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BMW 3 series Front Lower Control Arm Bushings (E36)

by NinjaX on June 16, 2010

Front lower control arm bushing removal and installation applies to the following BMW 3 series vehicles from 1992-1998:

  • 316i, 316is, 318i, 318is, 318ti, 320i, 323i, 323is, 323ti, 325i, 325is, 328i, 328is, M3,


Removal

  1. Remove control arm from BMW.
  2. Center punch control arm pin.
    bmw 3 series center punch control arm pin
  3. Unfasten bolts.
    bmw 3 series control arm unfasten bolts
  4. Mark, measure and note bracket/bushing installation position for installation purposes.
    bmw 3 series e36 control arm bracket
  5. Using Puller (00-7-500) and Adapter (31 2 151), remove control arm bracket with bushing.
    bmw 3 series e36 control arm puller
  6. Using a press and Adapter (31 2 130), press bushing out of bracket.
    hydraulic press adapter

Don’t have access to a hydraulic press? Here’s another method you can try in your garage. The old BMW bushing is encased in a metal cylinder. Notice how it sticks out about a few millimeters from the bushing bracket? If you have a air hammer with a chisel set then try this method.

  1. Hold bushing bracket down with a bench vise. If you don’t have one then simply press it against something sturdy, however take note that bracket may bounce around while your hammering at it so be careful.
  2. Insert a non-cutting chisel into air hammer and press against the tip of the outside of the metal bushing at an angle.
  3. A few quick blows at an angle will start deforming the outside of the bushing. It’ll cave inward towards the center as you blast away.
  4. Once a good chunk of of the metal exterior of the bushing is caved inside the bushing, take a regular hammer and start banging the caved in part of the bushing until the bushing falls out of the bracket. Viola, nice and simple wasn’t it? If you don’t have a bench vise to hold down the bracket while you bang at the bushing then simply hold the bracket on the ground at an angle while you strike at it.

Installation

  1. Clean bushing bore in bracket. Align arrow on bushing with mark on bracket and press bushing into beveled bore in bracket using a press and Adapter (31 2 130).
    bmw 3 series e36 align bushingTIP: If you don’t have a hydraulic press then you can rent a Ball Joint remover/press kit from your local auto parts store. This kit will help ease the removal and installation of the control arm bushing.
  2. Ensure bushing protrusion is equal on both sides of bracket.
  3. Check rubber mounts (except M3). With vehicle in normal position and using a feeler gauge, measure gap in bushing. If gap “A” is not .01-.05″ (0.3-1.3 mm), replace bushing. Performance bushings may be of a solid material other than rubber and therefore measuring the gap will not be needed.
    bmw 3 series e36 measuring gap bushing
  4. Coat control arm pin with anti-friction agent (turpentine substitute). Anti-friction agent assists in the ease of sliding in the control arm. Using Installer (31 2 152/153/154 and 00 7 501), install bracket and bushing onto control arm pin to previously measured position. If Installer tool is not available you may be able to install the bracket onto the control arm with a few strikes from a soft face hammer.
    bmw 3 series e36 install bushing tool
  5. Ensure bracket centering bores point toward engine carrier.
    bmw 3 series e36 align bracket bore

    WARNING: Use washers, tighten control arm bracket bolts and lower vehicle to normal position immediately to prevent serious impairment of handling.

  6. Install control arm to vehicle, tighten control arm bracket bolts to specification and immediately lower vehicle to normal position. Leave vehicle in normal position for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, anti-friction agent or substitute will be evaporated and control arm will fit tightly and be correctly positioned. However it is recommended that you do not drive your e36 BMW for several hours.
  7. To complete installation, reverse removal procedure. Tighten fasteners to specification.

Torque Specifications

  • Brake Caliper Bolts: 81 Ft. Lbs. (110 N.m)
  • Collar Nut: 214 Ft. Lbs. (290 N.m)
  • Control Arm Ball Joint-To-Steering Knuckle Nut: 66 Ft. Lbs. (90 N.m)
  • Control Arm Bracket Bolts: 35 Ft. Lbs. (47 N.m)
  • Control Arm-To-Steering Knuckle Bolts: 48 Ft. Lbs. (65 N.m)
  • Front Suspension Assembly Bolts:
    10 mm Bolts: 35 Ft. Lbs. (47 N.m)
    12 mm Bolts: 77 Ft. Lbs. (105 N.m)
  • Shock Absorber Piston Rod On Thrust Bearing: 47 Ft. Lbs. (64 N.m)
  • Stabilizer Bracket Bolts: 16 Ft. Lbs. (22 N.m)
  • Stabilizer Link On Spring Strut Shock Absorber & Stabilizer: 44 Ft. Lbs. (59 N.m)
  • Stabilizer Link-To-Control Arm Nut: 31 Ft. Lbs. (42 N.m)
  • Steering Gear To Front Axle Carrier: 31 Ft. Lbs. (42 N.m)
  • Strut Shaft Nut: 48 Ft. Lbs. (65 N.m)
  • Strut-To-Steering Knuckle: 79 Ft. Lbs. (107 N.m)
  • Strut-To-Strut Tower Nuts:
    18 mm Nut: 17 Ft. Lbs. (24 N.m)
    21 mm Nut: 25 Ft. Lbs. (34 N.m)
  • Tie Rod End Nut: 24-29 Ft. Lbs. (33-40 N.m)
  • Wheel Lug Bolts: 81-96 Ft. Lbs. (110-130 N.m)

Got questions and comments on our front lower control arm bushing removal and installation for BMW’s 3 series 1992-1998? Leave them below!

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