E36 Rear outer ball joints replacement

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E36 Rear outer ball joints replacement

Post by robertbentley » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:38 pm

This article explains how to replace the outer balljoints on an M3. There is an upper outer balljoint and a lower outer ball joint, on each side. Other models use a bush instead of one of the ball joints, I guess that the M3's ball joints are a nice little upgrade.

So, itÔÇÖs onto the ramps, axle stands at the rear, wheel off, shock off, calliper (complete with bracket) off, disc off, then gently bend the backing plate to give more room. Removed the camber nut and bolt that held the lower arm onto the hub, but not before noting the position of the camber adjuster with a photo. Then I assembled my pikey puller made from (expensive) large halfords sockets.


I used a 32mm deep socket, and a 1 13/16ths imperial socket.

The 32mm is slightly smaller than the ball joint, so it can push onto the outer edge of it. The one and thirteen sixteenths is the largest socket that halfords do, and it can hold the ball joint inside it.


I also used some 10mm threaded bar, from Ebay.

After much tightening, the threaded bar snapped. This is not the correct approach !

The way to do it is to tighten up the kit onto the ball joint, then hit it with a lump hammer. This moves it approx 1mm, then you can tighten the nut up, and hit it some more.

The lower ball joint

From another angle

Sockets in place ready to go

Partly pushed out

Fitted with new ball joint, new camber bolt and nut/washer.

The new ball joints I used were made by QH. Suprisingly, they didn't need pressing/pulling into place, they just slid in and were not very tight.

Consensus on here suggests ÔÇ£bung some threadlock on itÔÇØ but as I donÔÇÖt own any threadlock I should research the right stuff.

So ÔÇô after some time on the Loctite site, some Loctite 603 was ordered.


ÔÇ£Designed for the bonding of cylindrical fitting parts, particularly where consistently clean surfaces cannot be assured. Typical applications include retaining roller bearings or oil impregnated bushings into housings.

Diametrical clearance: Up to 0.1 mm
Tensile shear strength: >22.5 N/mm┬▓
Service temperature range: -55┬░C to +150┬░C
Fixture time on steel: 8 minÔÇØ

Perfect. This seemed to hold it firm, and a few taps with a hammer didn't pop it out. I'll check they haven't moved in a few weeks.

I also replaced the nut and bolt ÔÇô which were a pricy ┬ú8 from BMW.

Then I got on with the upper one, and the pair on the other side of the car.

When you refit your brake disks, ensure that the backing plate doesn't rub. A little carefull bending sorts this out. Then it's caliper back into place, shock back on, torque all nuts and refit the wheels. Took me approx 6 hours to do that little lot, spread over a few nights.
Estoril Blue M3 Evolution Saloon, 71k miles / BMW K1300S

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