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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Mon, Jun-08-2009, 09:30:53 AM   #1
Jason11
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Default Bent Front Control Arms ? Wheel pushed back.

So I've had the car aligned twice and both times the caster numbers were off. I was able to get them closer to being inline by playing with the camber plates but the fact that it was about a degree and a half off bothered me. The car has a pull to the right that I believe is the result of the caster being off.

I spoke with Jay over at ground control and he told me to measure the distance from the tire to the fender (on the rear of the front fender)

I did this and sure enough the drivers side had about 1/4in. more space than the passenger side. So I decided to jack the car up and get a good look at the control arm, etc.

This is what I found. Looks like the entire control arm is about 1/4 in further forward than the passenger side. Any ideas on what would cause this and what the fix is?
Is this normal tolerance for the suspension?
Have a look at the pictures of the ends of the control arms in relation to the control arm bushings.
What do you guys think?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Drivers side.jpg (375.3 KB, 132 views)
File Type: jpg Passenger Side.jpg (355.4 KB, 116 views)
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Old Mon, Jun-08-2009, 01:06:29 PM   #2
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try to push the control arm back into place on the bushing. IIRC, the placement of the control arm on that bushing is really sensative and must be spot on within a couple MM.
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Old Mon, Jun-08-2009, 01:25:01 PM   #3
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how do you push the control arm back into place? The front mounting point prevents it from sliding back and forth.
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Old Mon, Jun-08-2009, 02:43:40 PM   #4
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It will require more work (similar job to replacing bushings). Undo the underbody brace, sway bar end links ect ectect. I would undo the two 16mm hex screws that hold the bushing in place and just guide it back into place and reinstall everything again to see if it holds after a weeks worth of driving.

Do you have a weird sensation of the car bump steering itself specifically on that side of the vehicle where the bushing isn't set in place correctly? Does the control arm look bent in anyway? This could have been caused by anything from road bumps to just an inproper bushing installation.
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Old Mon, Jun-15-2009, 06:20:09 PM   #5
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I checked mine this weekend as well. I had some really bad bump steer coming from the passenger side. Mine was similar to your picture above and I basically had to do the steps I typed in above and pushed the bushing back into place. My caster was off as well and the car drove straight until I would hit a bump or a road dip on that side. It felt like the car wobbled back-n-forth (like it was steering left/right after the bump) but would correct itself after the bump or dip, I believe this was due to the excessive positive caster on that side according to my last alignment job. All seems to be well now with me.

Whats the update with yours?
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Old Mon, Jun-15-2009, 06:32:54 PM   #6
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The control arm doesn't look bent when I inspected it. I took the mounting points of the front control arm bushings off (the lolipop). Inspected the bushings, they looked fine. Moved the contol arm up and down...seemed ok. Then put the lolipops back into place and they seemed to align up the same way as before. Seems as though the entire control arm is mounted too far forward by maybe 1/4 inch (on the cross member under the engine mount).

I don't seem to get any bump steer...just slight pull to the right.
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Old Mon, Feb-11-2013, 03:44:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: Bent Front Control Arms ? Wheel pushed back.

I know this is a really old thread, but I have the same problem on my e36 M3 and was wondering if you ever had it resolved. My driver side is where the problem lies. The wheel is pushed back causing less than proper caster. My control arms are both measured and equal. Any help would be much appreciated.
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Old Mon, Feb-11-2013, 04:20:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Bent Front Control Arms ? Wheel pushed back.

The spindles bend as well as the strut and control arm. The business of the bushing being out of place on the C-arm is nonsense, it's the inner ball joint that establishes fore-aft position. The bushings do locate the C-arm laterally, if it's distorted or damaged it will affect caster. Check the rear stub of the C-arm relative to the lolipop?
It doesn't take much of a bend to skew your alignment numbers, not ususally visible. If you're confident in your measurements, and the C-arms are exactly even, look to the spindle. A bent strut typically shows a camber problem.
Good luck!
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Discussing Bent Front Control Arms ? Wheel pushed back. in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)