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Front Control Arm Bushing
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Control Arm Bushing

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets (16mm), soft faced hammer

Applicable Models:

BMW Z4 Convertible (2003-06)
BMW Z4 Coupe (2006)

Parts Required:

Front control arm, control arm bushing

Hot Tip:

Wiggle the control arm side-to-side to test the bushings

Performance Gain:

Smoother, stiffer suspension

Complementary Modification:

Replace faulty control arm, ball joint and control arm bushing

BMW Z4 front suspension main components are as follows:

The front subframe provides a rigid platform for mounting the drive train (engine and transmission), steering rack and most front suspension components. The subframe design on rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models differs substantially.

Lower control arms on left and right, each with three attachment points:

  • Bushing at rear anchors control arm to car frame (rear-wheel drive) or subframe (all-wheel drive).
  • Ball joint at front attaches to subframe.
  • Ball joint at outer end attaches to steering knuckle.

Coil springs and shock absorbers in MacPherson strut configuration.

Stabilizer bar anchored at front subframe and attached via stabilizer links to struts.

The front control arm on the Z4 chassis has three common areas of trouble: The ball joint that connects to the steering knuckle, the ball joint that attaches to the subframe and the control arm bushing. Bushing failure can cause a number of ride quality problems. You may have a shudder when braking or a clunk when you hit a bump. When replacing your front control arm, I suggest replacing the bushing and both ball joints. Inspect your control arm bushing and ball joints for looseness by jacking up the front your vehicle and moving each wheel side to side. If you feel looseness in the attachment points, this indicates a problem. You may need help from a friend to watch the control arm components while you wiggle the wheel.

In this tech article, we will go over the steps required in replacing the front control arm bushing on your Z4M. Other Z4 models are similar.

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 control arm has three areas of trouble: The ball joint that connects to steering knuckle, the ball joint that attaches to subframe (red arrows) and the control arm bushing (purple arrow).
Figure 1

The control arm has three areas of trouble: The ball joint that connects to steering knuckle, the ball joint that attaches to subframe (red arrows) and the control arm bushing (purple arrow). To begin, raise and support the front of the vehicle on jack stands. If you need help with this step, please refer to our Pelican Parts Technical Article on Jacking Up Your BMW Z4. Now remove the front wheel from the side of the vehicle you are replacing control arm on. Next, remove the lower splash shield and reinforcement plate. If you need help with this step, please refer to our Pelican Parts Technical Article on Removing the Splash Shield and Reinforcement Plate. If your vehicle is equipped with Xenon headlights, remove the Xenon headlight height sensor from the right control arm. See our Tech Article on Headlight Height Sensor Replacing. Remove the Xenon headlight height sensor from the control arm. Remove the nuts and lay the sensor arm aside.

Working at rear of front control arm, remove two 16mm control arm bushing fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 2

Working at rear of front control arm, remove two 16mm control arm bushing fasteners (red arrows). Be sure to align the new bushing with the dowel (purple arrow) when installing. Next, pull the bushing down and away from the vehicle body. Next you have to remove the bushing from the control arm. There are a few ways to do this, I will highlight my favorite. If you try to pull the bushing off with pliers or by hand, the center piece may stay on control arm - then you will have to cut that piece off with a hack saw. I suggest using a soft-faced hammer in conjunction with a pickle fork.

Slide the pickle fork (red arrow) over control arm and behind bushing.
Figure 3

Slide the pickle fork (red arrow) over control arm and behind bushing. Then tap the bushing off the control arm using a soft-faced hammer. The pickle fork drives the bushing from the center, leaving no part of the bushing behind. Alternatively, you can use a soft-faced hammer to knock the bushing off as shown. I find this works most of the time.

Slide the bushing off the control arm.
Figure 4

Slide the bushing off the control arm.

Apply a liberal amount of tire lube or dish soap to inside of bushing (green arrow).
Figure 5

Apply a liberal amount of tire lube or dish soap to inside of bushing (green arrow).

Then tap the bushing onto the control arm using a soft-faced hammer.
Figure 6

Then tap the bushing onto the control arm using a soft-faced hammer. Install the bushing fasteners and tighten. Be sure to properly align the bushing to the body using the alignment tabs. Install the Xenon light height sensor. Install the splash shield and reinforcement plate and double check your work.

There are still bushing repair kits, where the bushing is presses in and out of the bushing bracket.
Figure 7

There are still bushing repair kits, where the bushing is presses in and out of the bushing bracket. To use this style bushing, press the old bushing out using a shop press, then press the new bushing back in. Measure the bushing depth (red arrow) before removing the old one, be sure new bushing is at same depth. Align the arrow on the bushing with the arrow on the bracket as well (purple arrow).

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 03:05:49 AM