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Pelican Technical Article:
BMW Front Control Arm Replacement

Nick Czerula

 
Time: 3 hours
Tab: $300
Talent:  
Tools:
Set of sockets (10mm, 21mm)
Applicable Models:
325i (2006)
325Xi (2006)
330i (2006)
330xi (2006)
328i (2007-2009)
335i (2007-2009)
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
 
   

   

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     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).
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
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.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Next, working at subframe, remove control arm 21mm fastener.
Figure 3
Next, working at subframe, remove control arm 21mm fastener. (green arrow)
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
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
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Working at steering knuckle, remove 21mm ball joint nut (green arrow).
Figure 5
Working at steering knuckle, remove 21mm ball joint nut (green arrow).
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
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.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
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.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
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.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Need to buy parts for this project?
Click here to order parts for your BMW from our parts catalog
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Comments and Suggestions:
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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  Applies to: 325i (2006), 325Xi (2006), 330i (2006), 330xi (2006), 328i (2007-2009), 335i (2007-2009)
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