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The rear subframe bushings.

From: "Rick Kjeldsen" 
Date: Tue, 16 May 1995 12:23:03 -0400
Subject: Re: '85 318i: rear bushings replacement?

>the inspector noted that the 2 fat rubber bushings
>that hold the rear drive assembly and suspension on the chassis needed
>replacing. I have noticed a clunk when I let the clutch out or accelerate.

You are probably talking about the large (3 inch by 5 inch) subframe
bushings.  (There is another bushing at the rear of the diff which
is easy to replace).  The subframe bushings do definitly age.  They
then allow the subframe to shift with respect to the body and cause
odd handling (the subframe shifts under lateral load, changing the
orientation of the rear wheels in the middle of a turn!)  I had to
replace them in my 'es at about 100k miles, and could feel a real
improvement in handling near the limit.  If yours are bad enough to
tell they are bad at low speeds, they *really* need replacing.

>The inspector, said that...
>a special tool was needed to press the new rubber bushings in. Also that the
>holding bolts sometimes needed to be heated up in order to free them. He said
>that even with the special tool it could be a swine of a job.

Yup, it can be a bitch.  If you have time and skills to remove the
entire rear subframe, and access to a hydraulic press, the job is
probably possible to do yourself.  Otherwise you really need the
special tool which allows you to pull out the bushings from the
subframe with the limited clearance available with it still on the
car (this is what the dealer will do).
What I did was pull the subframe and take it to my dealer to change
the bushings.  The dealer wanted $600 for the whole job, but only
$300 to change the bushings if I had the subframe out.  Dropping the
subframe isn't too difficult, if you are reasonably competent, it
should take less than a day.  It involves pulling out two large
bolts that pass from the body down thru the bushings.  They are
usually rusted in place, but not so bad that you will need to heat
them.  Pull the nut on their bottom.  If you can't pry the subframe
down off the bolts, pull the rear seat and pound the bolts up and
out with a big hammer.  This won't do any damage, they arn't welded
to the car.  Then you just have to disconnect the driveshaft (or
pull out the diff), disconnect the brake lines, and the subframe
drops right out.

One way or another, the bushings are definitly worth replacing on a
high mileage E30.

'87 325es
'90 325iX

From: "Steve D'Gerolamo" 
Date: Tue, 05 Nov 1996 15:07:40 -0500
Subject: Rear Subframe Bushings Replacement

I just had a chance to do a rear subframe bushing replacement using the
special factory tools....the hardest part was removing the knurled stud that
runs down under the seat and through the bushing/mount.  Hitting it with a
hammer was air hammer popped them loose in about 30 seconds.
The removal of the mounts requires a special Kukko puller that does not come
with the special plates and threaded rods.  In addition, there are 3 sets of
rod & plate adapters needed to cover most of the models...1 set does the
E30, another set does E28/E23/E24, and a third set does E36/E32/E34. The
puller runs around $180.00 and the rod/plate kits are about $330 each.  If
you don't mind spending a little extra time and can cut the bushings out
with a sawzall or air chisel, you can forgo the cost of the puller.
However, the installation tools are worth the money as the bushings can be
installed in about 30 seconds a side.  These are tools that some of the car
club chapters should purchase for use by their members. Chapters might want
to collect a rental fee of about $25 as 2 of the components (the
installation tool threaded rod and the 24mm bearing/nut assembly) will
probably have to be replaced after about 10 uses.  The billable shop time
for this job is 7 hours (to R&R the subframe and do the replacement off the
car). The job with tools takes about 20 minutes per side....doing the job
yourself pays for the tools and parts in the first installation. SD
Steve D'Gerolamo c/o The Ultimate Garage,  Emerson, NJ  (201-262-0412)


Date: Sun, 19 Jan 1997 18:02:02 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE:   Rear crossmember bushings

I've seen several posts concerning the replacement of  E30 rear crossmember
(subframe) bushings.  It's really a simple process, especially if you have a
  • 2 new bushings ($70 total @ dealer w/BMWCCA discount)
  • 24" 1/2" diameter threaded steel rod (remaining from Home Depot)
  • 48" 1/2" diameter threaded steel rod (becomes home-made slide hammer)
  • 4 1/2" diameter nuts (for rods)
  • 4 1/2" flat washers (for rods)
  • 2" inside diameter steel pipe cap (Drill a hole large enough for the rod to go through)
  • 2 1/2" inside diameter steel pipe cap (same as 2" cap!)
  • Bernz-o-matic torch w/1 tank
  • 4 pieces of 6"x 6" roof flashing
  • From a slide hammer - the slide weight (insert onto 48" rod, locking 2 nuts at one end)
  • 2 LARGE blade screwdrivers
  • 2 jacks (1 should be an adjustable tranny jack)
  • Misc tools
1. Remove the bottom seat cushion from the rear seat. Cover the area with a large towel (I used my car cover) "Why?" you ask? When you punch-out the bolts that hold the crossmember in place, they will fly around the interior unless stopped by something! 2. Raise the car. Remove the tire. 3. Support the trailing arm and remove the shock's lower mounting bolt. 4. Support the crossmember (on the side you're working on, only) 5. Remove the bottom plate - 2 socket head screws and the large nut 6. Using the 24" threaded rod & a hammer, punch-out the bolt NOTE: Check the orientation of the existing bushing!! CRITICAL TO FUTURE HANDLING! 7. Lower the jack supporting the crossmember about 2 inches NOTE: Don't lower the crossmember too far or you'll pop the rubber brakeline that runs from the chassis to the trailing arm!!!! 8. Insert the 48" homemade slide hammer into the center of the bushing. Don't go into the car - stop so that you can install a flat washer and a nut at the top of the bushing. Ensure a couple of threads protrude through the nut - safety! 9. Cover any wiring, pumps, hoses, tubing, sheet metal that may be damged by heat with the roof flashing. 10. Light the torch! Heat the crossmember metal surrounding the bushing. It took about 8 minutes before we could budge the old bushing. You'll know it's ready when it sizzles like bacon (doesn't smell nearly as good, though!!) 11. Insert the blades of the screwdrivers between the bushing's metal flange and the crossmember - pry! Once it gets moving, use the slide hammer to finish it off. Allow all to cool; have drink yourself! 12. Coat the new bushing's rubber (not condom, cheeesh!) exterior with a lubricant - I used lithium grease but PAM will work fine. Kerosine (is that a term from geometry?!!?) works well, too! 13. At one end of the 24" rod, "jam-lock" two nuts together. Thread a nut about 12 inches from the other end. Slide 2 washers on, followed by the 2 1/2" pipe cap, open side up. Slide the bushing on. Insert the top of the bushing into the bottom of the crossmember, CHECKING the orientation. 14. At the top of the crossmember, install the 2" pipe cap, open side down. Slide the rod through the hole in the cap. Install a washer and a nut. Ensure 2 threads protrude through - safety. 15. Using a pair of ViseGrips or other suitable tool, hold the nuts at the bottom of the rod. 16. Using the appropriate wrench (cresent-hammer) tighten the nut under the lower pipe cap. The bushing will slide into place. 17. Remove the upper pipe cap, etc. Using the jack, lift crossmember into it's approximate normal position. 18. Boost someone into the car so they can drop the bolt back into it's hole. Reinstall the lower plate and its hardware. Repeat for the other side. Took us about 4 hours, taking our time. HTH YMMV Mark Fiumara Arlington, VA BMWCCA #37523 1985 325e, 132k miles, blah, blah, blah!