BMW E30 3 Series Front Suspension Bushing Overhaul
Have you noticed a squeaking or knocking noise from your car when going over bumps? Does the front end seem loose or wobbly? Chances are, you need to replace the suspension bushings.
In this continuing suspension article, we will go over the steps involved with replacing the front suspension bushings on the BMW E30 3 Series models. Keep in mind that this article is specific to my 325is; however, this article applies to all E30 models form 1984 to 1991.
The first step is to loosen the lug bolts on the front wheels, but do not remove them. Now, jack the front of the car up and secure it on quality jack stands. Never rely on a jack to support the vehicle when you are underneath the car. Now, remove the lug bolts and pull the tires off. Locate the rubber mount at the rear of the control arm. It is held in place by an outer retaining bracket and is held to the body by two bolts. Remove these two bolts. Now, the rear of the control arm will be free of the car.
Next, disconnect the sway bar end links from the sway bar assembly. You will need to hold one end of the bolt while you remove the nut on the opposite side. Remove the nuts and bolts that hold them to both the sway bar and the control arm. You can now throw them away as you cannot replace the bushings inside, the whole link must be replaced. Now locate the control arm ball joint that attaches the control arm to the sub frame. Look up on the inside of the sub frame and remove the self-locking nut at the top. Now, use a hammer to lightly tap the joint out of the sub frame. Once free, now look behind the strut and locate the remaining ball joint. Remove the self-locking nut at the top, and lightly tap the joint out of the strut housing with the hammer. The strut assembly will stay in place due to the upper mount.
Now the control arms will be free of the car. You will now need to take them to a quality machine shop to have the old ball joints pushed out of the arm. Some people recommend replacing the whole arm, however, I have found that it is possible to have only the joints replaced. You will find it nearly impossible to get these joints out without use of a hydraulic press. IN certain circumstances, the ball joints are spot-welded in and can be simply drilled out. Have the machine shop press the new ball joints in for you as well.
To remove the rear control arm rubber bushing, we will need to use a puller to get the old one off. Remove the bushing from the bracket, and transfer the bracket onto the new bushing. Make sure to line up the arrow on the new bushing with the mark on the bracket. This will insure that the bushing is correctly installed into the bracket.
Once you have the new ball joints installed in the control arm, Begin reinstalling it by pressing the outer ball joint up through the strut housing, then install a new self-locking nut to hold it in place. Torque this nut to 47 ft/lbs. next, position the inner ball joint so it goes up through it's mounting hole in the sub frame. Install a new self-locking nut and torque it to 61 ft/lbs.
Next, clean the end of the control arm and coat the end of the control arm with suspension grease. Press the new bushing/bracket onto the control arm till it stops. Now, position the bracket in place and bolt it back onto the body. Torque the two bolts to 30 ft/lbs each.
Now we have to install the new sway bar links. You may need to jack up the control arm assembly in order to line up the links with the sway bar. Once in place, press the bolt first through the lower mount, and then thread a new self-locking nut on the end. Now, position the link so you can press the bolt through the end of the link and through the sway bar. Now thread a new self-locking nut onto the bolt and torque both nuts to 30 ft/lbs.
Now put the wheels back on, install the lug bolts, and lower the car. Once on the ground, tighten the lug bolts in a criss-cross pattern.
Lastly, take the car to a decent alignment shop and have the front end re-aligned. Remember, anytime you change suspension components, you will change the front end geometry, and this must be re-set. Once re-aligned, take the car out for a spin and enjoy your now razor-sharp handling!Well, there you have it - it's really not too difficult at all. If you would like to see more technical articles like this one, please continue to support Pelican Parts with all your parts needs. If you like what you see here, then please visit our online BMW catalog and help support the collection and creating of new and informative technical articles like this one. Your continued support directly affects the expansion and existence of this site and technical articles like this one. As always, if you have any questions or comments about this helpful article, please drop us a line.