Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 12:32:02 -0700
From: "Greg Koenig" <gregk_at_innrspc.com>
Subject: [E36M3] The Toe Bushing
Since many of the cars on this list have modified suspensions and are MY95,
I thought I would relay my experience with the dreaded Rear Toe Bushing
This is considered to be one of those sort of "week links" in the E36M3
because these bushings fail rather frequently on tracked 325s, and I am sure
the 95 M3s will begin to see them deteriorate around this time. Cars with
heavy suspension modifications and/or which see lots of track time should
have them inspected before your next driving school (you should have it
inspected before ANY driving event actually).
Anyhow, the toe bushing is located at the forward end of the rear trailing
arm (the big L shaped arm that leads from the wheel baring area and points
forward). The toe bushing is located in a cavity just forward of the rear
wheel well. The bushing fits into a hole on the end of the trailing arm and
bolts into a metal bracket which then bolts to the car. Toe is adjusted at
this point by loosening the carrier bracket and moving it back and forth
till toe is adjusted properly, then tightening it back down.
If all is normal, then attempting to move the trailing arm in this mount
with a prybar (back and forth) should prove futile, with only minimum
movement. If the toe bushing has gone bad, then the arm will move
significantly (5mm or so) in the mount.
If the wear on the toe bushings is even, it is very hard to notice because
it isn't a "night and day" change. If this is the case, expect to see
dramatically increased tire wear. If the toe bushing is dead on only one
side, expect to feel a large ammount of yaw under accelleration. When you
press on the gas, the car's nose will steer to the left or right, but as
soon as you take your foot off the gas, the car corrects itself.
Once you notice the toe bushng(s) are dead, you should replace them ASAP, as
prolonged peroids without this bushing can cause the trailing arm to damage
the cavity it sits in, which is ULTRA expensive repair (were talking a
couple of thousand, the entire car needs to be taken apart).
Replacement is firaly straitforward, but some shops think it is necessary to
charge you a BUNCH of money to replace the bushngs (Dinan quoted me $800!).
With the proper tools (33 series special tools from BMW), it is an hour long
job for each side. Here is a quick and dirty "How To"
1- Remove the wheel
2- Unbolt the brake line bracket from the trailing arm (2 small bolts, I
3- Place a jack stand under the trailing arm and disconnect the shock
4- Unbolt the trailing arm mount from the cavity (3 17mm bolts)
5- Unbolt the trailing arm mounting bracket from the trailing arm, you now
have full access to the toe bushing (it is the black rubber/metal thing in
the middle of the circle on the end of the trailing arm).
Once your at that point, BMW makes a set of special tools that are used to
first pull out the old bushing, and then press the new one in. Most
independent shops do not have these special tools, so they need to actually
remove the entire trailing arm from the car and take it over to a press to
R/R the bushing (while your there, take a look at the trailing arm and look
at how tough it is to take out). I don't have an ETM, so I will have to go
look up the part # for the special tools, which I will for anyone who wants
it. With the special tool, it takes about 10 minutes to pull the bushing,
and another 10 to put it in.
While the bushing is out, be sure to inspect the cavity for ANY signs of
damage or wear. If you see a crack or any other nastyness, your checkbook
is fucked. This is a common problem on the E36 M3, as the 3 welds around
the bolts that hold up the toe bushing are not very strong and can rip out
of the mount (this is the ultra expensive repair I mentioned above).
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 15:10:04 -0800
From: Steve Walsh <stevewalsh_at_earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: [E36M3] The Toe Bushing
Greg's description of the procedure is pretty accurate. I just had this
done on my 325is. It has the usual Eibach/Bilstein Sport/bigger bars
(M3)/M3 strut bearings etc. So it is very similar to the M3.
In my case the procedure became more complicated due to the first set of
replacement bushings 'slipping' out. The drivers side bushing would move
about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch out of the trailing arm, causing the toe to
change, and a loud rattle over bumps.
We replaced it, but it happened again. So we replaced the trailing arm
So when all was said and done, it cost $1800 to replace two $20 bushings
Luckily there was no cracking in the body around the 3 trailing arm/toe
plate mounting holes.
FWIW, I used the trailing arm bushings from the 96+ M3's. These are
rumored (by Neil Mailer in an email from 6/98) to be more rugged. I
measured them six ways from Sunday, compared to the stock 325is part,
and found no dimensional differences. It could be the elasticity of the
rubber part that is the difference. The 96+ part number is 33 32 2 228
Get out there and check 'em folks.
"The future will be better tomorrow" - Dan Quayle (geez...)
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 21:33:02 -0500
From: Neil Maller <neilmaller_at_worldnet.att.net>
Subject: Re: [E36M3] The Toe Bushing
On 3/24/99 6:10 PM Steve Walsh stevewalsh_at_earthlink.net wrote:
>FWIW, I used the trailing arm bushings from the 96+ M3's. These are
>rumored (by Neil Mailer in an email from 6/98) to be more rugged. I
>measured them six ways from Sunday, compared to the stock 325is part,
>and found no dimensional differences. It could be the elasticity of the
>rubber part that is the difference. The 96+ part number is 33 32 2 228
I want to emphasize that this is speculation - and since I have a 96,
maybe wishful thinking! - on my part, based on the fact that the part
number changed at that time. I'd welcome any factual input on the subject.
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