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E36 M3 (1992-1999) {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999


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Old Mon, May-26-2008, 03:49:17 AM   #1
thedood
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Default Adjustable Rear Control Arms

In my search for adjustable rear control arms, I have found almost zero information from users and consumers. As such I felt it might be nice to catalog as many of the offerings as I could & hopefully draw some feedback.

Why go aftermarket?

Pros:
1. Increased adjustment range over stock parts: while stock arms allow for some adjustment, it isn't sufficient for lowered or tracked cars.
2. Superior strength: the stock arms are pressed sheet metal, so they are prone to buckling, especially under heavy lateral loads seen at the track.

Cons:
1. Weight: the stock arms are very light, so any solid aftermarket piece inherently adds unsprung weight--some more than others, largely dependent on material(s) used.
2. Monoball/rod ends can cause squeaks & a harsh ride as opposed to rubber bushings.
3. Some arms are too strong, causing subframe or hub failures in accidents, etc. when the arm "should have" been the part to break.


Options:

TC KLINE



Quote:
Originally Posted by TC Kline website
TC Kline Racing has developed spherical ball joint rear lower arms that replace the factory rubber bushings. Our system provides more stability and simple, precise camber adjustments. These arms feature the highest quality threaded aluminum shafts fully polished and clear anodized for strength and corrosion resistance. We also incorporate the highest quality Aurora PTFE lined spherical rod end. The quality of this product is unmatched.
Price: $485.



Ground Control
Ground Control offers three different arms, two of which are designed to meet specific racing class regulations.



Quote:
Originally Posted by GC website
Camber adjustable lower control arm for e46, e46M3 or late e36M3.Offset bracket protects crossmember.
Price: $299.


BMW CCA "prepared" '06: The Crybaby Arm


Quote:
Originally Posted by GC website
Tired of disconnecting the muffler just to align your car? Did you pay extra labor because your current control arms are difficult to adjust? The GC control arms can be adjusted without moving, removing, or bending anything. Chrome moly racing rear control arm, designed to suit 2006 BMWCCA rules changes. Urethane bushing, with grease fitting, turnbuckle adjustable.
Price: $299.


BMW CCA spec, stock


Quote:
Originally Posted by GC website
Satisfies the newest rules allowing reinforcement of the lower control arm in stock class. Carefully skip welded with a yield point to prevent crossmember damage. NOT LEGAL FOR SCCA I.T.S.
Price: $299.



UUC Motorwerks



Quote:
Originally Posted by UUC website

Our custom-made proprietary design resolves many of the issues with other brands:

* Aluminum center rods are known to bend and fail under extreme use or after extended use (build-up of strain/weakening). Failure of a suspension part that keeps the wheel in place can be quite dangerous. UUC's chromoly center rods are the strongest in the world, virtually unbreakable in this application.
* The wrench-fixing point of UUC's chromoly arm will not "round off" like the fixing point of aluminum arms.
*UUC's original-style bushing is silent, and does not have the squeaks and rattles associated with the use of heim joints or spherical bearings.
* The combination of aluminum ends and chromoly steel center bar results in a reasonable weight, a balanced combination of mass and strength.
* UUC's stress-relieved aluminum cleavis end is not only very strong, but is also much more precise in fitment than stamped-steel alternatives.
Price: $349.


Rogue Engineering
Rogue offers two models: one set is made of steel and the other set is made of aluminum.

Aluminum


Quote:
Originally Posted by RE website
* 50% lighter than than our steel versions, without any loss of adjustability. New, improved two piece design allows for easier adjustments!
* High-strength, 3 piece, rod end (with carbon fiber reinforced PTFE race) offers longer live for street use over standard rod ends
* Seals-it Rod End Seals keep dirt, water and other contaminants out (a feature unique to Rogue Engineering!)
* Made 100% in the USA, using 6061-T6 heat treated aluminum.
Price: $359.


Turner Motorsport
Turner offers their arms with either a rubber or monoball end type.



Quote:
* If you have a lowered car and have run out of adjustment with the stock camber arms.
* If you have a track car and are looking for increased camber adjustment, light weight, stronger components, and increased suspension handling.
* TMS offers two bushing styles to meet your needs. (A solid Rod-end or Rubber Bushing end)
* The high range of adjustment allows a full racecar setup or a heavily lowered car to maintain factory specifications.
* Only high quality and high strength materials and components are used.
* Aluminum camber arms are designed as a lightweight component thereby reducing wear and tear on other, more critical parts (rear subframe, control arm bushings, etc) Each camber arm weighs only 2.5 lbs making for a total of 5 lbs for both parts (stock camber arms weigh 3 lbs each)
* TMS Camber Arms use hardcoat anodized aluminum, stainless steel turnbuckles, and stainless rod ends to all but eliminate corrosion from getting into the threads and making adjustment difficult.
* CNC-machined double shear design for ease of installation, high strength, and choice of outside bushing material. But we do suggest using with (BMW rear trailing arm bushing # 33326775551) for best performance.
* Easy and simple to adjust, our main adjustment point is out by the wheel so there is no need to work around the exhaust or subframe to adjust camber.
* All hardware is included with the kit.
* A Turner Motorsport product, Made in the USA.
Price: $300 with rubber, add $20 for monoball/rod.


SPC
SPC is an OE manufacturer & actually helped UUC design their arms.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerworld website
These adjustable rear control arms allow for +1.0 to -3.0 of rear wheel camber, depending on your needs and required adjustments. Made from high-grade steel construction, its black finish retains a factory appearance. The mounting bushings are made from rubber, so you're insured a squeak-free, OEM like ride. The tubular-style arm has machined flats on the center, allowing for easy and precise adjustments while on the alignment rack.
Price: $180.


Bimmerworld
In addition to the SPC arms BW offers (as shown above), they carry two arms of their own: the first is made of aluminum, while the second is a reinforced stock piece (a la Group N).

Aluminum


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerworld website
Made of 7075-T6 aluminum (commonly used in high-strength applications such as aircraft fittings and brake pistons), these lightweight adjustable rear arms are perfect for track cars and street cars alike. These arms address several issues:

* Performance alignments require much more adjustability and camber than the stock eccentric bolt can provide
* When a BMW is lowered, it can cause additional and unwanted negative camber (which leads to premature and uneven tire wear) which the factory rear control arms do not have the ability to dial out
* Factory rear control arms are frequently damaged when an E36/E46 is towed by unknowing tow truck operators, who easily find the factory arms a convenient (but incorrect) location to secure the vehicle

These adjustable rear control arms allow for +1.0 to -3.0 of rear wheel camber, depending on your needs and required adjustments. Clevis and bushing ends are CNC machined. Center rods are solid aluminum - stronger than the tubular links used in our pro race cars for durability with harsh street and track use, but still lightweight to reduce unsprung mass. Machined flats on the center allow for easy and precise adjustments while on the alignment rack. The mounting bushings are made from solid rubber for a squeak-free ride.

These arms meet all rule requirements and are optimum for the BMW CCA Club Racing Prepared class.
Price: $280.


Reinforced OEM


Quote:
Originally Posted by BW website
The rear lower control arms are one of the weaker items on your BMW's rear suspension. These quality Lemfoerder arms have been reinforced on both sides to strengthen the flimsy stock arm.
Price: $200.





Hopefully this will prove to be useful in the future. Feel free to post suggestions for products not included, further information that should be displayed about each product, etc.

Note: I plan to do this with other popular modifications as well, but this is the most "pressing" to me at the moment.
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Last edited by thedood; Mon, May-26-2008 at 07:51:40 PM.
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Old Mon, May-26-2008, 03:55:14 AM   #2
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Some thoughts:

UUCs are the strongest, but that's not necessarily a good thing. The stockers are weak by design-- it protects the subframe if you hit a curb while sliding sideways, etc (the arm crumples instead of the car)

For most street cars, I'd suggest a bushing end over a monoball. The monoball ends will transmit much more noise and most of them will start making noise themselves after a while. If I was determined to get a monoball arm, I'd get the TCK one (high quality monoball is less likely to make noise).

Turner also makes a $300 arm which could be on the list

(fwiw, I'm running the UUC arms, but I also have the Turner subframe kit... so it's pretty beefy back there in general)
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Old Mon, May-26-2008, 03:56:31 AM   #3
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What about the steel control arms sold by Bimmerworld and other vendors? For $180, the ONLY disadvantage is a slight weight increase over the chromoly. I have yet to hear of a steel or chromoly failure - so if you have the money to spend on the latter, go for it. Otherwise, the steel are perfect.

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Old Mon, May-26-2008, 03:59:08 AM   #4
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Thanks Ian & Eric!

Yeah I meant to add that the reason the stock arms are weaker so that they break before more expensive (& more difficult to replace) parts do.

I'll add SPC (sold by Bimmerworld, etc.) & Turner's offerings to the list.

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Old Mon, May-26-2008, 04:00:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epj3 View Post
What about the steel control arms sold by Bimmerworld and other vendors? For $180, the ONLY disadvantage is a slight weight increase over the chromoly. I have yet to hear of a steel or chromoly failure - so if you have the money to spend on the latter, go for it. Otherwise, the steel are perfect.
good call! But also probably strong enough that they could break other things

edit: and how will you know they're aftermarket if they're not shiny
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Old Mon, May-26-2008, 04:05:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Obioban View Post
good call! But also probably strong enough that they could break other things

edit: and how will you know they're aftermarket if they're not shiny
Right! I think any aftermarket arm is strong enough to fu*k up the subframe/whatever.

Fortunately, a used subframe is cheaper than a pair of control arms
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Old Mon, May-26-2008, 04:41:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epj3 View Post
Right! I think any aftermarket arm is strong enough to fu*k up the subframe/whatever.

Fortunately, a used subframe is cheaper than a pair of control arms
On the e46 they beefed up the subframe... so instead of it failing, the points where it attaches to the car fails. Ugh..
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Old Mon, May-26-2008, 04:58:35 AM   #8
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nice attempt at a rep bar



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Old Mon, May-26-2008, 06:35:42 AM   #9
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whats wiv teh bling?
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Old Mon, May-26-2008, 04:56:41 PM   #10
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Also, for what its worth - SPC (the company who manufacturers the steel arms) also makes UUC's arms, and more than likely some others.
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Discussing Adjustable Rear Control Arms in the E36 M3 (1992-1999) Forum - {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999 at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)