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2004 325i automagic
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Discussion Starter #1
This is a 2004 330i that I am doing a suspension refresh on for a friend. This car previously was lowered but I am restoring the original sport suspension on it with junkyard springs and all new Bilstein B4 (sport) struts & shocks and pretty much all bushings and mounts.

I'm getting ready to put it back on the ground now, and noticed that the right rear shock is just touching the rear side surface of the upper control arm. I actually had to loosen the trailing arm bracket at the frame and re-adjust the trailing arm backward in order to be able to move the shock to align with the bolt hole on the trailing arm. This can't be normal for a sport suspension 330i, right?
20191018 - Right rear shock, just touching upper control arm.jpg

On the left side, the left shock has about 1/4 inch clearance with the rear side surface of the that upper control arm. This seems more normal.
20191018 - Left rear shock, 0.25 inch clearance with upper control arm.jpg

Has anyone seen this before or have advice on how to trouble shoot this kind of thing? Perhaps this needs to go to a collision repair shop for frame measurement/check?

In particular, how can you tell if any swappable component (trailing arm, control arm, or subframe) is bent vs there being a frame issue (see below)?


Backstory
This car had lowering springs/suspension installed back in 2005, would bottom out pulling into most driveways, and was going through tires at a rapid rate in the back. There is a ton of road rash underneath. Also under the right side skirt below where the rear door meets the front door there is a good dent from some kind of impact. Almost like the car hit something low on the ground going sideways (which is highly likely since this used to be her son's car).

The owner has another e46 (2003 325i) with a blown headgasket, which is why the 2004 330i was pulled out of storage. I was rebuilding the suspension so that it would drive normally and be used as a daily driver, but now I am wondering if an engine/transmission swap is the better course.

It hasn't been aligned yet, which I guess is the real test, but seeing the right rear shock touching the control arm does not inspire confidence.
 

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If the bushings are all new, I wonder if the trailing arm 'leg' that the shock bolts into might have been bent from its 'accident.' Perhaps measure the angles from both sides?

...and maybe putting weight on the car will balance things out better. Is the entire rear end up?

Good luck.
 

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2004 325i automagic
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Whole car is still in the air. Yes, I do have a digital angle finder, so I can try measuring that angle.

That reminds me of Arthur Tussik (the Russian auto body guy on youtube). Maybe I need to start measuring the distance between the ends of the trailing arm and compare it to same measurement on the other arm. And do same between other points of the car.

I am finishing up some odds and ends underneath and haven't done the fcabs yet, but Im almost ready to lower the car and see how it settles.
 
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