BMW 3 series Front Lower Control Arms (E36)

by NinjaX on June 16, 2010

Front lower control arm 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,


  1. Raise and support front of BMW vehicle. Remove front wheel.
  2. Disconnect stabilizer bar link from control arm. Release nut. See figure
  3. Install one wheel lug bolt and install a piece of wire from lug bolt to coil spring to prevent brake hose damage. See figure
  4. Loosen nut until it contacts spring strut. See figure
  5. Using Ball Joint pickle fork removal tool insert into ball joint and hit with a hammer until ballj oint becomes dislodged from spindle. Once balljoint is loose you can remove the nut that you loosened earlier. This nut cannot be reused. New nuts should came prepacked with your new control arms.
  6. If control arm bushing will be replaced remove two bolts on control arm bushing bracket. See figure
  7. Unscrew nut (22mm) located ontop subframe See Figure. This nut is located in a position where access may be difficult. An angled ratched with an adjustable head works well here. See example. You may need to remove the stabilizer bar to get more leaverage.
  8. Use a pickle fork to remove the ball joint connected to sub frame if control arm does not come off itself.


  1. Force ball joint upwards using a car jack. On BMW 3 series vehicles with S52 engine, remove shield plates between manifold and wheel housing, if necessary. This simplifies the tightening down of the nut. Tighten to specification.
  2. Install control arm bracket-to-subframe bolts using washers and tighten to specification.
  3. Replace self-locking nut and install ball joint.
  4. Replace self-locking nut and, using a shim on both sides, install upper strut-to-steering knuckle bolt.
  5. Install 2 new strut-to-steering knuckle bolts.
  6. De-rust stub axle in area of contact face of rubber sleeve. Tighten nut to specification.
  7. Remove wire and wheel lug bolt.
  8. Replace self-locking nut (1) and fit shim (2) for stabilizer connection on control arm.
  9. Tighten nut 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 removal and installation for BMW’s 3 series 1992-1998? Leave your comments below!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

How much is this product? July 2, 2010 at 3:45 pm


spartanix July 2, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Here are some control arms for the e36 BMW 3 series models. Looks like they start at $108.

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