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Discussion Starter #1
I put new pads and rotors on about 6 mos ago and within the past month, the car pulls to the right when I tap the pedal hard. I get a quick jerk of the steering wheel but only on the initial brake application. Under normal braking, everything feels fine with no pulling, pulsation, etc. There is also no pulling when not braking so I don't suspect a sticky caliper but I haven't ruled anything out.

I've seen others suggest that a worn/wearing LCAB could cause this but how do I confirm? The car has 56k miles and I don't want to replace parts unnecesarily.
 

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look at the bushings behind your front wheels and see if they look cracked.
 

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look at the bushings behind your front wheels and see if they look cracked.
I had EXACTLY the same problem. Hard braking = pulls to the right + a clunking noise. Turns out my lower control arm right bushing was torn. Replaced the bushing and all is well.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'll take a look this weekend. I inspected them during the brake change and didn't notice any cracks or play but that was back in April. I'll also listen for clunking noise tomorrow. I'm usually so irritated with squealing from the Axxis Deluxe pads that I don't notice any other rattles. I'm sure people behind me think I can't drive when I'm diagnosing with repeated hard hits on the pedal. It must look rediculous with the front end dipping repeatedly and the tail lights flashing.
 

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clunking noises= control arm Bushing(s) busted.
and if ur gonna have to replace ur bushing(s), dont replace the whole control arm along with it, as some mechanic would suggest( "aftermarket or another bushing wont fit on ur original control arm..blah blah blah u'd have to replace the whole thing,,blah blah ". cuz thats bull. just replace only the bushing cuz normally the control arm is still good, its steel. and if u kno how to DIY then thats a plus cuz its xpensive to fix those.
 

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if i remembered right..its only 4 nuts i think..2 for the bushing and 2 for the other joints. it should be easy to replace em urself. its just the middle joint thats alittle hard to maneuver and work with.
-sng
 

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oh ya one more thing..have a friend stand outside while u slowly move the car back and forth and stepping on the brakes. if u hear the clunking noise , have ur ffriend check to see if the front wheels are jerking side to side and back and forth. if that happens, then ur bushing(s) are busted.

-sng
 

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clunking noises= control arm Bushing(s) busted.
and if ur gonna have to replace ur bushing(s), dont replace the whole control arm along with it, as some mechanic would suggest( "aftermarket or another bushing wont fit on ur original control arm..blah blah blah u'd have to replace the whole thing,,blah blah ". cuz thats bull. just replace only the bushing cuz normally the control arm is still good, its steel. and if u kno how to DIY then thats a plus cuz its xpensive to fix those.


oh ya one more thing..have a friend stand outside while u slowly move the car back and forth and stepping on the brakes. if u hear the clunking noise , have ur ffriend check to see if the front wheels are jerking side to side and back and forth. if that happens, then ur bushing(s) are busted.

-sng
Not to be picky, but if you're going to give advice, it's best to be accurate. So, to be clear, the control arms aren't steel, they're aluminum and the aluminum isn't what goes bad, it's the ball joints that are inserted in them that wear out. The arm attaches at each of two ball joints and then at the back in the bushing (See the attached diagram). The ball joints and bushings are flexible and contain rubber/plastic which wears out over time. So except in extreme cases, the bushings/ball joints aren't "busted" they simply wear out and don't often show visible signs of wear until you get them off.

While you are correct that more often than not, simply changing the bushings solves the problem, but if the ball joints are gone, then those "blah, blah" mechanics are right, you need to do the control arm (the ball joints are pressed in and can't be replaced separately). And the symptoms you describe (clunking, etc.) could be the result of one or the other or both. Seems like generally the ball joints last between 60K and 80K before the control arm needs to be replaced.
 

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oh ya thnx for the edit grafiksguy, i forgot to mention that the center ball joint can also go bad too. if thats the case then u would need to replace the whole control arm along wit the bushing. but mostly its the bushings that go bad b4 the joint.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm not too worried that the ball joints are bad with this mileage. I understand the controls arms for the sport package include solid rubber joints which generally should last longer than non-sport/ZHP joints. The bushings are the same regardless of sport so I'll start there.
 

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Can you tell if the ball joints are bad visually? I don't wanna replace my bushings only to find out I have to get new control arms...
 

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im not sure but you can goto meineke or midas if you have em around ur area. they offer free check ups. midas will also give u a price quote on defective parts replacement+ labor charges.
***found this from another member : To check for play in your Control Arm ball joints:

"Check for ball joint wear by squeezing them from top-to-bottom using a 16-inch Channellock slip-joint pliers. You are looking for vertical movement. There is no tolerance for play in these parts -- 'if there's play, throw it away.'" - BMWCCA
 

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changing just the bushings is not really worth it, if you're going to do it, might as well change the whole control arms, that way you take care of the ball joints as well.
your front end will feel like a new car for sure :thumbsup:
as far as what mileage they go bad, that all depends on your streets, someone driving NY potholes suspension parts won't last the same as someone driving FL roads, weather can be a factor too, etc...
don't rule them out just because it's only 56k
gl with it
 

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When I had mine fixed. I only did my bushing and so far everything has been great so far. I chose that route because there a quite a lot of fanatics that did the same and their CA were still good after just replacing bushing.
 

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changing just the bushings is not really worth it, if you're going to do it, might as well change the whole control arms, that way you take care of the ball joints as well.
Not true. I have discussed this with a BMW tech who claims doing bushings only takes care of the problem in 9 out of 10 cases. True that local driving conditions affect wear, but changing bushings only is far simpler and less costly than doing everything and if it ain't broke, why fix it.
 

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Not true. I have discussed this with a BMW tech who claims doing bushings only takes care of the problem in 9 out of 10 cases. True that local driving conditions affect wear, but changing bushings only is far simpler and less costly than doing everything and if it ain't broke, why fix it.
yes of course the "BMW tech" will say that, because he wants you to come back to him when the ball joints go in 10k miles :read:

let's see, how much is the labor to do just the bushings? about the same as having the whole setup installed.
since it's the same area, i'd rather not have to pay twice for the labor and know there's zero chance of bushings/ball joints going bad for the next 50k at least.

now if you have a press at home, a real lift in your garage, and feel confident that's it's not ball joints, then yes replace just your bushings, but even then it could be your ball joints too lol
 

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JPR posted a TSB from BMW about the steering wheel kicking over to one side with a quick brake application.

There were several causes listed, one of which was the control arm bushings. If you replace the CABS and still have the symptoms, the other two recommended procedures were a brake bleed and an alignment (which is usually recommended after a control arm replacement anyway)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
JPR posted a TSB from BMW about the steering wheel kicking over to one side with a quick brake application.

There were several causes listed, one of which was the control arm bushings. If you replace the CABS and still have the symptoms, the other two recommended procedures were a brake bleed and an alignment (which is usually recommended after a control arm replacement anyway)
I didn't get a chance to lift the car for an inspection over the weekend so it's postponed until this weekend. Brakes were bled in May at the dealer so it seems like the CAB may be the likely suspect. A friend was over this weekend and he's also having the issue on his '01 330 coupe. He's taking his in to a mechanic friend within the next week so I'll report what they find there as well. He's experiencing the exact same issue with the steering wheel kicking to the right. The only difference is he's on his original suspension with over 100k miles, nearly double my mileage.
 
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