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X5 E70 (2007 - 2013)
E70 BMW X5 produced between 2007 and 2013. Discuss the E70 X5 with other BMW owners here.

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Old 09-02-2019, 08:02 PM
brc5 brc5 is offline
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Don't buy cheap thrust arms for your E70 - graphic images

Just finished a hellish ordeal to replace the thrust arms on my e70.

I did read some threads where people optimistically said 'a few hours to replace both'.

I've done the job before (twice) on E39s so I figure what the hey and got stuck in.

Right hand side : got the star nut off OK. All the DIYs and videos I saw said no need for ball joint separators or pickle forks. Just a gentle tap on the thrust arm and it will pop right out!

NO. Not at all.

First I tapped on the thread. That soon turned into a mushroom. So I got a punch and wailed on the punch with my mini sledge. That drove the punch well into the end of the ball joint thread. On close inspection I realized that the press-fit ball joint adapter was actually starting to push upwards out of the steering knuckle. That ball joint was not letting go.

I gave up and ordered a ball joint separator from Amazon and waited for it to arrive (next day delivery on everything now, it seems). Oh-ho-ho that didn't fit, the design of the ball joint was too wide for the fork in the ball joint. So I had to modify it with a file until it fit comfortably around the ball joint. I tightened and tightened and finally POP. Thankfully the pop re-seated the press fit ball joint receiver back into the knuckle - it had risen up about 5 mm proud.

That covers about 4 hours of work with various thumping, banging, punching, straining and cursing, and riding to the FLAPS to get bits and pieces.

Onto the left hand side. Better prepared this time, going to use the ball joint press right away. Just spin the star nut off. OH @#$(@&**%$ the nut is just spinning on the thread. It didn't take any torque at all to turn, so it's been loose for a while.

On close inspection the outer part of the nut that bites the thread has completely broken off and disappeared. Part of the thread from the ball joint is sticking out like a piece of broken wire.



Ordered a new dremel (clone) from Amazon plus a set of dremel (genuine) cutting discs. Next day delivery again. Straight into cutting, and I have to cut more than 50% of the nut off in chunks to get it off. I broke too many of the cutting discs so in the end I got the chisel out and smashed the rest of it off in frustration.



Carnage. Hard to see with the remaining shrapnel, but the removed nut was much smaller than the one from the other side (intact). The disc is the washer that attaches to the nut but turns independently.

So then straight on with the ball joint remove. Crank, and crank, and crank, and crank. Holy crap the thing is bending backwards. I try a tap on the arm and the steering knuckle to see if it will help - the ball joint remove flies off like it was shot like a cannon and embeds in the side of a cardboard box (the amazon one the dremel came in). I look at what happened and the soft end of the ball joint thread has rounded off like a half mushroom and let the ball joint remover free. I get the dremel out again and chop a 5 mm slice off the ball joint thread to get it square again. Spraying penetration oil on the joint and lube on the threads, I crank it down again. It gets to within 10mm of the end of the thread for the remover. Then the rod for the hinge in the ball joint remove shears the end off right where the little ball bearing is. Crap - I didn't have it pushed through far enough. Luckily if I push it right through, there is enough to hinge off. I crank it down again. No budging, so I leave it over night. Which doesn't work - i was hoping to see a popped ball join sitting on the garage floor.



With the nut gone, you can actually see the stripped threads. I didn't do that, apart from just turning the nut with the right size socket.

Next day with a fresh head and determination I take it off and inspect everything. I decide that the other one came off with a combination of bashing with the punch and clamp. So I spend 10 minutes bashing with the punch in the end of the ball joint thread. The press-fit receiver starts to lift out like the other side did. Stopping that, I try the pickle fork. But it cant' go far because of the design of the steering knuckle which doesn't allow you to go past the joint. So I get the dremel out and chop the end of the pickle fork off, leaving it blunt but allowing it to go further. I wail on that for a bit but realise the soft crap fork is just digging into the side of the ball joint ridge and not actually lifting anything.

So then I remove the sway bar end link for more clearance and bash the ball joint remover on, file the end of the threaded rod on the ball joint for a bit more purchase and crank, and crank, and crank, and crank on the end ball joint remover. Finally when I think I can crank it no more, a humble little 'pop' and the whole thing falls off.

My diagnosis is this - someone replaced these arms before (what do they last, 20k?). The LHS had a proper sized star nut, but the RHS had one half the size, which had broken off. I have never seen thread shear off and never seen ball joints get stuck like that. I think the problem was soft metal that formed down into the taper, or maybe it was just over-torqued to begin with.



Crap (black) and Lemforder (silver). Did BMW ever make black suspension arms? I've only ever seen silver.

On inspecting the old thrust arms, they are heavier and just lower quality all round. Did the cheapness of the part cause the thread to strip and cause the removal being so difficult? I don't know for sure but I wouldn't save 50 bucks with a part like this. Meyle and Lemforder aren't that expensive to get, so spend the slight extra.
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Last edited by brc5; 09-02-2019 at 08:04 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-02-2019, 08:28 PM
DEADF15H DEADF15H is offline
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Damn, what an ordeal. Cheap suspension parts are never a good idea.

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Old 09-02-2019, 09:42 PM
ard ard is offline
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GREAT post.

People will learn 10 times more out of you post compared to the sanitized 'did it in 1.5 hrs including a latte run' version.



I have seen black no-name arms before.

Soak in solvent- wd40, kroil, etc...balljoint tool, as much pressure as I can without bending tool. Smart swing w 1lb steel hammer. worked so far...
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Alignment here: The Definitive Alignment Thread

OE is Original Equipment aka 'BMW Original Parts' aka 'What you buy at the BMW dealer with a BMW label'

OEM is Original Equipment Manufacturer... EITHER the company that made the OE part or.... A part this is identical to the OE part, but is sold by the OEM under their own label


OEM is not what BMW sells


http://www.bimmerzone.com/category/T...ricks_OEM.html

https://www.turnermotorsport.com/t-OEvsOEM
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Old 09-02-2019, 09:52 PM
brc5 brc5 is offline
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Calendar days - due to travel and other commitments, waiting on deliveries etc - car was off the road for nearly 3 weeks. Scratching my head to where I put the wheel nuts but found them eventually.

I nearly buckled and called out for external help, luckily it was a long weekend so I had an extra day to think and plan a strategy. It's always a good idea to take a break and come back with a clear head, fresh coffee and breakfast on board. Otherwise the red mist descends and you start whacking with the sledge and do more damage.
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Old 09-02-2019, 09:55 PM
brc5 brc5 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ard View Post
GREAT post.

People will learn 10 times more out of you post compared to the sanitized 'did it in 1.5 hrs including a latte run' version.



I have seen black no-name arms before.

Soak in solvent- wd40, kroil, etc...balljoint tool, as much pressure as I can without bending tool. Smart swing w 1lb steel hammer. worked so far...
Apropos of nothing I see you're running a similar garage as me lol - only my x5 is not an oiler, my e39 is not an M and my 911 is missing a turbo !
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Old 09-03-2019, 05:56 AM
twh twh is offline
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Black arms are likely steel...you can check with a magnet. The silver ones are aluminum. Don't think the E60 has any steel control arms.
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Old 09-03-2019, 09:10 AM
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sunny_j sunny_j is offline
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Lemforder also sells black suspension components. From what I've seen the Lemforder parts made in Italy are silver and black from Turkey
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Old 09-03-2019, 09:16 PM
ard ard is offline
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The whole steel/alu thing on LCAs came up on xoutpost.. Many of us were surprised..


https://xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/...uestion-2.html
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Alignment here: The Definitive Alignment Thread

OE is Original Equipment aka 'BMW Original Parts' aka 'What you buy at the BMW dealer with a BMW label'

OEM is Original Equipment Manufacturer... EITHER the company that made the OE part or.... A part this is identical to the OE part, but is sold by the OEM under their own label


OEM is not what BMW sells


http://www.bimmerzone.com/category/T...ricks_OEM.html

https://www.turnermotorsport.com/t-OEvsOEM
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  #9  
Old 09-04-2019, 04:58 AM
twh twh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ard View Post
The whole steel/alu thing on LCAs came up on xoutpost.. Many of us were surprised..

https://xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/...uestion-2.html
On the E60, the control arms are all aluminum. On my wife's E70, at least the lower control arms are steel.
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Old 09-04-2019, 07:56 AM
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sunny_j sunny_j is offline
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^^Wonder if the E70 being manufactured in North America has anything to do with it
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Old 09-04-2019, 08:07 AM
twh twh is offline
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Originally Posted by sunny_j View Post
^^Wonder if the E70 being manufactured in North America has anything to do with it
I suspect it has to do with the E70 weighing more that the E60 and the mechanical stresses on the control arms.
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:12 AM
rpoitras rpoitras is offline
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A month or so ago I replaced the control arms on mine using this kit: https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...it-512243#desc

Three of the four arms came in sealed Lemforder bags, one was opened but new, and after I installed them noticed the lower control arms had a "Made in USA" stamp on it. I guess at the time, since being tired, I didn't really think much about it probably because it didn't say "Made in China", and then promptly forgot about it until I saw this post.

The new tension struts came in silver which matched my originals but the lower control arms came in black with the "Made in USA" stamp, from Lemforder bags, while my originals were silver. I didn't think Lemforder made parts in the USA. Is something hokey going on with the parts I received?

Edit: Nevermind. Drilling down on the link to the parts list says the parts are made in the US. I just didn't know Lemforder had operations here. (see: https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...93-31126771894)

Last edited by rpoitras; 09-04-2019 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:33 AM
twh twh is offline
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Lemforder is just another ZF company. ZF own TWR Automotive now also. Sachs is a ZF company too.

When you consider that the X5 was exclusively made in South Carolina for a long time and the South Carolina factory is BMW's largest factory, a lot of stuff is gonna be made in the US.
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Old 09-04-2019, 09:31 PM
brc5 brc5 is offline
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Well I got curious and checked. Yes, both silver and black thrust arms are steel.

I guess when you buy a big heavy truck it comes with big heavy truck parts and not lightweight sports-sedan parts.

I still maintain the lemforder parts present as higher quality, even if they are painted silver to make us think they are alloy construction and not cast-iron barbells.
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