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Thread: Need Help on front Control Arms

  1. #1
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    Need Help on front Control Arms

    I need to replace the front lower control arms on my 99 Z3 M coupe. Would I be safe to go with Meyle or would you guys recommend another company?

    Thanks, Myles

  2. #2
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    I just put Meyle HD's on my 00Mcoupe from Bimmerworld. The ones they sell require offset bushings to be used with them since they are likely stocking '95 arms that have a bit different suspension geometry. I got the Powerflex offset bushings and they were a PITA to get put together (grinding the shoulder down on the NEW LCA to get the bushing on far enough).

    I would most likely put it together the same way again, due to the want for poly bushings, but it was a poor initial fit. I wont have to mess with them for another 10+ years now.

    The other company I would buy from would be Lemforder.

  3. #3
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    I didn't like that the aftermarket arms required offset (non-stock) bushings, so I ended up getting new OE replacements when I did mine. If I had known then what I know now, I would have just rebuilt my originals with new ball joints and bushings, though.

    Replacement ball joints are around $80 total for all 4.

  4. #4
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    Have fun getting them pressed out and back in... ugghh, I did some on my truck because that was my only option and it was NOT a fun or easy experience

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinci View Post
    I didn't like that the aftermarket arms required offset (non-stock) bushings, so I ended up getting new OE replacements when I did mine. If I had known then what I know now, I would have just rebuilt my originals with new ball joints and bushings, though.

    Replacement ball joints are around $80 total for all 4.
    But don't ///M's require offset bushings anyway/normally/as came from factory? I thought that was the difference btwn non-///M Z's and ///M ones (and that the ///M's are solid).... but could be wrong.

  6. #6
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    My stock 00M LCA's had centered bushings and holes in it (even the mount point for the non-M sway links).

    From what I understand the offset bushings were used on 95 M3's and have different geometry LCA's. To add caster to the geometry they pushed the top of the strut back and the outboard ball join forward to gain caster in the 96+ applications that have centered bushings. As far as I know the actual LCA is the same

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by robb1887 View Post
    Have fun getting them pressed out and back in... ugghh, I did some on my truck because that was my only option and it was NOT a fun or easy experience
    Some vendors will pre-press in your bushings and ball joints on replacement arms if you contact them and request it. Certainly worth the little added expense if you don't have the right tools.
    Now in E92 M3 ZCP -- Absolute beast

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by robb1887 View Post
    My stock 00M LCA's had centered bushings and holes in it (even the mount point for the non-M sway links).

    From what I understand the offset bushings were used on 95 M3's and have different geometry LCA's. To add caster to the geometry they pushed the top of the strut back and the outboard ball join forward to gain caster in the 96+ applications that have centered bushings. As far as I know the actual LCA is the same
    I'll have to do some more reading - I thought it was exactly the opposite of that, ie, the centered solid LCABs I'm running on a '99 non-///M Z3 are from a 94 M3, because the ///M Z3's had solid but offset bushings... ????
    Last edited by gmushial; 03-06-2014 at 01:00 PM.

  9. #9
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    The '95 M3 had offset bushings. 96+ M3s had centered bushings. All Z3Ms have centered bushings from the factory. You can use an offset bushing on a Z3M but it will result in more caster.
    Cyrus Mistry

  10. #10
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    If the arms aren't bent, replace the ball joints with Meyle HD ones, keeping install orientation same as original. It takes a bench press 2 minutes to get them out and in. Saves you about $300.

    31 12 1 126 254 x2 small one
    31 12 1 126 253 x2 tall one


    If money is no issue, get OEM BMW arms for the E36 M3/ Z3M. There are NO aftermarket arms for the M3/ Z3M. The aftermarket arms (meyle/lemforder only ones worth it) are for non-M cars, and you have to use offset bushings to regain caster.
    Last edited by 328 Power 04; 03-06-2014 at 01:36 PM.
    -Abel

    - E36 328is ~210-220whp: Lots of Mods. RomRaider self-tune work in progress.
    - 2000 Z3: Many Mods.
    - 2003 VW Jetta TDI Manual 47-50mpg: Many Mods ~300ft/lbs tq, diesel, daily beater. Love/Hate relationship.
    - S52 Estoril M Coupe
    - 2014 328d Wagon, self-tuned, 260hp/420ft-lbs

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by robb1887 View Post
    Have fun getting them pressed out and back in... ugghh, I did some on my truck because that was my only option and it was NOT a fun or easy experience
    We didn't have any trouble with them on my bench at home with a c-clamp style ball joint press.

    Quote Originally Posted by gmushial View Post
    But don't ///M's require offset bushings anyway/normally/as came from factory? I thought that was the difference btwn non-///M Z's and ///M ones (and that the ///M's are solid).... but could be wrong.
    Stock are centered.

  12. #12
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    I am all about saving $$$. Thanks guys!

    - - - Updated - - -

    328 power 04... I just tried those part NO#'s and they are for a E30 and will not fit my M coupe.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by redlinealley View Post
    328 power 04... I just tried those part NO#'s and they are for a E30 and will not fit my M coupe.
    BMW doesn't list ANY part numbers for replacement ball joints in this application. The ball joints that swap in are listed for E30 fitment, but are a perfect fit. Do some research on this. There is a lot of info out there in the E36 forums, as they share our control arms.

  14. #14
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    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...2#post20553182

    They sure are E30. If you search well enough, you can get those in Meyle HD in under $20 each.
    -Abel

    - E36 328is ~210-220whp: Lots of Mods. RomRaider self-tune work in progress.
    - 2000 Z3: Many Mods.
    - 2003 VW Jetta TDI Manual 47-50mpg: Many Mods ~300ft/lbs tq, diesel, daily beater. Love/Hate relationship.
    - S52 Estoril M Coupe
    - 2014 328d Wagon, self-tuned, 260hp/420ft-lbs

  15. #15
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    Add this to the list of *Things I wish I'd known 2 months ago*

    My arms looked fine but my ball joints looks in disarray

  16. #16
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    Thanks for clearing that up for me. you guys on here are awesome to count on for answering questions that I have. I have a lot to learn..

  17. #17
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    Subscribed

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinci View Post
    We didn't have any trouble with them on my bench at home with a c-clamp style ball joint press.
    +1


  19. #19
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    I got BMW non-M control arms for a good price, but I feel a bit silly about that, as they apparently have some rubber around the ball joints that can go bad. Especially since i went with M3 FCAB, which DVATP says will accelerate wear on the non-M. Meyle HD ball joints don't have that problem and are stronger than OEM. Still, I expect them to last at least 50k, and I think that's pretty good. Make sure you get the Meyle HD, not the regular Meyle.

    Edit: that was for the E36, whoops. Might still apply though.
    Last edited by DYL; 03-06-2014 at 09:30 PM.

  20. #20
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    I went with lemforder bushings and ball joints to replace the old ones. My buddy has access to a press at work and will take care of the problem. Paid 180.00 shipped for all 6 pieces as I thought was pretty good.

  21. #21
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    I just received a set of control arms and rear bushings from a guy I purchased from on craiglist. My concern is that when I opened the box, the LCAs were made in China. Should I be worried, or just replace my 184,000 mile used ones?
    Mods: Whalen seat bushings/Glove box fix/LeatherZ arm rest/
    Washington state Z's area rep.

  22. #22
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    ^^^ They are probably fine to get you by now in a pinch, but at that mileage I would expect theyve been replaced at least once before. Its not a lot of work to replace them

    Since this thread was bumped thought I'd ask this question too..

    http://www.turnermotorsport.com/p-36...ntupgrade.aspx

    Are those fine to use as a replacement for OEM M Coupe arms? Will the geometry be the same, will the bushings be the same as far as centered or offset?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackxs View Post
    http://www.turnermotorsport.com/p-36...ntupgrade.aspx

    Are those fine to use as a replacement for OEM M Coupe arms? Will the geometry be the same, will the bushings be the same as far as centered or offset?
    On Bavarian Auto's blog site. Fairly complete answer. Hope the link is allowed.
    http://blog.bavauto.com/14928/bmw-3-...ty-e30-vs-e36/

    Another option depending on your need.
    http://slrspeed.com/applications/e36/
    I have these on FrankenCoupe. You must use power steering, and the ability to turn further is useless for me, but the other features are very good. Not sure how it would hold up on the street. If you use these do not go the added width unless you know you have room. I am 14mm wider. All fits for me but I have a flared hood. I also had to swap the Vorshlag hats to get the camber back to a reasonable tilt. Sort of the opposite of what is done with stock hats on a OEM setup. If you go the OEM width, none of this would be an issue.
    Last edited by PbFut; 05-24-2014 at 02:16 PM. Reason: Added SLR info
    Dan "PbFut" Rose

  24. #24
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    Thanks "leadfoot," thats exactly what I was looking for. I dont do any racing or anything so I wasnt looking to change from the stock geometry, just thought lighter arms would be nice. The ad is slightly misleading since it seems to imply it works "as stock" on all those models listed when that is clearly not the case.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackxs View Post
    I wasnt looking to change from the stock geometry, just thought lighter arms would be nice. The ad is slightly misleading since it seems to imply it works "as stock" on all those models listed when that is clearly not the case.
    It's also misleading as to the benefit of unsprung weight unless you are a frog’s hair of everything else being perfect. Much of the weight savings on these arms is inboard of the pivot point. In theory, anything lighter on the suspension is almost always a benefit. The incremental change is much less with relation to the portion of the arm actually moving outboard of the ball joint. And even less as you really need to move outward of the joint a fair amount to create affect. At 325 each, it seems to be a rather hefty price for very little, if any benefit off track. It's a business. They want to sell parts, and they are not saying anything incorrect. But it's the actual amount of improvement that the consumer needs to be aware of.
    Dan "PbFut" Rose

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