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  #1  
Old 03-19-2012, 12:55 AM
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Is replacing the front control arms difficult?

My non-dealer mechanic said my 2005 X5 with 58K miles needs new forward control arm/thrust arms (he used both terms) and ball joints. He wants $800 for the job (and $800 to replace a squeaking alternator). My wife has had us car shopping the last 2 days staring at $1,600 in service.

First up is the suspension:

I restore old or improperly stored motorcycles, but car suspension seems a little daunting.

I've changed car tires, brake pads, and hand repacked wheel bearings (88 Mustang GT), but never replaced hard parts.

I bought this kit from FCP Groton that includes all the pieces to replace all steering elements (control arms, thrust arms, tie rod assemblies, ball joints, sway bar links, idler arm, and center tie rod assembly (a.k.a. drag link)).
BMW X5 10-Piece Control Arm Kit

Youtube searches didn't provide much detail.
I'm pretty sure I'll need a four wheel align when complete.
What are the bolt torque specs?
Is there an order to replace the parts (other than the obvious mount the new ball joint before the new thrust arm)?
Any gotchas for someone who has never removed car suspension components?

Thanks in advance for advice.

Edit: Sorry, hadn't seen the tire,wheel,brake,suspension section before posting.
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Last edited by hayabusafiend; 03-19-2012 at 01:03 AM. Reason: hadnt seen the tire,wheel,brake,suspension section
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  #2  
Old 03-19-2012, 01:37 AM
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According to Bentley service manual for the X5, it should not be difficult to replace those parts. It's a must have if you plan to DIY repairs. I got mine off amazon for $80.
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:14 AM
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It's easy to replace all the control arms, as long as you have the right tools. Replacing tie rod is a bit tricky, but I don't think you need to replace your tie rods. Other parts, lower control arms, thrust arms, wheel suspension joints and stablizer links are easy to replace. Buy a ball joint extractor, then you are good to go. 1 hour is enought to replace all the arms.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:19 AM
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....and you must tighten the connections with weight on the wheels.

there are quite a few threads out there that go through this process.
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerkiu View Post
Buy a ball joint extractor, then you are good to go.
Why? Aren't the ball joints bolted to the wheel hub? I'm replacing the arms and ball joints.

Quote:
Originally Posted by recklessspyder View Post
....and you must tighten the connections with weight on the wheels.
there are quite a few threads out there that go through this process.
Yeah, there are several threads, and each has a snippet of useful information: 74 lb-ft for ball joints, tighten bushings (how tight??) wheels on ground, flat bicycle 18mm(?) wrench for sway bar rods, etc.

I have yet to find a start to finish thread with details.

I'll order the service manual.
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  #6  
Old 03-26-2012, 09:36 PM
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The FCP Groton kit and Bentley manual arrived.

Should I also replace the ball joint button head torx bolts? They weren't in the kit.
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http://www.bayareamotoshop.com/ A do-it-yourself motorcycle shop in San Francisco
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  #7  
Old 03-27-2012, 04:40 AM
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The arms are easy enough but if the ball joints mounted in the hubs haven't been replaced before they will be a nightmare to remove. These chaps:

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  #8  
Old 03-27-2012, 09:22 AM
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I just switched out my front control arms. If you have the right tools, it's an easy 15-20 minute job.

An impact gun(I got battery opperated dewalt from lowes) makes loosening the bolts a breeze!

A ball joint separator (i think that's what it's called) makes it easy as well. You can either buy one from any auto store ($10) OR Advance Auto let me use a loaner tool - it's $30 but they give it back once you return it.
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Old 06-26-2012, 12:04 PM
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Finished the job myself a few months ago. The X5 handles GREAT again! (only 58K miles on an '05)

What should I do with the old parts (thrust arms, lower control arms, sway bar links)?

Seems a shame to throw them into the recycling bin when all they need are new bushings and ball joints.

Heck, I'll give the old parts away.
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  #10  
Old 06-26-2012, 03:10 PM
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just did my thrust arm and ball joint on the pass side. Literally took about 20 min total. Leave the ball joint attached to the thrust arm and beat the thrust arm with a hammer to get the bj loose. Very easy job.
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