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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tried finding what help there might be on this issue - no joy!

2002 330ci - all stock - owned since new.

recently replace my reaer trailing arm bushings with Lemfoerders (not the heavy duty ones). Used a $230 tool for this specific bushing. No problems at all - four wheel alignment from the local BMW dealer (whom I've had work on my car several times. I trust them).

MY problem - and the issue I need advice on - my car feels terrible! It feels as though the rear end is trying to steer the front. It's as if I'm in a cross wind - very strange.

Nothing else was changed - are the new RTAB's putting pressure on, older, weaker, components? Could I have damaged the RTAB during instillation?

What would make the car behave this way? I've taken the car back to the dealer and had them go over the alignment again to ensure the specs - everything checks out.

I'm stumped!!

Thanks in advance for any help.

Cheers!
 

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Tire pressure? I am about to change mine and would like to know too! Bump.
 

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Hey Fly Navy,

During re-install, did you align the bottom of the bushing carrier to 8mm above the axle centerline? Depending on how long ago the job was done, and how off you were to the recommended 8mm, then the bushing could possible be torn again.

"rear end is trying to steer the front" sounds like toe angle changes from the rear. If you did the above, then maybe the carrier is not bolted down. But the dealer should have caught that.

Paolo
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hey Fly Navy,

During re-install, did you align the bottom of the bushing carrier to 8mm above the axle centerline? Depending on how long ago the job was done, and how off you were to the recommended 8mm, then the bushing could possible be torn again.

"rear end is trying to steer the front" sounds like toe angle changes from the rear. If you did the above, then maybe the carrier is not bolted down. But the dealer should have caught that.

Paolo
Didn't do what you mentioned. I scoured the threads for all the DIY info I could find - then performed the work. Unfortunately - I didn't come across 8mm to center line info. I have to say, I do a ton of work on my car, and thanks to this forum, I've never run into any trouble. This ones a real head scratcher though.

I'm beginning to think the bushing may have been torn during installation
 

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Based on information from another thread, e46's don't require pre-loading. All I did was drop the trailing arm enough to replace the bushing - then put it back in the carrier.

"Easy Peasy" I thought :)
Sir, not sure what other information you read, but the rubber RTABs do need to pre-loaded, and urethane bushings like Powerflex do not.

It is rather an "easy peasy" job, but the pre-loading is critical, otherwise symptoms like you are currently experiencing can and will happen.
 

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Here's another thought. After I had BMW do my front CABs and realign everything our car was all over the road. BMW said the old CABs had put uneven wear on front tires (as if they were toed out too much). I was a disbeliever because there wasn't a really obvious wear issue on the front tires. My dealer swopped my wheels for identical brand new wheels for a test drive and proved they were right. I'm not saying this is also your issue, but you should carefull inspect the rear tires because if they have too much of a high spot they'll wander. You wouldn't have noticed the wandering with the old bushings because of the excessive toe out/in condition tast existed. Let us know what you find.
 

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The goal is to make sure that the RTABs are NOT pre-loaded when the car is resting stationary under the weight of the vehicle. Failure to get this correct won't have any short term effect and won't cause the problem being experienced. If the bushings are pre-loaded when the car is at rest, then it places unnecessary stress on the bushing causing them to wear out prematurely. Assuming the carrier is properly torqued down, I would next suspect that the large through bolt wasn't properly torqued and the bushing (and therefore the end of the trailing arm) is being allowed to move within the carrier.

EDIT: which bushing design - flanged or split casing? I know the split casing has a specific orientation, perhaps you have them rotated 90 deg causing them to be soft along the axis needing more support (toe control) and stiff along the softer axis (ride comfort)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sir, not sure what other information you read, but the rubber RTABs do need to pre-loaded, and urethane bushings like Powerflex do not.

It is rather an "easy peasy" job, but the pre-loading is critical, otherwise symptoms like you are currently experiencing can and will happen.
I'm trying to find the comment about the e46 preload issue. The guy was very specific as to what BMW models required it and why...darn!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here's another thought. After I had BMW do my front CABs and realign everything our car was all over the road. BMW said the old CABs had put uneven wear on front tires (as if they were toed out too much). I was a disbeliever because there wasn't a really obvious wear issue on the front tires. My dealer swopped my wheels for identical brand new wheels for a test drive and proved they were right. I'm not saying this is also your issue, but you should carefull inspect the rear tires because if they have too much of a high spot they'll wander. You wouldn't have noticed the wandering with the old bushings because of the excessive toe out/in condition tast existed. Let us know what you find.
Good advice, I'll check that. I forgot to mention that I keep my tire pressures at recommended levels - and check the often (not an issue).
 

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I'm trying to find the comment about the e46 preload issue. The guy was very specific as to what BMW models required it and why...darn!

Technically, you need to use the BMW Special pre-loading tool, below:

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
The goal is to make sure that the RTABs are NOT pre-loaded when the car is resting stationary under the weight of the vehicle. Failure to get this correct won't have any short term effect and won't cause the problem being experienced. If the bushings are pre-loaded when the car is at rest, then it places unnecessary stress on the bushing causing them to wear out prematurely. Assuming the carrier is properly torqued down, I would next suspect that the large through bolt wasn't properly torqued and the bushing (and therefore the end of the trailing arm) is being allowed to move within the carrier.

EDIT: which bushing design - flanged or split casing? I know the split casing has a specific orientation, perhaps you have them rotated 90 deg causing them to be soft along the axis needing more support and stiff along the softer axis?
I torqued everything correctly.

I used the split casing Lemfoerder - Pelican part number 33-32-6-770-786-M69

I wasn't aware there was a specific orientation. During installation, I made a point of checking the OEM bushing - to make sure I didn't push the new bushing in to far.

If you have a minute, would you mind taking a look at the bushing I used and letting me know if I did screw up the orientation?
 
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