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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

 
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#1 (permalink) Old 11-30-2004, 02:00 AM
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What would happen if you don't properly maintain suspension components such as ball joints, control arms, bushings, mounts, etc. (mainly minor stuff)...

any major consequences except for a more bumpy ride and crappier handling?

I'm asking this because if its not necessary, then I might skimp on it a bit, instead of replacing it every year or so, maybe once every 2-3 years...

also because my current Mercedes, which my dad has owned for about 10 years, never replaced a single suspension component, although the ride is very bumpy and quite noisy going over rough terrain, even on unlevel tarmac surfaces, it can still corner like a pro (mercedes w201 has one of the best handling chassis) and do everyday driving on an acceptable level...



thanks for any help

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#2 (permalink) Old 11-30-2004, 02:40 AM
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as your ball joints and bushings develop play - your ride will get more and more vague - it will lose the tautness that bimmers are known for.

if it gets bad enough, bumpsteer can develop, also your ride will get noisier.
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#3 (permalink) Old 11-30-2004, 04:39 AM
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I wouldn't go as far as replacing ball joints & control arm bushings every year. That sounds a bit overkill. Maybe if you are taking the car to the track every weekend and driving it to the limits. You don't say how many miles you drive the car per year. Typical is 25-30K miles a year.

A yearly suspension inspection would show possible future problems. Rubber bushings like sway-bar bushings can go bad every few years but not every year. Ball joints should last well past 5-7 years at least. Lower control arm bushings last quite a while also. I haven't replaced mine in 6 years. Subframe bushings ( rear). I don't know what to say here but the ones on my car have been gone since I bought the car. It rear-steers under hard cornering and clinks slowly taking off. I have no idea what it's doing when I smoke the tires...I hate to say this but I have new bushings, bolts, nuts and even the rear control arm bushings. Everything to rebuild the rear subframe in fact. I just can't stop driving the car in order to work on it. It's a typical BMW story.....
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#4 (permalink) Old 11-30-2004, 09:48 AM
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I see, well my in the ten years my dad owned the mercedes, he only put on about 65k miles...hmm

thanks for your insight

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#5 (permalink) Old 11-30-2004, 10:43 AM
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i agree with supark... These components play pretty important to your control.
Theoretically, it doesn't matter how fast you drive or how far you go, if your car vibration meets the natural frequency of the suspension (even u drive slowly), it will give u control trouble... But hardly it makes big difference if u drive just around the city as u accelerate and decellerate, means u have no constant speed and u hardly lock up to the frequency... this means, no worries. But if u drive in highway with constant speed, this may bring u problem. Hope this helps...
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#6 (permalink) Old 11-30-2004, 12:23 PM
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Not replacing your balljoints when they need replacing will cause accelerated wear on other components. The control arm bushings will fail much sooner, the same will results if your control arm bushings are worn, the balljoints will also fail almost right away. Having worn balljoints or control arm bushings also puts stress on the control arms. Control arms aren't really something you want to replace too often, they are expensive. Each suspension component is linked to another directly. So when you have a worn out part on your BMW, it would be wise not to wait too long to have it fixed. The tolerances are much too low so keeping the car in tip top shape is key.

If you have lowered suspension and track the car once in a while, balljoints will fail very often. I've replaced balljoints every 1-2 months with my suspension setup while going to the track every month or so in the summer time. I'd recommend switching to Myle metal balljoints.

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