Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog Tech Info Tech Forums
 
Follow Pelican Parts on Facebook Follow Pelican Parts on Twitter Follow Pelican Parts on Instagram Follow Pelican Parts on YouTube Follow Pelican Parts on Pinterest Follow Pelican Parts on Tumblr
  Search our site:    
View Recent Cars  |   Cart  | Project List | Order Status | Help    
 >  >
BMW E39 Front Lower Control Arm Replacement
 
Bookmark and Share

Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Front Lower Control Arm Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

***

Tools:

22mm wrench, 16mm socket with ratchet or wrench, 18mm socket with ratchet or wrench

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i Sedan/Wagon (2001-03)
BMW 528i Sedan/Wagon (1997-00)
BMW 530i Sedan (2001-03)
BMW 540i Sedan/Wagon (1997-03)

Parts Required:

Lower control arm, fasteners

Hot Tip:

Loosen nuts as much as you can before removing joint

Performance Gain:

Tighter feel in corners, eliminate vibration and increase tire life

Complementary Modification:

Change radius arm bushing or whole arm.

BMW's reputation is built on performance, power, handling and reliability. BMW uses aluminum arms in most of their suspension systems and they offer strength and light weight. After many miles of harsh roads and spirited driving ball joints and bushing start to wear. Over time this can lead to vibrations, poor road feel and uneven tire wear. Rebuilding your front suspension can restore the handling, eliminate vibrations and extend tire life. The lower control arm is a sturdy piece of the puzzle but it does have an outer ball joint built into it so it gets replaced as a whole unit.

These fasteners are going to be tight and there is not a lot of room to swing the wrench. You are going to have to be patient and use some force to remove fasteners and components to rebuild your front end. Corrosion may hold a joint in even after you have loosened a fastener. Keep in mind the joint may pop out when you use a removal tool so keep your hands clear and wear protective gloves.

Lift and support front axle of the vehicle. See our tech article on jacking up and supporting your vehicle. You have to remove the front tires to perform this job.

The procedure to replace the lower control arm is the same for both the left and right side. In these pictures we will be alternating between the left and right side. We will note it in the caption just keep in mind the step applies to both sides. It is recommended you replace both sides at the same time to keep your handling neutral.

Replacing Front Lower Control Arm:
This is the front lower control arm (green arrow) that we are going to remove.
Figure 1

This is the front lower control arm (green arrow) that we are going to remove. The one pictured here is on the left side. Both arms have a bushing (yellow arrow) that mounts to the body and a ball joint (red arrow) that attaches to the spindle. There should be a warning label for tow truck drivers not to pull on these suspension arms with hooks for towing.

Here is a close up of the ball joint on the left side control arm attached to the spindle.
Figure 2

Here is a close up of the ball joint on the left side control arm attached to the spindle. Notice the cracks (green arrow) in the dust boot that protect the ball joint. This cracked boot will allow road salt, dirt and water to enter the ball joint and cause wear as the vehicle is driven.

Start by removing the inner bushing mounting fasteners.
Figure 3

Start by removing the inner bushing mounting fasteners. Once you have removed the nut push the bolt in the direction of the blue arrow to remove it.

Use an 18mm wrench or socket and ratchet to hold the nut (green arrow).
Figure 4

Use an 18mm wrench or socket and ratchet to hold the nut (green arrow). Use a 16mm wrench or socket and ratchet to loosen the mounting bolt (yellow arrow, hidden behind the subframe) and remove the bolt.

Spray the ball joint mounting nut (green arrow) with penetrating oil.
Figure 5

Spray the ball joint mounting nut (green arrow) with penetrating oil. This will make it easier to thread the nut off without loosening the ball socket

Thread the 22mm mounting nut (green arrow) off as far as you can.
Figure 6

Thread the 22mm mounting nut (green arrow) off as far as you can. It will not come out all the way because it will eventually hit the bottom of the strut. Avoid knocking the ball joint out of the spindle until you have the nut almost all the way off. If you only loosen the nut and the ball socket starts to come out of the spindle you will have a hard time threading the bolt off because the ball socket will just spin with the nut. If the ball socket does come loose you can remove the strut and use a 5mm Allen socket to hold the ball joint shaft still while you wrench off the 22mm mounting bolt. You can cut a 5mm Allen key short to fit under the strut and hold the ball joint shaft still while you wrench the 22mm mounting nut off if necessary.

Use a splitting fork to separate the lower control arm ball-joint from the spindle.
Figure 7

Use a splitting fork to separate the lower control arm ball-joint from the spindle. Be careful and use protective eyewear incase metal chips fly off as you strike the fork with the hammerÂ'. Installation is the reverse of the removal steps.


I find it easier to install the inner lower control arm bushing first, install the mounting bolt and tighten the nut a little. Then install the ball joint shaft through the mounting hole in the spindle. You are going to want to put some pressure on the ball joint so the shaft stays still or use your special shortened Allen key tool to hold the shaft still while your tighten the 22mm mounting nut. Once you have the outer ball joint tightened down go back and tighten the inner lower control arm bushing mount.

Bookmark and Share
Comments and Suggestions:
Kai Comments: Does this job require an alignment afterward? What about after replacing the upper control arms?
May 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is suggested you have the alignment checked when replacing or removing any suspension components. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

  Search our site:    

View Cart & CheckOut | Project List | Order Status |  Help    

 

[Home] [Customer Service] [Shopping Cart] [Privacy Statement]
 [Contact Us] [About Us] [Shipping] [Map to our Location] [Careers]

Copyright © Pelican Parts Inc.

Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:06:02 AM