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This discussion continues to be quite interesting!

So if one wanted to use their own bushings, you would need to buy the arm without the bushing pressed in, so the ball joint end is new.. do they even sell it like that, or would you need to re-use an old one or press the bushings out from a new arm if you wanted a truly new ball joint?
The OE BMW arms come blank without any bushing 31121092610 & 31121092609. For the most part aftermarket options have either the standard M5 bushing (31120006482) or the Protection Package bushing (1129069820).
 

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This discussion continues to be quite interesting!

So if one wanted to use their own bushings, you would need to buy the arm without the bushing pressed in, so the ball joint end is new.. do they even sell it like that, or would you need to re-use an old one or press the bushings out from a new arm if you wanted a truly new ball joint?
Correct. With the correct tools you can swap the thrust arm bushing out of an existing arm.
 

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What is the life of the ball joint from typical wear (no track use) compared to the bushing? Does it last twice as long? Three times?


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I've had similar experience using the Lemforder thrust arms years ago. According to my spreadsheet I replaced the arms in 2011. They needed to be changed again in 2013 after only 38k miles and if I remember correctly, they were bad for a solid 10k miles before I got around to changing them. I thought I installed correctly, but now I doubt it. Once that next set seemed to be worn out, I bought a pair of X5 bushings. These have by far lasted the longest and are still working perfect. The car has been tracked a bunch of times during this time too. I want to say I have 90-100k miles on them.
 

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What is the life of the ball joint from typical wear (no track use) compared to the bushing? Does it last twice as long? Three times?


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I'm not sure I've ever heard of the ball joint being loose for anyone. Usually with the bad bushings people are replacing the whole arm so often that the balljoints never go bad. I have well over 100k miles on my current thrust arms, with 90-100k miles on the X5 bushings that are installed.

Didn't FCP or ECS offer a stock arm with X5 bushings preinstalled?
 

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I'm not sure I've ever heard of the ball joint being loose for anyone. Usually with the bad bushings people are replacing the whole arm so often that the balljoints never go bad. I have well over 100k miles on my current thrust arms, with 90-100k miles on the X5 bushings that are installed.

Didn't FCP or ECS offer a stock arm with X5 bushings preinstalled?
For reference the TRW arms I tried from FCP in 2016/2017 immediately developed a loud popping sound when pulling into parking space. The ball joints was so loose from new you could shake the arm and the threaded end would move. Compared to the lemforder arm which you had to forcefully yank to rotate on the ball joint.

I need to keep my ear out for it, but my SyncroDesign arms might be developing a popping noise when making 3 point turns. Not sure if it's the monoballs or the balljoints, but it's similar to the TRW noise.
 

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You can press out the ball joint and replace it with new Lem ball too if you want. This is the reason I saved my old control arms and one day I will just buy new bushings and ball joints and re-press them in to have a replacement set.
 

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What is the life of the ball joint from typical wear (no track use) compared to the bushing? Does it last twice as long? Three times?


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Too many variables to say for certain, I would guess 40-60k is a reasonable expectation for service life. Also in general, potholes are much harder on suspension and steering components than track days.
 

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Incorrect. Huge parts manufacturers like ZF do not have just "one factory" that makes certain parts. They are all over the world - see above. Plus, these bushings are not "low volume" - BMW made bunch of E39, E38, and other cars these were installed in. And now is the time all of them need replacing.
As a manufacture's rep for many years, you are correct. Many parts from many sources can mean good ones and bad ones in the same brand box regardless of OE vs aftermarket sources. Batch quality can be all over the place when comparing batch to batch. See product manager quality control standards/process and oversight vs return part management (Defect returns...get a lot? check on part quality). The last process takes months to resolve any reported field issues. However it provide a lower cost per unit sold long term. In other words the user/shop/tech is the QC point. Ha ha ha

I installed Lemforder in all my vehicles without any issues. My process is load, torque, drive and then reload & re-torque, align, and drive.

I would love to upgrade to the Turner mono balls but waiting on other user's feedback as my garage queen M5 only goes to cars and coffee and a concourse each year....
 
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