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BMW Control Arm Bushing Replacement Tips

* This article pertains to most BMW models, especially the E30, E34, E36, and E46 cars, but is relevant to all BMW models whose control arm bushings are pressed into eyelet 'lollipops'.*

Any time you replace the control arm bushings on your BMW, you have to get the old bushings out of the lollipops and press the new ones in. Most folks simply drop off the parts at an automotive machine shop and pay the $35 - $50 (or more). This is convenient, but costs money and means at least some downtime for your BMW. This past weekend, myself and a friend replaced the control arms, bushings, ball joints, tie rods, and sway bar end links on his beautiful M3-clone 1997 328i. I had told him to go to a junkyard and grab a spare pair of control arm bushing lollipops from a wreck, and have his new bushings pressed in ahead of time, to minimize reassembly downtime, but he ignored me.

There we were, 3 pm on a saturday afternoon with all local automotive machine shops closed, working in his garage on a non non-driveable BMW. We decided we would get the job done ourselves. I used a large control arm 'pickle fork' to rip the rubber on the bushings and separate the old control arms away from the bushing housings, then used a Sawzall equipped with a high speed steel hacksaw blade to cut the metal part of the bushing. With a large old screwdriver and hammer, we quickly and easily coaxed the remains of the old control arm bushings out of the lollipops. Now - how to get the new bushings pressed in? I lubricated the edge of the new bushings and the housings with liquid dish detergent, lined up the bushings, placed a section of 2x4 wood on top of it, and used a large - think smaller sledgehammer - hammer to pound the bushings in. I then rinsed off the soap and saw they sat perfectly. Use a little more soap on the end of the control arm to get it to slide in easily and reassembly is a snap.

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