Front suspension refresh

Discussion in 'General chat' started by bishbosh, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. bishbosh
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    bishbosh WARLORD Site Supporter

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    For about a year now I've been having a knocking or clunking sound coming intermittently from the front of the car. I perceived it as coming from the front left, wife however thought it sounded like the front right was making the noise.

    The track rods - both inner and outer were changed 2 years ago as one had seized and could not be adjusted. Last year in an effort to resolve the knocking I replaced the front drop links and the anti-roll bar D bushes as the parts don't cost much at all. This didn't cure the noise.

    The noise had been getting progressively worse over the last couple of months (even though it passed the MOT with no advisories o_O) so I decided that I would replace a few parts. Namely the front control arms, radius rods, top mounts and associated mounting hardware. My car is coming up to the big 200k mark so even though some of the parts may not have needed replacing, there will be a difference between a new part and one that's done that amount of miles. Also as the parts are OEM and acquired from Germany they were fairly cheap and while half the car is in bits it makes sense anyway :sneaky:

    Thanks to @Cotswold BMW and other sources I laid out all the bits ready for installation:

    20180308_160934.jpg


    I don't have too many photos of the job as I was in a rush to complete, in poor weather, while the wife was away. I had the generous offer of @a.s.uk 's garage but wasn't able to find a suitable time so ended up doing it on my driveway.

    My Clarke impact gun made it very easy to spin off the nuts at the steering knuckle, except the one below on the nearside control arm. I had to hold the bush with mole grips to stop it spinning.

    20180328_193223.jpg


    This is one of the shocks with a new top mount. I also replaced the rubber pads, all washers and even the paper gasket on top. One of the old top mounts was loose and wobbled a bit but the one on the left side was knackered beyond belief! With the spring compressed and the top mount free to move it made an awful noise when rotated, as if there was grit inside. Also it had a lot of play and I believe the ball bearings inside had worn badly, some grease was still present though but appeared to have solidified.

    The new mount by comparison had a nice smooth action when rotated.

    20180328_190631.jpg


    Not a very good photo but shows what it's like with the strut removed. TIS procedure states to remove the brake disk, caliper and cables before removing the steering knuckle (swivel bearing in TIS-speak) as one piece with the strut. However there is just enough room to maneouvre the strut out from under the wing without going through that rigmarole.

    20180328_190703.jpg

    The old control arms & torsion rods came out fairly easily (apart from the one nut mentioned earlier). I checked them for wear and there were a couple of cracks in the rubber part of the control arm bushing where it meets the subframe. Not enough to leak fluid but the cracks were there nonetheless. I could also wiggle the central part a lot easier than on the new arms so they had obviously worn but not failed.

    I had to balance the brake disc/hub assembly on an upturned bucket because when the arms/rods are removed there is nothing apart from the track rod end holding it together - it weighs a lot too, especially with the strut attached as well. So I had to have a cuppa while building up my strength to raise the whole lot back into position.

    Once I got the strut in I torque up the top mount bolts, then installed the arms/rods* taking care to load the suspension before torquing and angle tightening the control arm / torsion rod bolts in the subframe. This is essential so that the rubber bushing isn't damaged.

    *For anyone contemplating this it's easier to install the arm at the subframe first and then the balljoint at the steering knuckle.

    This shows the new control arm and torsion rod on the nearside.

    20180412_072031.jpg


    As a side job I had noticed my car down on power over the last couple of months. I suspected this was due to a leak at the intercooler, the whole area was covered in oil. The boost hose clip had failed and as a temporary fix I'd had to use a few hose clamps to clamp the hose to the intercooler. While the car was raised and underbody panel off I looked into the cause and decided to fix the leak once and for all.

    The intercooler is a Forge one and about twice the size (and weight) as the standard one, it turned out that the clip which holds the hose to the intercooler was only catching one of the notches on the hose where it meets. Also because this notch had worn it explained why the hose popped off when giving it some - up a hill!:eek:

    I also found the source of the boost leak resulting in reduced power :oops: Explains why there was a film of oil everywhere!
    20180322_171757.jpg

    With a replacement boost hose with unworn notches and new seal to hand I modified the clip (looks a bit like a circlip) and it now grips both notches securely so it won't blow off again: this is before I cleaned up the mess!

    20180322_171904.jpg

    The result of that weekend's job was a car with power restored, no oil leaking and more importantly no noise from the front! I annoyed the wife as she was hoping it was beyond repair so I'd get a new car. Why should I, the front is now very quiet, the suspension feels very tight and well planted. You turn the wheel and point the car in the direction you want to go :ROFLMAO:

    In parts it's probably cost me about £350 - you'd only get an oil change and fuel and microfilter from BMW for that ;)

    Going to get an alignment done next week.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  2. a.s.uk
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    a.s.uk

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    Top job again Dave.....As ever...
    In the constant battle to keep the wheels rolling past the 200k mark...
     
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  3. Adie
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    Good work there... and pics, well done (y) trust that Fleur was able to assist!
     
  4. bishbosh
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    bishbosh WARLORD Site Supporter

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    She was away with her mother so I had a big batchelor week! :whistle:(y)
     
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  5. rigeng
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    Great write-up and photos. Well done!
     
  6. Verbarthe
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    Verbarthe WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Excellent write up (y), there s something very satisfying about doing this sort of thing yourself , apart from obviously saving money in garage bills . . Well done you .
     
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  7. idrussell
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    idrussell Site Supporter

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    Excellent write up and I agree on the satisfaction aspect of doing it yourself. I sometimes wish I had more time to work on my cars myself.
     
  8. slim_boy_fat
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    slim_boy_fat WARLORD Site Supporter

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    At the risk of repeating myself [big :oops:], you've got the same amount of time as the rest of us - you're just doing different things with it.......;) :D
     
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  9. kleynie
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    kleynie WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Excellent. I’m going through a similar thing with my sons Audi, done the rear and the front yet to do. We also hammerited the metal parts to stop corrosion, but that obviously is not needed with your BMW. I also did the same job on the front of my E39 a few years back, it was amazing the difference it made.
    Good to see something like this on the forum, thanks for taking the time.
     
  10. snrbrtsn
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    snrbrtsn WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Absolutely fabulous effort, your sense of pride must be glowing, always so rewarding, well done! I’m sure the suspension will be good for another 200k
    NB: The top strut mounts, also serve as caster / camber adjusters, after the refresh and a couple of miles, once things have settled, it may be prudent to have the 4 wheel geometry alignment checked to ensure you don’t scrub the tyres.
     
  11. bishbosh
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    bishbosh WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Thanks all, it wasn't the most pleasant of jobs, mainly hindered by bad weather. Sadly I don't have as much time to work on the car as I'd like. The wife thinks 45 minutes to change the oil + filter is too long! :eek:

    Car washes are quick to military precision and it's once in a blue moon that I can do a proper detailing job. :cautious:
     
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  12. bishbosh
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    bishbosh WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Cheers Sean (y) The suspension might be good for another 200k, but the car might not! :ROFLMAO: I'm not sure how adjustable the top mounts are, maybe only slightly. I left the locating pins in place so there will be little, if any, adjustment possible I would think.

    Car booked in for a Hunter alignment on Wednesday. As I didn't change the track rods the toe hasn't changed. Indeed the car tracks in a straight line with no steering input. However the steering wheel points to the left a couple of degrees. I'm wondering if that's because the camber angle is set for UK roads. The effect is more pronounced on my summer tyres. Again I've heard this isn't that adjustable, unless the locating pins are twisted out.

    The other thing is that I need to remind the garage to align for M-Sport spec (car is originally SE) - the Bilstein B12 setup I have is slightly lower than M-Sport suspension.
     
  13. a.s.uk
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    a.s.uk

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    I know what you mean Dave.....
    I seem to have to rush everything in order to fit it in....
    If I do take my time, I then feel guilty because there's always something else that needs my attention...
    I had to bo((ock my retired father in law again the other day and remind him that when he moss kills and scarifies his lawn......mine too needs doing.....!!!!! Selfish devil only doing his own house.... Does he not know I am at work all day and nights etc....
     
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  14. kleynie
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    kleynie WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Me too. I spent the whole Easter weekend working on my sons car to be moaned at by the other half because I hadn't painted the bathroom!
    Maybe I should paint whilst sitting on the throne, that's the only time I seem to have spare ATM.
     
  15. bishbosh
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    bishbosh WARLORD Site Supporter

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    That's what she means by multitasking! :whistle:(y)
     
  16. slim_boy_fat
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    slim_boy_fat WARLORD Site Supporter

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    I had that done on the e39, not to identify any particular problem just because....well, you know. :cautious:

    It was like driving a different car after it was done, couldn't believe how improved it was. (y)
     
  17. kleynie
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    kleynie WARLORD Site Supporter

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    I’ve had a hunter done on my previous GT and the current one mainly due to running 21” wheels on both these cars and not wanting the £1000 tyres to wear prematurely. The last time there was no adjustment required (the car was only a year old at the time) and they only charged me £20.
     
  18. snrbrtsn
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    snrbrtsn WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Ha!
    Quickly learning all about time
    She decided on a new kitchen this year, two options

    Option one - straight forward, slight redesign and replace all units & appliances
    Option two - knock down partition wall and make back of house open plan

    Well she elected for option one, as there be less mess removing walls etc

    So off I went pulling tiles in preparation for wall skimming, “oops” “dear” you know that wall you didn’t want knocking down due to mess.... well I’ve just pulled half of it off the wall, so now I’m going to have to replace entire wall, studwork, be as well replacing ceiling, remove and rewire the kitchen and heating controls there might be some mess!
    Argh!

    Can’t do right for doing wrong! And now it’s too late to order kitchen option two...
    Anyways, that’s how I’ve spent Easter & it’s all my fault!

    Cars neglected, awaiting the other side to be polished, but I did get trailer.....
     
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