2020, 04:38 AM
l1tech l1tech is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habbyguy View Post
Thanks for the advice I1tech! I'll be doing that on the other side.

I've been looking for any info on swapping out the front wheel bearings (since I'll have at least one of the knuckles out anyway). But I can't find any instructions on what it takes to swap out the bearings on an AWD E61 (plenty showing how to do it on an E60). Does the knuckle have to come out, or can the bearing be pressed out / in with the knuckle on the car?
If you have a Hub Tamer you can do it with the knuckle on the car but otherwise it needs to be taken off of the car so you can press the bearing in/out.
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Old 02-21-2020, 04:42 AM
l1tech l1tech is offline
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Originally Posted by dharmabmw View Post
. Also requires heating the knuckle in the oven and chilling the bearing overnight in the freezer.

Neat trick but not really needed, or required, to do this job. I do use this method often though on smaller more delicate parts.
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:34 AM
habbyguy habbyguy is offline
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I've done the "bearing in the freezer" thing, too. It does reduce the amount of push you need, but since I have a 12-ton press, a wheel bearing really is going to have no choice but to go in! ;-)

I might actually invest in one of those hub bearing install kits. Looks like there are some well-reviewed (but cheap) kits on Amazon that would probably be fine for my modest needs (probably use it once every few years). There's a LOT to be said for not having to drop the knuckle off the car, though I have a suspicion that I'll have to drop both of 'em on mine, unless the other pinch bolt is a lot more cooperative than the first one).
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  #16  
Old 02-21-2020, 03:20 PM
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edes300 edes300 is offline
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Broke the knuckle pinch bolt off...

Why donít you try to heat the area up with a MAP torch then spray PB blaster then reheat is again. If part of the broken bolt is still sticking out cut it flush with a angle grinder if possible. Then try to punch it out with a heavy hammer and punch or try to unscrew the other end after heating it. Maybe take a pic for us to see how it looks. I have a xi and I was able to remove the struts without removing the driveshafts. I did run into some problems and others helped me on this forum. You should be able to find the thread from my posts.
Good luck.


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Last edited by edes300; 02-22-2020 at 04:50 AM.
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:17 AM
audiophool audiophool is offline
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If you have exposed threads, put the nut on and weld the nut to the stub. Immediately after welding, crank the stub out of the hole.
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Old 02-23-2020, 02:54 PM
habbyguy habbyguy is offline
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While I've been smugly asserting that I was going to install the "shiny "new" knuckle" that I so intelligently ordered from an eBay vendor, I open the box (that arrived with a good bit of the knuckle hanging out...) and found "a few issues".

The rotor had been shattered off, because they couldn't remove the stripped keeper screw. Ummmm, I can fix that...
The ball joint had been sliced up by the removal (ummmmÖ..)
Whoever removed the tie rod beat the knuckle so badly that there are great upheavals of metal, preventing any future use...
And for good measure, there's about 1/8" (probably more!!!) play in the wheel bearing.

The vendor did guarantee that the knuckle was in great working condition, and has agreed to a full refund.

The GOOD news is that I now get to try all y'all's great advice on getting that busted pinch bolt out! ;-)

Now where's my torch and air chisel?
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Old 02-23-2020, 03:20 PM
twh twh is offline
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You gotta love the salvage guys. They just hack stuff apart and send it. eBay used auto parts are 50/50...sometimes it is ok and sometimes not.
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Old 02-26-2020, 08:37 AM
habbyguy habbyguy is offline
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Well, since the "new" knuckle was a bust, I decided to inflict some violence on my existing knuckles. The deeper I got into the process, the more I understood that they really weren't in bad shape at all - certainly some surface rust, but I power washed everything off this morning before starting, and it really improved my attitude. ;-)

I used the trick of using the nut to pull the old bolt out - kinda / sorta worked, but there was SO much rust in the bore that it got jammed. Happily, I had a pointy tip for my air chisel that was just small enough to get into the bore and push the remainder of the broken bolt out. Then I chased out the bore with a slightly smaller drill bit (had to liberate a LOT of rust in the process).

In the end, it was a fairly easy strut swap, all in all. The sway bar links were hopelessly gummed up at the top end, but I just forced 'em off and will replace 'em when the new ones come in (and will drive like a little old lady until then).

The only brain cramp was that I forgot to detach the little plastic linkage to the headlight adjuster, so ripped the end out of the sensor arm (I'm planning to fix that by repairing the arm with an appropriate washer and some epoxy, so no big deal).
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  #21  
Old 02-26-2020, 11:28 PM
MarkCh MarkCh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habbyguy View Post
Well, since the "new" knuckle was a bust, I decided to inflict some violence on my existing knuckles. The deeper I got into the process, the more I understood that they really weren't in bad shape at all - certainly some surface rust, but I power washed everything off this morning before starting, and it really improved my attitude. ;-)

I used the trick of using the nut to pull the old bolt out - kinda / sorta worked, but there was SO much rust in the bore that it got jammed. Happily, I had a pointy tip for my air chisel that was just small enough to get into the bore and push the remainder of the broken bolt out. Then I chased out the bore with a slightly smaller drill bit (had to liberate a LOT of rust in the process).

In the end, it was a fairly easy strut swap, all in all. The sway bar links were hopelessly gummed up at the top end, but I just forced 'em off and will replace 'em when the new ones come in (and will drive like a little old lady until then).

The only brain cramp was that I forgot to detach the little plastic linkage to the headlight adjuster, so ripped the end out of the sensor arm (I'm planning to fix that by repairing the arm with an appropriate washer and some epoxy, so no big deal).
Well done and thanks for the update.
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