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My first post on E46 fanatics. About 10,000 miles ago I replaced the control arm bushings on my 2005 E46xi with Powerflex bushings and now it looks like I may need to replace the entire front lower control arm and/or the ball joints. My car vibrates badly when traveling 50+ MPH and cornering even slightly. Does anyone know if this would be control arms or the ball joints? Also, if I need to replace one or the other should I just replace both? And for the control arms there are options ranging from about $80/each to $250/each. Is there that much of a difference and does anyone have a favorite brand/vendor?
 

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Are you sure it's the ball joints and not your front axles?

Ball joints and control arms are one and the same on the E46, they are not replaceable on this car. If your ball joint fails, you must replace the whole arm. Lemforder or OEM would be the way to go in terms of brand. Oh and if you're going to do one, just do the other at the same time.

Good luck!
 

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Not quite true. The outer ball joint is part of the control arm. The inner ball joint is separate. I've read where the outer goes out first but when I got into my suspension, I decided to replace everything. Didn't like the play in the inner ball joints.
 

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Oh yeah, I also replaced my front axles. I did my left one first because the boot was cracked. Then the control arms, inner ball joints, FCABs, and drivers side wheel bearing. Still had a shake around 60. Put it up on the lift and spun the right front tire. Distinctive click so new axle there. The shaking is gone and, needless to say, it tracks like it's on rails.
 

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My first post on E46 fanatics. About 10,000 miles ago I replaced the control arm bushings on my 2005 E46xi with Powerflex bushings and now it looks like I may need to replace the entire front lower control arm and/or the ball joints. My car vibrates badly when traveling 50+ MPH and cornering even slightly. Does anyone know if this would be control arms or the ball joints? Also, if I need to replace one or the other should I just replace both? And for the control arms there are options ranging from about $80/each to $250/each. Is there that much of a difference and does anyone have a favorite brand/vendor?
Balance tires first.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Oh yeah, I also replaced my front axles. I did my left one first because the boot was cracked. Then the control arms, inner ball joints, FCABs, and drivers side wheel bearing. Still had a shake around 60. Put it up on the lift and spun the right front tire. Distinctive click so new axle there. The shaking is gone and, needless to say, it tracks like it's on rails.
CoClimber it sounds like you have done a lot of work. I had the axels replaced by a shop just before I did the FCAB's so I don't think that is the problem. With the axels I noticed a terrible shake while accelerating at speeds and going up hills. Someone else suggested I should look at the bearings. Maybe I should have a mechanic look at it to tell me what exactly the problem is and what I would be getting into as a DIY.
 

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Get the front of the car up on jackstands and grab the top of the wheels and push and pull fairly hard. They really shouldn't move. If they do, try to figure out what is moving - the ball joints or the bearing. If you wiggle the wheel side to side you have to carefully watch the steering wheel to see if that is moving too. Good test for your FCABs but you already replaced them. If you have someone else wiggle and you place your hand on the ball joint, yo can feel if it is loose. You can also take the wheel off and shake the brake rotor so that you can more easily watch the balljoints.

When I did my wheel bearing, I removed the hub then took the hub to an indy shop and had them press out the old and press in the new. $45 well spent as I don't have the right equipment for that.
 

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Not quite true. The outer ball joint is part of the control arm. The inner ball joint is separate. I've read where the outer goes out first but when I got into my suspension, I decided to replace everything. Didn't like the play in the inner ball joints.
You are right, I didn't clarify that enough. The inner is attached to the arm and the outer is a different part.
 
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