'A' Powell's How To R&R E36 Trailing Arm Bushings
Tools? Why do you think God gave you hands? You wussy.
Fine, for those of you dexterously disadvantaged, here's some tools so you
don't muck up your manicure.
- 5hp air compressor with Air Hammer and various chisels. This is an
absolute requirement because otherwise you look silly making the
BRAAAAAAAPPPP noise with your mouth.
- Big honking pipe wrench. Biiiiig. You don't need it but it's useful to
wave menacingly at your neighbors or other cling ons who are hanging around
- A bunch of 8" long 3/8" bolts SAE hardness Grade 172 or better. Grab a
handful of nice nuts while you're at it. Oh grow up!
- A bunch of 13/32" through 33/64" id washers from HD.
- A 3" square 1/4" thick piece of scrap metal (Titanium or Einsteinium is
- 9MM Glock
- Prima Cord
- For God's sakes, get some decent beer!
R&R of Trailing Arm Bushing Instructions
1) With your right arm lift the rear of the car and slide the jack stand in
with your left. Mutter how light the rear end of these cars seems. Remove
the rear wheels with your teeth.
2) Grasp the trailing arm bolts firmly between your thumb and forefingers
and unbolt them. If you have little girlie fingers use tools. (Not that I
don't like girls, mind you, it's just that some guys have really feminine
looking hands and it bugs me.) There are 3 18mm bolts holding it on the
car. I marked the flange plate ("Console " in BMW speak) and car body with
a scribe and a micrometer so that when I re-attached the trailing arm to
the car my alignment wouldn't be our more than 3/256 of a degree. Be sure
to place a jack under the trailing arm so that when you loosen the last
bolt it doesn't just drop down and smack you in the head sending you crying
to the emergency room. Ninny.
3) The trailing arm is attached to the "console" by a bolt and nut that
goes through the bushing. It is torqued to 70 ft lbs so be sure to give it
a good twist. You weenies just keep on using your tools. The console should
just lift off exposing the bushing.
4) Measure the distance between the flange on the old bushing and the
trailing arm. My left one was 2.13542mm and the right was 1.49003mm. You'll
want to install the new bushing to the same distance. Don't ask why, just
do it. If you're not capable of that, then at least try to make it look
like the new ones are oriented the same way that the old ones were.
5) Now comes the fun part. The trailing arm bushing is a bushing made from
rubber and cheap ass (CA) pot metal. Lord knows that I'd never let it be
installed on my car if I knew it was there to begin with. It looks like a
Ho-Ho. No, not that Ho-Ho, you pervert, the kind you eat. NO! Dammit, I
said, oh never mind. It looks like a pastry, ok? You satisfied? Christ, ya
pimp for just a little while and the next thing you know, you're branded
for life. The pastry filling is a white metal cylinder where the bolt that
holds the console in place goes. The cake part of the pastry is some sort
of rubber substance (it's at the lab being analyzed but I know that they're
just going to come back and say that it's some sort of rubber substance).
The frosting/shell of the pastry is more CA pot metal, with a CA flange on
one end facing to the outside of the car. You've got to rip this puppy from
the trailing arm. This is where the Glock comes in. (you better be
committed to going the distance because from here on in the only way the
car is going anywhere is via a flat bed!) Take the Glock and, using some
nice sturdy steel jacketed loads, start plinking holes in the rubber around
the perimeter or the white CA metal cylinder until it looks like an Al Gore
inflatible doll at a NRA trap shoot. FOR GOD'S SAKE, MIND THE GAS TANK! Do
I have to tell you everything? Grab the remains in your teeth and rip the
sucker out. Chew on the CA pot metal just for spite.
6) Now the even more fun part. Take the Prima cord and wrap it around the
white metal flange. Light it and stand back. The flange should snap right
off and imbed itself about 16" into a hardened concrete wall. You can now
see where the outer metal part of the bushing is set into the trailing arm.
You can also see your neighbor's house through the hole. Next take the butt
of your Glock and carefully, (hey, we're working with GUNS here!) start
bending the outer part of the white metal of the bushing into the space
that you created earlier by blasting the inner CA white metal cylinder with
hot lead. Once you've made some serious damage, slip in a couple hollow
points and, adopting a solid stance, let loose on that sucker. Eventually
the bushing will collapse in on itself and push out the backside of the
trailing arm and well into next week. When you see this happen, smirk
knowingly. I told you this is the fun part!
7) Now time for installation. This is trivial. If you can't figure it out,
you have no business starting a project like this in the first place. Don't
use the Glock and fer chrissakes, don't use the prima cord either. Find the
bolts and nuts, washers, and oil filter wrench you bought. Throw them out.
Instead, grab the metal plate. Place the metal plate over the replacement
bushing, and then position your index fingers around the bushing to the
in-board side of the trailing arm bushing housing. Push with both your
thumbs. The pressure from your fingers will put pressure on the plate,
which in turn will force the bushing into its housing. As you get close
remember to start measuring the distance between the bushing flange and the
trailing arm. Stop when you get to the distance measured in #4. If you
can't do this by feel, don't go into engineering.
8) Re-assemble the console/bolt/trailing arm assembly (torque bolt to 70ft
9) Re-attach console to car body and be sure to hit your marks. Torque 3
bolts to 54ft lbs).
10) Bleed brakes. It's fun!
11) Enjoy the $500 dollars you saved. I've got this place down Mexico way
where they have these great wimmen that will do anything, and I mean
anything, for 50 bucks. Call me, I'll get you hooked up.