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BMW E36 3-Series Control Arm Replacement

Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E36 3-Series Control Arm Replacement

Jared Fenton


2-3 hours






Floor jack, two jack stands, two wheel chocks, lug wrench, safety glasses, metric socket set, metric wrench set, torque wrench, breaker bar, rubber mallet, three-jaw puller, grease,

Applicable Models:

BMW E36 3-Series (1992-99)

Parts Required:

Control arms, locking nuts

Performance Gain:

A firmed up suspension and no squeaks

Complementary Modification:

Replace the front sway bar
101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series. The book contains 272 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to timing the camshafts. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any 3 Series owner's collection. The book was released in August 2006, and is available for ordering now. See The Official Book Website for more details.

In my continuing series of suspension technical articles for the BMW, I now bring you my article for replacing the front control arms on the E36 3 Series cars from 1992-99. With many of the E36 models now reaching well over 100K on the odometer, it's not uncommon to start having suspension squeaks and loose handling up front. The front suspension on the E36 3 Series was a small improvement over the earlier E30 front suspension. The newer style suspension on these cars allows you the ability to replace the outer control arm ball joint whereas you could not on the earlier models. However the inner ball joint is the same as the E30 control arm and must be replaced along with the arm. Keep in mind that it is highly recommended that control arms always be replaced in pairs.

To begin, first chock the rear wheels to keep them from moving when the car is up on the jack stands then loosen (but do not remove) the lug bolts. You'll find it nearly impossible to loosen them when the car is up in the air. Now begin to jack the front of the car up using a structural member or jack point. Wayne's article on jacking up the front of the BMW E36 goes over in detail how exactly to do this. I recommend that anyone not familiar with jacking up the front of the car check the article out. Here is a link to the article: Jacking up your E36 BMW

Once the car is up in the air and firmly supported on jack stands, remove the lug bolts and pull the wheels off. Look at the backside of the rotor/hub assembly and locate the sway bar drop links that attach to the control arm. In order to remove these, we will need to jack up the control arm assembly to as near as ride height as possible. Place a jack under the control arm and jack the control arm up, then remove the nut that secures the drop link to the control arm. Now lower the jack. As you lower the jack, the drop link will pullout of the control arm. Repeat this procedure for the other side.

Now locate the outer control arm ball joint. This is the joint that secures the control arm to the rotor/hub assembly. You may have to turn the wheels inward to access it. Locate the nut that holds the tapered ball joint in place, then remove the nut using a breaker bar or open-end wrench. Once free, tap the top of the control arm with a rubber mallet to free the control arm from the rotor/hub assembly.Be prepared for the strut assembly to expand slightly once free. This is normal.

Look at where the control arm mounts nearest the rear of the car. You will see a large rubber bushing housed in a bracket bolted to the chassis. Remove the two bolts holding this bracket to the car. The control arm will now be only connected to the car by the inner ball joint.

We now need to remove the inner ball joint, which will free the old control arm from the car. Look inside the engine compartment, on both sides, you will see the nut that secures this joint to the car. Remove both nuts from inside the engine compartment and use the rubber mallet to free the control arm from the car.

Now that both control arms are now free, it is necessary to remove the bracket containing the rubber bushing from the ends of each control arm. We will need to transfer these to the new control arms. Keep in mind that these rubber bushings are a very tight fit on the ends of the control arms. Therefore, it is necessary to use a two or three jaw puller to remove them from the control arm. Coat the ends of the control arm with grease to help slide the bushing off. It may also be helpful to center punch the end of the control arm. This will help you to seat the puller on the end of the shaft. Now, use the puller to remove the bushing/bracket.

Once off, take the bracket over to the new control arm. BMW has a special, kerosene-based lubricant that is used to help install the bushing. This grease dries out after 30 minutes, essentially gluing the bushing in place. Make a mental note of the position on the old control arms as to how the bushings are mounted. This will save you headaches when you go to put the bushings on and you realize it's on backward or the left bracket is on the right control arm.

The new control arms are shipped with new ball joints already pre-installed, so we do not have to re-use the outer ball joint from the old control arm. Once you have the mounting bushings installed on the end of the new control arm, take it back to the car and line the control arm up to roughly it's installed position and press the inner ball joint tapered threads up through the sub frame mounting point. You may find you need to hold it in place with a jack. This will seat the tapered threads and help stop the ball joint from spinning once you thread the nut on. So, install a new self-locking nut on the threads and torque the nut to 62 ft./lbs. Repeat this for the other side as well.

It's important to always use new self-locking nuts anytime you work on suspension components. The plastic liners inside the nuts provide a locking surface for the threads. Anytime you remove one of these nuts, it renders these plastic liners are destroyed, effectively reducing the effectiveness of the nut to tighten.

Now line up the outer ball joint with it's respective hole in the rotor/hub assembly and use the jack to again seat the tapered fitting. Once secured with the jack, install a new self-locking nut and torque it to 48 ft./lbs. Repeat this for both sides of the car.

Take the rear rubber bracket/bushing mount and secure it to the car using the two bolts. Loosely thread both in before you start to torque them. Once both are in, torque them both to 34 ft./lbs.

Now place the jack under the new control arm assembly. We will need to jack up the arm so that the suspension drop link will slide into its mounting point. As you jack up the arm, guide the drop link so it fit's into the mounting point on the control arm. Once installed, thread a new self-locking nut onto the bolt and torque it to 31 ft./lbs. Repeat this for both sides. Re-mount the front wheels and snug up the lug bolts.

Now we are ready to lower the car. Start out by jacking up either side according to Wayne's article, and remove the jack stands from each side. Now carefully lower the car and tighten the lug bolts on the wheels using a criss cross pattern. Remove the chocks from the rear wheels and that's it, you're done!

Well, there you have it - it's really not too difficult at all. If you would like to see more technical articles like this one, please continue to support Pelican Parts with all your parts needs. If you like what you see here, then please visit our online BMW catalog and help support the collection and creating of new and informative technical articles like this one. Your continued support directly affects the expansion and existence of this site and technical articles like this one. As always, if you have any questions or comments about this helpful article, please drop us a line.

Comments and Suggestions:
davetherave Comments: Hi all, great article. I just done my E36 328i UK but unfortunately I broke a pipe to the power steering coil! This was due to the very tight space where the 22mm inner ball joint nut is. Because of the torque required to remove it, I lost a bit of control and struck the pipe - just thought I would warn anyone thinking of doing this job. Also, I have done the inner and outer tie rods, drop links and had an alignment - everything is tight, but something doesn't feel right, so now I think the rack may be worn also?? Another thing is I don't own a torque wrench - will I be OK after not using one? Not sure I could get a wrench into all of the nuts anyway. Thanks.
August 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Torquing the fasteners is always best. For nuts, use a crowsfoot.

not sure what you mean by "something doesn't feel right". It may be as simple as you need to have the front end aligned. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Ehh Comments: Can you run non-m 96+ front control arms on a 95 m3? If so, what bushings would you want to run, the centered?
April 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not 100% sure.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
E36 Comments: Hi, I have an E36 325i that recently went for suspension and steering replacement. A couple of days after installing all of the components, one of the new ball joints disconnected presumably from a hard bump or pothole. The mechanic decided to reinstall de ball joint and as a precaution, he soldered both left and right ball joints into its housing. My question is, can you solder the ball joints or does this creates a safety issue?
All of the new parts are genuine parts, so all of them must fit perfectly.
October 6, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: NO, do not do that. Replace whatever is faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
pete Comments: lol I got the lollipop bushings on with my bare hands and no lube.
December 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Frank2251 Comments: I have a 2001 Z3, are the torque specs for replacing the bushings/bracket mount and the control arms the same as listed here for an older range of cars? I'm looking for the specs so I do the replacement correctly.
September 5, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: They may be different. I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Bryan Comments: Great article. Just did my right side. Replaced the control arm and the bushing with a new bracket. Was able to get a 22mm socket on a 3/8 ratchet in there to get the inside nut for the ball joint off. Only problem was when I got the nut backed all the way off the ratchet got stuck. Got it back when I used the ball joint tool pickle fork, $10 at Harbor Freight to pop the joint out. I am a auto repair rookie and this took me about 3 hours including lunch. I only did the right side since I had the left side replaced a year ago and it still felt tight. Thank you
Wayne and everyone else who commented for your help, couldn't have done it with out you all.
July 7, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Eric Comments: P80 lube is a godsend for pressing new rubber bushings onto control arms. The company is nice enough to send *free samples* in tiny little plastic tubes, think Neo Sporin ointment, that are enough to last any BMW owner 200k mi worth of suspension component replacement jobs. I first tried the stuff about 5 years ago, to aid installation of rear subframe bushings on my E30, have used it to install 2 more pairs of front control arm bushings, still have at least half a tube left. It's a milky white emulsion, looks like coffee creamer, super slick for a few minutes, then completely dries, doesn't harm the rubber. Be sure to shake the tube before use, it separates over time.

June 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Frankus12 Comments: I am confused as to where the drying lube goes, Does it go on the inside of the bracket before you put the bushing into the lollipop, or just on the end of the control arm, or both??
June 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It goes inside the bushing, where the control arm inserts. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Derf Comments: Hello i just replaced both control arms that came with ball joints the lollypop bushings tie rod ends and also front struts.I then took my 1997 328i to the alignment shop they did their work several times they said the car is perfectly aligned and they dont know whats wrong with it. My car drives smooth but when i turn the wheel to the left as if i was doing a u turn then drive it down the road it tracks left. Then when i do the same u turn to the right the drive it tracks right. both way i did the same test it drives straight till i let go of the steering wheel. If i hold it it drives fine. Guys please help the shop didnt charge me they said they have no idea. they are the best shop we got here. Help me please.
May 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is the steering binding? I would remove the tie rod ends and check if both front spindles turn smooth and free. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
BD40 Comments: First a disclaimer: I performed the control arm/control arm bushing-bracket assembly replacement on an E36/7 2000 Z3, not an E36 sedan. I’ll address the variances from the Tech Article that I discovered working on the Z3.

Removing the Outer Ball Joint: The BJ nut was frozen on the Left side and required removing the strut from the steering knuckle in order to have room to use an impact gun. The Right side came apart without removing the strut. Separating the BJ was difficult at best. I snapped the Harbor Freight hinged BJ separator in two and still didn’t budge the BJ. A BFH and a pickle fork did the trick.

Removing the Inner Ball Joint: Left side: Remove the air filter box for some working room and use a 22 mm socket on a ½” ratchet or impact wrench with long extensions and a universal joint. Right side: This nut can only be reached from below the car with an open-ended wrench. Yes, it is tedious. There is no clear view of the nut from above.

Removing the Control Arm Bushing Assy: Simple with an 18mm socket. I replaced the Control Arm and CABA, so I didn’t have to mess with pressing out the bushing from the bracket.

Installing the Control Arm Bushing on the Control Arm: First I bought some Energy Suspension bushing snot lube. Wear nitrile gloves: It’s both gooey and slippery, but it works. Next I put a 24” woodworking pipe clamp in a vise, squeezing the “Lollipop” onto the Control Arm with the help of a 1” socket over the inner metal sleeve of the bushing.

Installing the new CA/CABA: Reverse of removal, EXCEPT: 1 The Lemfoerder CAs had Allen head sockets machined into all of the BJ stems except the Right inner BJ. Why? The sockets appear to be intended to hold the stem with an Allen wrench while torqueing the nut. What seemed to work best was to press the inner and outer BJs from below with a floor jack while torqueing the BJ nuts. The weight of the car locks the BJ stems in place. 2 The Right side inner BJ nut will be a PIA again. This will take an open-ended wrench and you will only have room for a ¼ turn at a time. 3 Make sure the sway bar drop link studs fall into the holes in the Control Arm as you raise the Outer BJ into place. If you forget, you won’t be able to compress the sway bar enough to maneuver the stud into place.

TIME: Approximately 6-7 hours, using air tools.

VALUE: The Z3 is now tight and precise, and tracks perfectly, even without an alignment.
May 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
tubbut Comments: E36 328i. When I drive on smooth rd no issues. But when I pass over a small bump the steering shakes. I have replaced lower control arm and all bushes, tie rod outer and inner, struts. I used M3 lower control arm bushes lollypops
Local suspension firm examined vehicle wheel bearings all good . They could only suggest that the M3 lollypop bush put too much caster and may cause the shimmy. Vehicle also 'tracks' on the road. Sometimes left sometimes right.
HELP!!! Wheels all balanced and alignment done. Where do I look next?
February 3, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would inspect the steering rack and shaft. There may be an issue with the rack bushings. Have you had the vehicle aligned after the front end repairs? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Alex Comments: Following the comment by JETninja I found out that loads of e36 M3 owners have been doing this Putting the outer and inner e30 ball joints on the e36 control arms but has anyone done this on another e36? I have a 1998 328i and I'm looking forward to do this instead of changing the entire arm. If the control arms of the e36 are pretty much identical to the e30, would this work on a non M e36 to?

January 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have not done this myself. I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
rajiv Comments: I have an E36 318iM43 and from few weeks I am getting very uncomfortable steering response from the car. Recently I replaced my oil leaking steering rack and the new front shocks with top mounts. Now when I drive the car the steering feels okey but when i brake the car at over 40MPH the steering wheel starts to shake and also their is a small vibration in the break paddle also. If i break at a low speed than 40MPH then no issues like this. I have also replaced the front break pads recently.
December 11, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This could be faulty control arm bushings or brake rotors. Inspect both. Check run-out on the rotors and check the bushing for wear and excessive movement. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Justin Comments: I just did this replacement over the weekend on my Euro E36 M3 3.2 and this guide was a great help, but apparently with the wrong a-arms.

I used 328 a-arms as they are €100 vs €550 for the M3 461/462 parts over here in Germany. I was aware that the normal E36 a-arms will reduce the caster from the M3 arms, and I can deal with that as I already have the eccentric Prothane bushings, but is the camber different as well? I gained 1.5deg negative and now sit at -3.5°. I currently have the strut hats swapped and can put them back to normal and get it back to -2°, but is something else going on here?

Also, the steering returns to center when turning right, but wants to stay over center when turning left more than about 180° now. Steering was symmetrical before the R&R, and everything went in fine including alignment of the rear bushing lollipops to the chassis, and the car has never been hit.
September 17, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The M3 suspension is not the same and a regular e36. By using the wrong part you have changed the geometry of the front end. This is why you are having problems. I would spend the extra money and buy the correct arms.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Hyperthrive Comments: Not terribly difficult for anyone who has only previously done brake pads, oil changes and basic component repairs. This 18 year old 1995 318is fasteners and bolts were not corroded. BMW sure beats my Toyota’s junk metal fasteners. A pickle fork is necessary: I found a Lisle $38 set of three forks and two handles. My mechanic quoted me $250 in labor. I took my time and finished in less than 6 hours. I used a smear of RTV silicone gasket sealant to first lube the control arm bushings and that also glued them in place. Everything had been original. One sway bar link had even broken in two. Biggest obstacle was getting to driver side inner ball joint nut. Steering components made that more difficult, and I didn’t have enough extensions and universal joints to snake down from above. Getting the sway bar out of the way helped, and only then I found that I didn’t have a large enough wrench - I needed a 22mm. I had been feeling a vibration first in sweeping turns at 175,000 that worsened to vibrating over every bump at speeds above 45 mph after about 200,000 miles. So new control arms with inner and outer ball joints, sway bar bushings, and control arm bushing and lollipop bracket cured it. Tight tight tight!
February 5, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Congrats on the job well done! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Bob Comments: I just installed new control arms and bushings on my '96 328i 97k miles and learned a few tricks along the way. The tipoff that front end work was needed was a shimmy in left hand sweepers at or above 70mph at first - later the onset of this shimmy was at somewhat lower speeds. I'd had an alignment done a couple of months before, and those guys are usually pretty thorough in checking ball joints, etc., so I thought maybe a tire was giving up or something similar. Needed new ones anyway, so I put new Michelins on but it didn't help. Checked the ball joints and both outers were bad.

Tricks I learned in the removal/installation process:
1. Definitely pull the sway bar - it takes a little time, but makes access to the control arms much easier.
2. A decent battery-powered impact wrench is a great tool to have. I bought one half-way through the job and wish I'd had it years ago. Excellent for breaking nuts free on the ball joints, after lubing them with PB Blaster. I DO NOT like to zing off nuts unless I have first cleaned and lubed threads, however. The impact wrench is good for installation too, but take it easy - hand torque.
3. Completely remove ball joint nuts then re-thread them on about two or three turns before breaking the ball joint loose at the taper. If you don't, and break the tapered joint first, the nut can be a bear to get off as the shaft will turn easily, especially in a worn-out joint. Ask me how I know - the first one took an hour to take off, the second took 2 minutes. Once again, the impact wrench was the tool to have.
4. If the ball joint resists breaking free using a pickle fork, hammer the fork in until it's real tight, then put a piece of pipe on it and push down hard - you can get a lot of leverage this way.
5. I installed M3 bushings and was real careful to verify alignment of them - sketch yourself a pic for reference if needed. I used some lube that came with my new sway bar bushings, banged the control arm bushings in with a rubber mallet, then twisted them as necessary to line up just right. With the lube, they twisted easily even had to take one back off and turn it around - no sweat.

I have not had the car aligned with the new parts, but it drives super sweet with a very precise feel. Money well spent, but doing the job outside in 100 degrees was somewhat uncomfortable. Good thing I have a swimming hole in the creek behind my house.
July 7, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the tips for our readers - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bmw_Fever Comments: to get lollipop bushings on to controll arm i used palmolive dish soap lube up the bushing and controll arm and the bushing can be installed by hand no tools required, just make sure you have the bracket in correct direction cuz taking them back off will be harder then installing them.I bought the kits that came with bracket and bushing already intalled, they were tight and required alot of twisting to get them on but didnt take longmaybe 10 min a side.hope this helps the do it yourselfer.
June 30, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the tip - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bmw_FeVer Comments: After reading alot of forums i decided to tackle the entire front end myself,controll arms both sides inner/outter tie rod kits,check links for sway bar,2 lollipop mounts with new bushings installed, 2 front struts new springs and new bearing plates/mounts and a set of rear shocks,front and rear rotors and pads .it took about 10 hours to do everything on the floor no hoist, the only thing that gave me a problem was the 2 22mm nuts for ball joints that are tucked inside where you can barley see them, nothing a propane torch didnt take car of but still a pia to do ,car rides like new and the parts i took out were comlpletly wiped out and car was all over the road. steering wheel is straight car tracks straight and is as smooth as it has ever been.definatley not a job for someone who isnt a mechanic or for someone who doesnt have all the proper tools to do the job.not sure what hurts more my body aches from all the wrenching or how much 3000.oo would have hurt my wallet.all parts cost me 850. and no labour. body will heal in a few days wallet would take alot longer to heal :
June 30, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Were glad we could help- Nick at Pelican Parts  
scotty A Comments: I have just finished this job and if the arms are original its a real pain in the backside!!!
No.1 getting a locking nut off the ball joint, when the ball joint keeps spinning. On my 316 compact I found that in the top of the ball joint is a hex nut indent, so if you can remove the strut to access it, just slot the hex nut in and spanner the nut off easy as.

No. 2 - getting the lollipop bushing onto the arm, seems easy hey!! I found that if you you some wood and a hammer you can get it the majority of the way on, then to finish it off put a large socket, i used 23m, over the centre of the bushing it has a steel ring in the middle and hammer that over it pops right in without too much trouble.

Hope this helps.
June 11, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the tips for our readers- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Owens84qv Comments: I had done this procedure before, but that was 5 years ago. This DIY article was a good reminder of the steps and order to be done.

One tool that makes this procedure simple is the hinged ball joint separator sold by Harbor Frieght.
1. Loosen the nut on outer ball joint.
2. Unbolt the front shocks and move them slightly out of the way. you need to make sure the rotor / hub is supported so it doesn't flop around...much easier with a second pair of hands
3. Attach the Harbor Freight ball joint seperator and keep tightening until the joint pops.
4. Turns a 30 minute step into ~2 minutes.

Another step which makes the process easier is having a bottle jack placed under the inner ball joint to make sure its pressed firmly against the chassis rail.

My friend and I had both control arms replaced and everything tightened up within 3 hours. Super easy job.
April 28, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the tips for our readers - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Daniel Comments: Hi, I am in the process of installing my control arms/FCABS and I ran into a big problem.... The right side bolted right up with little hassle, but the left hand side had gotten hit and had some repairs on the front subframe, now I think that the front cross member or something up there is not lined up right and my lollypop is about 1/4" from lining up with the holes, I tried taking the front strut off to get it to line up, tried moving the control arm in every way possible to get the lollypop holes to line up, and its all the way forward on the arm. I don't know what to do, is the front cross member on a eccentric hole so that it can be aligned ?? I only need about 1/4" max, I didn't have a tape with me to measure exactly the amount. Was so excited to be on the home stretch, now i'm in a deep hole. :
January 10, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: - Nick at Pelican Parts

Sounds like you might have to take it to a body shop and have the frame checked, the subframe is not sloted and it not adjustable so if it will not line up something is bent.
Fred Comments: I am told that the special BMW lubricant used to press on / glue the control arm bushings to the control arms is no longer available. Any suggestions for a substitute? Turpentine has been suggested if I can get the car back on the ground in 5 to 10 min. That seems a pretty tall order.
December 27, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: - Nick at Pelican Parts

Dish soap or Spary Nine work great for installing the bushings on the control arms.
DavePook Comments: The correct difficulty level for this job would be at least a 7 or 8. 3 is rediculous. Nothing is easy. The inner balljoint nuts are extremely difficult to get at go from above. I broke a sledge hammer trying to get the bushings on the control arms tip: sand the arm rods & bushing sleeves first, put arms in freezer & bushings on the fireplace for a few hours, use dish soap and the correct size socket and a big hammer and pound like hell while using every curse word you know. Also the struts must be unbolted from the steering arms to access the outer balljoint nuts. It took me the ENTIRE weekend to do this job on my 1993 325is, about 20 hours of work. Don't even think of attempting this without a good impact wrench!
November 22, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: - Nick at Pelican Parts

Sounds like a lot of work, sorry you had such a tough time, thanks for the feedback.
vbusa Comments: do you need to alignment after installing new lower control arms,and bushings what brand is best on a stock e36 convertible,
November 2, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: - Nick at Pelican Parts

Performing an alignment after replacing the bushings and control arms is a good idea. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
Jess Comments: Hi guys I just got my car back from attempting to get a blue slip is Australia- I was told the control arm ball joint needed replacing and the arm aswell.. I would like to buy the parts as I'm sure once I know what im looking for I'll be able to get these cheaper than what the mechanic will charge me, however I need some advise on what parts to purchase.
The car is a BMW 1993 318i E36
October 4, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: - Nick at Pelican Parts

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need to repair your front end.
FuzzyB Comments: I was also unable to budge either inner ball joint with a pickle fork. I broke each free with 5-ton two-arm puller, though my quick calculations show I put well over 5 tons of force on it.

The nuts on the inner ball joints? I loosened them with a 10" adjustable wrench from the bottom, then removed with a 7/8" shallow socket - U joint - extension combination from the top. I didn't have a 22mm Fortunately it didn't take much to break mine free.

Other hints I would have found helpful:

The 'countersinks' on the wishbone brackets go toward the chassis, not the bolt heads. The book warns about 'small indentations', but to me those did not match the description. I had the bushings pressed on before I dismantled the car, which was the main reason I paid extra for the new brackets.

The 2-arm puller also worked well to remove the wishbone bracket and bushing after finding I had pressed them on backwards. I screwed together four 'mending plates' from Home Depot I had lying around. Pull on the plates, and let them push on the bushing right next to the shaft.

The bushings can be re-pressed using a bar clamp and 7/8" socket.

The pickle fork works best on the inner ball joint when you insert it from the centerline of the car.

Hope this helps!
September 5, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: - Nick at Pelican Parts

Thanks for all of the tips and feedback
Rob_DOHC Comments: To the below user stryker14:

I found the only way i could do this was to use an array of extension bars so you can use a ratchet comfortably from the top.

The outer joint, i undid the nut and sandwiched a spanner between the bottom of the shock and the nut, this applied force to the ball joint, then hitting the hub until the joint split.

August 29, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: - Nick at Pelican Parts

Those nuts on the inner ball joints are tough to get off, thanks for the tip and the feedback.
Rob_DOHC Comments: Another great article thanks :

Although the article does make this sound like a walk in the park. I found otherwise! The inner ball joint was a complete PITA, in the end the only way to remove the right and side was to beat the top senseless with a long bar, i had to drop the subframe down a little to get a socket on the nut as the engine mount gets in the way may be different for US cars im in the UK.

The left side US drivers side had a little more access with the air box and steering fluid reservoir removed and i didn't have to drop the subframe to get a socket on the nut, however no amount of bashing would shift this ball joint.

In the end i removed the outer ball joint, reinstalled the rear mount and jammed a few sockets between the cross member and the lower arm, i jacked the arm up until the car was raised a little off the axle stand and then hit the top of the ball joint with club hammer and long rod... this finally split the joint and i was able to reassemble.

A couple of hours turned into a full day but it was well worth it, the car drives fantastically now, i took the chance to fit M3 rear eccentric rear mounts too and highly recommend any one here do the same.

Hope this helps someone!

August 29, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: - Nick at Pelican Parts

Thanks for the compliment and the feed back and tips.
vorlon 7 Comments: for the inner joint deep 22 socket and long extension bars and a cheap car battery impact driver the sort you get for wheel nuts if you have not got or cant borrow a proper one.
You need a deep socket or when you try and re-tighten the threaded bit pushes the socket off you can get the inner joint on its own but its hard to replace I cut the stem off when the arms off the car and the bottom ball joint cover dont damage the arm, and then you can hammer or press it out its a pig to do unlike the outer joint so its got to be really short of money time if you have to do this, the arms I can swop with practice and the zap gun in an hour for both sides
July 27, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: - Nick at Pelican Parts

Thanks for all for the tips. the control arms can be hard to change
MADSMF Comments: Hi,
Your website is absolutly fantastic and extremely helpfull.. I'll start for thanking you for all the help and tech information given to me in the past...
But now I find myself stuck with a problem which I can't solve... I have a 1996 BMW 316i coupe and when I'm driving the steering shakes and wants to go to the left or right. When I find the middle or balance the steering and want to turn either left or right it seems to click, as if there was a gap of some sort of gap on the steering and it feels like a click.It clicks and then turns one way or the other.. Don't know what it could be and wounder if you could give me some sort of technical support on this issue...
Thanks for your time
July 22, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: - Nick at Pelican Parts

I would start by checking the front end for play, make sure the tie rods and ball joints and bushings are all tight. Check the tires and make sure that they are round and don't have any shifted belts or uneven wear.
Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
R111S Comments: Just finished installing new Lower Control Arms and new Bushings. It was allot of work but the wobble is gone! I had to use a set of Pickle Forks w/3-Pound Hammer to remove the old Ball Joints. I used a 22m Wrench to break torque as well as 22mm Socket w/long enxtensions and u-joint on the middle inboard Ball Joint. I also used 13, 16, 18, and 19 mm wrenches/sockets on various bolts/nuts. Woodworking Clamp was also very helpful on the rear Bushings. Took me ~4 hours and there were some fitful moments - perserverance wins the day - don't give up!
July 16, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like you had a great plan to get it done, thanks for the feedback.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
crazynavyjeff Comments: Just completed the removal and reinstallation of the control arms, bushings, and sway bar components, your book was in invaluable. I did find that it was easier to separate the lower ball joints by just dropping the entire steering knuckle and strut assembly then rapping the lower ball joint with a good swift hit from a steel hammer. All I needed was a good alignment shop to finish the job thanks for your great tips!
March 13, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Cool, thanks for the kind words! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Eric Comments: What is the part number of the lubricant for the bushings?

December 3, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: BMW Part Number: 81-22-9-407-284 - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
stryker14 Comments: To all,

I am very frustrated. I have two issues.

1. I can't get the outer ball joint to seperate from the hub. I have tried a pickle fork, With hammering, hammered the hub, broke a small puller trying to remove it. Any help?

2. How do you get to the inner ball joint nut? I can get a socket on it but no room for the rachet. I can get a stubby box wrench on it but can't get enough force to move the nut. It looks like it is not accessible from the top due to various components. What tools have others used? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

December 2, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: 1- Yes, these can be a bear. Try heating the outer part of the control arm with a propane torch (not the inner part), and get it a bit warm. This might help to expand and separate it. You might just need a bigger tool too.

2- Check out my other article on this here, with many more photos: - Wayne at Pelican Parts
TimdaToolman Comments: Hi, Please can someone tell me how to remove the outter ball joint on my E36. I have minimal tools & cash at my disposal.
November 25, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: See this article here: - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
96328isarkticsilver Comments: I thought the same thing...had my mechanic take a look at it. He's convinced the control arms I bought are wrong but they are exactly the same as the ones pictured, unfortunately I don't have the old ones to compare to. If you picture the u bracket that the links mount on the ones I have do not mount perpendicular to the control arm, they come in at like a 20 degree angle. Obv this causes a terrible clunk when the sway bar takes load. The mechanic checked the control arms and they are on right, the only thing that could be wrong is the links themselves or the mounts and from what I understand these are not sided...I am at a loss. I think I'm just going to fabricate a new mount to the control arm...blah
November 13, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Some of the control arms were updated and the replacements do not look like the original ones, Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need. Maybe there is an updated bracket that is needed.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
96328isarkticsilver Comments: HELP! Replaced both lower front control arms tie rods and sway bar links. My problem is with the sway bar links...they don't mount right. There's a terrible torsion on the u bracket that mounts to the control arm...any ideas? I don't see how jacking the control arm would help. I've tried it some and at normal ride height there doesn't seem to be a big difference. Any advice greatly appreciated.
November 12, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: See if you can post a picture here, and/or see this article with the photos: It sounds like something might be installed backwards. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Charles Comments: To add, I did nothing from above the car. I just used a flex ratchet w/ socket on the inner ball joint nuts from the underside of the car. Tedious, but worked. If you don't have a pickle fork, get one before you start.
October 31, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Charles Comments: to Chuck Wails

Could be your sway bar bushings and check the torque on all sway bar related hardware. Had the same issue and turned out to an ever so slightly loose nut on the end link. Hope that's if for you.
October 31, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Rodney Comments: Do you have any pictures for this article?
October 26, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Try here for some pics: - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Chuck Wails Comments: I have replaced all bushings, wheel bearing and ball joint on both rear trailing armswishbones and still have a banging/rub when turning left from a stop. Especially when there is a bump or small pothole in road. I have noticed rubbing/banging when i carry more than one person in passenger side. I am stumped. Have done all I can but what could it be??? Help someone!
October 18, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Hmm, it could be the tire actually rubbing against a piece of the wheel liner that has come loose. Or, it could be something to do with the brakes and the discs, although that is much less likely (but I have seen issues like that before). - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Torch Comments: Does it matter which way round the OEM bush is pressed into the lollypop bracket as long as bump on bracket aligns with triangle arrow on bush.
October 12, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: As long as the notches line up is doesn't matter which side the bushing is pressed in from.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
dave Comments: Heh. My ball joints were toast.

Whatever you do, do NOT break the ball joints loose from the taper until AFTER you have the locknuts off, or at least, unscrewed far enough to be "unlocked". I busted the outer ball joint loose before I had the locknut "unlocked". Wow what a pita. Turned a 20 to 30 minute one side removal only job into a 6 hour slug fest!
September 26, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Next time that happens use a floor jack or a jack stand under the ball joint to put pressure on it so it will hold tight while you take the nut off.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Vega Comments: Hello everyone is there anything on replacing a rear control arm? i was looking around and did not find anything. I have a 1998 m3 and i am having trouble replacing my rear control arm. any help is appreciated thank you.
September 10, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have an article on that, but I will put it on the list for the future! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
kevinocall Comments: Article deserves much more detail! Finally have the control arms off both sides. Found I could force the middle joint off with a c-clamp, which just held on enough at the top to make it pop out. Also, where the control arm attaches to the rotor part, the nut only comes off until it hits the brake bracket above it, so the joint needs to drop down in order to remove the nut! Huh. Used a gear puller that fit for this. Lucky.

anyone who wants advice or to give advice, write me at

Next step is to install the new control arms. Advice? Thanks.
August 1, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check out this article here, it has more detail and photos: - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Kody801i Comments: This Site was very helpful, me and my e36 328i thank this wonderful resource being avalible.

The control arms are easy, dont think your going to hurt anything getting under there with a hammer,and a pickle fork to bang out the ball joint from the steering knuckle. You wont. The boot's are toast anyway. Just be sure to get your hands on a 7/8th small wrench, or a small adjustible, for the middle ball joint, and after about 50 1/4th turns,and voila. the old haggered stock piece is free, and ready to have some HD Meyle's installed!!

Now, the Bushings. Good luck. You need a press, for this easy, easy replacement. Go to a local garage, and you might get it done for free. Or go to the High end Euro Haus, and have them charge you 200$ for about 5 minutes of labor. When I took off my bushings, I just got under the car and pulled. I made a mistake and put the bushing on wrong, after it was on right, talk about self doubt. But use some laundry detergent to lube it up, just make sure its on right. I had to remove the entire control arm ever so delicatley not to tear the brand new boot. And I did a fairly good job, my ETA was still right on, despite a few setbacks. very good site though... I will upload pics,

May 9, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, those bushings look like they will just slide on, but they don't. You do need some extra help from a press. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
SANJ Comments: Rear wheel hub nut torque setting does any one know it?

And the bmw revised rear wheel hub nut no longer has tangs upon it to stop the nut from loosening, do you have to make the slots your-self?
May 2, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The Bentley manual says 250 Nm for the standard cars, and 300 Nm for the M3. I do not know the answer to the other question, but I would certainly use red Loctite on this nut without the tangs. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
neverman Comments: Autozone will take a deposit for a Pickle Fork. Just wedge it between the control arm boot and the framework or spindle area. Shouldn't take much pounding. I just did mine after 180k miles.

Other note, I was able to get a ratchet and 22mm on the drivers side but had to use an open end wrench for the passenger side.
May 1, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Ray Comments: My outer ball joint is in there SOLID! Tried whacking downward with the mallet, with no luck. Tried a pickle fork, but I'm whacking on that, but I don't like the stress laterally that the strut is taking. I'll try a ball joint puller... But i don't think there's enough space to install it. Any suggestions/tricks?
April 8, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The fork will go between the control arm and the steering knuckle and you are hitting the end of the fork to split the joint apart. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
S50B30 Comments: I have the new control arm in, I just tightened the inner ball joint nut what a pita. Now I know the article says to tighten to 31ft/lbs but you cannot fit a socket in there so how tight should I tighten it? With the little amount of room to work in there with my 22mm wrench it's difficult to get much leverage on the nut, but I did tighten it as much as I could.

Should I not stress this too much? Suggestions?
March 19, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I semi deep 22 mm socket, swivel and a long extension will help get the job done.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
rumlyne Comments: You don't need a pickle fork, just hit the control arm with a normal hammer to release the outer ball joint, and then holding the rear bush and outer ball joint, force the wishbone upwards towards the subframe a couple of times and it will simply fall out.
March 11, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Eric Comments: i love how all of the comments were deleted after it was pointed out that this article has NO pictures and several areas where it lacks substance...

Once again... how about socket sizes required?

Also, it NEEDS to be noted that you don't access the inner ball joint nuts from inside the engine compartment. You access them from underneath the car although near the engine.... You can remove them with an end-wrench even though it takes a bit.
February 23, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
eric Comments: worst DIY article ever written. more like FIY figure it-out yourself...

This article doesn't even address socket/wrench sizes.

And the inner ball joint... You can forget about getting to that from the engine compartment... You need to get underneath the front of the car this works for both sides and using an end wrench to muscle it loose, then just lots of back-and-forths unless you've got a ratcheting end wrench that'll fit.

If you can get the control arms off with a rubber mallet... I'm not sure they'd even need to be replaced. Mine felt like they were welded on...

Also, useless link above for pictures, because still, there aren't any pictures. If this would have been a better article, I probably would have had the time to take pictures and send them in for inclusion, but my frustration replaced my willingness to add to this page...
February 19, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Duane Comments: Some tips from my experience....

Just hammering on the control arm may take a long time to get apart. You don't need a ball joint remover. If you don't need to re-use any of the ball joints, use a 12-15 inch pickle fork find one pretty cheap at the auto parts place and a decent size steel mallet. A rubber one will just bounce off, and a normal hammer will not have enough mass. Leave some of the thread engaged on the nut so the arm does not just fall on you. Set the pickle fork between joint and give some good solid strikes until the joint separates.

I read the comments and greef posted here about the control arm bushings.

Save yourself a lot of headache and get urethane control arm bushings. They are about twice as much but you'll likely never have to replace them again. I've had mine for 70k + miles so far and they are like shimmy at all. You will probably have to replace the OEM ones every time you replace the control arms. Or worse yet, they fail before your control arm joints do.

You still need to reuse the "lollipop" that holds the bushing so you will still need to find a hydraulic press to use. Once you get the control arm off of the car, used a sawzall to cut out the rubber of the old bushing being extremely careful not to cut into the lollipop. Then just pry out the metal ring from the lollipop may need some more cutting. Press the new urethane bushing back into the lollipop follow instructions and press to the recommended depth according to your car's set up. Put a ton of white lithium lube into the bushing and on the control arm and just slide it onto the control arm. NO soap, NO setting pre-load, NO pressing of busing onto the control arm is required!! Next time you have to take the control arm off, all you have to do is just slide it out of the bushing.

Hope this is helpful to someone. Good luck!
February 5, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Eric Comments: Still no pictures... That link goes to the same page we're looking at now...
February 3, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
rdave Comments: I recall reading somewhere that on the e46, the self-locking nuts holding the control arm to the car should be torqued after the car is off the stands, i.e., with the weight of the car on the wheels. Do you know if this is true for the e36? For that matter, is it correct procedure for the e46?
January 27, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs. They are not going to be the same for E36 and E46.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
JETninja Comments: FYI for E36 M3 Owners, you can replace the Ball Joints. Order E30 Ball joints inner & outer and using the E30 Balljoint Tool or a Hyd Press press out your old Worn Ball joints and press in the new ones. Much cheaper then buying new arms. Did it last week on my '95 M3 with new bushings and tierods. Feels great again!
January 22, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Great tip, thanks for the feedback
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Aioros Comments: I recently changed the Inner Ball Joints on my car item No.4 in the attached picture. Unfortunately I couldn't find the torque specs anywhere for this item. I would like to ask you if you would please be able to give me that information?

The car is a 01 330xi auto M54 prod. date 10/00 VIN# JS94538
-Wishbone part# 31126758533 left and right
-Ball joint part# 31126756695 left and right
-Self-locking hex nut part# 31106769443 M14X1,5 05 ZNS3 22mm
January 18, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual. It will list the special tools and each step of the procedure. Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 They will help you find what you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
hefftone Comments: What are the symptoms of control arms that need replacing? Do they only need to be replaced if the inner ball joint is worn, with excessive play? How can I check while I'm replacing my shocks?
December 27, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Jacking up the front of the car and taking the weight off the front wheels, have someone shake the tire from side to side gently and look for play at the joints if there is play the joint needs to be replaced. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
December 17, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm not sure, I think they are welded into the chassis, if I remember correctly. I would try getting a tap and seeing if you can re-chase the threads. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Andy Comments: Hi, I just replaced my left control arm on my e36, just to read on your site that they should always be changed in pairs. Is this a must and what am I risking if not doing so? One more info, I bought a refurbished control arm with the fixed outer ball joint while the other one on the car original one has the older, replaceabel one. I won't be able to find the matching right control arm anyway...
Thanks for your answer.
November 16, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You are risking tire wear and alignment problems, make sure you have your alignment checked.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
busted knuckes Comments: my 99 323IC has a noticable wobble in the right front.

Seems my options are to replace:
the control arms in pairs using 31 12 6 758 513, or
the bracket with bushing 31 12 1 136 531, or
the bushing set 31 12 9 059 288

any comment on which is most appropriate
thanks bn
November 2, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check your tires and your wheel bearings first too. The last thing you want to do is replace suspension components only to find out there might be a another problem causing the wobble. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Jayman Comments: I can't get the new bushing onto the control arm! have tried everything and it won't go on. I'm afraid if I twist it too much it will tear the rubber, ruining it.
What's the secret?
October 19, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This project is a bear to do - if you use a lot of force, it should pop in without damaging it. It's designed to be squished in there with a lot of force. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Evelyn Comments: What size locking nuts do I need when I replace my front control arms on my 1993 318i.
September 28, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: They are special locking nuts - we sell them in our main catalog. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Brent Comments: Thanks, Wayne. You were right about the pickle fork, it came right off. The nut for the inner ball joint is really difficult, I had to use an elbow, 3 or 4 extensions, and a breaker bar to get it off...
August 28, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Tom Comments: I am currently working on replacing the control arms on my 325is along with other parts, and i must say Brent a pickle fork is a necessity; I spent hours attempting to remove the joints that simply wont budge. Pick one up at an autoparts store and spend a good minute hammering it in, and the arm should pop out easily.
August 27, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Brent Comments: I have been working on this for 2 evenings now. I have also had a lot of trouble with the inner ball joint, just like Matt. I have tried several of your projects, almost all with a higher difficulty level. There is no way this is a 3 out of 10, especially if you don't have the right tools! Thanks for the advice though, maybe if I get a pickle fork I'll write back and let you know it was a lot easier...
August 23, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check out my article here: You need the pickle fork - I don't know of any other real way to get it out. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Shawn Comments: I have just replaced my Lower control/thrust arms. I work in a shop and had to press the bushing out. It took a bunch of force.I used a large hydraulic press. I have to admit i purchased replacement bushings from ebay. I wouldnt recommend doing this. The rubber in the original control arms is much denser. One bushing was .015 too small and fell right through the hole where it needed to be pressed in. Im going to purchase the new one from Pelican and hope the one that did fit will last awhile. I tried to use a fork and heavy hammer to remove the bottom part of the control arm. I didnt work. I finally had to borrow a gear puller from Auto Zone. It takes a 22MM and a 21mm wrench for this job. On the drivers side there is a plastic box airflow in the way. This box wont allow the bolt on the upperside to be pulled out. You either need to remove the plastic air flow or do what i did. I removed the bolts holding the box in place and it pushed it back as far as possible and took a utility knife and notched the fin supports. This allowed enough room to slide the bolt all the way out.
August 19, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Patrick Comments: What do you do if the inner ball joint won't come loose off the car? I've been trying to "punch and hammer" it off with the nut on it so as to not damage the thread but, the darn thing doesn't even drop down a little bit.
July 28, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You need to use a pickle fork tool, or a ball joint removal tool to help it out of the tapered joint. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
1/4 scale Comments: Wayne is correct, the bush is the most difficult part of the job next to torquing the inner ball joint correctly - there isn't room for a torque wrench!. My technique for the arm bush is to clamp the arm in a vise and press on the bush using a 24mm socket works well on the metal part surrounding the bushings hole. I used a long woodworking clamp, finding a perch for the clamp beneath the vise and position the other end at the bushing. Once it is entirely over the spindle of the arm you can position the bush by hand. I used dish liquid so that it would go away over time and give the bushing the correct position once the car is off the blocks. Hope this helps someone. Happy wrenching!
July 28, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
1/4 scale Comments: I have a 95 M3 so the entire control arm with ball joints need to be replaced as a unit. As far as getting the other under strut ball joint off - you need to us a "pickle fork" and hammer it free. They are available a local auto parts houses for about $10.

Now all I need to do is figure out how to press on the rubber control arm bush onto the back of the control arm. Here's one way:
July 26, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Getting the bushing back onto the control arm was probably the most difficult task I had to do when writing the book. Very difficult and frustrating! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
matt Comments: i cant get the inner balljoint nut off on the driverside.. my car is a 6cyl and thea is nt enough room to get a tool in wat so ever. 22mm socket fits in good but cant fit a wrench on the socket as thea is no room.. what can i do?
July 10, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This is where having a lot of various types of tools helps. You can try a 22mm wrench, or an S-shaped wrench. A swivel socket also works, or a swivel with an extension. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
cgrow Comments: I hammered away on my control arm with a heavy mallet for hours and it never even began to budge. I recommend against trying this without some type of ball joint remover.
July 3, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
brettski Comments: wanted to replace my controls arms so i was taking a look at this article, will they really come apart with jsut the tap of a mallet or do i need a big cro-bar or ball jiont remover, please send an email back to
thanks a lot,
brett zelazek
June 21, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: They should come apart pretty easily, but getting them back on might prove to be a bear without a press. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Jose Comments: Pictures
June 19, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
alex Comments: pics please
May 15, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: See here: - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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