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New Member in Philadelphia Area - Needs Help with Front Suspension Bushings

Discussion in 'E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006-2011)' started by mbjg0788, Mar 18, 2014.

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    mbjg0788

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    Hello All:
    My name is John Salla. I was born and raised in Springfield, Pennsylvania, about 10 miles southwest of Philadelphia, PA. For the last 28 years, I have been living in South Jersey, about 13 miles form Philadelphia. I am a retired attorney. I bought my first BMW three years ago. I love love the car. I have never driven a car with such handling and speed. I have a 2008 328 xi.
    I went to the dealer this week for routine service. I was told the bushings on my front suspension were worn on both sides and that it would cost more than $500 to replace them. I am a do it yourselfer. I do all the work on my 1987 Jaguar XJS. So I though with some help with someone that has done this project I could save my self some money and get the satisfaction of doing it myself. I do not know much about the mechanics of my car. I believe it is an E90. About the only work I have done on the car is change the oil and top off the fluids. I do have a Haynes Manual and a Bentley Manual. So, if someone is willing to help me, please be patient and be willing to walk me through the basics on this vehicle. I exchanged emails about this project with Ben of your chapter, and I understand the If you replace the whole control arm it is a relatively simple bolt in and out process with the arms costing about $125 each. I thinks this is the route I would go.
    So I look forward to meeting you and working with you.
    John.
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Hi John, welcome to the club & forums! Kudos for willingness to tackle a project, I guess the first question is if you were told what needed replacing were the control arm bushings, or ball joints or just what.

    You can use http://www.realoem.com/bmw/ to find parts diagrams which will help familiarize you with various parts for your car, as well as dig up parts numbers. I take the prices shown as a general indicator, but check prices on retailer sites like Bavauto.com, Pelicanparts.com, autohausaz.com, penskeparts.com, etc. Select your car on realoem.com (you'll need the month/year of manufacture off the door sticker) and then find & look through the front suspension diagrams to see the suspension setup & what parts you're looking at.

    The Bentley manual is generally very good, check it's instructions, & let us know what questions you have!
    • Member
    • Technical Service Advisor

    charlson89

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    Welcome john! First what are they telling you to replace on the vehicle the front lower control arms on both sides?
    • Member

    mbjg0788

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    Thank you both for your responses. I was told that I need new bushings on both sides. I hope that helps. I have not looked for the bushings on a front suspension diagram, but plan to. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks.
    John
    • Member

    mbjg0788

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    So, guys do you think I need to replace the lower control arms or lower tension struts on both sides. See images attached. lower tension strut.jpg lower control arm.jpg I suspect the lower control arms. I can always look to see which bushings are worn. According to Bentley, I just need to pull a tire.
    Your thoughts, please.
    Thanks much.
    John
    • Member

    mbjg0788

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    P.S. I can get the lower control arms for 91.48 each from a place called ECS Tuning on the web. Do you know the place?
    John
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    mbjg0788

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    Guys, I took photos of the bushing behind the driver's front wheel. Do you see any bushings that need replacement? Thanks.
    John Bushing1 - Copy.jpg Bushings2 - Copy.jpg Bushings3 - Copy.jpg Bushings4 - Copy.jpg Bushings4.jpg Bushings5.jpg Bushings6.jpg Bushings7.jpg Bushings8.jpg
    • Member
    • Technical Service Advisor

    charlson89

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    Can you call the dealership and ask what parts they quoted your exactly?
    • Member

    mbjg0788

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    Where is the best place to look if you, like myself, are a do it yourselfer, and want to chat with other people about projects on your car you are doing?

    John
    No, the gentleman who took care of my account told me what the charges would be for the services I was getting that day. When I went to pick up the car, the charges were $150 more. I wasn't too happy and I let him know and his boss know. Now normally, I wouldn't go to his boss, but with this guy, this same thing has happened several times. I had to let his boss know that the dealership had just lost a good customer over it. So, I don't think anyone there will do anything to help me.
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    • Technical Service Advisor

    charlson89

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    John,
    I get that, why they wouldn't try to keep you as a customer but anyway there loss. What they could be talking about is your thrust arm bushings are leaking there internal fluid. It's becoming more and more common in these vehicles. Here is a link to what it looks like when they leak.
    http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=442256
    • Member

    mbjg0788

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    Charlson, I looked at the url you set forth in your reply. The url mentions purple fluid leaking. I have not noticed any purple fluid leaking. Do you still think I have the same problem? If so, should I replace the whole arm or just the bushing? The whole arm seems the way to go. What is the name of the arm that needs to be replaced? Is it Lower Thrust (Control) Arm? Where should I get my parts? My car's steering is sloppy. Going down the road holding the wheel straight, the car sways a bit from side to side. Thanks so much Charlson for your help!
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    • Technical Service Advisor

    charlson89

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    It is possible that this is what they were talking about from the dealer. They don't always drip most the time it's just a black streak on the bottom of the bushings thats the only sign you can see. For replacement there are two options I would consider one just replace them with stock BMW parts in that case yes I would replace the whole arm with the bushings. Second option is to go aftermarket I recommend power flex they make great replacement bushings but the old ones will need to be pressed out. The name is thrust arms, as for where to get parts of course there is the dealer that has 2 year unlimited mileage warranty that covers parts and labor even if you install them your self. Second is a trusted BMW parts website like, Bavauto, ECS tuning those kind of guys. Now as for your steering feeling sloppy these bushings would not cause that. How much swaying are we talking about? You need to check your lower control arm's ball joints. While the front wheel is off the ground grab the tire at 9 and 3 and shake side to side and feel for any loose play. If there is you will need to see if it's a tie rod or a ball joint. That would cause the car to wander. Hope some of this helps!
    Ken.S.330 likes this.
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    mbjg0788

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    Thanks Charlson. I will be back to you after I shake the tires. I am going to go aftermarket for the thrust arms. I have had good experiences with the right aftermarket provider. Now, thanks to you, I know two of them.
    John
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    MGarrison

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    Generally speaking, you should have pretty good luck as far as parts go with long-time Roundel advertisers. The only one I haven't gotten stuff from that I mentioned above is penskeparts.com. Bavauto.com typically has the specialized tools you might need for a job (tie-rod puller, for instance), but it's likely you have to use their site's search function and search by keyword.

    Unless you have access to a press, replacing whole arms or whatever is the way to go vs. pressing the bushings in & out. Yes, replacing only the bushings is cheaper, but, more time consuming, and also introduces the possibility of being slightly misaligned if whoever installs it isn't careful.

    The bavauto guys also have common d-i-y's as videos on youtube, which can be helpful if they've done one for any project you're tackling.
    Ken.S.330 likes this.

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