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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 08-12-2019, 12:13 PM
pwgoo1 pwgoo1 is online now
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Question Rear Supension Overhaul + Subframe Bushings

I promise I've tried to search for info regarding my question, but can't find anything speaking directly to it.

After completing (successfully, I think) a full* front suspension rebuild, I think it only highlights the need for me to also do the rear. The car still feels a bit "rumble-y", particularly when the airstream in front of it is disturbed (ex. when trailing in traffic), and it does feel like it is emanating from the rear.

When I last rotated tires, after admittedly waiting too long to rotate after getting a new set, I noticed cupping on the rear tires...tires that are now on the front and have been for the last appx 6000 miles. I expect at a minimum the shocks are worn, allowing the rear tires to "bounce" and "scrub" down the road, resulting in the cupping. Will need new tires soon and figure I best go thru the rear end to avoid running thru the next set prematurely.

*"Full" means:
- struts, including new mounts/bearings, "shims", and bump stops
- tie rods & steering rack boots
- thrust arms
- control arms
- sway bar links
- sway bar bushings

On to the question....as I compile my list of goods for the rear suspension, is there any reason to consider doing rear subframe bushings at the same time as the rest of the rear suspension?

What I mean by that is....is there any significant overlap in the two jobs that make it sensible to do both at the same time versus just waiting to do the subframe bushings? Or they really two entire separate projects?

On a 175k mile car that I'm going thru the trouble of doing all the suspension, I'm sure I will want to do the subframe bushings...eventually...but I think I'd prefer to do just the rear guide links, control arms, integral links, ball joints, sway bar bushings, and shocks now and save subframe bushings for a little later.

Side question...are there bushings for the steering rack that are replaceable on these cars? I wouldn't say that I feel sloppiness in the steering (definitely not slack up thru the column like the rack itself is having issues), but over certain bumps something doesn't feel quite as solid as I think it should having just redone the entire front end.

Hopefully, it isn't just the "factory replacement" Sachs giving subpar performance. I usually "upgrade" when replacing stuff like struts, but I opted to save some coin this time and went Sachs vs Bilstein.

Last edited by pwgoo1; 08-12-2019 at 12:19 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-12-2019, 12:35 PM
CSMBlack-540i CSMBlack-540i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwgoo1 View Post
I promise I've tried to search for info regarding my question, but can't find anything speaking directly to it.
Did you search on Google which results in a nice DIY on Bf.c?

https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...eplacement-DIY

https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...heel-Alignment

Generally, the subframe doesn't overlap with the rest of the rear full overhaul

As long as you don't alter the eccentric bolt or mark the bolt beforehand, you should be ok. As that's generally the only adjust in the back anyway.

But, you might as well inspect the subframe bushings while under there so you can verify the current condition and plan accordingly for replacement.

Last edited by CSMBlack-540i; 08-12-2019 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 08-12-2019, 12:46 PM
pwgoo1 pwgoo1 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSMBlack-540i View Post
Did you search on Google which results in a nice DIY on Bf.c?

https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...eplacement-DIY

Generally, the subframe doesn't overlap with the rest of the rear full overhaul

As long as you don't alter the eccentric bolt or mark the bolt beforehand, you should be ok. As that's generally the only adjust in the back anyway.
Yes, I found DIYs (including the one you linked, even though I have a touring)...and, yes, it did appear that they were quite independent of one another...but having never touched the rear suspension of this particular car/chassis before, I wasn't sure if I was missing something in the DIYs that may be obvious to others more familiar that may (or may not) indicate whether there is reason to tackle them at the same time.

Looks like you concur with my thoughts coming in....one doesn't really have any overlap with the other.

Not sure I'm following your comment on the eccentric bolt, however. Won't I have to mark it, remove it, and replace/re-install it when I do the guide link?

And, yes, I certainly do plan to do subframe bushings, but I've learned over time that sometimes it makes more sense to break these projects up into smaller jobs (unless there is significant overlap), especially when it is your DD and you'd prefer to not be without it for too long...even though I do have another vehicle I can drive.

Last edited by pwgoo1; 08-12-2019 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:03 PM
CSMBlack-540i CSMBlack-540i is offline
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Originally Posted by pwgoo1 View Post
Not sure I'm following your comment on the eccentric bolt, however. Won't I have to mark it, remove it, and replace/re-install it when I do the guide link?

.
If you re-read the link I posted to Cam's CN90/CNN's alignment you will notice the eccentric bolt is the only thing you can use to adjust rear toe and camber. This is also mentioned in 320-23 of the Bentley Service manual

So, the point being anytime you don't what the rear alignment all screwed up before you can get to an alignment shop, mark the location before removing it. This keeps it as close to pre overhaul settings as possible.

Otherwise, if you don't mark it beforehand you'll wind up in a situation where you'll say "Damn, why is my alignment so off, i forgot to mark the eccentric bolt before removing it"

So, yes. definitely mark it before replacing your guide links

Last edited by CSMBlack-540i; 08-12-2019 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:51 PM
pwgoo1 pwgoo1 is online now
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Rear Supension Overhaul + Subframe Bushings

Quote:
Originally Posted by CSMBlack-540i View Post
If you re-read the link I posted to Cam's CN90/CNN's alignment you will notice the eccentric bolt is the only thing you can use to adjust rear toe and camber. This is also mentioned in 320-23 of the Bentley Service manual

So, the point being anytime you don't what the rear alignment all screwed up before you can get to an alignment shop, mark the location before removing it. This keeps it as close to pre overhaul settings as possible.

Otherwise, if you don't mark it beforehand you'll wind up in a situation where you'll say "Damn, why is my alignment so off, i forgot to mark the eccentric bolt before removing it"

So, yes. definitely mark it before replacing your guide links


Oh, ok. For sure, Iíll definitely mark the bolt, though Iíve learned by working on my Armada suspension that it still wonít be anywhere close after putting it back even with marking. Not sure if thatís just how it goes with these jobs or if Iím just terrible at putting it back together close.

Maybe I shouldnít have assumed it went without saying, but after rear suspension rebuild Iím getting new tires and alignment. Just need to get it close enough after the work to safely get it to the shop. Already had the front aligned and rear checked when I did the front suspension. Had state inspection done today and, while they passed it, they did tell me what I already knew: needs tires soon due to irregular wear.

Last edited by pwgoo1; 08-12-2019 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:10 PM
CSMBlack-540i CSMBlack-540i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwgoo1 View Post
Not sure if that's just how it goes with these jobs or if I'm just terrible at putting it back together close.
That all depends on how worn the old parts being replaced are. If you mark the eccentric bolt and put in new control arms, it will alter the toe/camber slightly because the eccentric bolt is set up for the worn parts since you just got an alignment after front overhaul.

The whole point is that it's not so far off that you can get to a nearby alignment shop without wearing out the tires unnecessarily. More so if you just put on new tires recently. In your case, you're replacing tires shortly after this so less of an issues and almost moot.

Can't speak to an Armada or how it's setup.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pwgoo1 View Post
Maybe I shouldn't have assumed it went without saying, but after rear suspension rebuild I'm getting new tires and alignment. .
That's why when I rebuilt my suspension, I did front and back at the same time and replaced my tires right after the alignment so it was all done at once.

With your situation, you're paying for an alignment twice in a very short time. IF you did rear suspension 1st and then front, you could've gotten away with just one alignment and used the money saved towards one of those new tires.

Last edited by CSMBlack-540i; 08-12-2019 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:22 PM
pwgoo1 pwgoo1 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSMBlack-540i View Post
That all depends on how worn the old parts being replaced are. If you mark the eccentric bolt and put in new control arms, it will alter the toe/camber slightly because the eccentric bolt is set up for the worn parts since you just got an alignment after front overhaul.

The whole point is that it's not so far off that you can get to a nearby alignment shop without wearing out the tires unnecessarily. More so if you just put on new tires recently. In your case, you're replacing tires shortly after this so less of an issues and almost moot.

Can't speak to an Armada or how it's setup.




That's why when I rebuilt my suspension, I did front and back at the same time and replaced my tires right after the alignment so it was all done at once.

With your situation, you're paying for an alignment twice in a very short time. IF you did rear suspension 1st and then front, you could've gotten away with just one alignment and used the money saved towards one of those new tires.


Lifetime alignment at Firestone. Already purchased and used once to align the front. Iíve been generally happy with the outcome on the Armada and how they havenít given me crap about hauling it in there every couple weeks when I was going thru the suspension on it.

If for some reason I doubt the work on the BMW and eventually take it to the stealer for a one time shot once all the work is complete (and I would still bet the stealer isnít doing it by the book), the $150 I spent on the lifetime deal will still be worth it to keep it aligned within published spec while I go thru the suspension on the E39.


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Old 08-12-2019, 03:00 PM
CSMBlack-540i CSMBlack-540i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwgoo1 View Post
Lifetime alignment at Firestone. Already purchased and used once to align the front.

If for some reason I doubt the work on the BMW and eventually take it to the stealer for a one time shot once all the work is complete (and I would still bet the stealer isn't doing it by the book), the $150 I spent on the lifetime deal will still be worth it to keep it aligned within published spec while I go thru the suspension on the E39.
If you're not happy with the Firestone alignment, I'd ask around for reputable local shops that have Hunter Hawkeye and/or John Bean Imaging Alignment systems.

https://www.johnbean.com/en-us/c/wheel-aligners

https://www.hunter.com/alignment-systems/hawkeye-elite

Local regional subforums are a good start and you can always call the Hunter/John Bean regional salesperson for recommendations on competent local shops they sell too. Sometimes, the same shop names come up on both resources when you ask.

Between local shops and stealers, any alignment is only as good as the operator's knowledge.

Last edited by CSMBlack-540i; 08-12-2019 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 08-12-2019, 05:25 PM
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Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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ball joints intergral links, upper and lower arms, inner bushings,

(that is what a suspension build is imo)

struts is what i consider a different part, If you want my opinion do it like i did it.. work from the top down

first do struts and mounts (job #1)
then do arms and bushings (job #2) alignment required
then do sway (job #3)
then last do balljoints and Intergal links (final mission)

4 steps is how i did the rear.. over the corse of a few months.. that was almost 60k ago.. im @ 250,000 miles now

Inside lower control arms bushings.. use power-flex urethane bushings (you could do the sway if you want.. BUt i didn't find that necessary in other builds) *unless your going for "race car"

when i did the front same pattern, struts and tops first.. then arms and bushings + alignment then sway bar

Ive yet to ever do subframe bushings on any bmw (for the exception of people who wrecked there car with trying to drift and ate curb )
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Last edited by Burning2nd; 08-12-2019 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:39 AM
pwgoo1 pwgoo1 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burning2nd View Post
ball joints intergral links, upper and lower arms, inner bushings,

(that is what a suspension build is imo)

struts is what i consider a different part, If you want my opinion do it like i did it.. work from the top down

first do struts and mounts (job #1)
then do arms and bushings (job #2) alignment required
then do sway (job #3)
then last do balljoints and Intergal links (final mission)

I guess somehow growing up I've been conditioned to obsess over alignment and tire wear to the point that if I touch *anything* close to suspension I feel the need to have alignment done. In particular I feel that now because I'm in need of tires soon, the current set having gone thru its useful life probably before it should have due to worn suspension components (though not misalignment, as the Firestone printout claims I was solidly in spec on the rear when I rolled it in there)..30k miles right now on these Conti DWS06's and only a couple thousand left (maybe) before I start getting a little nervous about them. I'm not scrooge about tires, however, particularly when it is a size that isn't obscenely expensive.

Summary is...I'm all about your plan, as I don't mind breaking this up into parts due to expense and time available to work on the car in the near term. Just wasn't sure if I could feel good about wear on the new tires I'm about to get if the only thing I do on the rear right now are the shocks (I have a Touring with SLS, so I don't think they are technically "struts," are they?). Frequency of alignment isn't a problem. I can run it to Firestone whenever and they'll do it on the liftetime deal. More about whether new struts but old linkages/arms is potential for early, irregular wear again.

Also, how important is replacing the rear shock mount if mine look okay? Typically, I replace it by default. I just can't seem to find the part searching by RealOEM part#. Even FCP shows only the OE BMW part ($100) and it is on backorder.

Last edited by pwgoo1; 08-13-2019 at 05:43 AM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:47 AM
Cichlids Cichlids is offline
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Im currently doing this. Ive completely rooted out the entire front and rear suspension with the rear subframe too. I bought the tool from ecs tuning but it turns out that it was advertised incorrectly and note i need to get my coworker to machine a new disc to pull the subframe bushings out.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:49 PM
Cichlids Cichlids is offline
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Just got my machinist at work to build this disc so i could modify the tool i got from ecs tuning to pull the bushing out
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:09 AM
pwgoo1 pwgoo1 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwgoo1 View Post
Also, how important is replacing the rear shock mount if mine look okay? Typically, I replace it by default. I just can't seem to find the part searching by RealOEM part#. Even FCP shows only the OE BMW part ($100) and it is on backorder.
Color me guilty of looking only at FCP before commenting on this. Found a pair of Febi rear mounts for wagon on eBay. Obscenely cheap compared to OE prices I've seen, but I don't automatically assume that makes these garbage given the reputable Febi/Bilstein brand name.

Could be counterfeit, I suppose, but I'll take the chance.
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Old Today, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pwgoo1 View Post
Lifetime alignment at Firestone. Already purchased and used once to align the front. Iíve been generally happy with the outcome on the Armada and how they havenít given me crap about hauling it in there every couple weeks when I was going thru the suspension on it.

If for some reason I doubt the work on the BMW and eventually take it to the stealer for a one time shot once all the work is complete (and I would still bet the stealer isnít doing it by the book), the $150 I spent on the lifetime deal will still be worth it to keep it aligned within published spec while I go thru the suspension on the E39.


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My local FireStone won't do an alignment on my e39. Told me the car is not in their system. I've asked different people there multiple times. If you find a FireStone to align your e39 and provide the lifetime alignment warranty you've found an anomaly. Better get it in writing.
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