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In this DIY and How-To video, we’ll outline the procedure for properly using the control arm bushing remover and installer tool for removing or installing the front control arm bushings on BMW 3-series models from 1984 through 2005.
One of the most common sources for front-end vibrations on BMWs and MINIs is worn front control arm bushings. If all other front-end suspension and steering parts are verified to be in proper functioning condition, it is likely that the control arm bushings have become soft and are allowing the suspension control arms to oscillate, causing the vibrations that can be felt through the chassis and the steering wheel.
Replacing the control arm bushings on the 3-series BMW models from 1984 through 2005 (E30, E36, E46), can be accomplished by most DIYers in just a couple hours …. If we have the proper tools. In addition the a floor jack, jack-stands and common metric tools ranging from 16mm through 19mm (in most cases), we need the control arm bushing removal and installation tool kit.
In this DIY we will show how to remove and replace the control arm bushings on the BMW 3-series models as noted above, using the control arm bushing replacement tool set. Note that we will be installing the pre-assembled control arm bushing and mount bracket assemblies. This will allow us to replace the bushings without access to a hydraulic press.
Control arm bushing removal and install tool:
Bentley repair manual; as applicable to BMW or MINI model:
½” drive socket set, to include; 16mm through 19mm sockets (depending on model), ratchet and extensions.
24mm combination wrench
27mm combination wrench or ½” drive socket
Control arm bushings with mount brackets, as applicable to BMW or MINI model:
This general outline for 3-series control arm bushing replacement assumes that the proper Bentley repair manual is at hand.
1) Lift and properly support the front of the vehicle, so that the front wheels are off the ground.
2) Remove the wheel/tire assembly.
NOTE: Some models may require removal of splash panels or shields in order to access the control arm bushing mount brackets.
3) Remove the rear control arm bushing mount bracket by removing the two bolts securing the bracket to the vehicle. Note the position and overall relationship of the bracket and how it is mounted to the uni-body frame rail, for the future re-installation.
4) Use the control arm bushing removal/install tool to remove the bushing and bracket assembly from the end of the control arm pin.
5) Press the new bushing/mount assembly onto the control arm, using the bushing removal/install tool. Note that some urethane bushings may not require a press for this operation. Note that rubber bushings require a lubricant to allow them to be pressed onto the arm. BMW specifies a special lube that dries after assembly …. we like to use Silicone spray, diluted dish soap or hair spray as alternatives. Take note of any alignment marks, as well as the proper orientation (left / right and front / back) of the mount bracket. Most of the applications will install with the mounting arm, on the mount bracket, being parallel and in-line (on the same plane) with the forward end of the control arm.
6) Install the bolts for the bushing mount bracket and torque to specs (see the proper Bentley manual).
7) Replace the splash shields and the wheels/tires and torque the lug bolts to the proper torque spec. Lower the vehicle.
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