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How to Replace Front Lower Control Arm Bushing 97-06 BMW 325Xi

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  1. step : Removing the Wheel (0:24)
    • Loosen the 17 mm lug bolts
    • Raise and support the vehicle
    • Remove the lug bolts
    • Remove the wheel
  2. step : Removing the Front Lower Control Arm (1:01)
    • Loosen the 18 mm lower outer ball joint nut
    • Loosen the lower outer ball joint
    • Remove the 18 mm nut and remove the lower outer ball joint from the knuckle
    • Loosen the 22 mm inner ball joint nut
    • Remove the two 18 mm inner ball joint mounting bolts
    • Remove the inner ball joint from the frame
    • Remove the 22 mm inner ball joint nut
    • Separate the inner ball joint from the control arm
    • Remove the two 8 mm bolts securing the exhaust heat shield (passenger side only)
    • Remove the exhaust heat shield (passenger side only)
    • Remove the two 16 mm bolts securing the control arm bushing bracket
    • Mark the control arm bushing and the control arm
    • Set the control arm in a vise, and remove the bushing from the control arm with a puller tool
  3. step : Removing and Installing the Front Lower Control Arm Bushing (8:03)
    • Press the bushing out of the bushing bracket using a press machine
    • Take note of the index tab on the bushing bracket
    • Align the new bushing with the index tab
    • Press the new bushing into the bracket
    • The spacing from the outer edge of the bushing to the edge of the bracket side with the larger bolt holes is 18 mm
  4. step : Installing the Front Lower Control Arm (12:53)
    • Transfer the indexing mark to the new lower control arm
    • Align the control arm bushing with the new control arm using the index line as a guide
    • Spray the control arm with soapy water to assist pressing the bushing on
    • Hammer the bushing on using a block of wood to protect the bushing
    • The outer edge of the bushing should be 170 mm from the outer edge of the nearest cutout in the control arm
    • Install the lower control arm at the bushing bracket end first
    • Install the 16 mm bolts securing the bushing bracket
    • Torque the 16 mm bolts to 44 ft-lb
    • Insert the inner ball joint into the control arm
    • Insert the 18 mm inner ball joint mounting bolts through the ball joint into the frame
    • Torque the inner ball joint 18 mm mounting bolts to 57 ft-lb
    • Install the 22 mm inner ball joint nut and torque it to 57 ft-lb
    • Insert the outer ball joint into the wheel knuckle
    • Install the outer ball joint 19 mm nut and torque it to 48 ft-lb
    • Reposition the exhaust heat shield (passenger side only)
    • Reinstall the two 8 mm bolts to secure the exhaust heat shield (passenger side only)
  5. step : Installing the Wheel (17:35)
    • Set the wheel on the hub rim
    • Install the 17 mm lug bolts by hand
    • Lower the vehicle with minimal weight on the wheel
    • Torque the 17 mm lug bolts to 95 ft-lb in a star pattern
    • Lower the vehicle completely

What's up guys? I'm Andy from 1A Auto. In this video I'm going to show you how to replace the front lower control arm bushings on this 2001 BMW 325xi. If you need this part or other parts for your vehicle, click the link in the description and head over to 1aauto.com.

I raised the vehicle, we're using a two post lift. If you're doing this at your house, you can use a jack and jack stands. I'm going to remove the tire to gain extra access. It's going to make it a little bit easier. I'm going to use a 17 millimeter socket and an air gun, you could always use a breaker bar. Take these lug nuts out or lug studs out. When I get to the last one, I'm just going to hold the wheel so it doesn't fall. Take the last one out and grab the wheel, pull it off.

So I want to take this nut off and also the nut right here, but they're pretty rusty, so I'm going to use some rust penetrant. Spray it down, soak it for a little bit right there and right there. Now I'm going to take a 18 millimeter wrench, go over this nut. I'm going to loosen this nut up. Once I get a couple of turns on the box side, then I'll switch to the open side and take this nut off. Get that nut loosened up and sometimes you can't get it off because the axle's in the way, and we're just going to leave it loose like that. So I'm going to separate the ball joint from the knuckle right here. You can do this a couple of ways. Sometimes there's a clamp that you can slide in there and it pushes down on the ball joint. What we're going to use is a fork. We're going to try that method. You could also take a hammer and just tap on the knuckle itself. Just be careful you don't want to break anything.

I'm just going to use this pickle fork and a hammer. Don't worry about that. Slide that in there and we'll separate it. Now, the reason why you might not want to use a pickle fork is generally it rips the boot on the lower control arm or on the ball joint. So keep that in mind if you're going to reuse the ball joint, you might not want to use this method. There we go. Separated. Pull that nut out of the way. So if you're doing this job and you don't have an impact gun, what you're going to want to do is take a 22 millimeter wrench, get on this nut right here and you're going to want to crack that free first. Otherwise we're going to loosen up these two bolts right here. Just use an 18 millimeter socket. Loosen these up. Do the same on this one. Those bolts are loose. I can take that one out.

This one I can't get out until I break this free. Just take a pry bar, put it under here. Just pry this away and I can get the bolt out. Just got to twist this a little bit, pull that bolt out and now we can get a gun on here. Take that nut off. Now I'm going to take this nut off and just use a 22 millimeter socket and an impact gun. All right, got that off. If you're going to reuse this ball joint, you're going to need to use a ball joint separator. What it does is clamps in here and pushes up on the ball joint. If you're not going to reuse it, then you can either use a hammer on here or a pickle fork. So I'm just going to use a hammer, try to break it free. If not, I'm going to use a pickle fork.

All right, so just hammering it off, I don't have enough stability with the arm so I'm actually going to use a pickle fork. Just slide it in here. Just be careful not to hit the CV shaft. There we go. Now I did just put the nut back on just so it didn't go flying. Put it on a couple of threads and slide it up. So I need to access these bolts underneath here. This shield is in my way, so I'm going to remove the shield. I'm going to use a eight millimeter socket extension and a ratchet, but I'm just going to hammer this on. These are pretty rusted. Tap that on, here's the ratchet. Loosen it up. Get that one out. There's another one up there.

All right, so I got this out. You may have to bend it a little bit to get this out. There may be another fastener right there. This one doesn't have that, so take that out. So that heat shield is just on the passenger side where the exhaust is. The driver's side does not have that heat shield there. So if you're doing the driver's side, it's not not as hard. So what we need is a 16 millimeter socket and ratchet and we're going to take these two bolts up here. There we go.

All right, so the inside one, the one closer to the center of the vehicle, was getting pretty tight, pretty close to the exhaust, so I had to switch to a ratchet wrench. So just use a ratchet wrench on that inboard one. Oh, all right, that's loose. They're both loose. Make sure you support the little control arm so that doesn't happen. I'll take the wrench off and slide it out.

So we need to separate this bushing from the lower control arm. A good idea to do before you take this off is just take a marker and mark this on the control arm, so that you at least index roughly where it went before. Then we're going to put the control arm in a vice like this and there's different types of pullers you can use. You can try a different two jaw puller, or three jaw puller or some other. Be creative. They do make a special puller for this, I don't have it so I'm just using this front end puller and I'm going to tighten this down. I'm just going to separate this from the control arm. And that came right off.

So what we need to do is we need to press this old bushing out of this retainer right here. You want to keep in mind where this is indexed right here, the new one's going to be indexed in the same location. So we'll press this out right there. And also the depth of this is important. It's 18 millimeters. So you could take an 18 millimeter wrench and just compare it and just see. You can eyeball that right there, or you can take a tape measure and measure the depth of that. It's a good idea to check that before you take it apart. So you may have to get creative with how you're going to press this out. What you want to do is have something that's just going to stay towards the outside of the housing. And then we're going to push the bushing straight through the middle. So start with using this and then if we have to, we can use the socket, try to get in there, push it the rest of the way out.

There's a lot of rust on this and it's given me a little bit of trouble. What I'm going to do is just wire brush this rust off and then I'll press it. Now we're just going to press it out. So you really need a press for this. You really can't do this without a press. You could try, but I don't think hitting it with a hammer, you're going to be able to get it out. I did put a little bit of a rust penetrant on there to help it get out. I don't know if that's helping or not. So I actually need a socket or something that will fit to press the rest of the bushing out. If I had an old bushing, I could use an old bushing or at this point I'm going to use the new bushing. Push the old one out as the new one gets set in there, in position.

Just make sure, I'm going to line up that tab with that right there. It's going to go on that way. Just like that. There's the old bushing. Got that out completely. Now we'll just slide the new bushing all the way back down.

Here's the old bushing. Here's the new bushing from 1aauto.com. As you can see, it's the same height, same thickness, has the same rubber material on the inside. Looks the same. Get yours at 1aauto.com and you can do it yourself.

Before I push this bushing back in, remember that this piece needs to be 18 millimeters between here and here. So we're just going to push it down. We don't want to push it down all the way in. Just a little bit. So when you go to press this on, make sure that lines up with that which it's good on ours. And also that bushing goes in about 18 millimeters. So take your 18 millimeter wrench, line it up. Looks good. It's almost three quarters. So just take a tape measure and see a little less than three quarters of an inch. So that's perfect. And the longer side is the side where, if you look in these holes, the bigger side of the holes, so that's where you want the longer side. So it goes on the car like this. And this is where the control arm goes on this side.

So I have my mark right there. So I want to slide this on like that in this area. Just transfer the mark over to the new one. So that's good right there. So we know which way it goes. I have seen some people put grease on this. I don't think grease is a great idea. So I am just going to use a little bit of soapy water because then it will evaporate eventually. Slide this on, take a piece of wood and just use a hammer and hammer it on. Now the measurement we want is from right here to the top of there. We want it to be 170 millimeters. I don't have a millimeters tape measure, so it's a little more than six and a half inches. So just get it close. I'm just going to hammer it a little bit more. So that's about six and a half inches. So we're good.

I just line this up, take the bolts, get them started. I might have to push this out of your way a little bit. All right, so I got those two bolts started. Now I'll take my 16 millimeter ratchet wrench, get the inboard bolt snug first and then the outer one. I'm going to tighten these bolts down. If you can get a torque wrench in there, to, 44 foot-pounds, it's a little tight on that other one. So I can at least torque the outer one. I'll take this inner ball joint. Take the nut off here, just slide that in position. These two bolts, get these bolts lined up. Actually it's a good idea to get the inboard one in first, get that lined up.

So this inside bolt, I'm not going to be able to get a torque wrench on because the arm's in the way, otherwise you want to torque this to 57 foot-pounds and I'll do the same with that one. With a 18 millimeter socket and a torque wrench, I'll torque this bolt to 57 foot-pounds. I'll take this ball joint nut, get that lined up. I'm going to take a 22 millimeter wrench and tighten this up, but the ball joint stud is actually spinning, so I'll take a six millimeter hex bit and put it on my ratchet and that's going to hold the stud from spinning and we'll tighten this up. I'm going to tighten this down. Now if you're able to get a torque wrench on there which, it's very difficult, you can torque that down to 57 foot-pounds. We're going to line up the lower control arm, put the ball joint through here, take the nut, get this started.

All right, then I'm going to take a 19 millimeter wrench, tighten this nut right here. Now it's next to impossible to get a torque wrench on here. Maybe if you used a crow's foot, you might be able to torque this, but you're going to want to torque this to 48 foot-pounds, so just do the best you can. Now we'll take this shield, slide this back into position, take the bolts or the screws, get these started and if there was any other bolts that you had that were keeping this on, put those back in. Just take a eight millimeter socket extension and a ratchet. Just snug them up.

Okay, now I'm going to put the wheel on. Just line up the holes, take one of the lug studs, get that started and I can grab the other ones and I'll just tighten these down and then I'm going to lower the vehicle and torque them. Right now I'm going to use a 17 millimeter socket and a torque wrench. I'm going to torque these lug bolts to 95 foot-pounds. I'm going to torque them in a star pattern so that the wheel gets tightened down evenly. Then I'm just going to go around again, just double check. Good to go.

Thanks for watching. Visit 1aauto.com for quality auto parts shipped to your door, the place for DIY auto repair, and if you enjoyed this video, please click the subscribe button.

Tools needed for replacement:

    Air Powered Tools

  • 1/2 Inch Air Impact Gun

  • General Tools

  • Hammer
  • Measuring Tape

  • Hex Wrenches

  • 6mm Allen Wrench

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Rust Penetrant
  • Block of Wood
  • Marker / Writing Utensil

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Socket Extensions
  • Torque Wrench
  • Ratchet
  • 1/2 Inch Breaker Bar

  • Screwdrivers & Related

  • Pry Bar

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 16mm Socket
  • 17mm Socket
  • 18mm Socket
  • 8mm Socket
  • 22mm Socket

  • Specialty Tools

  • 2 Jaw Gear Puller
  • Pickle Fork
  • Press

  • Wrenches - Metric

  • 16mm Wrench
  • 18mm Wrench
  • 22mm Wrench


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