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My 530i with 55K miles and stock suspension has been experiencing the oft-reported clunking/vibration when braking at low speeds over rough pavement, railroad tracks et. al.

After reading the posts on-line, I suggested to my dealer's service dept. that they check the control arm (thrust arm) bushings, sway bar ends, etc. They reported that the lower control arms need replacing outright, at a cost of about $1,000 (not covered under CPO warranty). They also said I risked uneven tire wear, damage to other suspension components, etc etc. if I didn't act.

I told them I'd get back to them. What do you all think?

I know BMW service is expensive, but, wow. Of course, this is the same dealership that quoted $55 for a replacement hood roundel; $450 to replace the FSU for the climate control (covered by CPO warranty, at least); $225 to replace a vapor seal in the rear door ("probably not warranty"), and you-don't-want-to-know-how-much for Inspection II (Factory Maintenance pgm).

Thanks for listening.
 

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$1,000? while theyre at it, why not ask $10,000. man they are daylight robbery.
people say "well you drive a bmw you should expect high prices", yeah thats if dont know any better....and you love giving away hard earned cash

but when you put it this way ...
2 x new lower arms about $100 aftermarket/ $176 OEM BMW part each
Labour = 1 hr absolute MAX
NUMBER 11. i changed mine friday(no more knocking noises!:) )


so they want to charge you 700 bucks for one hour labour. think about it.......

well i expect to pay high prices due to the quality of the products but i dont expect to take it up the arse when i go to the dealership.......
for 360 dollars you can get an entire front suspension kit http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=33583&viewitem=&item=280220392090&_trksid=p3907.m29
 

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My 530i with 55K miles and stock suspension has been experiencing the oft-reported clunking/vibration when braking at low speeds over rough pavement, railroad tracks et. al.

After reading the posts on-line, I suggested to my dealer's service dept. that they check the control arm (thrust arm) bushings, sway bar ends, etc. They reported that the lower control arms need replacing outright, at a cost of about $1,000 (not covered under CPO warranty). They also said I risked uneven tire wear, damage to other suspension components, etc etc. if I didn't act.

I told them I'd get back to them. What do you all think?

I know BMW service is expensive, but, wow. Of course, this is the same dealership that quoted $55 for a replacement hood roundel; $450 to replace the FSU for the climate control (covered by CPO warranty, at least); $225 to replace a vapor seal in the rear door ("probably not warranty"), and you-don't-want-to-know-how-much for Inspection II (Factory Maintenance pgm).

Thanks for listening.
I just bought a set of Lemfoerder's (OE) from Above_all_Motorwerks_dotcom (located in Illinois) for $260 shipped. So, the dealership is charging you $740 for the installation. That is just plain silly if the dealership is charging you that much to replace the wishbone/lower control arms.

You should try to contact a few of the local board members and have an installfest in order to save the remainder of the money for other, more beneficial mods or replacements. If you do not do your own work, then this might be an opportunity to get some help and hands on experience. After a couple of installs you will realize just how much the dealership, and other shops for that matter, are raping you. A good way to look at is to invest what you would have spent at the dealership ($740) and buy the proper tools to do the job. Then you will be able to re-use the tools on later jobs, as well as add to the arsenal. After going through this a few times you will then need therapy in order to stop looking for things to fix on your car.
 

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High five michel,
couldn't have said it better myself!

its really hard to change lower contol arms, in the diagram i posted earlier, remove Nut 13 + 7......... THATS IT!

Go buy some tools for your car,
when your finished with the tools....go into that dealership and SMACK THE GUY WITH IT!
 

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better still, buy the Bentley Manual for your e39 , smack the dealership guy over the head with that too

if you want, i can talk you thru it ( changing the wishbone i mean)
 

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High five michel,
couldn't have said it better myself!

its really hard to change lower contol arms, in the diagram i posted earlier, remove Nut 13 + 7......... THATS IT!

Go buy some tools for your car,
when your finished with the tools....go into that dealership and SMACK THE GUY WITH IT!
Back at ya'! I want to see some pictures of your tii "Beast" when you are done with it - they are a dying breed.
 

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You're getting reamed.

I just had this job done a few weeks ago. I bought both lower control arms with bushings @ $42 each and bought aftermarket upper control arm bushings only for about $40 for the pair. Paid my mechanic $250 for the complete install. Excellent results--no more side-to-side steering wheel shimmy or "clunking" when hitting a driveway lip. Total job under $400, parts and labor, including alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
If you do not do your own work, then this might be an opportunity to get some help and hands on experience. After a couple of installs you will realize just how much the dealership, and other shops for that matter, are raping you. A good way to look at is to invest what you would have spent at the dealership ($740) and buy the proper tools to do the job. Then you will be able to re-use the tools on later jobs, as well as add to the arsenal.
Thanks for the advice. I have done what I'd call light mechanical work on my Volvo, but never suspension work. What kind of specialized tools are needed, beyond metric wrenches, torque wrench, et. al.? Is the work done with the car up on jack stands? :dunno:

By the way, the exact quote was $935 parts and labor for lower control arms.
 

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im not in my office right now but when i get back later il tell you all the tools you need.
just be prepared, i said it should only take 1 hour max, thats for an Qualified BMW mechanic.
give yourself at least 2 hours for first time. (took me 3 first time cos im an idiot!)
for the record i didnt get oem part i got mine for 77 euro and its perfect.
il PM you the steps later.
Steve.
 

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Steve:
Can you post the DIY? I'm gonna need to do this sooner or later. Thanx in advance!
yeah no problem fudman. il post what i did, and the book version cos im not sure if my way is 100% by the book cos i looked at the book way after i did it and it did it a different way to me. but i asked the mechanic in my workplace and he said it was fine.
 

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Thanks for the advice. I have done what I'd call light mechanical work on my Volvo, but never suspension work. What kind of specialized tools are needed, beyond metric wrenches, torque wrench, et. al.? Is the work done with the car up on jack stands? :dunno:

By the way, the exact quote was $935 parts and labor for lower control arms.
I will be installing my arms this weekend and will take pics of what I do - it will also include the use of Powerflex bushings. Also, I am replacing my front wheel bearings and rear ball joints while I am at it.

There are many writeups on the procedure, but it never hurts to have fresh pics of an install. The only tool that would need to be ordered is the ball joint separator tool. The procedure can be done on jack stands until you get to the final torque. After that I do it a little differently than most write-ups. I drive the car around the block a couple of times and let the suspension settle to normal ride height and then proceed with the final torque while the car is in it's normal resting position.

If you want to take a look at some pics of my thrust arm install to see what is involved then click here (not much different than the wishbone install): http://picasaweb.google.com/mmm635/ControlArmPics. The write-up portion of the install has been neglected since I have done it - free time is scarce. I need to edit it and just post the damn thing up since it might be beneficial for the I6 guys that need some help.
 

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yeah thats what my spanking new "Haynes manual" said to do with the suspension height, drive it around then final torque. i dont have a torque wrench or ball joint separator. so i just tightened it til my face went red...
 

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Wow--my $tealer quoted $450 installed. But I'm going to do it myself.
 

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yeah thats what my spanking new "Haynes manual" said to do with the suspension height, drive it around then final torque. i dont have a torque wrench or ball joint separator. so i just tightened it til my face went red...
Yeah, if you take a look at a few of the pics in the link above I wanted to point that out but failed to do so (torquing it, that is). I had to remove the duct work in order for the thru-bolt to clear. Once all of that is back in place it is impossible to get a torque wrench in there anyway. The amount of torque needed is close to what the wheel bolts require. So, if one have a good idea of what that is, then the bolt can be tightened by hand while stretching underneath the car.

I am not sure if my face turned red, but I did have an imprint of "Craftsman" on my hand for a while.
 

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Control arms take a bit longer because you can't get a socket over the nut that holds it in the strut. =x
 

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Firstly the parts you require for 525i are
*******PARTS***********


11 WISHBONE, LEFT PART NUMBER 31121094233 $176.33
11 RIGHT WISHBONE PART NUMBER 31121094234 $176.33
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/BMW-...008QQitemZ180236707892QQrdZ1QQsspagenameZWDVW

you prob dont need to get the nuts and bolts but id replace them just to be sure, especially the lock nut over the ball joint!
07 SELF-LOCKING HEX NUT 31121092107 $0.88
10 FLAT WASHER 31121092099 $2.34

12 COLLAR SCREW M12X1,5X95-10.9 2 31121094298 $1.13
13 SELF-LOCKING COLLAR NUT M12X1,5-10 33326751446 $0.86

********TOOLS*************
Metric socket set, Spanners, Hammer, Allen keys(to hold the balljoint still while youre tightening the bolt

Right im gonna give you the book guide to changing Front suspension lower control arms.
from my manual. then il give you how i did it. you can decide whichever way you wish.

REMOVAL.
1.Chock the rear wheels, firmly apply the handbrake then jack up the front of the car with axle stands. remove the appropriate road wheel.
2. undo the screws and remove the engine undershield.
3 on models with suspension ride height sensors, undo the retaining nut and remove the sensor link bracket from the lower arm.
4. Unscrew the lower are balljoint nut, and release the arm from the hub carrier using a balljoint seperator. recover the washer.
bmwremoval.JPG
5 Slacken and remove the Nut/Bolt securing the control arm to the sub-frame and remover from the vehicle
OVERHAUL
6 clean the lower arm and the area around the arm mountings removing all traces of dirt and check carefully for cracks in the bushings.
REFITTING
7. Ensure the balljoint studs and mounting brackets are clean and dry then offer up the lower arm.
8. locate the inner end of the arm in the sub-frame mounting and then insert the bolt ( i found this a SERIOUS PAIN IN THE ASS):wahwah:
9.Engage the balljoint stud with the hub carrier fit a new washer and tighten it to the specific torque.
10. On models with ride height sensors refit the sensor and tighten the retaining nut securely.
11. refit the roadwheel then lower the car to the ground and tighten wheelbolts to the specific torque.
12. The nut and bolt securing the inner end of the control arm must be tightened when the vehicle is in "normal road height position"
13 refit the engine undershield.
 

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now my way( before i looked at the book)
For my car i didnt need to remove the lower engine cover. not sure if you will need to or not.

What i did last friday,

1. Jacked up the car, dropped the chassis on some concrete blocks nice and safe.
2. Took off the road wheel
noticed my stone chip guard is cracked causing ALOT OF RATTLES!
3. Undid the bolt behind the wheel hub. that dropped the arm out. now you can swing the wheel hub toward the bumper out of your way so you can see better.

4. Undid the bolt and nut connected to the sub frame.
you would not believe how badly worn the ball joint was.it was a joke. i was ashamed

5. Now the hardest part for me by far was getting the inner end busing into the subframe bracket. it had gotten dark i was sick of the hammer i wanted to die. im not sure if there is an exact strategy to it im sure some other guys can chime in. this was my first time doing this.
i was beginning to believe the after market part i got was a tiny bit too large for the subframe bracket, maybe it was, cos there was absolutely no way in hell it was going in. so i filed down the outsides of the metal bracket inside the bush
massacre.JPG
it was still pretty hard to get it in but i got it in eventually (thats what she said last night!)

another hard part for me was to align the hole of the control arm with the hole of the sub frame brakcet. (maybe cos it was 10pm and dark)

6. once thats in place its time to insert the other end of the control arm which is pretty easy. you might need to hold an allen key in the top of the balljoint cos the balljoint was slipping and the nut wouldnt tighten.
REMINDER FOR THOSE WHO DONT KNOW, use a new selflock nut here. once these nuts are removed they shouldnt be re-used.
thats it i just tightened everything, put back on the wheel. and she drove really well down the street. i drove it into Dublin city and she felt great.

sorry i never took photos when iwas doing this, i know it makes it alot easier but honestly you dont really need to see. its just 2 nuts at either end!
il take some photos in next day r so and edit this im just pretty busy over the next while. hope this helps guys.
 
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