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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Suspension | Brakes | Chassis > Control Arm Replacement Time?



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      11-06-2012, 01:10 PM   #1
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Control Arm Replacement Time?

All - car details in sig, now has 55,000 miles. My car has had persistent steering wheel and seat vibration (low amplitude, high frequency) at highway speed for many months now.

I had the factory wheels and tires road force balanced, helped but didn't fix it.

Then I bought new wheels and tires. Vibration persisted. They have been road force balanced three times. Still there, especially noticeable on asphalt highways.

I got an alignment. Front right was barely out of spec, they said they couldn't fix it because this car doesn't have an adjustable strut mount (I believe it was toe?).

A week or so ago, when it was about 40 deg. F., I noticed some squeaking when driving over a small dip in a subdivision (low speed, traveling straight).

I have seen other stories on here about control arm bushings wearing out prematurely on this car, but wanted to run this symptoms by everyone to see if this sounds like it's time for new control arms.

I would rather just replace the control arm than the bushing alone, based on what I've read.

Thanks very much for the input!

-Brandon
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      11-07-2012, 09:07 AM   #2
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Just a suggestion...remove your wheel, grab the rotors with hands at 9 and 3 o'clock, move side-to-side, if there is play then replace them. In addition, you may want to replace the entire front control arm kit. Inspect your sway bar link and consider buying adjustable rear toe arms. GL

www.hpautowerks.com - they have what you need in addition to further information for your reference. GL
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      11-09-2012, 07:54 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response! Are you suggesting those pieces specifically to eliminate vibrations or just to improve handling, or maybe a little bit of both with a dash of hedging a bet?
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      11-09-2012, 09:55 AM   #4
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FWIW my bushings went at 75K. I had similar vibration to what you're describing, and eventually a terrible scraping noise. Indy quickly noticed a lot of play in the control arms up front and replaced both for $500, I was told that it's actually more costly to just take care of the bushings anyway.. GL
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      11-10-2012, 01:23 AM   #5
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Replace the lower control arms,I have the same issue and was the lower control arms,that will eliminate the vibration,just do an aligment after.
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      11-10-2012, 09:56 AM   #6
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Thanks guys! Any way to tell for sure if its my upper or lower control arms?
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      11-10-2012, 08:50 PM   #7
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When the bushings go out you'll hear a distinctive clank when you pull to a stop in the parking lot. Any mechanic familiar with these cars would be able to tell you if they're worn out. Mine are worn out so I just went for full M3 parts replacement. I'll let you know if it's worth it!
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      11-12-2012, 02:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eli_335i View Post
When the bushings go out you'll hear a distinctive clank when you pull to a stop in the parking lot. Any mechanic familiar with these cars would be able to tell you if they're worn out. Mine are worn out so I just went for full M3 parts replacement. I'll let you know if it's worth it!
Do you have a sound clip of this clank? It happens to me when I sometimes go to complete stop then accelerate or when I am changing directions such as forward and reverse. The vibrations are noticeable around 80 mph. And my car has 93,000. Do you think i might have a similar problem?
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      11-12-2012, 03:28 PM   #9
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I don't have a clip, but yea that's it. Your control arm bushings are blown. I heard this when my car had only 45K on it, so you're lucky to get so much life out of those. Part of my M3 upgrade is to get more value from these components.
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      11-12-2012, 04:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eli_335i View Post
I don't have a clip, but yea that's it. Your control arm bushings are blown. I heard this when my car had only 45K on it, so you're lucky to get so much life out of those. Part of my M3 upgrade is to get more value from these components.
Agreed - mine went at ~50k as well . I replaced with an OEM-like aftermarket ($60/each IIRC, DIY labor), but given the short life of the first set, I am slightly regretting not just going M3 parts. Guess we will see how long this set holds up!
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      11-22-2012, 12:36 PM   #11
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Thanks again for all the input all. I took it to a shop a few days ago, they put it on a lift, shook the wheels and inspected components and saw no problems. I also do not have any "clunks".

Steering wheel vibrates and so do both front seats. After a 1.5 hour drive on asphalt my hands were tingly from the steering wheel vibration.

Noticeably more vibration on asphalt.

I plan to let a 3rd shop try another alignment.

Still sound like control arms?

Thanks and happy turkey day!
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      11-22-2012, 01:52 PM   #12
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Hmmm definitely a bent chassis

j/k These issues suck! I think the mechanic would notice worn tie rods but that's a possibility. Tire balance & alignment never hurts.

For sh*ts and giggles try toggling your DTC to see if that changes the characteristics of the shake. I'm always suspicious of the computers behind our steering when stuff goes psycho like this. There might be a way to reset the whole steering system. If you have time, call the dealer and check if it's possible... I've had bump steer & tracking issues that resolved after a limp mode.

Good luck!
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      11-22-2012, 02:38 PM   #13
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I can't comment on the other control arms, but the thrust arms when bad show black stains on the end where the bushing is because the hydraulic fluid in them will have leaked out. Another way to tell if they are bad is by having someone stand next to the car as you drive slowly and punch the brakes. If they are worn, you will see the front wheels knocking back and forth in the wheel well. The symptoms when driving are usually a shimmy in the ~55mph speed range and also a shimmy when lightly braking.
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      11-22-2012, 11:48 PM   #14
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Another symptom: the vibration frequency stays the same up 100mph (as fast as ive gone).
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      11-23-2012, 09:34 PM   #15
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sounds like thrust rod bushing are worn ( aka tension bushings ) see if there is any back fluid around the bushing which is towards the front of the car not the one that attached to closer the hub/spindle
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      12-10-2012, 01:30 PM   #16
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Car was up on a lift today getting new front discs and pads, I looked at the control arms and saw no black fluid around the bushing.

However, we did notice that if the car is rolling forward slowly, and brakes are suddenly applied, the car rocks front to back for a second after the car stops. You can feel the car rocking if you're inside, and you can see the wheel and car rocking from the outside.

There is a small amount of play in the bushing.

Mechanics said all symptoms seemed to be pointing toward a worn control arm bushing.

Do you experts agree with this diagnosis based on the new symptoms?
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      01-01-2013, 07:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zengineer View Post
Car was up on a lift today getting new front discs and pads, I looked at the control arms and saw no black fluid around the bushing.

However, we did notice that if the car is rolling forward slowly, and brakes are suddenly applied, the car rocks front to back for a second after the car stops. You can feel the car rocking if you're inside, and you can see the wheel and car rocking from the outside.

There is a small amount of play in the bushing.

Mechanics said all symptoms seemed to be pointing toward a worn control arm bushing.

Do you experts agree with this diagnosis based on the new symptoms?
I have the same exact problem you are describing. So far I replaced two rears tires, and a new rear L wheel because it was bent according to my mechanic but the problem persists.

At this point I am not spending any more money until I research this further. The shaking is so bad in my car you can literally hear it, see and feel the shaking in the passenger seat around 65 + MPH. It could massage you for christ sake its so bad.

Just replace both control arms/bushings I'd imagine?

What ever happened with this issue?

Thanks!
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      03-18-2013, 01:22 PM   #18
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I just now got my floor jack and jackstands, ordering the new control arms and hope to have them replaced in the next couple of weeks. I'll post the results back here!

Sorry for the mega-delay, in the process of closing on a hose/moving/etc.
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      03-18-2013, 01:33 PM   #19
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Steering Knuckle

Okay so this is embarrassing since I was so emphatic about the control arms. After Harold replaced all my factory parts with the M3 parts I still have that knocking sound. He thinks it's probably the steering knuckle. The dealership had told me it was the control arms
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      03-27-2013, 11:28 PM   #20
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Hmm. Yeah i just replaced control arms and the vibration is more pronounced. Will post back if i find solution.
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      03-28-2013, 12:08 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zengineer View Post
Hmm. Yeah i just replaced control arms and the vibration is more pronounced. Will post back if i find solution.
I would like to know also, in the process of upgrading my controls arms.
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      03-31-2013, 05:50 PM   #22
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My 335i has also been doing this slightly since I bought it at 32K miles. 40K now. My car seems to be worse when it has sat for a day or more, which was causing me to think it's tires and possibly a slightly bent wheel and/or balance problem. I'm on the verge of getting new non run-flat tires anyway, so I have done nothing. Both front and rear (ie--the whole car) seem to be vibrating.
Thank you for your updates about this.
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