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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently replaced my '92 318i's lower control arm and bushings. After doing that I was able to trust more in the feel back in the steering wheel, having to use very little pressure or back pressure to hold a turn especially at near lock. Going over things in my head I realized that the picture in the Bentley had the bushing in the middle of the area for it on the control arm, however it was all the way on when I took off the old ones from my car. I did what the manual said and put the bushings where they were previously, however I believe that is the wrong place and some previous mechanic was short coming with his work. My Question is now how do I return it to where it belongs, what is the process for figuring out the placement of the bushing on the control arm. And being on a budget I don not want to hear to take it to BMW.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A stock 318 should have centered front control arm bushings. What did you have installed in your car?
What are you asking? They seemed stock (lightening holes, steel, rubber bushings). Previous owner was not one to modify anything. (was afraid to use great winter tires because he was afraid it would be "too much grip".) I've drifted with those.
 

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The control arms and bushings are not adjustable. The only adjustments that can be made are by installing different style bushings: centered or offset. Where the bushings are located on the control arm end is governed by the placement of the control arms, which are bolted to the sub-frame. In other words, you can't adjust where the bushings are located on the control arms.

If you put on the new bushings, had the car aligned as you should, and it drives in a straight line, what is your concern?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The control arms and bushings are not adjustable. The only adjustments that can be made are by installing different style bushings: centered or offset. Where the bushings are located on the control arm end is governed by the placement of the control arms, which are bolted to the sub-frame. In other words, you can't adjust where the bushings are located on the control arms.

If you put on the new bushings, had the car aligned as you should, and it drives in a straight line, what is your concern?
Bull, the bushing can be placed anywhere along the shaft of the control arm.
Issue is that when I go to maintain a soft, like 30 degree deflection on the steering wheel, turn to the left, I apply a small amount of right force to maintain said turn. THERE IS A CASTER ISSUE.

P.S. the control arm is attached to the car via a ball joint bolted onto the sub-frame and another ball joint at the steering knuckle / wheel hub assembly which is moveable without the control arm completely installed (barring the suspension travel).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I feel as though I was very rude in my last post, and I simply want to apologize for that. Sorry.
I am sure you understand the feeling of your car not right and hating it being wrong. I just want to be able to fix her. And you are just trying to help me do that. Thanks

And frankly the issue is where the bushing are on the control arm shaft, they are not in the middle. They are, as seen on the old part, pressed on as far as they can go. What exact problem this is causing, I do not know, but I am experiencing the symptoms of caster. To fix this problem, would be to simply measure the length of the shaft and center the bushing/bracket on this shaft of the control arm?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I do agree, and know that caster is not directly adjustable (without aftermarket items).
However, I believe I had, and now have, an improperly installed bushing, therefore causing there to be too much caster, the wheel is too far back.
 

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The main ball joint on the control arm connects to the front subframe. The only movement possible frontwards or backwards is the clearance in the ball joint which for a new control arm is essentially zero. The only thing forward, center or rearward positioning of the lolipop can do is change load on the bushing when it's bolted down, and if it was installed properly (bushing pressed onto shaft with the proper lubricant, and then car lowered to allow the bushings to move to their normal position) it will find the position where the fore/aft force is minimized.
The symptom you've described, where when you turn the wheel off center it feels like it wants to go to the lock in that direction on its own and you have to put opposite force to hold the turn radius, can also be a function of toe adjustment. Slight toe out will absolutely cause this in a big way. It also happens to be a purposeful setting many dial into their autocross and race cars because it also helps significantly with turn in.
Before you panic or beat yourself up, I'd do as Karl suggested, get the alignment checked, which you need to do anyway with the control arm replacement. If you really have a caster issue (low likelihood) or a toe issue, you'll know with certainty, and if it's toe then its a simple adjustment and your good to go. :)

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/JF-Tech/E36_Control_Arm_Replacement.htm
 

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get an alignment, that will tell you where your caster is, and if it is within spec or not.

also, you would need to have the steering axis inclination (sai) and included angle checked.

this would point to possible bent or damaged components.

without an alignment you are just guessing....



and the oe bushing has an orientation by the cut outs. solid centered bushings can go in any way, as there is no orientation. offset bushings (usually solid) go in with the offset closest to the road (pointing downward, if a circle were to point....).

installing offset bushings in any other position is asking for trouble as these bushings are all press fit and are not very likely to be repositioned very successfully.


as for the steering wheel staying out when turned, i would venture that I would be looking at a seriously deficient caster reading, or a binding rack.




df
 

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Under the lift arms
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even when we align em.. the caster is never in spec.. They are out of spec from off the lot, new,

non adjustable.. Its Toe and Go with Bmw's in the rear you normaly have 2 asentric bolts on the control arm...

even then its toe n go, you get the toe in the caster and camber are out, you get the camber the toe is out... and so on and so forth,
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So, is the bushing placement on the control rod an issue?
I accidentally ordered a second pair of bushings, so I can change the orientation of the bushing.

I had to replace the right tie rod end recently, I had toe in at first, seemed like I had the issue I have now, just got more pronounced now. Like before, when backing and near lock, it would want to go to lock.
 

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The proper placement for the bushing is pressed all the way forward against the shoulder on the control arm. If you go back and look at the Bentley manual at Fig. 11 on page 310-7 that's exactly what the Bentley manual shows.

This Bav Auto video shows the same.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pJYBjXk8YE
 

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It doesn't matter how far your bushing is pressed on. The control arm's hard point for forward-back isn't going to ever be a friction based rubber-metal bushing. It's the center balljoint which is nicely bolted through the subframe.

The only caster adjustment upfront is how eccentric the bushing is. And, as you can tell with normal (Not 95 M3) control arm bushings... the whole is in the center. Aka non adjustable caster.
And without getting a alignment, you don't know whats going on period. I know you don't wanna hear it, but don't complain about an issue if you don't wanna pay to get it fixed. An alignment is cheaper then buying your own alignment rack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Okay, took me a while to calm down and actually see things correctly.
So, we have one fixed point in space, the ball joint at the sub frame. the bushing is holding a point in the X and Y, and then must then therefore be at a specific spot along Z.
The setting the car down while the bushing and control arm are still lubricated is to get out all the stresses. So, would it be good to drive the car to exercise the suspension before the lubrication dries?
and exactly how is the bushing to be oriented, again with clarity? (still have yet to watch video, though it seems to be for an E46.)

Btw, thank you all for bearing with my ... I don't want to say stupidity, but that's currently the only thing that is coming to mind.
P.S. Can't wait to get this car back to health ... even on my shoestring of a budget.
 

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why dont you open a photobucket account, Download photobucket to your smart phone, take a picture, upload it to photobucket, then get on the computer log in to the photobucket account, and paste the link from the account to the fourm,


"take a picture"
 

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Photos aren't really what's important here. We all know that you can't adjust the placement of the control arm bushing on the control arm. The bushing lollipops anchor to the chassis in a fixed location, and the control arms themselves are anchored in a fixed location by the ball-joints which are bolted to the sub-frame. You can't move the either the control arm or the bushing fore or aft, since they were not designed by BMW to be adjustable in any way. As mentioned in an earlier post, the only variable is how far into the lollipop you pressed the bushing. But even then, it's probably only going to vary by a matter of millimeters, which won't have a perceptible effect on handling. And there is no "orientation" for the non-M control arm bushings, since they are centered.

Basically we have a car here which has had what sounds like one of two control arms replaced (they should be replaced in pairs), both FCABs relaced, and (I think...) no alignment performed afterward. That is a perfect recipe for wonky handling. And then of course there is the possibility of other unrelated/coincidental factors. But if you removed centered FCABs from the car and then installed new centered FCABs, the bushings are not what is causing whatever symptoms you are experiencing.

If this car really has not been aligned after the work was performed, do that first before wasting any more time trying to figure out what's going on. Trying to troubleshoot a misaligned car is pointless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Photos aren't really what's important here. We all know that you can't adjust the placement of the control arm bushing on the control arm. The bushing lollipops anchor to the chassis in a fixed location, and the control arms themselves are anchored in a fixed location by the ball-joints which are bolted to the sub-frame. You can't move the either the control arm or the bushing fore or aft, since they were not designed by BMW to be adjustable in any way. As mentioned in an earlier post, the only variable is how far into the lollipop you pressed the bushing. But even then, it's probably only going to vary by a matter of millimeters, which won't have a perceptible effect on handling. And there is no "orientation" for the non-M control arm bushings, since they are centered.

Basically we have a car here which has had what sounds like one of two control arms replaced (they should be replaced in pairs), both FCABs relaced, and (I think...) no alignment performed afterward. That is a perfect recipe for wonky handling. And then of course there is the possibility of other unrelated/coincidental factors. But if you removed centered FCABs from the car and then installed new centered FCABs, the bushings are not what is causing whatever symptoms you are experiencing.

If this car really has not been aligned after the work was performed, do that first before wasting any more time trying to figure out what's going on. Trying to troubleshoot a misaligned car is pointless.
An alignment, with the proper equipment, is necessary.
However, these FCAB's are not offset, but they are not solid. Therefore they can have an orientation preferred, which is not stated in the Bentley.
 

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1984 633CSi, 1985 635CSi, 1985 325e, 1987 325is, 1993 325is, 1995 318is, 1995 M3, 2003 F150
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If you mean the slots in the non-M FCAB, yes, it does make a difference:

"New bushings usually come separate from the wishbone brackets. Press the bushing into the bracket using a vise or an industrial press. Make sure the bushing is centered width-wise in the bracket when you have finished pressing it into the wishbone. Each bushing has a small arrow cast into the rubber that should line up with the corresponding dot on the outside of the wishbone bracket (inset photo)."

(from the Pelican Parts DIY)
 

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