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Rear Trailing Arm Bushing Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Trailing Arm Bushing Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$100

Talent:

*****

Tools:

10mm, 8mm, 18mm wrenches and sockets, soft-faced hammer, bushing tool

Applicable Models:

BMW X3 Sport Utility (2004-10)

Parts Required:

Rear trailing arm bushing

Hot Tip:

Replace in pairs

Performance Gain:

Replace faulty rear trailing arm bushing

Complementary Modification:

Replace rear ball joint for wheel bearing carrier

The BMW X3 rear suspension consists of the following components:

Rear subframe. The differential is bolted to the subframe and the upper and lower control arms are anchored to it.

Trailing arm on each side. The front of the arm is bolted to the body using a bushing and a bracket. The rear wheel bearing is pressed into the rear of the trailing arm.

Upper control arm on each side. The inner end of the upper control arm is bolted to the rear subframe. The outer end is attached to the trailing arm above the wheel bearing opening. A modified bushing (referred to as the rear ball joint) is used at the control arm-to trailing arm attachment point.

Lower control arm on each side. The inner end of the lower control arm is bolted to the rear subframe. The outer end is attached to the trailing below the wheel bearing opening using an eccentric bolt through a rubber bushing or ball joint. The eccentric bolt is used to set rear wheel camber.

Stabilizer bar anchored at the rear subframe and attached via stabilizer links to the rear upper control arms.

Coil springs and gas-filled shock-absorbers mounted separately.

Inspect the rubber bushings and ball joints attaching the trailing arms to the body, the control arms to the rear subframe and the trailing arms, and the subframe to the body and to the differential. These bushing should be solid and lack dry rot. Replace a bushing if it shows signs of failure. Ball joints should be solid and free of excessive movement, rotate but not have play. You can use a large screwdriver or prybar to try to move components against the rubber bushing and watch closely for signs of rubber deterioration and looseness.

The rear trailing arm bushing connects the rear trailing arm to the body. It is a trouble area for higher mileage X3 models, as it wears out over time. Replace the bushing if it shows any signs of failure. A symptom may be fore and aft movement of the rear wheel and a clunk.

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 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. Questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

The rear trailing arm bushing (red arrow) connects the rear trailing arm to the body.
Figure 1

The rear trailing arm bushing (red arrow) connects the rear trailing arm to the body. It is a trouble area for higher mileage X3 models, as it wears out over time. Replace the bushing if it shows any signs of failure. You will have to remove plastic shields to access it. Raise and support the rear of the vehicle on jack stands. For more information, please refer to our Pelican Parts Technical Article on Jacking Up Your BMW X3. Remove the rear wheel from the side of vehicle you are replacing the bushing on.

Place a hydraulic jack under trailing arm.
Figure 2

Place a hydraulic jack under trailing arm. This photo shows the placement of the jack pad, directly under the trailing arm (red arrow).

Remove the 18mm lower rear shock fastener (red arrow).
Figure 3

Remove the 18mm lower rear shock fastener (red arrow). You can remove only the lower shock mount bolt, removing the shock completely gives you more room to work. Remove the lower sway bar end link mounting bolt. See our tech article on sway bar end link replacing.

Slowly lower hydraulic jack until spring tension on trailing arm is fully unloaded.
Figure 4

Slowly lower hydraulic jack until spring tension on trailing arm is fully unloaded. Remove the rear coil spring. For more information, please refer to our Pelican Parts Technical Article on Replacing Your Rear Springs.

Working under the vehicle at the front of the wheel well liner, remove the two 8mm fasteners (red arrows) and the plastic rivet (blue arrow).
Figure 5

Working under the vehicle at the front of the wheel well liner, remove the two 8mm fasteners (red arrows) and the plastic rivet (blue arrow). I usually pull the center pin out and leave the rivet in place, rotating the plastic cover aside.

Rotate the plastic cover aside (red arrow).
Figure 6

Rotate the plastic cover aside (red arrow).

Remove the sensor wiring harness from the mounts (red arrows) on the trailing arm.
Figure 7

Remove the sensor wiring harness from the mounts (red arrows) on the trailing arm. Hold the mount open with a small flathead screwdriver as you remove the harness.

Mark the orientation on the trailing arm to body to help when reinstalling, trace the perimeter using a marker (red arrow).
Figure 8

Mark the orientation on the trailing arm to body to help when reinstalling, trace the perimeter using a marker (red arrow).

Then remove three trailing arm 18mm fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 9

Then remove three trailing arm 18mm fasteners (red arrows).

Pull trailing arm down away from body, feeding the harnesses (red arrow) to top as you pull it down.
Figure 10

Pull trailing arm down away from body, feeding the harnesses (red arrow) to top as you pull it down.

Pull trailing arm down away from body and place a block of wood between trailing arm and body.
Figure 11

Pull trailing arm down away from body and place a block of wood between trailing arm and body. Remove the 18mm trailing arm mounting bracket fastener (red arrow).

Then remove bracket from trailing arm.
Figure 12

Then remove bracket from trailing arm.

Assemble press tool to extract bushing from trailing arm.
Figure 13

Assemble press tool to extract bushing from trailing arm. Then extract bushing from trailing arm following directions supplied with tool. This can be done using a number of different press options. The old bushing can be knocked or cut out in most cases. Then using a universal bushing press, (be sure the cups are the correct size by measuring bushing before hand) to install the new bushing.

Once bushing has been removed, clean mounting area of rust and debris (green arrow).
Figure 14

Once bushing has been removed, clean mounting area of rust and debris (green arrow).

Assemble press tool and new bushing to install bushing into trailing arm.
Figure 15

Assemble press tool and new bushing to install bushing into trailing arm. Then install bushing into trailing arm following directions supplied with tool. Check that the bushing is at same installation depth as the one you removed, as per your earlier measurement. Then reinstall trailing arm bracket and tighten fastener. Remove block of wood from trialing arm, then install trailing arm to body fasteners and tighten. Do your best to get the trailing arm in the same place it was in before, using the reference marks you made. Reinstall wiring harness and brake hose mount. Then install coil spring and remaining items in reverse order of removal. Once complete, have vehicle professionally aligned.

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Page last updated: Tue 9/19/2017 03:32:14 AM