2003 E46 330ci - Suspension components refresh options

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  1. 2003 E46 330ci - Suspension components refresh options 
    #1
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    FSARoyster's Car Details
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    Morning folks,

    I think my suspension clunks are getting worse, and therefore I want to fix it.

    My problem is I don’t have like £1000 or whatever to do it all in one hit. So my question is, what route can I take to do it in stages? I want to avoid as much re-work as possible, but it’s more the money issue than time for me. I’ve had the car a year now, and when I got it, the previous owner had fairly recently installed coil-overs, no idea what brand, but at a complete guess nothing super fancy as I adjusted them in the summer and was a bit surprised to find no locking screws, but my point here is I think I can live with the current setup for the time being, I’m more looking to replace bushes, track rods, wishbones, ball-joints, etc initially.

    There’s also the cost of getting a 4 wheel alignment, so again I want to try and take a route where I can start with say drop links, which I think can clunk, don’t cost the earth, easy enough to replace and won’t require an alignment.

    I want to do both the front and rear eventually, in a dream world I want to do all bushes. Recently I watched a few videos of someone replacing all the bushes on the rear sub-frame, which looked pretty involved, but not impossible.

    So what’s your thoughts folks, any suggestions where I should start, or maybe more importantly, what I should leave and do at the same time, for example don’t do the track rods and then come back later to do the wishbones or whatever, if you see what I mean?

    Forgot to add, I replaced the rear bushes (lolipops?) that the front wishbones slot into with Meyle HDs a few months back, so these should be good for a few years.

    Thanks in advance

    Rog
     
     

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    #2
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    Willse46's Car Details
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    I hear what you're saying bud, but invariably if you don't do the lot (depending on what still needs doing - you've mentioned you've already changed some bushes) you'll end up paying more labour to strip down as well as another 4-wheel alignment etc.

    You could change your drop links easily without it depending on any other bits being stripped down.

    I've had a full rear axle refresh of all suspension and diff bushes as well as ball joints and arms. The only things left to tend to are 4 shocks, and then refreshing the front (arms, drop links, antirollbar bushes).

    I can change the rear shocks myself. But for the front I will take to a garage and get them to replace the arms, lollipop bushes (again, just done lollipop bushes in summer but if fitting new arms will replace at same time) & ARB etc. Then an alignment on top.

    4 shocks (bilstein b4), top mounts, bump stops, dust shields etc will be about 300 notes. Two front arms, lollipop bushes, Arbs, drop links will be another 400 notes and then I'll have to get the badgers fitted.

    Might do my rear shocks this week.

    Let us know how you get on and what you choose to start with first.
     
     

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    Cheers for the reply.

    How much did the work on your rear suspension cost? I've seen Meyle do a full bush kit for the rear for about £150.

    How much has it improved things? After doing my other suspension jobs the difference is literally night and day, normally because I'm doing the job due to some part or other failing, so you'd expect quite the improvement.

    I'll do all the work myself, unless there's some bits that are practically impossible for the average DIYer. I've replaced practically the whole suspension on my Mk1 Golf GTI cabriolet, Audi Coupe, and more recently my Mk4 Golf TDI, so I'm pretty happy to have a crack myself, I'll do a bunch of reading up and watching videos before I dive in, as there may well be some tricky bits on BMs I'm yet to come across. From my previous experience, bushes tend to be the most fun, I've tried burning them out, sawing through them, drilling them, and more recently using pullers. I bought a universal wheel bearing removal kit, which I used on my Mk4 and that made fairly light work of them, on there the rear beam bushes are meant to be a mare and I had no trouble at all, which for me is surprising

    I'd certainly recommend having a go yourself, as you know, you'll save a bunch of cash, I can't really speak for BMs as yet, but generally for suspension you'll need a set of spring clamps which I picked up from Halfords years ago for about £25, and then your usual spanners, sometimes the top mounts can be a bit tricky, at least on Audi/VW as the nut holding them in place is sunk into the mount and you need a swan neck ring spanner, or you can buzz them off with air tools if you have them.

    By doing it yourself you'll probably save enough to cover the 4 wheel alignment

    Thanks again

    Rog
     
     

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    #4
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    330i sport a big chunk of berlin...

     
     

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    Are the cluncks all round or just the front or just the rear? It might be something as cheap and simple as a rear shock mount (I must admit I don't know what standard parts are used with coil overs).
     
     

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    Morning all,

    Thanks for the links DailyD, that's pretty much what I'm after, except I was wondering if I could get away with buying the wishbones separately as I only recently replaced the rear bushes/lolipops, or would you replace these again, I've got the Meyle HDs.

    This is the kit I want for the rear, looking at the diagram I've 'borrowed' from the guys ad, are any of these renowned for being fun to replace?

    BMW E46 REAR CONTROL ARM MOUNT TRAILING SUBFRAME BUSH KIT SET MEYLE A755 | eBay



    As for the existing 'clunks' it sounds like all four corners. It's kind of weird to explain, but maybe some of you can relate. I think its like this, if I go down a dip, you can feel the springs and shocks doing their thing, so you get no noises, but if you go down a pothole or over a raised drain cover you hear a clunk. Also when I come to a stop it sometimes clunks.

    First up will be the front drop links as they're cheap and easy to do I imagine. I've read the rears can be a bit of an effort, also seen someone replaced his rear drop links with polys but most people seemed to think this was over the top.

    After that I will probably go with the rear top mounts, as these should be easy enough to replace, and won't require an alignment. Fronts top mounts will be a bigger job and will have to wait until I replace the wishbones as I'll do that all in one hit along with the inner/outer track rods.

    Thanks

    Rog
     
     

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    #7
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    you can buy individually but sometimes its more cost effective to buy the lot again as you wont get individual components failing sporadically over time which is irritating and time consuming to me..and your getting the rear bushes practically free any ways if you but the kit...


    i wouldnt bother with that above subframe kit or job unless you are absolutely sure as it will cost you as much as the cars worth to get it done at a garage and unless you own a ramp or lift and have a wide selection of tools there is now way that is a DIY job...


    rule of thumb only thing that goes on the rear of a post 2000 e46 is diff stabiliser bush (clunk when dumping clutch),trailing arm bushes or shox top mounts or springs,anti roll bar bushes and droplinks...


    gut feeling ide f=ck the dodgy coilover kit off first to rule it out......put stock or aftermarket quality springs like eibach kit and stock shocks back on it...


    ive replaced everything on the front of mine myself over the years none of it is particulary hard DIY but be aware that bottom strut/shox clamp bolt to the kingpin assembly nearly always shears off without preperation of lube or warming up first...


    also check the exhaust thoroughly as a poorly mounted zorst can resonate thru the car structure over potholes giving the illusion of iffy suspension...
    330i sport a big chunk of berlin...

     
     

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    #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dailydoggy View Post
    unless you own a ramp or lift and have a wide selection of tools there is now way that is a DIY job...
    I thought about the full bush kit as well but whilst replacing the rear shocks yesterday with Bilstein B4's I had a good study of the back end and quickly came to the same conclusion
     
     

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    Yeah for rear bushes a jack is not enough! You need bushes press set and many other tools.

    I did a complete shocks overhaul last summer.
    For complete front and rear shocks overhaul a jack is enough with a good spring tensioner.
     
     

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    #10
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    Afternoon folks,

    Thanks for the comments, good to hear.

    Sounds like initially I'll look to replace the easier to access parts, drop links, rear top mounts, ARB bushes, etc.

    As for the subframe, I agree to some degree, I certainly don't get the feeling its a Sunday afternoon job.

    That said, if you've got 20 mins spare, and are really interested, take a look at the video below. Some guy and his son take on the job of removing the subframe, due to a huge amount of play in the diff, which in their case turns out to be a dreaded split (completely sheared off) subframe mount, so they fix weld up the subframe mounts, but more interestingly to me, replace all the subframe bushes. Unless I'm missing something, they do all this at home on axle stands. Admittedly they've got air tools, other than that there's nothing I'd say was out of the ordinary, tool-wise.



    Don't get me wrong, I've not gone and ordered the full bush kit and sat here eagerly awaiting its arrival so I can start stripping the rear of my car, but it doesn't look super scary to me, I'm lucky in a few ways here, I've got a second car, so can take the time to do this, more than likely each night for a few weeks, also my BM is one of the few I've seen that isn't being consumed by rust, so I want to keep this car for as long as I can, it's honestly the best car I've ever owned, and if it dies I wouldn't hesitate to try and find another one.

    Main issue is money, so I'll tackle a few bits at a time, and see where that gets me clunk-wise.

    I'd also get the subframe powder coated whilst its off to help prolong its life.

    Thanks

    Rog
     
     

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