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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks. Looking for advice to counter the local indy. My car has a slight pulling to the left even after alignment and the outside left front tire is severely worn with the inside of the right tire worn. There is also the familiar brake shimmy and occasional tramlining on uneven roads. The mechanic showed me the front lower control arm bushing had cracks in them. The one on the left (drive side) could easily be seen while the one on the right was not that visible. He said both should be changed. My question is, after searching this site, the "thrust" arm bushings should be the culprit. I don't think we looked at the thrust arm bushing, I believe that is the smaller of the arms. I do believe he pointed to the larger arm and called it the lower control arm which he said would need to be replaced. We've ordered both left and right. Can someone comment as this forum speaks of "thrust arm bushings" while the mechanic ordered "front lower control arms." I have searched the site and read many posts, but I am not mechanically inclined and don't really know the difference.
Thanks in advance.
 

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Do not have enough info like mileage, however, bottom line is the thrust arm bushings do not last a long time. 60-80k miles tops depending on driving conditions, less if tracked. Thrust arm bushings cause the typical brake shimmy, but other things can contribute to brake shimmy as well.

My opinion is if you are paying someone to do the work, replace both lower control arms and thrust arms at the same time. You will be doing the same basic work in the same general location. Lower control arms are probably easier to change then thrust arms anyway.

If the mechanic does not know E39 BMW's then he may be missing the bigger culprit, the lower thrust arm bushings.

I was surprised how easily the thrust arms can be moved by hand even with new X5 bushings installed. But my original thrust arm bushings were wasted at 65-70k miles anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Looks like the 3rd item from the top. I remember him pointing to a large curved component, not a straight component. BTW I have about 75K of mileage and not tracking but plenty of spirited driving. I do have a couple of ramps that I use to perform oil changes so tomorrow I will take another look and confirm. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have a reciept for parts being ordered which say "front lower control arms" but no part numbers are listed. The charge if $209 apiece. He says he is ordering a whole new are with the bushings already attached.
 

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Bushings

I have a reciept for parts being ordered which say "front lower control arms" but no part numbers are listed. The charge if $209 apiece. He says he is ordering a whole new are with the bushings already attached.
The bushings can be purchased without the arms. I just had this done for $85.00 plus labor.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have been concerned about the price. I'll call first thing Monday morning and cancel the parts order until I get this figured out. I'll then shop around for a shop that can do the job without changing the entire arms. Thanks all for you help. This is really a great site contributing greatly to my enjoyment of the beast.
Cheers,
JP
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah....I was reading on the net suggestions to change both arms once you get around 75K mileage. I'll check those costs out as well. I have been saving up for the ESS SC but will probably take some of that money and throw at these arms as well as the replacement of the worn front tires.
 

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I just changed mine last weekend. I used the oem bushings from turner motorsport which ran 72.00 including shipping. If you have access to a lift, bushings press (c-clamp style) and an impact you can remove the bushings without removing he arm from the car. It does take two people a few pieces of cut pipe to match the bushings. Both took us 20 minutes but we have done them before. I am very happy with the bushings so far which are a solid rubber design.
 

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I have been concerned about the price. I'll call first thing Monday morning and cancel the parts order until I get this figured out. I'll then shop around for a shop that can do the job without changing the entire arms. Thanks all for you help. This is really a great site contributing greatly to my enjoyment of the beast.
Cheers,
JP

Look, you've made your bed, sleep in it.

The bushing CAN be changed without the arm, and I'll bet the mechanic COULD do that had you brought it up. 'Best practices' dictates you replace the whole arm if the bushings have already been pushed out and in once...and since he does not know the history he is doing the most conservative thing.

Are there independent mechanics all over the place where you are? There is something to be said for developing a relationship with one shop/mechanic. But it is a two way street. If you 'stick' him with a pair of arms he has ordered, that isn't very nice.

A
 

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Discussion Starter #13
No sticking here. I did talk to him about the X5 bushings et al but he really was not hearing any of that. I use this mechanic shop regularly but the owner keeps changing mechanics. I have till Monday morning to decide but since I don't want to do any of the work myself I may just pay the price for the sake of moving on and getting my ride back to the way it should be. I'll call Monday and see the price difference in labor but I'll order the other 2 arms online to save. Nothing aftermarket just plain old OEM. Just read a whole bunch of stuff about lemforder/trw/meyle etc, and it just drained me. Thanks for your post.
JP
 

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Look, you've made your bed, sleep in it.

The bushing CAN be changed without the arm, and I'll bet the mechanic COULD do that had you brought it up. 'Best practices' dictates you replace the whole arm if the bushings have already been pushed out and in once...and since he does not know the history he is doing the most conservative thing.

Are there independent mechanics all over the place where you are? There is something to be said for developing a relationship with one shop/mechanic. But it is a two way street. If you 'stick' him with a pair of arms he has ordered, that isn't very nice.

A
Ard makes a fine point. It is worth spending a few extra bucks to maintain a good relationship with your mechanic.
 

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No sticking here. I did talk to him about the X5 bushings et al but he really was not hearing any of that. I use this mechanic shop regularly but the owner keeps changing mechanics. I have till Monday morning to decide but since I don't want to do any of the work myself I may just pay the price for the sake of moving on and getting my ride back to the way it should be. I'll call Monday and see the price difference in labor but I'll order the other 2 arms online to save. Nothing aftermarket just plain old OEM. Just read a whole bunch of stuff about lemforder/trw/meyle etc, and it just drained me. Thanks for your post.
JP
If you clearly have until Monday to decide, and they are cool with it, by all means change.

If it really is just the bushing, TELL them that is what you want done. I wouldn't pay more than 30 minutes more for the bushing change, especially since book time for the arms is already padded.


You might also want to look at the FAQ sticky, there should be something there about using X5 bushes as an 'upgrade' over the standard ones....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I've decided to do the same. Finish the front this week and do the rear around Christmas. I'll have to bargain with the wife for a bigger share of da income tax refund.
 

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thrust arm bushings

JP
Just got mine replaced last week , i had driver side all cracked , but my mechanic advised to replace both . We only replaced the bushings.
Parts # 31 12 0 006 482
Cost # $ 32.80 For pair , (Autohausaz.com)
Labor # $ 319
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Much better price. I think I want to replace the arms as well. I was driving in Baltimore 2 years ago and got stuck on some railroad tracks on Howard St. I had to destroy the exhaust system and cats to get off the tracks before authorities showed up. Don't ask, late Friday night with the fellas, etc. Insurance covered the exhaust system but an arm may have been hit when getting stuck and the force needed to get off those tracks. The car is over 10 years old now so I need to do things like that. I've only changed the transmission fluid so far as preventative maintenance is concerned. I have the diff oil sitting on the shelf in the garage and will get to it soon since Winter is over. The entire suspension needs replacement as well as the usual things to keep the beast running for the next 5 years.
 

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As we're on the subject of front suspension, some of you are mentioning a complete renewal of these parts, can I ask what parts you purchased for a full refurb?

I'm thinking all arms, bushes, steering idler, top mounts? Just want to get an idea, as I think this payday is going to be consumed by trying to reduce my front tyre wear.
 
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