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Did my control arms - should I be pissed?

3429 Views 13 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  TerraPhantm
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 ---
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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!
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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.
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