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TMS Grand-AM Cup Crew
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I've read recently a few post about people having trouble with their control arms and the control arm bushings. If I understand correctly, it sounds like the bushings are wearing very prematurely.

I'm just curious how many have had this problem, and is this a bigger issue than just a few random cars.
 

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Daniel said:
I've read recently a few post about people having trouble with their control arms and the control arm bushings. If I understand correctly, it sounds like the bushings are wearing very prematurely.

I'm just curious how many have had this problem, and is this a bigger issue than just a few random cars.
When I was taking delivery yesterday I saw an 328Ci getting new lower control arms. The new arms are significantly different than the old. From that I surmise that is is more than just a bushing issue.
 

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i had mine done about a year ago and from what i remember it was a bushing issue but they replaced the entire control arm. i suspect dealers don't have the proper tools to compress the bushings properly into the joint. (or so they said)

symptoms are squeaky sound coming from the front end whenever going over a change in ground height such as up and down parking lot ramps/speed bumps/driveways with a high lip.

i don't think the problem is random but more of a defect in the parts/design. there is a TSB out for it, but not a full blown recall probably due to the fact that it's not a safety issue and more of an annoyance.

i think someone else here on board posted that the newer bushings are 6mm thicker than the old one?
 

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ChrisTO said:


i don't think the problem is random but more of a defect in the parts/design. there is a TSB out for it, but not a full blown recall probably due to the fact that it's not a safety issue and more of an annoyance.

The TSB is really for older E46es made before September of 1999. All E46es made after that has the upgraded control arm and control arm bushing.

It is not uncommon for the contorl arm bushing to wear down early, these suspensions, afterall, are wound VERY TIGHTLY.

You can check out BMP Design for upgraded URETHANE bushings that are stiffer and longer lasting. The side effect is that you'll feel more road vibration through your chasis and steering. That'll probably be my next project.
 

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There is a TSB for later e46s as well. They replaced mine after I warped the rotors at a driving school. The service tech told me it was a relatively new tsb. I had the repair done in may. It helped a lot.
 

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Daniel said:
I've read recently a few post about people having trouble with their control arms and the control arm bushings. If I understand correctly, it sounds like the bushings are wearing very prematurely.

I'm just curious how many have had this problem, and is this a bigger issue than just a few random cars.
I just had my control arms replaced a few days ago. The write-up says the ball joints were making noises, so the control arms and bushings were replaced. The people who do have control arm problems indicated they started showing up with 20~25k miles on the odometer. My car (11/2000 build 330i) had 26k miles. As far as I know, they were replaced with the newer 66mm bushings.
 

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Re: Re: Control Arms

AG said:


I just had my control arms replaced a few days ago. The write-up says the ball joints were making noises, so the control arms and bushings were replaced. The people who do have control arm problems indicated they started showing up with 20~25k miles on the odometer. My car (11/2000 build 330i) had 26k miles. As far as I know, they were replaced with the newer 66mm bushings.
Interesting. A few weeks ago I started noticing a squeek when I turned the steering while my car was motionless. (I've got ~26k on the car now.) When I take it in for Insp. 1 in a few weeks I'll have to have them look at the control arms.
 

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After many months of not reading Bimmerfest, I logged on because I've been having problems with my front suspension/steering that sounds exactly like these control arm issues.

My car is a 6/00 production 330i with SP, currently ~25,800 miles.

The symptoms are a loud squeaking / moaning from the steering (fluid level is fine) and a popping / cracking noise when the wheel is turned in one direction. These symptoms started last week and have rapidly become worse. I plan to take it in to the dealer shortly.

rg
 

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Mystikal said:


OT: Wow, what month did 330's start rolling off the line? I thought it was July, like all of the other model year changes. :dunno:
I know there were several other posters on bimmer.org with 6/00 330i's. I believe production started late May 2000, but I haven't heard anyone post that they had a 5/00 car.

The very early 330s like mine are different in their problems from the later production cars. I've had window regulator problems, for instance, which were very common in the 323s and 328s but not so common on the later cars. Also I've not had the thermostat and cooling fan problems that many of the later cars had.

(Also my car came with Dunlop rubber - most later cars had either Michelin or Continental.)
 

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New bushings last week

I have a 12/00 build 330i with 20-k on the clock. I noticed a very minor yet irritating vibration through the steering wheel on the straights, nothing when turning. I brought it in thinking maybe a wheel balance problem (just put on new tires); the control arm bushings were toast. Replaced under warranty.
 

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mine is a 6/00 build with 34K miles. I've been keeping an eye out for this problem but it hasn't occured yet. I asked the dealer about it when my car was in for service last and they wrote up the repair order with the complaint worded in such a way that they should have been replaced. when I picked up the car, they told me that the TSB didn't apply to any 330's (I knew the guy was lying because he also denied me free replacement of the windshield wiper inserts).
 

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Today I had my 330i in for the front end noises (see previous post in this thread). Sure enough the diagnosis was that the control arm ball joints and bushings needed to be replaced.

The invoice has the following part numbers

31 - 12 - 6 - 758 - 519 WISHBONE
31 - 12 - 6 - 758 - 520 WISHBONE

(part numbers for some misc. nuts)

31 - 12 - 6 - 757 - 623 BRACKET SET

(the last being, I gather, the bushing/bracket assemblies)

Prices are not listed as this is under warranty.

What is interesting is that the control arms are significantly different in design. I would describe the old ones as looking like "solid boomerangs" whereas the new ones are quite a bit wider and have several lightening holes in the flat portion. For those of you that have the Bentley manual, see page 310-18. The old ones looked just like the "sedan" part shown whereas the new ones look like the "coupe" part shown. I wonder if this means that the control arms are/were more of a problem on the sedans and the coupe parts are more robust.

BTW this should provide a relatively easy way to determine whether your car has the new or old control arms.
 

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rg said:
I wonder if this means that the control arms are/were more of a problem on the sedans and the coupe parts are more robust.

My 11/00 build 325Ci (ie, coupe) had it's control arms replaced about a month ago (at around 40k miles) along with the jammed sunroof shade. I started to hear the moaning sounds at low speeds when cranking on the steering wheel around the parking lot at about 25k miles.

And in reference to another post in this thread, the driver's window regulator was replaced two weeks before the control arms. Don't get me started on door seals.

I'm thinking I got the last of crappy parts (my radiator fan is OK tho).
 

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noise is back!

for the last few weeks it sounds like the creaking moaning sound is back. thx to RG for posting the PN, going through my service records it looks like they only replaced the left control arm first time around. i'll have to take a peek under the car to see if the left side is different from the right side.

so my question is...anyone who had their cars control arm replaced, has the noise/problem resurface?
 

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rg said:
Today I had my 330i in for the front end noises (see previous post in this thread). Sure enough the diagnosis was that the control arm ball joints and bushings needed to be replaced.

The invoice has the following part numbers

31 - 12 - 6 - 758 - 519 WISHBONE
31 - 12 - 6 - 758 - 520 WISHBONE

(part numbers for some misc. nuts)

31 - 12 - 6 - 757 - 623 BRACKET SET

(the last being, I gather, the bushing/bracket assemblies)

Prices are not listed as this is under warranty.

What is interesting is that the control arms are significantly different in design. I would describe the old ones as looking like "solid boomerangs" whereas the new ones are quite a bit wider and have several lightening holes in the flat portion. For those of you that have the Bentley manual, see page 310-18. The old ones looked just like the "sedan" part shown whereas the new ones look like the "coupe" part shown. I wonder if this means that the control arms are/were more of a problem on the sedans and the coupe parts are more robust.

BTW this should provide a relatively easy way to determine whether your car has the new or old control arms.
are these pictures on the net anywhere by chance?

what is the TSB number for the later cars?
 

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Yes, those are the newer control arms in the pic above.

And yes, those also have the same problem with the bushings.

All the E46s after September 1999 production had the newer control arm style shown in the pic above. The bushing that fails is just off the picture, on the side of the control arm closest to the wheel. On the E36 control arms, this bushing is a serviceable part (meaning they can replace the bushing without a new control arm). On all E46 control arms, the bushing is actually part of the control arm; no way to seperate the two.

The bushing that is replaceable on the E46s is the one at the bottom of the picture. I suspect there are eurothane aftermarket replacements for this part, but I've never checked it out. Whenever BMW replaces the control arm, they replace this "inside" bushing as well. They have a special tool to pull off the old bushing, and push on the new bushing.

Here's a link to pictures of the new and old control arm styles:
http://home.earthlink.net/~m3steve/pics/e46-control-arms.jpg

The newer design (after Sept 1999 prod) is at the top; the old design is at the bottom.

Regards,
Steve
(Not a control arm expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night...)
 
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