Originally Posted by huyatgr
I bought a '99 323is a few weeks ago and it had a worn ball-joint. I decided to go ahead and order new Lemfoerder control arms. For some reason I thought they'd come with FCAB's but they did not. I plan to replace all of the bushings eventually but they're not really in too bad of shape. I've got a few questions about the FCAB's:
1. Is the inside diameter of the FCAB a press-fit onto the control arm? If so, how tight? Will I need a press, or can I do it by hand?
2. Is it possible to change FCAB's without removing the control arm from the car? If I replace the control arms now and FCAB's in the spring I don't want to damage the ball-joints by removing them.
3. If I replace just the control arms should I get the car aligned?
The reason for not ordering everything right away is I just bought the car and want to drive it for a while before so I can research what I want to do as far as suspension modifications go. The car is going to be a daily driver, all-season car but I will probably start to take it to lapping days next summer and take my Mustang off the road for an overhaul. Until then I'd like to just drive it so I don't want to go ordering parts I might decide I don't want next year.
If I can't transfer the existing FCAB's onto the new control arms easily then what are your recommendations for FCAB brands and configurations (material/offset etc.) keeping in mind I will be mostly daily driving the car with occasional lapping?
If you are going to replace your front control arms now is the time to replace the FCABs. I suggest using OEM bushings not poly, rubber bushings ride better and are quieter than poly bushings.
To get the FCABs and lollypops off the control arms and back on you will need some special tools. You can also struggle and try to use a DIY setup but it is far safer, easier and faster to borrow, rent or buy the right tool for these jobs. Collect all of the parts and tools before you start taking your car apart.
You will also need a press to get the new FCABs into the lollypops. I take the new FCAB and position it correctly oriented on the lollypop (line up the arrow and casting mark on the lollypop), on top of the old FCAB. The press presses the old FCAB out and the new FCAB slides into place. You must use a press or special hand tools to press the FCABs back into the lollpops. Then you just need to use normal hand tools to put the control arms and lollypops back into the car.
Yes, there are special tools that allow on car replacement of FCABs and all of the bushings and ball joints on the rear trailing arm of the E36. They are major time savers, buy them and they will pay for themselves many times over. Some people also rent them.
You must get the car aligned if you loosen any suspension fasteners or replace any bushings or balljoints in the suspension or your tires and handling will suffer.
Are you in SoCal? If so I'll help you, I have all the hand tools and special suspension tools you need and a friend with a press.