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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Suspension | Brakes | Chassis > Do the TRW M3 arms need M3 tie rods? (2010 E92 335 M-Sport)



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      11-01-2022, 02:28 PM   #1
SharkBait
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Do the TRW M3 arms need M3 tie rods? (2010 E92 335 M-Sport)

Original control arms were tired. Read up on the TRW M3 arms and ordered some from FCPEuro. Install was easy enough. Drove it to get aligned and immediately noticed steering wanting to wander badly. Toed in ~2 which would explain it.

Alignment shop came back and said they can't align it because the tie rods aren't long enough. Strange. I didn't recall anything in the install guides I followed saying I needed different tie rods. Do I need the M3 tie rods? Just the rod end or the whole tie rod?

Is this some odd variation for my particular car being it's an E92 manual 335 with M-sport, stage 2 PPK, etc.?

Shop is reputable. Stokes in Santa Monica. I know a few people in the racing community who use them for alignments and trust them.
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      11-01-2022, 05:02 PM   #2
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I recently upgraded to the TRW M3 arms as well. No need for anything to be done with the tie rods. Are you sure the arms are installed correctly? As there is a left and a right. Other than that, I can't think of any reason that an alignment wouldn't be possible.

Last edited by trohde78; 11-01-2022 at 05:07 PM..
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      11-01-2022, 05:12 PM   #3
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The rearward arms are unlikely, as only the driver's side has the mount for the headlight leveling arm, but I think the forward arms can be installed on either side, although they are specific to left and right.
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      11-01-2022, 05:27 PM   #4
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I did think that maybe I botched something putting it in though I am pretty sure I put it all in the right way. I am going to put it up on blocks and double check it including part numbers just be sure. Something isn't right.
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      11-01-2022, 05:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharkBait View Post
I did think that maybe I botched something putting it in though I am pretty sure I put it all in the right way. I am going to put it up on blocks and double check it including part numbers just be sure. Something isn't right.
Yeah, when I put the first forward arm in I had it on the wrong side, but I noticed it was wrong before I bolted it in. I was surprised that it looked like it would probably have been fine even though it was technically in backwards. I'm almost 100% positive that the part numbers and shaved off M logos should all be facing towards the front of the car.

Last edited by trohde78; 11-01-2022 at 05:54 PM..
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      11-01-2022, 06:52 PM   #6
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I recently did the trw m3 control arms. And yes driving car after swap was pretty scary. It was heavily toed in. I saw a post on here somewhere to adjust toe out about two full turns on both sides. Did that, and it drove fine to go get alignment. Didn’t have any issues with tie rod ends when getting alignment.
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      11-01-2022, 08:25 PM   #7
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Another data point: I used M3 arms with the stock tie rods, and it aligned into spec just fine. I think something else is going on there.
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      11-02-2022, 07:15 PM   #8
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So I am not as dumb as I feared! 😁 I installed everything correctly as far as I can tell. Can you see anything wrong?

Left


Right


Parts all look legit



Now maybe the shop being pedantic, looked up the 335i specs and saw a max number for the threads exposed on the tie rod and said "nope, this is out of spec". What is the max length of exposed threads? Mine are currently 13.8mm left and 13.96mm right. That is heavily toed in about ~1-2 each side so will need a turn or two at least. Here they are currently.

Left


Right
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      11-02-2022, 07:34 PM   #9
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The parts look legit, and they look to all be installed correctly. How did the shop determine that the tie rods weren't long enough? Did they try to align it and literally ran out of threads? It should be good to go. I'd take it back and tell them to try again, or go somewhere else. I just had a Firestone do mine, as only the toe is adjustable, so it's not that complicated.
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      11-02-2022, 08:01 PM   #10
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Stokes is a pretty legit shop so my guess is they have a spec for the 335i (from BMW or somewhere) that tells them what the normal extension of the tie rod should be. I'll call them and ask.

I've already put a full turn on the tie rods and it tracks a lot better (about 15.4mm of thread exposed compared to the 13.8mm before I turned them). It will still need more as I can still feel it trying to wander but it is definitely closer to where it needs to be. Anyone know the max amount of thread that is considered safe? What is the length of the thread on the 335i tie rod?
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      11-03-2022, 07:38 AM   #11
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Mine after alignment.
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      11-03-2022, 02:58 PM   #12
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Well that is showing way more threads than mine is! And looking at the stock tie rod image, it looks like more than half the thread is still inside the rod end. I am going to add two more turns and then take it back to the shop. Thanks for your help.
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      11-03-2022, 03:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharkBait View Post
Well that is showing way more threads than mine is! And looking at the stock tie rod image, it looks like more than half the thread is still inside the rod end. I am going to add two more turns and then take it back to the shop. Thanks for your help.
Good luck!
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      11-03-2022, 03:09 PM   #14
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sounds like the shop doesnt know what they are doing. sometime people use impacts on the tie rod bolt and makes it really hard to turn until you pry it open it up a little
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      11-03-2022, 03:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 335i54n View Post
sounds like the shop doesnt know what they are doing. sometime people use impacts on the tie rod bolt and makes it really hard to turn until you pry it open it up a little
I think in this case it's the opposite. I am guessing they are being rigorous about what is normal for a 335i and didn't like what they saw when it wasn't meeting stock spec. I probably wasn't clear enough about the TRW arms being an M3 part that extends the camber by nearly a degree. I will ask when I go in.

Still don't know what the limit for the threads is but I am assuming (as I guess is everyone who has done the upgrade) that there is enough thread inside the rod end. It looks like more than half so I feel comfortable with it. If anyone knows any spec for exposed threads, please share.

As for impact, I only used it to remove the old arms. I used a wrench and torx to tighten the new ones so as not to spin them. Then tightened the inside of the arms with the tires resting on blocks to make sure the inside bushings aren't torqued under normal load. The tie rods turned smoothly and easily after loosening the T50 bold.

Last edited by SharkBait; 11-03-2022 at 03:39 PM..
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      11-03-2022, 08:59 PM   #16
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For anyone looking at this in the future, I added two more complete turns (for a total of 3 complete turns since adding the M3 arms) and now it drives great. Will obviously still get the alignment but at least now it handles like it should. The turn in performance with the extra camber is noticeable. Worth the effort.
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      11-04-2022, 05:08 AM   #17
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its just an alignment, not sure how they can mess it up and give that excuse. maybe its a set the toe only type shop, I would check to see if you still have front strut camber pins (should be knocked out) so they can correctly set the camber
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      11-06-2022, 11:12 PM   #18
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Go to a different shop, no need to mess with anything else after M3 control arms.
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      11-08-2022, 06:53 PM   #19
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I installed TRW M3 control arms on my 325i E90 a few years back, and I just adjusted the tie rods a few turns (available somewhere in this forum if not 3 turns as SharkBait wrote) and it worked fine until a real alignment were done at a BMW dealership.
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      12-07-2022, 05:40 PM   #20
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Here is what is likely going on with OP:

Installing M3 control arms on the front will give about 2 degrees of negative camber. When you get an alignment technician that doesn't know this, he may be trying to get the camber back 'in spec' for a 335i by adjusting the toe. Thus he ran out of threads since this is not the correct way to approach the alignment.

You need to ensure that the shop knows that the camber should remain out of spec, around -2, and all they need to do is adjust the toe back in spec. That's it. The alignment on the front is simple.
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