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BMW Front Control Arm Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW Front Control Arm Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets (10mm, 21mm)

Applicable Models:

BMW 325i Sedan (2006)
BMW 325xi Sedan/Wagon (2006)
BMW 328i xDrive Coupe (2009-13)
BMW 328i xDrive Sedan (2009-11)
BMW 328i xDrive Wagon (2009-12)
BMW 328i/xi Coupe (2007-13)
BMW 328i/xi Sedan (2007-11)
BMW 328i/xi Wagon (2007-12)
BMW 330i/xi Sedan (2006)
BMW 335d/i/xi Sedan (2007-11)
BMW 335i xDrive Coupe (2009-13)
BMW 335i xDrive Sedan (2009-11)
BMW 335i/is/xi Coupe (2007-13)

Parts Required:

Front control arm, control arm bushing, front tension strut, self-locking nuts for ball joints.

Hot Tip:

Replace in pairs

Performance Gain:

Replace faulty control arm, ball joint and control arm bushing

Complementary Modification:

Inspect with each oil change

The control arm has two areas of trouble; The ball joint that connects to steering knuckle and the control arm bushing . When replacing your front control arm, I suggest replacing the bushing every time. Keep in mind, the bushings have to be replaced in pairs. Inspect your control arm or ball joints for looseness by jacking the front your vehicle and moving wheel side to side. If you feel looseness in the attachment points, this indicates a problem. You may need help from a friend to watch the control arm components while you wiggle the wheel. The bushing can leak hydraulic fluid, if you see signs of fluid leak from a bushing, replace, (always replace bushings in pairs). A bad bushing may also give you a brake shake when you first apply the brakes at cruising speed, or a knocking sound.

Raise and support front of vehicle on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking your vehicle. You're going to want both wheels off the ground.

Remove front wheel from side of vehicle you are replacing control arm on.

Remove engine splash shield. See our tech article on engine splash shield removing.

Rear control arm (tension strut)

If your vehicle is equipped with Xenon headlights, remove Xenon headlight height sensor from control arm.

Working at steering knuckle, remove 21mm ball joint nut (green arrow).
Figure 1

Working at steering knuckle, remove 21mm ball joint nut (green arrow).

The ball joints on E90 models are not interference fit.
Figure 2

The ball joints on E90 models are not interference fit. You do not need a pickle fork to remove them. While loosening the pressure is relieved from the connection. The ball joint may spin when you try to remove the nut. If this happens, place a jack (green arrow) under the ball joint and apply only enough pressure to remove nut.

Next, working at subframe, remove control arm 21mm fastener.
Figure 3

Next, working at subframe, remove control arm 21mm fastener. (green arrow)

Lever ball joint out of wheel bearing carrier using a prybar.
Figure 4

Lever ball joint out of wheel bearing carrier using a prybar. Then remove control arm from vehicle. When installing new control arm; first, install bushing into subframe, then ball joint nut finger tight. Replace both self-locking nuts. When tightening ball joint, it may be necessary to place a jack under ball joint to stop stud from rotating. Like earlier when removing. Next tighten steering knuckle ball joint nut. Tighten bushing fasteners, you will want your suspension in the loaded position when you tighten it. Loaded position is angle of control arm when wheels are on the ground. You can do this by lowering your vehicle onto ramps or blocks. Install Xenon light height sensor. Install splash shield and double check your work. If you have uneven tire wear, have your vehicle professionally aligned. Front control arm

Working at steering knuckle, remove 21mm ball joint nut (green arrow).
Figure 5

Working at steering knuckle, remove 21mm ball joint nut (green arrow).

The ball joints on E90 models are not interference fit.
Figure 6

The ball joints on E90 models are not interference fit. You do not need a pickle fork to remove them. It will pop out under its own weight.

Next, working at subframe, remove control arm 21mm fasteners.
Figure 7

Next, working at subframe, remove control arm 21mm fasteners. (green arrow) The nut is captured by a metal bracket (yellow arrow). You'll have to pull it down to replace the nut. Then remove control arm from vehicle. To replace bushing, use a press tool to remove and install bushing.

Be sure to align bushing hole with arrow on control arm when installing.
Figure 8

Be sure to align bushing hole with arrow on control arm when installing. (green arrows) When installing new control arm; first, install bushing into subframe, then ball joint nut finger tight. Replace both self-locking nuts. Next tighten steering knuckle ball joint nut. Tighten bushing fasteners, you will want your suspension in the loaded position when you tighten it. Loaded position is angle of control arm when wheels are on the ground. You can do this by lowering your vehicle onto ramps or blocks. Install splash shield and double check your work. If you have uneven tire wear, have your vehicle professionally aligned.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Pokey Comments: Adding to shuskikiar: I was unable to access the 24mm nut on the lower control arms. The nature of the steering knuckle's casting & the CV made this job impossible. Then the "aha" I dropped the tie rods and managed to get a 24 mm thin wall socket on the darn 24mm nut.
August 1, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Max Comments: What happens if you don't have the wheels at ride height when the control arm bolts/nuts are tightened? I had a shop do mine, and at high speed it feels like my front end is bouncing up a bit. Not sure if I'm imagining it, or if they tightened the bolts with the hubs hanging down.
July 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The bushing will be twisted when in the loaded position, instead of a neutral position. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Slimp Shady Comments: I have a 2008 E92 Coupe With X-Drive.On the front suspension, I have the traction strut ball joint on the XDrive configuration that is actually in the steering knuckle and points DOWN when seated in the knuckle. It is close to impossible to get this ball joint out by banging on it. Do you know of a tool or way to get this out? Pickle forks don't work, and a ball joint separator doesn't work here as the spindle needs to be pulled out and there is nothing to leverage against. Suggestions?
April 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: As far I recall, E90 suspensions are not interference fit, you do not need a tool to remove it. if it is stuck, you can try using a ball joint extractor to free it.if not room, you will have to remove whatever is in the way. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Max Comments: The only Locking nut I'm able to find is Part # 33 30 6 787 062, which is M14 x 1.5. Are they all the same size? I'm replacing the control arms on my 335i with the M3 components, and they only came with enough locking nuts for the ball joints, but nut the bushings.
April 6, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not the best with part numbers.
Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Andrew Comments: I'm up to the last step but when trying to tighten the bolt that goes through the bushing it just spins in place. I'm not able to torque it or unscrew it. Did I strip the bracket? What can I do about this?
March 24, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The bolt attaches to a nut on the opposite side. The nut has a small metal bracket that rests against the subframe, holding it to allow tightening. My guess is the nut and bracket fell off. You can reinstall it once you find it. See the item int he last step indicated by the yellow arrow.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
TJ Comments: My rear-front control arm needs new bushing. I was told BMW does not replace bushing but you must replace both arms with bushings. Is this true?
December 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This could be the method they use for your model. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
shushikiary Comments: Oh I should have mentioned my information is for the 335xi, most likely why the nuts are larger.
November 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Got it, thx. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
shushikiary Comments: On the XI models the nuts on the steering knuckle are 24mm and the nuts/bolts on the subframe for the control arms are 18mm.

Further the design of the ball joints are different, for the rear control arm the ball joint is bolted into the steering knuckle and has a torx slot in the end of it so you can use a 24mm wrench and a torx bit to get the nut loose. On the front the ball joint is part of the control arm like the front one here is. The bushing on the front control arm is different though too, its not longer on one side than the other like here and it has a different movement to it. The rear control arm bushing is also different, and the alignment of the bushing is different as the key in the bushing is away from the mark in the arm not towards it like in the pictures here.
November 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Snayko Comments: Looks like on figure 3 is 18 mm nut and bolt. At least on my 2006 325i e90
August 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Tue 9/1/2015 02:45:10 AM