How To Replace Rear Upper Control Arms On Your BMW 325i, 328i, 335i And More (E90, E92, E93, & E82)
So the alignment on your BMW is all out of whack, and you go to the mechanic. He tells you that the bushings in your control arms are bad and that the control arms need to be replaced to the tune of $645. In this guide, I'll show you how to do it for under $200 and only an hour of your time.
Control arm bushings play a significant roll in the handling and stability of your car. When the bushings in the rear are extremely worn, you might experience instability or wandering on the road at highway speeds, clunking when going over bumps or cornering, and uneven tire wear. BMW offers entire control arms with fresh bushings pre-pressed in, making this a simple DIY install.
Tools Needed To Replace Rear Upper Control Arms:
- Floor Jack
- Jack Stands
- Breaker Bar
- Metric Wrench Set
- Metric Socket Set
- Drill Wire Brush Set
- Torque Wrench
- Cordless Impact (Optional but extremely helpful)
- Penetrating Oil
Parts Needed To Replace Rear Upper Control Arms:
Step 1: Lift Car And Remove Wheels
Break your lug bolts free before you lift your vehicle off the ground. Remember, we're working on the rear of the vehicle, so you don't need to do the front. Jack the rear of the vehicle up and put your jack stands under the jack pads on either side of the vehicle. Now you can remove your wheels.
Step 2: Remove The Upper Control Arm
The control arm we are replacing is the uppermost arm that runs from the bearing carrier knuckle to the subframe. Start by unclipping the plastic tabs that attach your brake line and brake pad wear sensor to the arm.
Next, using your breaker bar, 18mm socket, and 18mm wrenches, break the two bolts free. These are usually extremely stubborn, so I advise spraying them with penetrating oil well beforehand. If you have a cordless impact gun, you might be able to fit it in instead of the breaker bar.
The front bolt is easier as it doesn't have a nut on it. The rear bolt has a nut on it making it the more difficult of the two to remove. You will need to use one of your 18mm wrenches to hold it in place while you loosen the bolt. Once the initial torque is broken, you can use your ratchet to finish taking them out. It's recommended that you replace these two bolts because of the rust prevention coating on them.
Step 3: Install The New Control Arm
Now that you have those bolts out, you can simply remove the arm, and install your new one. Since I'm drag racing my car, the image below shows an aftermarket control arm. The installation is the same whether it's OEM or aftermarket. Be sure to notice that the coned side of the bushing mates with the concave face on the bearing carrier knuckle.
Once you install the bolts, you want to torque them to 120lb-ft. It's imperative not to skip this step or wing the torque.
The same goes for your wheels. When re-installing your wheels, you should torque your lug bolts to 85lb-ft. It's effortless to over-torque your lug bolts and have them shear off down the road.
That's it! All you need to do now is repeat the process on the other side of the car and go have an alignment done. Your car should feel as good as new, and you can revel in the fact that you just saved yourself hundreds of dollars.