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Control Arm Bushing and Ball Joint Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Control Arm Bushing and Ball Joint Replacement

Time:

4 hours

Tab:

$200 to $500

Talent:

****

Tools:

Thin wrench set, shop press, ball joint separators

Applicable Models:

R50 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2002-06)
R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08)
R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
R53 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2002-06)
R55 MINI Cooper Clubman Wagon (2008-14)
R55 MINI Cooper JCW Clubman Wagon (2009-14)
R55 MINI Cooper S Clubman Wagon (2008-14)
R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-13)
R56 MINI Cooper JCW Hatchback (2009-13)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-13)
R57 MINI Cooper Convertible (2009-15)
R57 MINI Cooper JCW Convertible (2009-15)
R57 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2009-15)

Parts Required:

Control arms brackets & bushings, ball joints

Hot Tip:

For a complete suspension overhaul, replace everything that can possibly wear out.

Performance Gain:

Tight, crisp handling

Complementary Modification:

Replace shocks & springs
How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Pelican Parts' new book, How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI The book contains 240 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 500+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any MINI owner's collection. The book is due to be released in late 2015. See The Official Book Website for more details.

The MINI uses control arms in the front suspension that integrate three joints: two ball joints, and one rear rubber bushing contained in an outer bracket. Many suspension problems can be traced back to worn out control arm ball joints or bushings. Shaking of the steering wheel at high speeds is a good indicator that the control arm bushings are worn, the ball joints are worn, or the control arm itself has become bent. If you are replacing the wishbone bushings and are upgrading to stiffer shocks and springs, you may want to replace the stock rubber bushings with a set of polyurethane ones. These bushings are more heavy duty than the stock ones and will help in keeping the suspension settings of the car more precise under heavy cornering.

One of the principle components of the front suspension on the MINI are the ball joints. These joints, located at the front inner and outer points of the control arm, help the entire assembly pivot and rotate as the control arm turns and pivots, and the suspension rides up and down. Needless to say, these critical components can wear out over time, and should be replaced every 100,000 miles or so or if the front suspension is beginning to feel a little wobbly.

In this article, we will focus on how to remove the control arms and replace both the bushings and the ball joints. The first step in replacing the control arm bushings and ball joints is to jack up the front of the car and place it on jack stands. Next, remove the wheels and locate the outer ball joints. These are bolted up underneath the wheel carrier with two 13mm bolts and one large nut. Remove the large nut first and then loosen and remove the two 13mm bolts (See Figure 1). This will give you a little more clearance to slide the ball joint removal tool over the control arm.

Remove the nut and use a puller to separate the ball joint from the control arm. Use caution and take your time here. The joint is a tapered fit and many times, the metal can fuse together (See Figure 2). The puller is designed specifically for this task. Do not attempt to hit the top of the control arm with a large hammer, as this will only serve to bend the arm. If you are having a lot of difficulty getting it to free up, try spraying good penetrant oil over the joint and letting it sit overnight. Once it seeps into the joint, it can sometimes work wonders. I personally recommend the PB Blaster or Kroil brands for this sort of job.

Move underneath the car and remove the large nut securing the inner ball joint to the control arm. You may need to counterhold the ball joint with a hex key in order to loosen the nut (See Figure 3).

Now remove the front subframe from the car. Unfortunately, there is no real easy way to access the rear control arm bracket bolts with the subframe in place. I have heard of people lowering the subframe just enough to access the bolts, however, the rear bracket bolts are torqued down to over 100ft/lbs. Trying to loosen these with the subframe partially supported seems to be a bit counter-productive. It's just easier to remove the frame and be able to access all the bolts at once (See Figure 4). Refer to our article on subframe removal for more info.

With the subframe removed, you will have easy access to both the rear control arm bushing bracket bolts and also the inner control arm ball joint (See Figure 5). This is also a good time to inspect the front sway bar bushings for wear as you will remove their retaining bracket when you remove the bolts holding the control arm bushing bracket to the subframe.

Once the bolts are removed, place the control arm in a vice to remove the rear bushing. Over time, the repeated stress of up and down motion cracks the rubber until it can separate completely from the inner and outer portions of the metal. Take note of the arrow on the end of the bushing and make a mark on both the bushing bracket and the end of the control arm. This will act as orientation marks for when you install the new bushing (See Figure 6).

Now pry the old bushing off the control arm. In our case, both bushings had torn from the outer bushing metal ring. I had success removing the remnants of the bushing using a silicone based lubricant and a thick screwdriver to pry the bushing off a little at a time. I've also pulled a complete bracket/bushing assembly off another car using only the screwdriver technique. Your results may vary (See Figure 7 and Figure 8).

Rotate the control arm in the vise so that you have access to the inner ball joint. BMW specifies the use of a special tool in order to press the ball joint out of the control arm; however I had success removing one of the joints using a tie rod puller. For the other control arm, I had to use a hydraulic press in order to remove the joint. This, in my opinion, is the hardest part of the whole job. Spraying some penetrant oil around the joint connection certainly can't hurt either (See Figure 9). Keep in mind that when the joint pops out of the control arm, it will be under a LOT of force. A couple of guys in the shop ran back to the press to check on me when I popped the joint out as it was LOUD. You may want to wear some hearing protection as my ears were ringing for a few seconds after it let go.

Now place the new inner ball joint into the control arm and thread the new self-locking nut on loosely. Keep in mind that the left and right ball joints are different. Take a note of the letter cast into the ball joint. This will tell you what side to replace (See Figure 10). For the control arm bushings, you can either buy new brackets with the bushings preinstalled or just the bushings themselves. Typically, the price difference is low enough that you would just want to buy the bushings pre-installed. If you decide to use just the bushings, you will have to have the old bushings pressed out of the brackets. This will involve some basic machine shop know-how in order to correctly position the bracket and also to come up with a set of plates to press the old bushing out (See Figure 11).

Getting the new bushings/brackets started on the control arms can be a bit of a challenge. BMW specifies the use of a specialized press tool, but I found that using a little silicone lubricant on the inside of the bushing along with a quick good blow with a hammer managed to get the bushing on enough to where I could push it down all the way. When you press the new bushing into the bracket, make sure to line up the arrow on the new bushing so that it corresponds with the mark you made on the bracket earlier (See Figure 12).

Now place the control arm with the new bushing installed back onto the subframe. Place the arms of the inner ball joint bracket in place, thread in the mounting bolts and torque them to 100Nm (74 ft/lbs.). Then fit the front sway bar bushing and bracket over the top of the rear control arm bracket, thread in the mounting bolts and torque them to 165Nm (122 ft/lbs.). Once torqued, jack the subframe back up into place and refit all of the connections (See Figure 13).

The front control arms on the R55/R56/R57 MINI are very similar to the earlier cars except that the inner ball joints are now incorporated into the control arm instead of a detachable joint bolted to the subframe. Additionally, the design for the outer ball joints has changed, moving the mounting points onto the control arm.

Another option to consider while you have the control arms removed is to upgrade to polyurethane control arm bushings. I would recommend running these bushings if you are running stiffer suspension. These bushings are less compressible than the stock rubber bushings and can deal with added stress much more easily. The polyurethane bushings we used from Mini Madness are a three piece design. Most of the poly bushings on the market are of the same design. The downside to using poly bushings is that over time, they can squeak and generally give the car a much stiffer ride.

These bushings require you to press the existing bushings out of the brackets. Once the bushings have been removed, you will need to press the larger retaining bushing into the control arm bracket. Place a small amount of silicone lubricant on the edge of the large outer bushing then use the press to get the edge started inside the bracket (See Figure 14). Once it's inside the bracket, you'll be able to press it all the way through with just your hand until the bushing 'pops' into place on the other side.

Slide the small spacer ring over the end of the control arm with the step on the inside facing down. Next, slide the upper part of the bushing over the control arm. You'll also want to place some grease on the channels on the bushing (See Figure 15 and Figure 16). This will help lubricate the bushing and prevent squeaking. Keep in mind that the bushing is stressed on all sides once loaded into the bracket so you don't have to worry about aligning the bushing with the marks you made earlier. Now place the bracket with the black insert over the red bushing, fit the control arm to the subframe and re-torque the bolts.

Now re-fit the front subframe to the car. Make sure that you have double checked all connections and torque values. Place the new outer ball joint into the wheel housing and thread in and torque the two 13mm bolts to 56Nm (41ft/lbs.). Fit the control arm over the lower portion of the outer ball joint and fit the new self-locking nut to the bottom. Torque the nut to 56Nm (41ft/lbs.). You may need to counterhold the ball joint with a hex key until the nut threads far enough to keep the joint from turning. As the nut tightens, the ball joint will stop turning due to the tapered design (See Figure 17). Now move underneath the car and thread the new-self locking nut onto the inner ball joint where it mounts to the subframe. Torque this nut to 89Nm (59 ft/lbs.). As before, you may need to counterhold the joint with a hex key until the nut threads far enough to prevent rotation of the joint (See Figure 18).

And that's it, you're done! Re-fit the wheels to the car and enjoy the new stiffer and precise feeling from the front suspension.

The first step in replacing the control arm bushings and ball joints is to Jack up the front of the car and place it on jack stands.
Figure 1

The first step in replacing the control arm bushings and ball joints is to Jack up the front of the car and place it on jack stands. Next, remove the wheels and locate the outer ball joints. These are bolted up underneath the wheel carrier with two 13mm bolts and one large nut. Remove the large nut first (purple arrow) and then loosen and remove the two 13mm bolts (green arrows). This will give you a little more clearance to slide the ball joint removal tool over the control arm. NOTE: both the brake disc and dust shield have been removed here for clarity.

Remove the nut and use a puller to separate the ball joint from the control arm.
Figure 2

Remove the nut and use a puller to separate the ball joint from the control arm. Use caution and take your time here. The joint is a tapered fit and many times, the metal can fuse together.

Now move underneath the car and remove the large nut securing the inner ball joint to the control arm.
Figure 3

Now move underneath the car and remove the large nut securing the inner ball joint to the control arm. You may need to counterhold the ball joint with a hex key in order to loosen the nut.

Now remove the front subframe from the car.
Figure 4

Now remove the front subframe from the car. Unfortunately, there is no way to access the rear control arm bracket bolts with the subframe in place. Refer to our article on subframe removal for more info.

With the subframe removed, you will have access to both the rear control arm bushing bracket bolts (green arrows) and also the inner control arm ball joint (purple arrows).
Figure 5

With the subframe removed, you will have access to both the rear control arm bushing bracket bolts (green arrows) and also the inner control arm ball joint (purple arrows). This is also a good time to inspect the front sway bar bushings for wear. Once the bolts are removed, place the control arm in a vice to remove the rear bushing.

In thisPicture you can see how the fluid-filled control arm bushing has failed.
Figure 6

In this picture you can see how the fluid-filled control arm bushing has failed. Over time, the repeated stress of up and down motion cracks the rubber until it can separate completely. If you see fluid leaking out of the bushing, then it's time to replace it. Take note of the arrow on the end of the bushing (green arrow) and make a mark on both the bushing bracket and the end of the control arm (purple lines). This will act as orientation marks for when you install the new bushing.

Here is another shot of the failed bushing.
Figure 7

Here is another shot of the failed bushing. In our case, we could simply pull the outer bracket off of the inner rubber sleeve.

Now pry the old bushing off the control arm.
Figure 8

Now pry the old bushing off the control arm. I had good success using a silicone based lubricant and a thick screwdriver. The factory manual specifies use of a puller to get it off, but I had no trouble with the screwdriver method.

Now rotate the control arm so that you have access to the inner ball joint.
Figure 9

Now rotate the control arm so that you have access to the inner ball joint. BMW specifies the use of a special tool in order to press the ball joint out of the control arm, however I had success removing one of the joints using this tie rod puller as shown here. For the other control arm, I had to use a hydraulic press in order to remove the joint. This, in my opinion, is the hardest part of the whole job. Spraying some penetrant oil around the joint connection certainly can't hurt either.

Shown here is the control arm with the ball joint removed.
Figure 10

Shown here is the control arm with the ball joint removed. It's a good idea to clean up any corrosion on the inside of the joint.

Now place the new inner ball joint into the control arm and thread the new self-locking nut on loosely.
Figure 11

Now place the new inner ball joint into the control arm and thread the new self-locking nut on loosely. Keep in mind that the left and right ball joints are different. Take a note of the letter cast into the ball joint. This will tell you what side to replace.

For the control arm bushings, you can either buy new brackets with the bushings preinstalled or just the bushings themselves.
Figure 12

For the control arm bushings, you can either buy new brackets with the bushings preinstalled or just the bushings themselves. Typically, the price difference is low enough that you would just want to buy the bushings pre-installed. If you decide to use just the bushings, you will have to have the old bushings pressed out of the brackets as shown here. When you press the new bushing into the bracket, make sure to line up the arrow on the new bushing so that it corresponds with the mark you made on the bracket earlier.

Getting the new bushings/brackets started on the control arms can be a bit of a challenge.
Figure 13

Getting the new bushings/brackets started on the control arms can be a bit of a challenge. BMW specifies the use of a specialized press tool, but I found that using a little silicone lubricant on the inside of the bushing along with a quick good blow with a hammer managed to get the bushing on enough to where I could push it down all the way.

Another option to consider while you have the control arms removed is to upgrade to polyurethane control arm bushings.
Figure 15

Another option to consider while you have the control arms removed is to upgrade to polyurethane control arm bushings. I would recommend running these bushings if you are running stiffer suspension. These bushings are less compressible than the stock rubber bushings and can deal with added stress much more easily. The bushings require you to press the existing bushings out of the brackets. Once the bushings have been removed, you will need to press the larger retaining bushing into the control arm bracket.

The polyurethane bushings we used from Mini Madness are a three piece design.
Figure 16

The polyurethane bushings we used from Mini Madness are a three piece design. Slide the small spacer ring over the end of the control arm with the step on the inside facing down. Next, slide the upper part of the bushing over the control arm. You'll also want to place some grease on the channels on the bushing (green arrows). This will help lubricate the bushing and prevent squeaking. Now place the bracket with the black insert over the red bushing and fit the control arm to the subframe and re-torque the bolts.

Shown here is the bracket with the polyurethane bushing installed and the subframe being jacked up into place.
Figure 17

Shown here is the bracket with the polyurethane bushing installed and the subframe being jacked up into place. Since the bushing is loaded on all sides once loaded into the bracket, you don't have to worry about aligning the bushing with the marks you made earlier.

Place the new outer ball joint into the wheel housing and thread in and torque the two 13mm bolts to 56Nm (41ft/lbs.
Figure 18

Place the new outer ball joint into the wheel housing and thread in and torque the two 13mm bolts to 56Nm (41ft/lbs.) (green arrows). Fit the control arm over the lower portion of the outer ball joint and fit the new self-locking nut to the bottom. Torque the nut to 56Nm (41ft/lbs.) (purple arrow). You may need to counterhold the ball joint with a hex key until the nut threads far enough to keep the joint from turning. As the nut tightens, the ball joint will stop turning due to the tapered design.

Now move underneath the car and thread the new-self locking nut onto the inner ball joint where it mounts to the subframe.
Figure 19

Now move underneath the car and thread the new-self locking nut onto the inner ball joint where it mounts to the subframe. Torque this nut to 89Nm (59 ft/lbs.). As before, you may need to counterhold the joint with a hex key until the nut threads far enough to prevent rotation of the joint.

Shown here is one of the differences in the front control arm setup on the R55/R56/R57 cars.
Figure 20

Shown here is one of the differences in the front control arm setup on the R55/R56/R57 cars. As you can see here, the front outer ball joint is now secured to the control arm rather than the steering knuckle. Remove the ball joint by first loosening the upper ball joint connection (yellow arrow). Use a control arm separator to free the joint from the steering knuckle and then unbolt the ball joint from the control arm by removing the two 17mm nuts shown here (green arrows).

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Comments and Suggestions:
Bing Comments: Do you need to have the steering aligned after replacing the lower control arm bushing?
June 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not necessarily. But it is a good idea to do so. when done, if the vehicle drives straight and the steering wheel angle hasn't changed, you should be OK. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Toplessmini Comments: I have a 2005 MINI Cooper S Cabrio and recently changed the upper and lower engine mounts to get rid of a knocking noise while braking. Noise went away for a couple of months but now I have a similar knocking noise when backing out of my driveway or when slowing down to a stop. Also happens sometime while accelerating and turning at the same time. Could this be related to worn out control arm bushings?
May 19, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: it could be. Or worn sway bar end links. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Lindsay Comments: I have a 2003 mini cooper s. We are trying to get the control arm into the bushing and are having so many issues. It is below freezing outside and I think the rubber is supper hard making it harder to get in. Do you have any suggestions. This job has been a nightmare and we are almost done. This is the last obstacle to get over. Please.
February 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Try lubricating it with dish soap. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Steffen Comments: I did the same install yesterday and when I was putting the ball joint into the wheel carrier on the drivers side I snapped a bolt inside the wheel carrier. Tried to drill it out and use a easy out bit and snapped that too. Now I al driving around with just one bolt into the wheel carrier. Any suggestions or do I just need to buy a whole new wheel carrier?
November 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: dO NOT drive the vehicle, it can fall apart causing a crash.

You will have to drill it out and tap it. if that doesn't work, replace the carrier. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
MJ Comments: I was advised by Mini dealer my control arm bushings are rotted. mileage is 63,300. Is it urgent or can I wait to have them replaced, haven't noticed any steering problems. The estimated cost $1000.00...I'm middle aged female, I know nothing about cars. Any comments, appreciated.
June 18, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If rotted, replace them right away. Could lead to steering issues and tire wear.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
digolfa Comments: I did this job on my 09 R56. I did not lower the subframe completely and thos 2 bolts are a royal PIA to deal with.
June 2, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing your installation process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
logan Comments: Cruise control on my r53 no longer works. I've heard that this could be related to the clutch safety switch. Should this be the first thing I try? Thanks!
May 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: hard to say. It could be the issue. You can check it to see if the signal is faulty, before replacing it. However, checking the DME for fault codes and monitoring the cruise inputs is also a good place to start. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Fire1322 Comments: Hi I just need to replace the inner ball joint on the drivers side of a 2004 mini cooper, Can see the bolts but no real room to spin a wrench. Do we have to drop the sub frame ? Any help would be great thanks
April 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You have to break it loose using an open end wrench. Then turn it off 1/4 turn at a time. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Steve Comments: What a nightmare of a job! I did ours yesterday and took about 10 hours. I had to install the bushings onto the control arms using 2 steel rods and a pair of spring compressors. It took me an nour and a half on the first one till I came up with a method and 15 minutes for the second. I don't know how some of you guys just pushed them on or used C clamps tried that but there's nothing for the clamps to bite on to.
April 4, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing your installation process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
JT Comments: I just completed replacing the control arm bushing on my 2003 S and I’ll admit it was one of the most difficult projects I have done on the Mini. Maybe I’m getting too old for this, but removing and installing the bushing itself was not as easy as using a screwdriver and pushing it on by hand. I used a pickle fork and a cheater bar to get them off I purchased the entire assembly and spring compressors to get them on. To get the remnants of the bushing off figure 7, I soaked them in PB Blaster and used a Wiel Adjustamatic wrench, which is basically a spring loaded pipe wrench, and rotated it until the bushing crumbled. I would strongly recommend taking a picture of the bushing prior to removal to assure you put the new one on properly.
November 8, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I try to take photos of items that require aligning and such, makes life easier.

Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
topcat Comments: Hi,this is my 1st time working on my 2004 mini base model and I'am doing the whole suspension system replacement repair but I didn't know about making markings on the control arm and the bushing area, would that make it difficult to set the control arm back and does it have specific arrangement. I already purchased the original replacement part,should I return them and order the poly kind and not have to worry about the markings or what would u suggest, and finally you say the markings on the inner ball joint have which side to replace them on it but is "L" meaningif I,am sitting in the mini on the driverside making it the left or if i'am standing in front of the mini making the "L" the passengerside? I know this mat sound crazy but I rather know than guess. Oh and what is the part that hangs down through the driverside control arm hole that looks like some linkage to I guess speed or brake linkage. thanks for ur patience.
October 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Left is the driver side in the US. Viewed as sitting in the seat.

I would stick with the parts you have, they are in hand and will allow you to begin sooner. Just mark the old parts when removing and align the new parts with those markings. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Matin Comments: Hello there i have a 2002 minicooper the rigth axel brokei replaced it and it broke again is this the arm that is bent? A mechanic replaced it and my mini is sitting there im stuck help please
October 3, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I couldn't say what exactly is wrong without seeing the vehicle. You could have damaged suspension of a bad mount. Look at the axle alignment, compare it to the other side.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
David Comments: What is the brand and model of the puller tool you are using in Figure 2? Would love to buy one from you guys...
July 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Looks like STAHLWILLE. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right tool. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Nigel Comments: Hi there....great and informative article. I wonder if you could tell me the difference between "single offset 1 degree camber" bushings and "double offset bushings 2 degrees camber"; I have a R53 and am not sure which ones to order for my replacement project. Thanks.
May 8, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You would buy the different bushing to remedy alignment issues. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
christian Comments: Hi I have a r53 . I'm getting a knocking/ clunking sound when going over bumps only on the right side. That side had a slight mushroom incident of the strut tower when I bought the car. I replaced both front struts shortly after this due to the right one also bottoming out after adding beef up plates and replacing struts and mount initially it quite the noise some but after the struts seemed to settle I got the noise back. Also if I'm driving down the road and shake the steering wheel from side to side I get the same clunking sound. I've replaced a worn upper engine mount. I'm not sure where to go next but I think it could be the control arms. I guess my question is how do I know if my ball joints are good or should I got ahead and R&D those as well? . Thanks for all the help this website helps me keep the cost down on my mini my performing my own work. Ton of help thanks!
February 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Inspect the stabalizer bar end links and control arm bushing and ball joints. Check for looseness. Try moving the steering wheel side to side (with the engine off) to duplicate the sound while monitoring the suspension components. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bill Comments: We are replacing the control arm bushings and both ball joints on our 2002 Cooper S and wanted to know which pullers you sell that are needed to do the job.
This info is great but does not give me part numbers for the tools. The tie rod spliter I have is to crude.
I contacted parts and were told to contact you. Bill
January 21, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right parts and tools. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Kevenmac Comments: Just completed this project and wanted to share some pointers...#1 - This is NOT a fun project the first time you do it. First time I have found myself wishing I had just paid to have something done! #2 - Forget about just lowering the subframe a bit..drop it to the floor! I was stuck using the "dangling subframe" method due to not knowing for sure how to remove my CVT shifter linkage and being afraid to muck that up....its my daily driver. You cannot effectively reach half the bolts and you cannot torque them back to factory spec with everything shifting around. If I die in a bizarre one car crash you will know why. #3 - If you have a CVT find out how to remove that linkage! #4 - NO ONE and I mean NO ONE warns you how hard it is to get the bushings back on the ends of those control arms without special tools. Everyone says "just get the ones already in the brackets, no prob!" NOT. My final solution was using two people and two c-clamps a 5" and a 6" so the handles don't interfere with each other and each slowly and evenly crank the clamps down. This will work. Hanging on the bushing with the arm in a vice with all your weight grunting like an ape will not. Hammering will not...they just bounce back. Oh and just use windex as lube...before I figured out the C-clamp trick and s friend showed up to help me with it, in desperation I used a lubricant that will probably not dry up and will probably contribute to the previously mentioned accident. #5 - Did you put the bushings on backwards? Sure ticket to the looney bin. Take a picture before you pull them off and save yourself the heartbreak. All kidding aside, I love working on my Mini, but I hated this project the first time through.
December 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:
Thanks for the input and feedback on this one. We appreciate the help. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
tommy Comments: hello hye there,i have a mini one 2003..when i speed about 70kmh,my steereng keep shaking too the left....is that bushing problems???how to identify which bushing??i'm from malaysia...hope respons from u soon
November 1, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This could be a faulty suspension component. Jack and support the front of the vehicle. Then move the wheel up and down while monitoring the suspension components. The ball joints and bushing should be without play. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jaqs Comments: Hi there, this is a bit cheaky but i'm after a second opinion please. I have my mini cooper booking in at a local garage in one weeks time to replce wheel bshes but the vibration/knocking from front nearside wheel is a little alarmimg. The garage tell me its not dangerous and the worst that can happen is wear on the type. Would you in your expert opinion agree please? Very cheaky I know but if you dont ask you'll never know :
Kind regards Jacquie
August 28, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: hard to guess at how bad it can be without seeing it. However, if there is aloud knocking noise, this could be parts making contact due to faulty bushings or bearings. I would repair it ASAP to avoid a major failure. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jude Comments: Do I really need the tool to install the control arm to the control arm bracket after installing the bushing to the control arm bracket on the 2008 Mini Cooper s cause I'm only buying the tool to press the old bushing out an in but I'm using poly urethane bushings please let me know thank
August 26, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not sure I follow your question. The control arm does have to be removed to replace the bushing, if that is what you are asking. There isn't enough room to replace it in the car. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
johnk Comments: Thanks for the great guide, but I'm currently having trouble removing the outer ball joint from the steering knuckle. The two 13mm bolts Figure 1 came off easily, but the joint itself seems to be firmly stuck in there.
August 17, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The ball joint is likely stuck due to corrosion. Use a soft-faced hammer (such as brass) and tap the ball joint around the perimeter until it is free. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
johnD Comments: Currently doing this job. I have a couple of comments. On my 2003 MINI Cooper S there is NO room to get the steering reservoir past the heat shield in the engine compartment. I dropped the subframe down enough to get at everything without removing it completely. Also is there something that the arrow on the new bushing should point toward? Both bushings were torn out and so there is no way to tell how to orient the new bushings. Looking at the picture you have it seems the arrow should be in line with the plane of the control arm maybe? Also it has taken me about 6 hours to disassemble. I am slow and this was the first time I have had the front end apart.
August 6, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Use the photo in step 6. Align the bushing on your vehicle in about the same place. If you use the factory repair info it states to mark before removing also. Eadch one I have done, it looks like the arrow is parallel witht he subframe. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
planeguy Comments: Please update this article to specify the tools used. Are these available to purchase through pelican?
November 26, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. You can buy the tools from pelican, give one of our parts specialists a call. They will be glad to help: 1-888-280-7799 - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Juan Comments: Thanks for your great info, i just replaced both bushings with frame and i found that to remove and re-apply the bushings on the control arm it will be easier and faster if you use a pully system, it took me 10-15 minutes.
And to loosend the bolts use a wrench extender for the driver side.
October 29, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional information. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
stan Comments: Hi,in what way will changing these parts made my engine fail?tks.:
October 7, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: These are suspension parts and should have no effect on the engine. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
alan Comments: Thanks for really excellent guidance,just removed subframe to access rear end bush and the bolts were torqued near 200lbs,would not have done it by just dropping subframe.
August 30, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad it worked out. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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