2000 E46 330i Touring - ball joint play

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  1. 2000 E46 330i Touring - ball joint play 
    #1
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    Hi there, I just put my 330i through it's MOT with no issues. Checking the paperwork I can see an advisory item "slight play in nearside front bottom ball joint".

    What work, and what kind of expense am I looking at to put this right? Any idea how long I can leave this....clearly it can't be dangerous right now or it wouldn't have passed the MOT.

    Also, is any of this work related to how hard the suspension is. I previously had a 54 plate 320d with sports suspension and it was much more 'sure' throwing around corners etc. I'm wondering if dealing with this advisory item would be an appropriate time to firm up the handling....but not sure what my options are here?

    Thanks,
    Andy
     
     

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    The ball joint is where the wishbone bolts up into the subframe, a relatively easy change. Non sport ones can be had for about 100 (Lemforder, an OEM manufacturer) whicha re the ones you'll need, the Sport ones are about 150. I think both are a lot more expensive from BMW directly. I recently bought a pair of Meyle ones from www.allgermanparts.co.uk for under 200 delivered.

    Yes, it's an ideal time to put Poly Bushes in the rear bushes of the wishbones, and the old wishbones won't slide out of your old bushes - so make the new bushes Powerflex ones. Yours are definitely 66mm bushes, as it's a 330 (some earlier models had 60mm ones, yours 100% didn't).

    You could do the anti-roll bar bushes too while you're there, and put a new pair of drop links in there too (the link from the strut to the anti-roll bar). This will sharpen the front end up a lot. The front bushes you'll need are the 23mm ones.

    HTH
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    andyg_prs (09-11-2009)

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    Thanks Paddy. To be clear, my current car doesn't have sports suspension. I guess in that case I have to put in the non-sport ball joint. If I wanted to upgrade to sports suspension I'm guessing there are lots of things I'd have to change rather than just the ball joints?
     
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by andyg_prs View Post
    Thanks Paddy. To be clear, my current car doesn't have sports suspension. I guess in that case I have to put in the non-sport ball joint. If I wanted to upgrade to sports suspension I'm guessing there are lots of things I'd have to change rather than just the ball joints?
    Yes, you'll need the non-sport parts. In my opinion there's too much to change to do a complete Sport conversion in my opinion - springs & shocks all round, anti-roll bars, wishbones.

    If you want to transform your own car, go with Eibach springs & anti-roll bars, Powerflex everything, and get some 18in wheels with the correct 225/255 staggered fitment. Renew the wishbones anyhow.
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    I don't think I can afford to do all the changes you mention. What is the kit list for what you've suggested and what kind of cost for parts and fitting?

    Am I right in understanding that the minimum is to replace the ball joint or do they get done as a pair?

    The next level up is the wishbone - how much to do that and what would the impact be?

    And next are Eibach and Powerflex items....finally the wheels.... Just trying to gauge costs and the best way to spend my money....

    Cheers,
    Andy
     
     

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    check out this place for the Meyle bottom arms
    http://www.allgermanparts.co.uk/ours...lar-items.html
    these arms are uprated and offer a 4 year guarentee...and apparently you can replace individual balljoints quite easily if they ever go...cheaper than ecp lemforder prices too
    what i've felt,what i've known
    never shined through in what i've shown.

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    andyg_prs (09-11-2009)

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    Thanks. Sorry to be stoopid but will this include the balljoint(s) that need replacing? How much would I expect to pay for fitting? And does the uprated mean better performance then the originals or will it have an impact on how the car handles too?
     
     

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    they come complete ready for fitting
    you could expect to pay between 100 to 200 quid for fitting...depends if there are any snags i suppose.
    being heavy duty arms they should stiffen up the play that you may have noticed and keep it nice and stiff for a good while yet...i would say to get the powerflex bushes on the back of these at the same time as the mechanic will be undoing them anyway.
    one other expense will be getting the car 4 wheel aligned afterwards...though you would need this with any change in the suspension department
    what i've felt,what i've known
    never shined through in what i've shown.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andyg_prs View Post
    Am I right in understanding that the minimum is to replace the ball joint or do they get done as a pair? The next level up is the wishbone...
    Not quite. The ball joints & the wishbones are one unit, and can't be bought separately on an E46. Strictly speaking you only need to do one, but I'd do both sides as you know the other side will be pretty worn also. Also one side would be nice & stiff, and the other not as stiff - it's better if they're uniform.

    Next is the bush into which the rear of the wishbone is slid - this is the one that's the 66mm bush. You use your existing holder (aka lollipop), cut the old bush out & press the Powerflex one in. The 66mm Powerflex bushes are about 45 supplied only.

    That'll be enough to get you out of trouble for now. 200 for the whisbones, 45 for the Powerflex bushes, plus some fitting - I have no idea how much fitting would be (as I do my own), but it's not a huge job - 2 hours max. I'd reckon for an independent garage.

    After that, the roll bar bushes would be next on my list - these take about 15 minutes to install - or 30 minures complete with the drop links.
    E46 330i Touring (Sold)
     
     

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    Ok guys, bear with me, my knowledge is very limited.

    First comment is that I've had no issues with the car's handling in terms of this slight play.....it's just that the sports suspension on my previous company car (which was newer) was tighter and sharper.

    In order to deal with the ball joint it seems I may as well buy two the Meyle bottom arms (also known as Wishbones?) @ 55.25 each that come with a 4-year warranty.

    Then, at the same time it would be a good idea to change the bushes as these get undone anyway. The 66mm powerflex bushes are around 45 each so I'll need to of these. Any links to these?

    Is this correct?

    Finally, as the car has just passed its MOT and I have no issue with the car's handling....any guidelines as to the time / mileage I might expect to be ok with the car until slight play increases to something more dangerous? Or would this make itself known by strange noises are very noticeably bad handling?

    Thanks for your help and patience!
    Andy
     
     

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