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Front Control Arm Bushing Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Control Arm Bushing Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$100

Talent:

***

Tools:

Set of sockets (16mm, 18mm), soft faced hammer, pickle fork,dremel

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 (1996-02)

Parts Required:

Control arm bushings (set of two)

Hot Tip:

Mark bushing location

Performance Gain:

Replace faulty control arm bushing, restore drive quality

Complementary Modification:

Replace control arm

BMW Z3 front suspension main components are as follows:

  • The front sub frame provides a rigid platform for mounting the drive train (engine and transmission), steering rack and most front suspension components. 
  • Lower control arms on left and right, each with three attachment points: 
    • Bushing at rear anchoring control arm to car frame.
    • Ball joint at front attaching to sub frame.
    • Ball joint at outer end attaching to steering knuckle.

  • Coil springs and shock absorbers in MacPherson strut configuration. 
  • Stabilizer bar anchored at front sub frame and attached via stabilizer links to control arms.

The control arm bushing connects the control arm to the vehicle body. A worn bushing can cause a number of ride quality problems. You may have a shudder when braking or a clunk when you hit a bump. A faulty control arm bushing can cause each of these. To inspect the bushing, jack the front of your vehicle. With the wheel installed, wiggle the rear of the tire side to side. The bushing should resist and feel firm. If the wheel wiggles freely and has little resistance, the bushing is failing. Always replace bushings in pairs.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Raise and support front of the vehicle on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

Working at rear of front control arm, remove two 17mm control arm bushing fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 1

Working at rear of front control arm, remove two 17mm control arm bushing fasteners (green arrows).

Next, pull bushing down and away from vehicle body.
Figure 2

Next, pull bushing down and away from vehicle body.

Next you have to remove the bushing from the control arm.
Figure 3

Next you have to remove the bushing from the control arm. There are a few ways to do this. You can pull the bushing off the control arm or cut it off. If you try to pull the bushing off with pliers or by hand, the center piece may stay on control arm, and if it does, you will have to cut the remaining pieces off. At times I get lucky and the bushing pulls right off. If you choose to cut it off, cut the bushing in the areas indicated by green arrows first, then remove the bushing with bracket from the control arm. Next, use a hacksaw or dremel tool, cut the bushing in area indicated by yellow arrow. Be careful not to cut the control arm. Once cut, use a flathead screwdriver to spread the remaining piece of the bushing and remove it from the control arm.

On my vehicle, I was able to twist the bushing back and forth to remove it.
Figure 4

On my vehicle, I was able to twist the bushing back and forth to remove it. This does take some force but I prefer it over the smell of cut rubber.

In the next step, you will be pressing bushing out and the new one into the bushing bracket.
Figure 5

In the next step, you will be pressing bushing out and the new one into the bushing bracket. Note the position of the arrow and tang (green arrows). Be sure to align these marks when pressing new bushing in.

Also note the position (green arrows) of the bushing.
Figure 6

Also note the position (green arrows) of the bushing. On Z3 models the bushing is centered in the bushing bracket.

Now it is time to press the bushing out.
Figure 7

Now it is time to press the bushing out. Align the new bushing on top of the old bushing, with the arrow pointing to the tang, then press the old bushing out while the new bushing presses in. This make replaces the bushing one step.

Apply a liberal amount of tire lube or dish soap to inside of bushing.
Figure 8

Apply a liberal amount of tire lube or dish soap to inside of bushing. Then slide the new bushing onto the control arm. If needed, tap it on with a soft-faced hammer. Install bushing fasteners and tighten. Be sure to properly align bushing to body using alignment tabs.

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:07:45 AM