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Rear Ball Joint Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Ball Joint Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

****

Tools:

18mm, 21mm, 24mm, flat-jaw snap-ring pliers, flathead screwdriver, chisel, hammer, prybar, large vise grips, ball joint tool

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 (2000-06)

Parts Required:

Rear wheel bearing carrier ball joint

Hot Tip:

Read article before beginning

Performance Gain:

Repair faulty ball joint and prepare vehicle for alignment

Complementary Modification:

Replace rear control arms

The rear suspension of X5 models uses a lower control and two upper control arms, a multi-link suspension. The lower control is connected to the wheel bearing carrier via an integral link and a lower ball joint. This ball joint is not what we are used to seeing, as instead of having a stud and mounting through a bore, a bolt runs through the center, connecting the pivoting portion of the ball joint to the control arm and the wheel bearing carrier, via flat surfaces.

The ball joint wears out over time and creates free play in the rear suspension. This free play results in poor handling and tire wear. You can check ball joint free play by wiggling the rear wheel, grab at the bottom of the tire and push tire in and out. If free play is felt, have someone place their hand on ball joint and repeat. Replace ball joint if movement is present. I am going to show you the way I replace these ball joints, it is quick and saves some disassembly. However, if you want to remove the lower control arm, to make room for yourself to work, I will not what is needed to do that as well.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and parts 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. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve as they grow older. 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.

Always replace these ball joints in sets, driver and passenger side.

In this tech article, I will go over how to replace the rear wheel bearing carrier ball joint on BMW E53 vehicles.

Lift and support rear of your vehicle. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

The rear ball joint is located in the wheel bearing carrier, held in by a snap ring (red arrow).
Figure 1

The rear ball joint is located in the wheel bearing carrier, held in by a snap ring (red arrow).

You are going to have to remove a few pieces of the trunk interior trim.
Figure 2

You are going to have to remove a few pieces of the trunk interior trim. Start by pulling out the center solid carpet (red arrow).

Working at the side trim panels, remove the plastic rivets (red arrow), lever center tab out using a trim panel tool.
Figure 3

Working at the side trim panels, remove the plastic rivets (red arrow), lever center tab out using a trim panel tool.

Next, you will have to remove the plastic nuts that secure the plastic bracket to the trunk floor.
Figure 4

Next, you will have to remove the plastic nuts that secure the plastic bracket to the trunk floor. Start by removing the 10mm nut at the panel junction.

Then move toward the front of the trunk are, at the seat back and remove the plastic rivets (red arrows), lever center tab out using a trim panel tool.
Figure 5

Then move toward the front of the trunk are, at the seat back and remove the plastic rivets (red arrows), lever center tab out using a trim panel tool.

Next, you will have to remove the plastic nuts that secure the plastic bracket to the trunk floor.
Figure 6

Next, you will have to remove the plastic nuts that secure the plastic bracket to the trunk floor. Start by removing the 10mm nuts (red arrows) at the rear corner of the trunk.

Then, open the storage compartment door and remove it (red arrow) from the vehicle.
Figure 7

Then, open the storage compartment door and remove it (red arrow) from the vehicle.

With the storage compartment door out of the way, lift and remove the rear most plastic bracket (red arrow).
Figure 8

With the storage compartment door out of the way, lift and remove the rear most plastic bracket (red arrow). Then remove the spare tire (yellow arrow) from the vehicle.

With the spare tire out of the way, lift and remove the front most plastic bracket (red arrow).
Figure 9

With the spare tire out of the way, lift and remove the front most plastic bracket (red arrow).

Once all brackets have been removed, you have access to the accumulator (yellow arrow).
Figure 10

Once all brackets have been removed, you have access to the accumulator (yellow arrow). Loosen the 10mm air line (red arrow) just enough to bleed the air from the system.

Start by removing the main bolt for the lower control arm.
Figure 11

Start by removing the main bolt for the lower control arm. Loosen the 18mm nut (blue arrow) while counter holding the 24mm bolt (red arrow). Loosen the nut so there is about 20mm gap between it and the control arm. Then lightly tap it using a soft-faced hammer to begin to move the colt out of the control arm.

remove the lower control arm bolt.
Figure 12

Remove the lower control arm bolt. If stuck, use a prybar to lever the wheel bearing carrier, releasing the tension on the bolt. Then slide the bolt out.

Now move to the front of the control arm.
Figure 13

Now move to the front of the control arm. Loosen the 18mm integral link (red arrow) bolt.

Support the integral link from below, then remove the integral link bolt.
Figure 14

Support the integral link from below, then remove the integral link bolt. Then remove the integral link from the vehicle.

Now it's time for the short cut.
Figure 15

Now it's time for the short cut. I will show you what to remove later, if you want to get the lower control arm out of your way. Use a large prybar and lever the lower control arm down. Have an assistant hold the control arm in place. While holding the control arm (blue arrow) down, align the rear ear of the control arm with the ball joint bore (red arrow). Slowly release the control arm until it rests on the wheel bearing carrier, just below the ball joint (yellow arrow). Using a large pair of vise grips, clamp the lower control arm right below the wheel bearing carrier. This give a little support to the control arm, helping to prevent it from coming undone. Now keep in mind, this is not the factory method, it is a time saving method passed onto me by an old timer BMW mechanic. The control arm is under tension when in this position and if you work roughly with the ball joint it could come loose. Be careful when using this method, if it doesn't seem like it is for you, see the following steps to get the control arm out of the vehicle.

Using a chisel and a hammer, lightly tap the ball joint snap ring (snap ring) to brake it free.
Figure 16

Using a chisel and a hammer, lightly tap the ball joint snap ring (snap ring) to brake it free. Using flat-jawed snap ring pliers, remove the snap ring from the ball joint.

This photo shows the snap ring being removed.
Figure 17

This photo shows the snap ring being removed.

This photo shows the BMW factory ball joint tool.
Figure 18

This photo shows the BMW factory ball joint tool. There are many aftermarket options available. I will show you how to remove the ball joint using this tool. Other tools will be similar, follow the instructions that came along with your tool.

Install the ball joint tool onto the wheel bearing carrier in the removal configuration.
Figure 19

Install the ball joint tool onto the wheel bearing carrier in the removal configuration. Using the ball joint tool, remove ball joint from wheel bearing carrier.

Once the ball joint clears the mounting bore, remove the ball joint with the tool.
Figure 20

Once the ball joint clears the mounting bore, remove the ball joint with the tool.

Thoroughly clean ball joint mounting bore (red arrow).
Figure 21

Thoroughly clean ball joint mounting bore (red arrow).

Remove the old ball joint from the tool.
Figure 22

Remove the old ball joint from the tool. Install the new ball joint into the mounting bore so the retaining lip (red arrow) faces the front of the vehicle. Then press the new ball joint into wheel bearing carrier until it stops. Install the new snap ring. Be sure it is properly seated in the groove in the ball joint. Install the integral link and install the mounting bolt finger tight. Raise rear swing arm into place. Install rear swing arm and tighten fasteners. Reinstall the accumulator airline and trunk interior trim. Then repeat steps for opposite side of vehicle. Have vehicle professionally aligned. Integral link to wheel bearing carrier 100 Nm. Lower control arm bolt 240 Nm.


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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:44:47 AM