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Front control arm bushing install

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Front control arm bushing install

  #1  
Old 04-30-2007, 02:35 PM
k-huevo
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Front control arm bushing install

There’s more than one way to access the front control arm bushings for replacement. One option is to extract and install the bushing sleeve while on the vehicle as 002 illustrates. https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...ad.php?t=63869

At the local MINI dealership they don’t mess with the replacing the sleeves, they install brackets with incorporated bushings, part numbers Left-31 12 6 757 561, Right-31 12 6 757 562, and they accomplish this without dropping the subframe completely. As it was relayed to me, they disconnect the steering column universal joint and the rear most subframe bolts, wedge a board between the subframe and chassis to maintain clearance, and that’s about it. They do have a special ball joint tool to help with that approach.

I prefer to access mine by dropping the subframe performing the installation out from under the vehicle. Here’s a thread with details about dropping the subframe completely. https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...23#post1420223

With the subframe out, remove the two bolts from the outer ball joint mounting brackets with a 16mm socket and rotate the brackets 180 degrees.


There’s a BMW tool for pulling the control arm from the bracket and reinserting, without it there are a few alternate ways. With the bracket still attached, place a pry bar between the control arm hexagonal shaft flange and the sleeve and pry away. As it moves further out place shims in the expanding space to help with leverage. Safety tips, when using a pry bar keep your head out of the way and take a solid stance with your feet before applying leverage. It may be necessary to lean down to position the control arm away from the subframe to provide clearance while simultaneously prying; this is where there is the greatest risk of knocking yourself on the forehead or ending up in a drunken horse stumble if it lets go.


If the bushing is torn it will probably separate from the sleeve. If that happens, spray Windex around the hexagonal shaft and twist the bushing with channel locks while giving a mighty tug.

After the control arm is extracted, remove the bracket bolts with an 18mm socket.


The bushing and bracket can be removed with the control arm still attached as a complete unit. The Windex and twist method can be used to pull it free but it is better accomplished with an assistant or something to secure the control arm; this way is a little tough but doable.

I also prefer to swap out the brackets rather than replace the bushings only, but there are instances where extracting the bushing sleeve is advantageous. Here are some photos of the BMW bushing installation and extraction tool.


The non-OEM washer is used to start the bushing sleeve moving (the edges of the tool become worn with use causing it to slip into the sleeve so a little help will save some grief), once the sleeve is flush with the bracket, the end piece can be turned around and used as intended to extract the bushing.



Here is the stock bushing sleeve.


The tool can also be used to install Powerflex bushings. A word of caution from experience, if the control arm bracket is removed from the subframe; be sure the bracket and bushing are oriented correctly before pressing in a replacement bushing or aftermarket alternative. I was interrupted by the UPS delivery person while doing the install one time and when I returned to the task I was facing a different direction to the work table and ended up pressing in the bushings backward . I’m not the only one having made this mistake.


I’ve used Moly assembly lube and chassis grease in the past to make it easier to insert the control arm hexagonal shaft in the stock bushing but a local tech cautions against that type of lube (anti-seize included) because it can cause the shaft to slip during vehicle operation creating frictional heat which accelerates bushing failure. He says it’s safer to use something that will evaporate like Windex as lubricant.


I use a hydraulic spring compressor to press on the bushing but if you have enough body mass for leverage, the control arm can be leaned on, or stood on like a pogo stick (be sure to have something to stabilize yourself). The local tech puts the control arm in a vise and hammers the bushing on with a rubber mallet . Someday I will get the proper tool.


After pressing the bushing on the shaft most of the way, perform a test install to be sure it’s in far enough for the inner ball joint bracket and the bushing bracket’s bolts to line up with the corresponding holes in the subframe and adjust if necessary.


Notice the gap is still a little too large when the bolt holes don’t line up. It is better to stop early and not to go all the way because it will be more difficult to pull the control arm back out than micro-move the bracket or arm in further.


You don’t have to be as precise as I show here, but for this install the gaps between the bushing bracket and control arm on each side were less than .5mm different; about as good as you can get to help keep caster similar for each front wheel.



After all is aligned (run the sway bar and control arm through their range of motion), torque the bushing carrier bracket to 122 ft-lb and the inner ball joint bracket to 74 ft-lb.
 

Last edited by k-huevo; 05-01-2007 at 06:55 PM. Reason: Larger Photos
  #2  
Old 04-30-2007, 07:21 PM
meb
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Kieth,

You are a pro at this now! If you were performing this sans pictures, how long would it take you these days?

When you wrote that the shops drop the rear part of the sub-frame only, they must lower the front portion some? If the car is on jack stands, will the brakets and bushings come off without contacting the jack stands?


Great pictures too.


Michael
 
  #3  
Old 04-30-2007, 10:04 PM
k-huevo
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I’ll take a guess and say it’s a padded six hour job (on stands) doing the swap when dropping the subframe and pulling it out from beneath the vehicle, if there are no surprises.

I don’t see how I could get my torque wrench in there after only bending the subframe; I can’t envision doing it that way. Keep in mind that service departments make money when actual labor hours take less time than book schedules; I could never make a shop any money so certainly I’m no pro.
 
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Old 05-01-2007, 06:36 AM
meb
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They probably do not use a torque wrench
 
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Old 05-01-2007, 01:22 PM
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I greatly prefer dropping the subframe as well, but as you said, I'm not in any hurry to beat the flat rate.
 
  #6  
Old 05-17-2007, 09:08 PM
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You are just the best. This thread would surely help me out with my installation next week. I’m just a bit sad because I don’t have the most tools you have, just some. I still need to find way to have them. But, the parts are almost complete, except for the BMW Ball Joints. I still have to order them. I’m getting excited about the job. I hope it would be as great as that.
 
  #7  
Old 05-17-2007, 09:27 PM
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Keith, once again, a thread worthy of printing! Thanks so much for making the time to take photos and share... You allow many of us to be informed so we can make proper decisions on how to proceed, Thanks!
 
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:15 AM
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Great write up my mechanic will be doing this job in the near future getting the bushes in about a week,and this will be invaluable information to him,but where did all the pics go ????
 
  #9  
Old 01-24-2009, 10:16 AM
k-huevo
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Temporary problem with the host server on those photos.

Chad Miller has a niffty tip for using a three arm puller in issue #2 of the Alliance Magazine.
 
  #10  
Old 01-24-2009, 07:56 PM
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Thanks for reviving this thread. I actually forgot about it... Placing an order now for several PF bushings. Not sure where most source them from, but it seems that Moss MINI has them all, and at a good price, possibly the lowest (with free shipping):

http://www.mossmini.com/Shop/ViewPro...eIndexID=36703

I did the engine ones, the upper and lower tandem, a few years ago, but didn't tackle these due to the time commitment. Nice how the subframe doesn't have to be removed or lowered. For those who want to replace the steering rack bush at the same time, can that be done also, or must the subframe be dealt with for that swap? If so, I guess no short-cuts for me...

Jeremy, you still around? It seems that you have not been on NAM in several months (like me actually). If you are open to a project, contact me...
 
  #11  
Old 01-24-2009, 08:22 PM
k-huevo
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Send Jeremy a note.

Forget the steering rack bushing, there’s nothing wrong with the stock piece and it doesn’t serve any “performance” function.
 
  #12  
Old 01-24-2009, 08:57 PM
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Thanks Keith, I'm going to PM him...

I sort of figured that the steering rack bushing was not a performance enhancer, but I would think that it is a wear item though. Likewise, I'm also looking to replace the stock ball joints, tie rods and strut bearings...

Trying to take the "while in there" mentality...
 
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:35 PM
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Thanks Keith for the how to, my mechanic was grateful for the tips and all is installed as of this afternoon one of them was busted.(1)The gap betwene the control arm and the bushing carrier as per your photo is 17mm and 16.6mm fairly close, the original measurement was 13mm with OEM bushings,according to him this has increased caster a bit but not a bad thing?While we were at it we decided to go the whole hog and do the rear trailing arm inserts along with poly inserts for the stock upper control arms and replaced the lowers with a set of H-sport adj as one was half broken,we could'nt get the bolt in the trailing arm to move so we had to let go the three bolts on the bearing carrier dropping it completely and nailed it with the air tool,problem really was lack of the right tool to get in that tight spot.I am led to understand this is a bear to get the toe setting right at alighnment for the rear,they are going to love me. Again thanks Keith.Heading for alighnment tomorrow and setting front at -1.8 camber 0 toe,rear at -1.3 camber 1/16 toe in,what do you guys feel about those settings,daily driver ocasional track set up.Regards and THANKS Peter.
 
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:51 PM
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Those specs are pretty good, I'd say. I have -2 F and -1.5R which gives a difference of 0.5 degrees front to rear.
 
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:20 PM
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if anyone wants to know i just installed some alta psrs bushings tonight by dropping the rear of the subframe about 1.5 inches and leaving it in the vehicle. all i removed were the three bolts on each side of the rear part of the subframe, the two bolts on those "ears" towards the front, the one bolt on the lower torque rod for the engine, and one pinch bolt holding the steering shaft. i supported the subframe and lowered the rear about 1.5", that is just enough room to remove the bolts. matter of fact i didn't remove the control arms or the tires. i used a long flex head ratchet wrench to remove the 18mm bolts. it took about 2 hours, but i do have access to a lift and air tools.

just want to let other lazies like myself know that you can get away with leaving the subframe in the car.
 
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Old 02-25-2009, 06:53 AM
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How did you remove the (stock?) bushing?
 
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:20 AM
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i squirted some pb blaster in there and just started prying it off the end slowly with a big pry bar and then a hammer and a punch. once it started moving i was able to position the rear of the control arm along side of the subframe to get more room. install was piece of cake because you can slide the psrs over the collar with the rear of the control arm under the subframe and then flip it up ontop.
 
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Old 02-26-2009, 11:10 AM
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I have used that method before, but not on the mini...it's effective! I was just curious.
 
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:09 PM
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Ok so I just replaced my Lower Control Arm bushings today. It is a lot of work to keep track of everything; all the bolts, the connectors, the power steering, et cetera. But all in all very worth it. There is no way to get to the bolts without dropping the sub-frame.

I will be getting an alignment tomorrow morning. I cant wait to see the difference with the Madness bushings.
 
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:42 AM
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Should have gone with the Alta PSRS!

 
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:16 AM
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Don't the Alta's make noise?
 
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:31 AM
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Not much.....no more that new engine bushings and then only at a slow speed. The performance of these units so far is great. Some club members have had them installed for over 2 years with no problems.
 
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:02 AM
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Thanks for the input.
 
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Old 04-02-2009, 03:15 PM
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Just a FWIW we made a tool using a long bolt and some cam seal installation tools for older Volvo's. Using an air chisel to remove the old bushing and our install tool with an impact to pull the new one in we can do the job in under 2hrs on the lift easy.
 
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Old 04-02-2009, 04:14 PM
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Had some installed this last weekend and it took between an hour and an hour and a half with taking the lower cradle off.
 

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