this tech article I will go over the steps involved with replacing rear
trailing arm bushings on the BMW E36 3 Series. This article is written with
all of the BMW E36 models in mind with the exception of the 318ti, which has
a different trailing arm design than the other models.
Why replace the
bushings? Over time, trailing arm bushings can wear out, causing a variety
of handling as well as alignment problems. Replacement does involve a fair
amount of work and special tools, however the end result will be a car that
handles as it did coming off the factory line.
Before we begin,
with the wheels on the ground, loosen the lug bolts, but do not remove them.
Now, chock the front wheels and jack up the rear of the car. Be sure you use
a good mounting spot and use caution while doing this. For those you not
familiar with the procedure, I recommend reading Wayne’s article on
jacking up the E36
the car in the air, remove the lug bolts and pull the wheels off. Next, we
will need to remove the drive axles. This is done by first removing the six
bolts holding the CV joints to the differential. You will want to use some
wire and support the CV joints once disconnected. This will keep the CV
joints from crashing down. In order to remove the CV joints from the
trailing arms, you will need a helper to apply the brakes. This will hold
the axle in place. We need to hold it place to remove the mounting bolt on
the in the center of the rotor. Keep in mind that this bolt is held on very
tight. You will probably need to use an impact wrench to remove the nut.
look at the back of the caliper, and you will see two plastic plugs inside
of two rubber grommets. Pry the plugs out using a screwdriver. Directly
under the plugs you will see two 7mm Allen head bolts. Remove these bolts
and pull the caliper off the mounting bracket. Use some zip-ties and suspend
the rotor to prevent damage to the brake line. Now, disconnect the brake pad
wear indicator on the passenger side of the car. Once you have the calipers
off, look at the back of the rotor and remove the two bolts holding the
caliper-mounting bracket to the rotor/trailing arm. Now look at the front of
the rotor. You will see a single hex head screw. Go inside the car and
release the handbrake. This will allow the parking brake shoes on the inside
of the caliper to retract. Now, remove the hex head screw and pull the rotor
place a jack stand under the trailing arm to prevent it from crashing down
and remove the lower shock absorber mounting bolt. Once you have the bolt
out, lower the trailing arm slowly. This will give you enough clearance to
remove the drive axle from the car. Most likely, you will need to install a
puller or similar tool on the hub to push the drive axle out of the hub.
Now, while the trailing arm is down, remove the coil spring. You may need a
helper to push down on the arm while you take the spring out.
will now have to disconnect the parking brake cable from the parking brake
shoe adjuster. Now remove the cable bracket on the trailing arm. Two bolts
hold the bracket to the trailing arm. Once removed, position the cable out
of the way. Now disconnect the ABS wheel speed indicators.
unbolt the upper and lower control arm links from the trailing arm. They are
held on by two through-bolts on the top and bottom of the trailing arm. Now
remove the three bolts holding the trailing arm front bracket to the body.
Once removed, the trailing arm will be free of the car. Now remove the
trailing arm from the trailing arm bracket. You will see the trailing arm
bushing inside the trialing arm.
the trailing arms now removed, we can begin the installation of the new
bushings. Make a not of the general position of the old bushing. We will
need to install the new bushing in the same position. The first step in
removing the bushing is to press the old bushing out. It may be necessary to
use a press to remove them. Once, out, coat the new bushing in suspension
grease and using the press, draw the new bushing into the control arm until
it protrudes the same amount as the old bushing.
re-install the trailing arm back into the trailing arm bracket. Torque the
mounting bolt to 81 ft/lbs. next, reattach the trailing arm bracket to the
body and torque the mounting bolts to 57 ft/lbs. Re-attach the upper and
lower control arms to the trailing arm and torque the bolts to 81 ft/lbs.
Now rotate the whole assembly downward and re-install the coil spring.
Before rotating the arm upward, re-install the drive axle into the hub. Now
apply a light coat of oil to the threads on the drive axle and install the
the other end of the drive axle to the differential and thread in the bolts
loosely. Next, rotate the trailing arm up ward using a jack and re-install
the lower shock absorber mounting bolt to 57 ft/lbs. Bolt the parking cable
bracket back onto the trailing arm and re-connect the cable to the parking
the ABS wheel speed sensors and place them back into the retaining bracket.
Once in place, now re-install the brake rotor and tighten the Allen head set
screw to 12 ft/lbs. Place the brake caliper-mounting bracket over the rotor
and re-install the mounting bolts. Torque these bolts to 50 ft/lbs. Place
the brake pads back in the caliper and install the caliper on the mounting
bracket. Re-install the two 7mm bolts and tighten them. Now install the two
plastic plugs back into the rubber grommets. Reconnect the brake wear
indicator on the passenger side.
torque the drive axle bolts to the differential to 74 ft/lbs. Take the
center caps out of the road wheels and re-install the tires. Now lower the
car and tighten the lug bolts. The last step is to torque the drive axle
retaining nut to 184 ft/lbs (221 ft/lbs on M3 models) Have a helper step on
the brakes while you tighten the nut. You may find it necessary to use an
impact wrench to tighten this nut. Once torqued, pop the center caps back
into the wheels and have the car professionally re-aligned at a good shop on
Well, there you have it - it's
really not too difficult at all. If you would like
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