BimmerFest BMW Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
In my own cars again
Joined
·
1,402 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
EDIT - Note the later posts - there was a generally happy ending here.

So I did the front control arms this morning. Decent job that went well. I have some concerns with the parts I bought and installed. I was not fully aware that there was an issue until the first original control arm was off the car, and since it was removed with a pickle fork, there was no going back and reinstalling at that point - the boots were ripped. The new arms had to be installed and are now on the car. Given that the old arms had 80K miles on them, the new arms feel better, though I don't think they are the right dang part.....

I bought the arms from Pelican. They have as good a reputation for German car parts as anyone. Going against what I see as the forum's consensus opinion, I bought the ZHP original-part-number-arms, which Pelican carries as a Lemforder part. The correct part number was clearly printed on the bags holding the parts. The arms did not have the little blue M stickers, but I didn't figure that was all that big of a deal. I did not buy the Meyle HD arms (which are a few bucks less expensive). That part number is supposed to have the all-metal ball joint, certainly if you buy it from BMW.....

Then the original arm came off and I could compare the two. The outer ball joints on these are supposed to be all metal. The original arm clearly is all metal. The new arm does not appear to be all metal. See the first picture attached, the steel of the shaft on the original arm carries through to the mounting surface of the balljoint. This is clearly not the case on the new arm. Part number match or not, the new arm does not seem to have an all-metal outer ball joint.


In addition, the outer ball joints on the two arms appear to be different, or certainly have different housing cast into the arm for the outer ball joint. See pics 3047 and 3048 which show the bottoms of the two arms (one lying on the floor, one installed already). The right-side arm has a big external sleeve looking bit on it. Is it me, or does it look like a reman?



So do I open up a call with Pelican and pitch a bitch, or is this not actually a problem?

Thanks for the insights ---
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,837 Posts
Sigh.

I dunno what I'd do.

The fact of the matter is that manufacturer's swap part sources all the time, and as long as the part meets specification, on it goes. Heck, they even do it during factory runs.

The fact the original parts have the neato Blue M-stickers is cool, but I would not break a sweat over that.

It's a little hard to tell in your pics, but are the joints substantially the same in terms of apparent strength and composition?

I guess I'd get it aligned, make sure it was to scratch and (probably) just enjoy the car at this point.

I mean, if you took these off the car, what would you replace them with?

EDIT PS Nice Lock-back. :thumbup:
 

·
In my own cars again
Joined
·
1,402 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You have a lift at home!?!?! :yikes:
Yes - when I finished the garage I was ready to buy something larger, dual-post, more height. A cousin of mine with a lot of commercial properties heard I was looking at brands and gave me this one - he had extras?!?!?. It's a Benwil PL6000, lifts up and to the back so you've always got a good clear area to work.

You know what they say - if it's for free, it's for ME!

I mean, if you took these off the car, what would you replace them with?

EDIT PS Nice Lock-back. :thumbup:
That's what I'm thinking - I pitch a bitch, burn up that energy, get pissed and lose sleep over it? Maybe they give me some different parts and I get to do the work again. Or just clam up and drive these for 25K or so..... Alignments set for Thursday, the car feels driveable for a few days.

My last Spyderco was really old, had the plastic clip on it. That one travelled to HK with me a few times pre-9/11. They'd just measure it at Security and give it back, though they would make me take a sip of my water bottle. Ahhh the good old days.....

The new metal clipped Enduras are okay except that they tend to shred pockets. Nevertheless, it's always within arms reach. The tip was lost to an oyster many years back. This just turned it into a screwdriver!
 

·
ROLL TIDE!
Joined
·
23,984 Posts
I think lemforder (not a fan BTW) does that ball joint design so you can replace JUST the ball joint next time (you'll have to verify that though). Personally, I hate Pelican. I get my OEM stuff from Max at OEM Bimmer Parts and he has the ZHP specific pieces for about the same price as what you got. At this point, just live with them. I doubt you will ever notice the difference.

I am soo jealous you have a lift in your garage.
 

·
The Boss of Nobody
Joined
·
3,695 Posts
I am soo jealous you have a lift in your garage.
That's probably the one thing the wife and I have agreed on when we set up our garage. I've already got a mini-mill and mini-lathe in storage.

I have this pipe dream that I'm gonna fabricate an all-metal non-breaking window regulator, and become a hero to all e46 owners everywhere.
 

·
#422323
Joined
·
2,271 Posts
add me to the list of jealous people.
but yeah, I would get these parts elsewhere. yeah buying from pelican or arizonaautohaus is cheaper, but I've noticed the parts don't have the same feel as the oEM ones. there's somethign different.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,033 Posts
Nice work and Id be a bit frustrated as well. You most likely are fine.
 

·
In my own cars again
Joined
·
1,402 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Happy ending here - at least there's no problem with Pelican's parts.

First - I do hope that everyone in the BMW community understands what a really-well-served bunch we are. I ended up in email conversations with both Wayne Dempsey at Pelican and Doug Mahar at Turner. The fact that both of them are willing to answer questions from a 'little' customer like me speaks volumes about the entire community.

I never opened a call with Pelican about the arms I got, though last week I got a request to do an online survey, so I did. I was honest, noting that I was very happy with the cost, shipping and service, and not with the parts. I added comments to the effect that I didn't think it was the right arm, that Lemforder had sent Pelican the wrong arm, and they just passed it along. I did get a response to the survey via email. We explained our positions further, with Judy and then Wayne noting that Lemforder is a decent provider and this is what they sent. Wayne noted that his parts guys had seen BMW parts recently and that they were identical. Having seen my own arms plus some pictures, I pretty much agreed to disagree, and Wayne offered to take the arms back in the coming year if I got substantially different parts form BMW. I had already installed them, so there wasn't much more he could do.

I had shown them the pictures on Turner's web site, with the visible all-metal nature of that ball joint, like the ones I took off my car, so I sent Turner a note, asking what the arms looked like. Doug Mahar wrote back and sent pictures of the latest arms that they had gotten from BMW, blue stickers and all. And they've got the same blue sleeve on the outer ball joint as the Lemforders I got from Pelican. So there is no beef with Pelican's parts - visually, at least without cutting things open, they are the same. That's good.

I do wonder why BMW has apparently stopped with the visibly 'all-metal' nature of that ball joint. Even if the insides are roughly the same, these new arms now have metal-plastic-metal contact with the steering knuckle, while they used to have metal-metal contact in that spot. Should it make any discernable difference? Probably not. But it does raise questions. If you want something that looks to be really "all metal," then the Meyle HD's might be the only way to go. If you buy BMW's arms, you are now getting a slightly different part than what used to be available.
 

·
ROLL TIDE!
Joined
·
23,984 Posts
I do wonder why BMW has apparently stopped with the visibly 'all-metal' nature of that ball joint. Even if the insides are roughly the same, these new arms now have metal-plastic-metal contact with the steering knuckle, while they used to have metal-metal contact in that spot. Should it make any discernable difference? Probably not. But it does raise questions. If you want something that looks to be really "all metal," then the Meyle HD's might be the only way to go. If you buy BMW's arms, you are now getting a slightly different part than what used to be available.
I dunno, but I wish someone would come up with an aftermarket front arm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Well this is a little late but you got ripped off. I just got my zhp control arms for my 2002 330 and they match your originals exactly. You got the regular control arms. The regular ones will work fine but will wear out faster. You should at least get a refund for the difference in the price though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,892 Posts
For future reference, you got the wrong control arm. (Tischer sent me the wrong set initially, so they overnighted me the ZHP pair. I now have to send the other arms back, though they seem to have forgotten to send me a return label).

I have a ZHP and non-ZHP set here, and the outer balljoints are definitely different.

First picture: outer ball joint on the non-ZHP arm
Second pic: outer ball joint on the ZHP arm
Last pic: non-ZHP (left) and ZHP (right) next to each other.

As far as I can tell, it's only the outer ball joints that are different. Both control arms have identical stamps on them, and the inner ball joint looks identical on both arms.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
362 Posts
Tischer sent me the wrong set initially, so they overnighted me the ZHP pair. I now have to send the other arms back, though they seem to have forgotten to send me a return label.
It should be attached to the outside of the replacement shipment package inside the plastic shipping label sleeve. If it's not there, let me know and I can have one e-mailed over to you ASAP.

:thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,892 Posts
It should be attached to the outside of the replacement shipment package inside the plastic shipping label sleeve. If it's not there, let me know and I can have one e-mailed over to you ASAP.

:thumbup:
I will double check and then contact you. I would've done so today, but I didn't get home until 7.

edit: Jason, there's no packing slip period. There are just two stickers (one UPS, and one BMW sticker) stuck directly to the box, and only the control arms + the packing paper were inside.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top