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Z4 Control Arm Thrust Bushings

Discussion in 'E85 Z4 (2002-2008)' started by EvLwMn, Oct 7, 2014.

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    EvLwMn

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    Hi everyone. I have some questions.....

    BMW of Rockville has informed me that my thrust bushings are leaking. Now I never heard of a bushing leaking before so I did some research. It appears that BMW in their infinite wisdom uses thrust bushings (the ones that the control arm insert into) that have hydraulic fluid in them.

    So my first question is, what is the purpose of having hydraulic fluid in a bushing? Is there a reason for this or is it just another way for them to get money from you?

    I ordered some upgraded ones - the Meyle ones that are solid rubber. I ordered the tool to install them too but apparently this tool is backordered. I was planning on doing this work this coming Saturday (October 11th) as the car is getting really bad and I am starting to become concerned. It's the only car I have and I drive it to and from work every day - almost 1,000 miles a week. So I really need to get them replaced. BMW wants $880 to do the work and then they are going to put the OEM hydraulic filled bushings in - which I don't want. And frankly I think $880 is way too much money to do a job that I can do in a couple of hours in my garage and for less than $400 (and that includes buying the tool).

    So here is my problem. I need to find this tool so I can do the work. I really don't want to wait another 2 weeks (which is what BAV said when I called about the backorder - they won't have the tool in until next Wednesday then with shipping time and the fact that I have to wait until a weekend to do it puts me at 2 weeks at least). So my question here is, does anyone know of a place that will rent one to me for the day or weekend?

    Any help or advice anyone can give will be greatly appreciated. I'm in Martinsburg,WV but I work in Gaithersburg, MD if that helps.

    Thanks,

    Michelle
    • Member

    EvLwMn

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    charlson89

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    The bushings are hydro filled to help with vibration absorption. Yes they leak quite often. The job isn't to bad to do like you stated the hard part is getting the bushings in and out of the arms. My suggestion is removing the arms yourself and find local shop that has a press and have them press the bushings in and out for you shouldn't cost you much.
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    EvLwMn

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    Thanks Charlson89. So the hydraulic fluid absorbs vibration? Will the solid rubber bushings seem rougher or more shaky? I bought the Meyle solid rubber bushings complete with the bracket (or whatever you call the thing they are pressed into) as I was doing research and enthusiasts on bimmerforums and some other sites say they are an upgrade and will do the job just as good or better and wear better.

    As stated above, I don't need the rubber bushing pressed into the brackets. I bought the bushings already pressed into new brackets. What I need is the press that will press the bushing/bracket combo off of/onto the control arm. So I really need the tool as it will be impossible for me to take the entire control arm off of the car to take it somewhere. I simply don't have the facilities at home to do this and I can't take the car apart then take the parts somewhere to have them done. It's my only means of transportation so if I am going to do this, I need to do it all.

    Hence I really need that tool.

    Again thank you for your suggestion. :)

    Any others suggestions or advice?
    • Member

    EvLwMn

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    One other thing. It has been brought to my attention that when you go to the BAV link I provided and search for the part number nothing comes up. I believe this is due to the fact that you need to tell the site the car for which you are searching for parts. This is a 2008 Z4 3.0i. If you put that information in first it should come right up.

    Thanks :)
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    charlson89

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    The new solid bushings will cause no bad side affects it will make the car handle better and be more responsive.
    I guess the best option is to wait for the tool since it is a must for this job. Did you ask them since your waiting for it on back order could they upgrade to overnight for you?
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    MGarrison

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    Good idea on the overnite, that might cut down some lag.

    Looks like it's out of stock at the source, so apparently nobody get's 'em until they're in, I guess.

    http://www.kochtools.com/index.php?p=product&id=41

    It would be possible to have someplace fab up something similar that would work, but, it might well be more expensive than the tool itself, and why experiment with a maybe when there's already a known solution... (see the link at the end for a home-made setup, at least for the install tool - also found somebody renting the tool also, after writing the rest of this post, link below).

    Safety trumps pushing your luck - I can't tell you _how_ bad a bushing can get before it's a problem, or just how bad the problem might get, except that if the bushing material is gone or completely shot, I imagine the front wheels wouldn't track & shake like crazy, as the bushing is one of the big parts keeping the wheels in position while rolling. Charlson should be able to advise of the worst consequences of driving with shot control-arm bushings. If the car's a safety problem, as much of a hassle though it might be, rental cars might be option, & that might be cheaper than the quotes you're getting for the job - however, anything beats the cost of an accident, or the inconvenience getting stuck roadside with the car undrivable if they gave out en route.

    Since you're near Washington, my only suggestion as an outside chance to find anyone around who might have the tool would be to try folks in the National Capitol chapter, aaaand ok, checking their site, you might want to get in on this -

    Looks like they might have the tool for rent, but it says they only rent them out for their diy sessions, and it so happens they have a diy session someplace on Saturday, that you apparently have to register for - IF the car's safely driveable AND you can get in on the event, (looks like you might have to haul some tools, maybe even jack stands or a jack, but worth asking what the deal is about all that), then maybe that'd be a solution.

    Note the 'Special Tools' section further down the page:

    http://www.nccbmwcca.org/content.php?119-diy

    http://forum.nccbmwcca.org/showthread.php?10321-10-11-2014-Ladies-DIY-At-Speed-Motorsports

    http://www.motorsportreg.com/events...medium=apim&utm_campaign=apic&utm_content=rss

    The description said registration was open to the end of Sept., I didn't try clicking through to see if it would still process a registration - you might want to contact some folks & find out what's up.

    Speed Motorsports, according to m-sportreg, is about 90 miles from Martinsburg - not sure if the car's condition would warrant just opting for a hotel stay nearby after Friday night, although that would save hitting the road at o'dark-thirty in the a.m. to be there at something like 8 or 9 - just a thought.

    If that's a possibility, it might be worth confirming that the control-arm bushing tool they say they have is the same as the tool above, and NOT a tool that replaces the bushing in the _middle_ of the control arm.

    Other info:

    http://www.rtsauto.com/control-arm-bushing-specialty-tools-and-tips/

    http://www.mistools.net/shop/articl...trol-arm-bushing.html?shop_param=cid=1&aid=3&

    http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?p=16352347 (didn't think about it, but perhaps big sockets are in order - not sure what the Koch tool needs, this MIS tool apparently needs a 24mm socket.)

    Sure enough - looks identical, & $100 more - eek!
    http://www.toolsource.com/thrust-bushing-p-106222.html
    • Member

    EvLwMn

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    Charlson89 - yes I think I will call them back and see if they will upgrade me to overnight since they didn't find it necessary to inform me they were backordered as soon as they knew. I think that is a must - especially for a tool like that - one that is absolutely necessary to do the work. It's not like I ordered a 17 mm socket or something. Needless to say, I am not very happy with Bavarian Autosport over this. They should have informed me immediately instead of just assuming I could wait for the backorder.

    MGarrison, I found the tool on another site but by the time I pay for the tool and faster shipping I'm looking at $300 just for the tool. For that I might as well return the parts and take it to someone else and just have them done.

    And FYI - I am feeling a lot of "squishyness" in the steering and tracking now - especially on cornering. And it's getting worse. I have slowed down my driving considerably and am not driving nearly as aggressively as I normally do (I'm a motorhead/speed demon) and that seems to be less scary. But this really needs done asap. Charleson89 has been very helpful as have you MGarrison, and if he can weigh in on what I should be watching for that tells me we have entered imminently dangerous territory that would be helpful.

    THANK YOU for all of the info! I will look at all of those links and see if I can find someone who will rent or loan me a tool. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to get in on the DIY if registration is closed - they are pretty stickler on that, but since I work in Gaithersburg I might be able to find someone who will rent/loan me one for the weekend. I am also looking into fabricating something that will at least get the job done (yes I can most likely do the fab myself). I have been looking at the picture on the BAV site and it really doesn't look that difficult or complicated. It's a simple tool really and it only needs to last long enough to do two bushings and if it's trashed afterward so be it - I'll throw the thing out. I have someone I know who works at a heavy fab shop trying to see if he can find me some heavier flat stock and some heavy allthread in their scrap bin that will work. I have a chop saw, heavy duty hammer drill, bench grinder and other tools I can use to drill and notch the flat stock and whatnot so maybe that will be a last resort (I have been a backyard Harley mechanic for many years - old stuff only - so I have a nice assortment of tools). I'll just have to think out the engineering aspect pretty well so I am sure how it needs to work and what needs done to make it work that way. My only other option will be to just slow down and drive the car gently. I totally agree that safety is first but I still have to work and right now teleworking isn't an option due to the nature of the project I am working on. Renting a car, while it's a great suggestion, isn't really an option either. If I lived closer to work it would absolutely be a solution. However, I drive at least 150 miles a day just to get to and from work so a rental will be prohibitively expensive. Again I'll be better off taking it in to the dealership if I have to rent a car.

    The tool I ordered at BAV requires a 27mm socket and a 24mm combination wrench. Not a problem. I can buy a socket and I have a wrench that will work. I need to purchase these tools anyway - every post on every enthusiast forum I have seen states these bushings should be replaced every 3 or 4 years from normal road use and every year if it's a racing car. So I suspect I'll be doing this again, and again, and again, etc. as I plan to keep this car around since it's the last year of the ragtop Z4. I don't want a hard top convertible - takes up too much room in the trunk and with my ragtop I can put the top down and still have all of my luggage in the trunk when I'm traveling.

    Again thanks for all of the links and suggestions. I'll post here and let you all know what I find out so others will have the info. :)
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    EvLwMn

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    UPDATE:

    I managed to find a repair shop that was able to fashion a presser/puller out of a few bearing presses they had so they could pull/press the thrust bushings on. They allowed me to watch them (it would have been a no go if they hadn't as I'm VERY picky about who touches my car) and I inspected their work as they were doing it. They managed to get them well seated and in the correct position and I instructed them to torque the things to 110 nm as per spec (and watched them do it - I was probably a real PITA for them but too bad). It's a good thing I found them too as those things were VERY BAD. The mechanic took one side loose from the frame and started twisting it on the control arm and it just about came off in his hand - no press needed. So it's a very good thing I found them and could get it done. I knew they were bad, just didn't know they were that bad.

    I didn't cancel the order with BAV for the correct tool to do this so when it comes in I'll put it on the shelf. From everything I have read about these bushings, they need replaced every 3 or 4 years. So I figure I'll be doing this work again - and next time I'll have the proper tool so I can just do it in my garage.

    Thanks again, charleson89 and MGarrison for all or your help and advice.
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    charlson89

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    Glad you got it done.
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    MGarrison

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    Kudos - sounds like they were critical alright!
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    EvLwMn

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    Me too charlson89. Thank you :)

    Yes MGarrison, they very much were. The car was starting to scare me. And I'm not easily scared!

    Again thank you both for all of your help and information.
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    Z4Fred

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    I just replaced my control arm bushings with Powerflex PFF5-4601 from BAVAUTO $166.90 TTL. I would recommend them. However @ 80mph I feel a little vibration, possibly tire balance issue. I recommend using the special tool required, although I used a sledge hammer to remove the stock bushings, a real PIA. The new bushings (urethane) went on easy, no tool required. There is a definite improvement over stock, steering feels more direct, yet comfortable in daily driving.

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