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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I need some help and advice with sorting out my options. I am in an immediate need of thrust arm bushing in my 2003 530i Sport, as mine are both torn to shreds. After doing much research and reading on this forum and others, I am utterly confused on what is the best course of action. My options are as follows:

1) Replace only the worn OEM bushing with new OEM bushings (fluid filled). The upside is OEM feel. The obvious drawback is quick failure. Cost: $80? + labor (including having old bushings pressed out and new bushings pressed in).

2) Replace worn OEM bushings with Powerflex bushing. The upside is improved performance and feel, plus ease of installation as they do not have to be pressed in, nor does the suspension have to loaded for tightening. The drawbacks, as I understand them, are that they can be harsh(er) then OEM and occasionally can be noisy, especially in cold weather. Cost: $80 + labor (without the time needed to press in new bushings)

3) Replace both thrust arms with OEM Lemforder arms from EAC Tuning with HD (non-fluid filled) bushings already pressed into them. The advantage is the ease of installation, close to OEM feel, and longer service life than stock fluid filled bushings. Disadvantages include the cost, plus I do not really need control arms right now as my ball joints have been inspected and feel fine. Cost: $260 + labor (no need to press old bushing out or new ones in).

4) Replace worn OEM bushings with HD (non-fluid filled) bushings. Advantages are close to OEM feel and longer service life. Disadvanages... not sure. Cost: $68 + labor (including having old bushings pressed out and new bushings pressed in).


My car has 80K miles and I currently have Bilstein Sport shocks with Vogtland lowering springs. The ride is very aggressive - as in stiff and very sporty. I prefer sporty feel to comfort, but would rather not introduce more stiffness and/or new sounds to the suspension set-up. Furthermore, my lower control arms have the standard OEM (not Powerflex) bushings. I don't know if that matters when it comes to matching them to upper arms with Powerflex bushings, but thought I'd mention it. I do plan on keeping the car for the LONG haul and understand that ball joints will eventually fail. They are fine for now though. I am considering DIY, however I am concerned with having have to press old bushing out and new bushings in.

My questions are as follows: I want people's opinions and advice on which option to go with. I also would like to hear about members' experiences with OEM, HD, and Powerflex bushings, and general advice on what is the best course of action (i.e. replace just the bushings or entire arms, and if relacing bushings alone, then with which ones?) taking into account considerations like the ease of installation, cost of labor, cost of parts, and long term utiltiy and durability. Thank you in advance for your guys' (and gals') help!
 

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Joebox

Been there and done that. I was all fired up about trying out powerflex for my car, which happens to be the same as yours. I also have bilstein sports on my car. After much study about how to remove the old bushings, I was convinced that the best way was to buy the factory press sleeves and use a press that can be bought cheaply from Harbor Freight or rented from Autozone. Installation of the PF bushings would seem to be straghtforward but I could never sqeeze both of the washers into each side of the arm. So I only used one on each side. They were firm but worked fine for a few months. My shimmy what was occurring between 55-60mph was gone but I now had a shimmy between 75-80mph that I never had before. After a few months, the bushings started to sqeak and groan. I hated this sound and knew this wasn't the right solution for me. I bought some OEM replacements (made by BOGE I think) and using my factory press and receiving sleeves, they went in without too much effort. After living with the harsh/firmness of the PF bushings, I really came to appreciate how nice the car rode with the OEM bushings. I replaced mine at 60k and will probably replace the whole arm with bushing at 120k. The combination of the firm bilstein shocks with the more compliant bushings are just perfect for me. I know others have had luck with PF bushings but I will never go away from the OEM on the bushing and arm replacements from now on. BTW, I have no experience with Meyle HD bushings that are not fluid filled but I assume they are somewhere in between the feel of the OEM and the PF bushings.
 

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I have the Myele HD bushings on my 530 sport. I did not notice a "ride" difference compared to worn out stockers. It did get rid of quite a bit of shimmy. I swapped these on the car. This job sucked and I would not do it again. I'd replace the entire arm. EAC will (did) rent the bushing press tools to me. These would work excellent with the arm removed and used on a press. What does not work well with on-car swap is using a ball joint press with the EAC tools. There was lots of cussing that day.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Joebox

Been there and done that. I was all fired up about trying out powerflex for my car, which happens to be the same as yours. I also have bilstein sports on my car. After much study about how to remove the old bushings, I was convinced that the best way was to buy the factory press sleeves and use a press that can be bought cheaply from Harbor Freight or rented from Autozone. Installation of the PF bushings would seem to be straghtforward but I could never sqeeze both of the washers into each side of the arm. So I only used one on each side. They were firm but worked fine for a few months. My shimmy what was occurring between 55-60mph was gone but I now had a shimmy between 75-80mph that I never had before. After a few months, the bushings started to sqeak and groan. I hated this sound and knew this wasn't the right solution for me. I bought some OEM replacements (made by BOGE I think) and using my factory press and receiving sleeves, they went in without too much effort. After living with the harsh/firmness of the PF bushings, I really came to appreciate how nice the car rode with the OEM bushings. I replaced mine at 60k and will probably replace the whole arm with bushing at 120k. The combination of the firm bilstein shocks with the more compliant bushings are just perfect for me. I know others have had luck with PF bushings but I will never go away from the OEM on the bushing and arm replacements from now on. BTW, I have no experience with Meyle HD bushings that are not fluid filled but I assume they are somewhere in between the feel of the OEM and the PF bushings.
This is exactly the kind of feedback I wanted to hear. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience!

I have the Myele HD bushings on my 530 sport. I did not notice a "ride" difference compared to worn out stockers. It did get rid of quite a bit of shimmy. I swapped these on the car. This job sucked and I would not do it again. I'd replace the entire arm. EAC will (did) rent the bushing press tools to me. These would work excellent with the arm removed and used on a press. What does not work well with on-car swap is using a ball joint press with the EAC tools. There was lots of cussing that day.
How many mile were on your car when you did the swap? Also, any other information you could share about the HD bushings? I know you said you did not notice a "ride" difference from the work out stock bushings. Were your stock bushings simply old or actually cracked/failed?

P.S. Please keep the comments comming, I want to get a good concensus on what people have done for their bushing replacement and how it's working out. All opinions/experiences are welcomed!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I also read one post where the OP replaced the OEM e39 fluid filled bushings with OEM E-53 (X5) fluid filled bushings, which are apparently sturdier than the e-39 bushings.

I will have to find that post (not sure on which forum it was posted) for feedback maybe.
Interesting, anyone have any experience with these X5 bushings???
 

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I just ordered HDs for my car after contmplating entire arm replacement. I hope I did the right thing... Is it like an extra hour of labor if you're replacing just bushings as opposed to the actual arms?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Is it like an extra hour of labor if you're replacing just bushings as opposed to the actual arms?
That's my question... What's the differennce in labor / what is the best thing to do? Bushings only + extra labor (I don't know how much extra), or whole new arms? :dunno:
 

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That's my question... What's the differennce in labor / what is the best thing to do? Bushings only + extra labor (I don't know how much extra), or whole new arms? :dunno:
Depends how the ball joint is. If it has play - it's gone too (if you know when the bushing lost the fluid, you would have an educated guess: if it just went bust, the arm is OK. If you drove with the bad bushing more than 15-20k miles, chances are the ball joint due to uncontrolled / not engineered for movement is gone too).
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Depends how the ball joint is. If it has play - it's gone too (if you know when the bushing lost the fluid, you would have an educated guess: if it just went bust, the arm is OK. If you drove with the bad bushing more than 15-20k miles, chances are the ball joint due to uncontrolled / not engineered for movement is gone too).
I don't exactly know when my current OEM bushings failed, but I have noticed increasing nocking noises and vague, rubbery feel from the front suspension since about last July. But I can't immagine that both sides have been torn or completely shot since then. It is only recently that I started noticing significant difference in the way the car rides and feels in the front. I am strongly considering replacing the entire arms simply becasue I know I have to keep this car long term and the ball joints will eventually fail - probably soon. Thus, my primary concern is to keep the car running properly. But as of right now, there is no play in the ball joints. With this in mind, should I still be ponnying up the extra cash and replacing the entire arm assemblies now? Or should I save my $$$ and just change the bushings? Or will that cost same or more due to the extra labor? Or should I DIY since the arms are easier to replace than bushings? That's my dilema...
 

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Well i'm pretty sure relacing whole assembly=1.5 hr labor while bushings=2.5 hrs labor
 

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I have almost the same car as yours, only I have the non sport setup.
Yours is stiffer, and prolly harder on the front components.
So maybe just because of that i would get new Lemfoerder components for the peace of mind.
Now you have 2 options:
1.) Get them without bushings - and you install the bushings of your choice
2.) With bushings, but they will be the crappy, but comfy OEM.

Personally I would go the 1st route, and keep the old arms for a rainy day in case something stupid happens.

0.02
 

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I had mine replaced with oem bushings at 60k and 60k later they are still in great condition...I'm actually a bit amazed. My buddy swears by the X5 bushings which he had installed in his otherwise stock suspension 2003 540 M-Sport. I think that is a better option that poly which is prone to noise/squeeks. His shop apparently uses the X5 bushing in all E39's.

Personally, I think your option #3 looks to be the best of all. It simplifies installation (no press needed) and you get new ball joints, so no worries in the future of replacing the ball joints 20k or 30k later...and a more durable bushing to boot.

The other option to consider is oem style arms, simply to maintain comfort...if there really is much difference. You should get at least another 60k to 70k out of an oem bushing.
 

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Joebox, I replaced the OE bushings with HDs from EAC on my 540it. I did not replace the arms as the ball joints were still in good shape. I pressed them out and in using a rental tool from Autozone.


While I got it done, I don't recommend that route. Get them pressed at a machine shop for less hassle/time.

No harshness or noise with the HDs. Before replacement, I had shimmy at 45-55. I have no shimmy now up to 125. Haven't tested above that. :D
 

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This is exactly the kind of feedback I wanted to hear. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience!

How many mile were on your car when you did the swap? Also, any other information you could share about the HD bushings? I know you said you did not notice a "ride" difference from the work out stock bushings. Were your stock bushings simply old or actually cracked/failed?
They were shot when I purchased the CPO car from the dealer at 52K miles. I was having vibration issues so I pulled the plastic covers off and noted the telltale oil stains due to leakage. Dealer said.... "bushings are fine, we balanced your tires, they were off". Well, that helped but it still was not right. Dealer was not going to budge. So, at 68K I bought the HD bushings from EAC. The stockers were quite badly cracked which explained the loss of fluid.
My point on the ride quality is that I did not notice any increased harshness in the ride from the HD bushings.
 

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Joebox,

I replaced my OEM bushings with Poly bushings purchased from FCP Groton at around 90k miles. They helped out the shimmy for a while but within a week after installation my control arms started making clunking sounds. That annoyed the piss out of me and it got worse the warmer it was outside. My indie mechanic discovered that the actual poly bushings were moving within the joint whenever you applied the brake which was causing the clunking sounds. FCP wouldn't even work with us or back up their product...it was obvious one bushing was worse than the other and we believed at least one poly bushing to be defective. In addition, my shimmy came back b/w 55-65mph.

Anywho, after some research I got under the car and lubed up the poly bushings with synthetic grease and that quieted the clunking sounds considerably. Enough so that I can live with it until I come up with the money to buy replacement arms. I've decided I'm going to replace my arms with Lemforder arms with HD bushings pre-installed from EACTuning.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I have almost the same car as yours, only I have the non sport setup.
Yours is stiffer, and prolly harder on the front components.
So maybe just because of that i would get new Lemfoerder components for the peace of mind.
Now you have 2 options:
1.) Get them without bushings - and you install the bushings of your choice
2.) With bushings, but they will be the crappy, but comfy OEM.

Personally I would go the 1st route, and keep the old arms for a rainy day in case something stupid happens.

0.02
I agree, with my stiffer set-up the thrust arms will be taking more of a beating. The ball joints will likely fail as some point, probably soon. This makes me lean towards replacing the entire arms with Lemforder arms and HD bushings already pressed in from EAC.

I had mine replaced with oem bushings at 60k and 60k later they are still in great condition...I'm actually a bit amazed. My buddy swears by the X5 bushings which he had installed in his otherwise stock suspension 2003 540 M-Sport. I think that is a better option that poly which is prone to noise/squeeks. His shop apparently uses the X5 bushing in all E39's.

Personally, I think your option #3 looks to be the best of all. It simplifies installation (no press needed) and you get new ball joints, so no worries in the future of replacing the ball joints 20k or 30k later...and a more durable bushing to boot.

The other option to consider is oem style arms, simply to maintain comfort...if there really is much difference. You should get at least another 60k to 70k out of an oem bushing.
That's interesting that your oem bushings have lasted so well. I doubt they will in my car due to the much stiffer than stock suspension set-up. I agree that replacing the arms with HD bushings already pressed in sounds like the best option at this point, considering the ease of installation and overall future durabilty.

Joebox, I replaced the OE bushings with HDs from EAC on my 540it. I did not replace the arms as the ball joints were still in good shape. I pressed them out and in using a rental tool from Autozone.


While I got it done, I don't recommend that route. Get them pressed at a machine shop for less hassle/time.

No harshness or noise with the HDs. Before replacement, I had shimmy at 45-55. I have no shimmy now up to 125. Haven't tested above that. :D
Thanks for that feedback! This is exaclty why I wanted to hear from folks who have been through this. I am gathering that pressing the bushings in and out is no picnic, and I really don't want to attempt to do it myself based on the feedback I've been getting. Also, it is good to know that the HD bushings are not harsh or noisy.

P.S. We need your test results above 125 MPH as soon as possibe! :D

They were shot when I purchased the CPO car from the dealer at 52K miles. I was having vibration issues so I pulled the plastic covers off and noted the telltale oil stains due to leakage. Dealer said.... "bushings are fine, we balanced your tires, they were off". Well, that helped but it still was not right. Dealer was not going to budge. So, at 68K I bought the HD bushings from EAC. The stockers were quite badly cracked which explained the loss of fluid.
My point on the ride quality is that I did not notice any increased harshness in the ride from the HD bushings.
Good to know that HD bushings are not noticeably harsher. This is the kind of feedback I am looking for before I make a decision. Thanks! :thumbup:

Joebox,

I replaced my OEM bushings with Poly bushings purchased from FCP Groton at around 90k miles. They helped out the shimmy for a while but within a week after installation my control arms started making clunking sounds. That annoyed the piss out of me and it got worse the warmer it was outside. My indie mechanic discovered that the actual poly bushings were moving within the joint whenever you applied the brake which was causing the clunking sounds. FCP wouldn't even work with us or back up their product...it was obvious one bushing was worse than the other and we believed at least one poly bushing to be defective. In addition, my shimmy came back b/w 55-65mph.

Anywho, after some research I got under the car and lubed up the poly bushings with synthetic grease and that quieted the clunking sounds considerably. Enough so that I can live with it until I come up with the money to buy replacement arms. I've decided I'm going to replace my arms with Lemforder arms with HD bushings pre-installed from EACTuning.

Hope this helps.
I appreciate the feedback. Sounds like the consensus is to go with Lemforder arms with HD bushings pre-installed. That't the direction I am leaning in.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I guess the question now becomes, how easy is it to DIY if I replace the entire thrust arms with Lemforder ones (with HD bushings pre-installed) from EAC. The only issues I see are: (1) loosening the strut pinch bolt in order to drop the hub/steering knuckle a few inches in order to be able to remove the ball joint and arm; and (2) actually separating the ball joint. Anyone have any experience doing this and how easy or difficult was this? I have basic DIY skills and want to tackle the job on my own if I can. All comments welcomed.
 
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