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Thread: E36 RTAB DIY with BMW Tools w/ or w/o GC shims

  1. #1
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    E36 RTAB DIY with BMW Tools w/ or w/o GC shims

    1. Jack up the rear half of the car and support with jackstands
    2. Remover rear wheels (17mm)
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    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  2. #2
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    3. Remove the two 10mm bolts that hold the brake line bracket to the trailing arm. View from the top.
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    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  3. #3
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    View from the inside
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    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  4. #4
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    4. Now you can take out the three bolts that hold the RTAB console (18mm). An impact really speeds this part up. CAUTION!! If you have stock springs: when you pull the last bolt out the spring will decompress rapidly, shooting the trailing arm down a couple inches. With lowering springs or coilovers the spring was fully decompressed when the suspension was in full droop so there was no decompression of the spring as the last bolt was taken out. Note: the trailing arms wonít be able to come all the way down until you release the trailing arm on both sides (otherwise you are fighting the sway bar) and release the e-brake.
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    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  5. #5
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    5. It will come down this far with little resistance
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    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  6. #6
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    6. Remove the bolt that goes through and holds the RTAB to the RTAB console. You will need an 18mm for both sides and this bolt it TIGHT. It went really quick with the impact.
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    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  7. #7
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    7. Remove the RTAB console.
    8. Now is a good time to note the position of the RTAB in the arm. There is a flange on the RTAB so just look at the position of the flange relative to the trailing arm so that you can put the new RTAB in the same position. Note: Hereís what I found after doing 12 E36s: the 93-95 E36s had about a 1/16Ē gap where as the 96-99 E36s had no gap i.e. the RTAB flange was flush with the trailing arm.
    9. Itís time for the bushing puller. Note: I bought an 18in piece of pipe that fit over the arm on the puller so it was easier to hold
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    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  8. #8
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    10. Assemble the puller as shown in previous picture. Unthread the cup that goes on the back of the RTAB so that you can slide the assembly through the hole in the RTAB and screw the cup back on.
    11. Position the jaws of the puller in the notches of the RTAB so that they are pushing against the trailing arm
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    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  9. #9
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    12. Tighten the 32mm nut on the puller until the RTAB is free. This is about half way
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    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  10. #10
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    13. Now that the old RTAB is out I went over the trailing arm with some scotch brite clean it up a bit
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    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  11. #11
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    14. Now itís time to pull the new RTAB into the trailing arm with the RTAB installer tool
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    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  12. #12
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    15. Unthread the nut on the cup side of the installer tool so you can pull the cup off the tool and put the new bushing onto the tool. Position the tool and new RTAB in the trailing arm so you car put the cup and nut back on. Note: position the notches in the RTAB so that they are up and down
    Attached Images Attached Images
    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  13. #13
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    16. Tighten the 24mm nut on the installer tool until the bushing matches the position it was in previously. New RTAB installed in a 93-95 with the proper 1/16 gap
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    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  14. #14
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    17. GC shims anyone? The shims fit onto the RTAB console like so
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    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  15. #15
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    18. Slide the shims and RTAB console over the RTAB as a unit until the bolt holes are lined up. Note: some were tighter than others so we ended up tapping about half of them into position with a hammer
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    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  16. #16
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    19. Now you need to install the alignment tool that assist you in properly lining up the RTAB console before you tighten the bolt that goes through the RTAB and console. This assures that the RTAB is properly preloaded. Install like so
    Attached Images Attached Images
    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  17. #17
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    20. Torque the through bolt to 110 N*m (81 ft*lb) Note: make sure that you are not putting a load on the alignment tool as it is easy to bend the RTAB console where the alignment tool attaches.
    21. This is by far the hardest part depending on your springs (coilovers/lowering springs: cake, stock springs: hard, H&R springs: really freakin hard) The technique that we came up with works pretty well. Start by lifting the trailing arm up as far as you can supported by a jackstand. Note: Have someone guide the spring into it's home as you lift the trailing arm onto the jackstand.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by aweather; 04-19-2004 at 10:31 AM.
    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  18. #18
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    22. Now you can get under the RTAB console with a ratchet with a 6 in extension, 18mm socket and the bolt. Start with the bolt that is closest to you. Use one hand supported by your knee to push the bolt into place and the other hand to actuate the ratchet. Note: in the pic the bolt hasnít started threading so they have to be pushed up very far and very hard to get to the threads. I also ran into a problem when I would get the bolt started but because I was supporting the ratchet near the reversing lever, I would accidentally switch the ratchet and start taking the bolt off!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  19. #19
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    23. Sweating yet? The other bolts should go in pretty easy, you might have to push up a bit on some of them to get them started. I found starting them with the ratchet sped up the process. Snug up all the bolts and them back them off half a turn so you can line up the trailing arm. The bolt holes in the console are actually slots to allow you to adjust rear toe. We tried marking the bolt in the beginning to match the old position of the trailing arm, but the markings would always rub off. For the most part you can just go by the dirt and bolt markings on the RTAB console to line the trailing arm back up before you torque the three bolts that hold the RTAB console to the subframe. You are going to get an alignment anyways right? Torque to 77 N*m (57 ft*lb)
    Attached Images Attached Images
    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  20. #20
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    24. Reinstall the brake line brackets and rear wheels. Stick a fork in it bc itís done!

    Happy RTABing everyone!
    -Alex
    "Are you drunk again?"
    "No, I'm just exhausted because I've been up all night drinking."

  21. #21
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    Whoa, that is my car! Great job alex, see you at bimmerfest.
    Steve

  22. #22
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    Can I made a home made alignment tool ? What are the angles?

  23. #23
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    Bernmobile
    Very nice writeup Alex.

    One tip. You can get a paint-type marker to help get the alignment back to where it was. This would be less likely to rub off. Also, it seemed like you had trouble releasing the spring force from the rear spring. I may have skimmed over this part, but I always use the jack under the trailing arm while removing the shock bolt. When the bolt is out, you can gently lower the trailing arm.

    Sounds like you guys had some fun. Thanks for sharing

    Butch

  24. #24
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    whoa, sweet writeup man, great pics too!!
    1997 Cosmos M3/2
    2002 Blue R6

  25. #25
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    Great writeup! This should be stickey'd or parked.
    ///Andres
    11 X5d sport - daily tow rig
    09 335d - evolve tuned 327whp / 490wtq
    97 M3 - NASA TTB
    95 M3 Turbo - 3.0l s52, PTE74GTQ, AEM EMS & CDI, etc


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