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2005 325i Auto
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm of 2 minds here... go through and check each component meticulously and replace only what's needed, or just buy the lot and do it all.

325i with 240,000kms. I'd say it's been driven firmly occasionally, but mostly served as a family truckster. Undercarriage looks pretty clean actually.

Shocks are original and clearly buggered. No other bad clunks or strange sounds. Looks like standard height suspension, and I don't want to buy springs for it so I'll leave it that way. Wheel aligner reckoned he couldn't get it to spec, but I hear they often say that. When I redid a boot on the steering rack, I did note that I could move the outer tie rod by hand, but there was no play in the wheel itself.

I've seen one video by 50skid or the like, where he demonstrated checking every bush and tie rod end by wiggling them with pinch bars etc, but I can't find it again. Can anyone link me to the best video/resource for checking the E46 suspension/steering from top to bottom?

I'm enjoying the motor. Might as well get some of this legendary handling happening.

921723
 

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2000 E46 323i, 3.0L and 2.0L Z3's
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681 Posts
It's high in km's. Best to just do all of the suspension bushings/shock/struts/control arms etc. Do it once, do it right and forget about it.
 

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2005 325i Auto
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Discussion Starter #3
It's high in km's. Best to just do all of the suspension bushings/shock/struts/control arms etc. Do it once, do it right and forget about it.
Yes mate, I feel you are correct actually.

I didn't mention it, but I'll certainly do the motor/trans/diff mounts soon as well. I want to do my own work, but I'm also wondering if it isn't worth dropping it into a shop with all the gear from FCP etc and letting them do it. Just because I'm looking at some tools to buy that I'll never use again, plus they've got a hoist and wheel aligner right there.

Big money to do the lot, whichever way I go.
 

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2000 E46 323i, 3.0L and 2.0L Z3's
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You can break it into blocks. When you have this apart, do everything that's there to do. Save up a bit and do the next block.
 

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BMW 320i 2002 e46 5spd manual RHD
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I would say so the complete suspension, if you do have the funds, if not, id personally IMO, buy all the parts first, (in increments as you get funds) and keep them one side, a part afer another (always checking if it the right part aswell by crawling under the car and matching)
One you have all the parts, swap everything in onetime,
 

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2005 325i Auto
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Discussion Starter #7
I would say so the complete suspension, if you do have the funds, if not, id personally IMO, buy all the parts first, (in increments as you get funds) and keep them one side, a part afer another (always checking if it the right part aswell by crawling under the car and matching)
One you have all the parts, swap everything in onetime,
That's a plan. Funds are an issue at the moment, but I do have some items I might sell to put into this.
 

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2005 325i Auto
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582 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Don't replace anything until it's knackered. One thing will lead to another and you'll spend more time fixing than driving.
The shocks are definitely knackered. I'll have to get under her with a prybar and see what's wiggling/loose.
 

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I understand the urge to do everything, my car has over 250K miles on it and the rear diff is giving me clunks.

First thing I did on the car when I got it was Bilstein B6 struts/shocks. Yes, they are the firm ones, but they made the car very nimble, responsive, and stable. It’s my driving preference. None of the ball joints were bad, probably could use front CAB’s. Rear suspension is fine too, it all felt pretty good when I had the shocks out.

If/when I tackle the rear diff I do think I will hire that out. I know I could do it but wheel bearings on my e30 pretty much cured me of home made press/pull devices.

Shocks and struts are pretty easy, sway bar links, tie rods too.
 

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I did all the suspension my self bar the rear,which i prepared the diff carrier and let the garage do it,it took them 1 day and cost £450 to swap over well worth it for the trouble bmw e46 330ci 220Kmiles
 

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2005 325i Auto
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Discussion Starter #14
There are three basic types of suspension components: linkages, springs, and shock absorbers. The linkages are the bars and brackets that support the wheels, springs and shock absorbers. Source
OK...so is this a joke??

I won't be touching that link thanks. This looks a bit suss.
 

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2000 323Ci coupe manual
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go through and check each component meticulously and replace only what's needed
I would do this if money is not abundant. If you got the cash do it all at once or at least one axle at a time. It seems like tie rods, and shocks/struts are what you need to do first and you can do those at home, mounts maybe not.
 

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I did the Bilstein B6 on my 325 base. Firm yes, but as the man already said they restore precise handling to the car and is the way I prefer it anyway. They can also take a beating. All the fixings should be done too like the strut bearings, shock mounts, and any reinforcement plates you want to use. I recommend engine and trans mounts as well. I did not need RTABS. though I did buy Lemforder replacements. I also replaced both control arms with the ZHP Lemforders and replaced the FCABS with OEM Lems, and the sway bar bushings with Lems. The result is a very tight handling car, very satisfying to drive. If you're feeling ambitious, the gearbox(if you're manual) got all the bushings & clips replaced as well. Extremely nice handling car, very enjoyable.
 

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2005 325i Auto
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
What is all this ZHP business? Is that a US only variant?

I'm thinking B4's, as mine will be used more for touring than hard driving.

Watching the videos and it looks like a bit of a mission. I love motors, hate suspension. I'm on the same page re changing shock mounts etc. Thinking of starting at the front:

Here's the front kit I'm considering:


With this suspension:


Very expensive exercise, so I will get under her with a pry bar to convince myself the bushes actually need changing. I won't cheap out, but this thing is an auto that's had an easy life, don't want to throw out good parts.
 

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2003 330cic, 2003 325iT
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Was thinking that. Maybe the oil pan gasket while I was at it as well.
That's the right approach. Pull out the front subframe completely, replace the end links, control arms and control arm bushings, struts (and mounts). Replace the oil pan gasket. Replace the steering giubo, and clean all the steering fluid and oil off of everything.

At our cars' ages, it is all bad.

Having the subframe out is so much easier for all of the above.

Rear subframe is a tougher call. Rtabs, shocks, shock mounts, large differential bushing, and lower trailing arm bushings are all likely gone. If you want to go further than these you will need to rent a bunch of specialized tools.
 

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2005 325i Auto
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Discussion Starter #19
That's the right approach. Pull out the front subframe completely, replace the end links, control arms and control arm bushings, struts (and mounts). Replace the oil pan gasket. Replace the steering giubo, and clean all the steering fluid and oil off of everything.

At our cars' ages, it is all bad.

Having the subframe out is so much easier for all of the above.

Rear subframe is a tougher call. Rtabs, shocks, shock mounts, large differential bushing, and lower trailing arm bushings are all likely gone. If you want to go further than these you will need to rent a bunch of specialized tools.
Yep, the rear looks like a real bear...
 
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