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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 Fri, Feb-10-2012, 03:26:31 AM   #1
vmbray
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Default DIY Newb rear end overhaul *pics*

I set out to put in new bushings in the back of the car and like all good projects it quickly snowballed. I'd like to add a big thanks to everyone who posted about this and especially 99MPower, PurduinaM3, and Shaeff's threads. Also great thread on shop technique and use of a press and all sorts of other goodness. The original intent was to avoid doing reinforcements and such and just get in, slam some bushings and ball joints, and get out. Since the front of the car needs attention too I decided to make this more comprehensive so that hopefully I can go on to other things and not be back in here when something fails.

** WARNING - THE PRESS IS DANGEROUS. If you follow this do so at your own risk and please exercise all caution possible! The press will build up tremendous force and if it is not aligned could cause something to break violently instead of having the desired effect. Please do not use pvc bushings but instead find metal pipe the dimensions given. Most smaller metal shops will trade cash for scrap and it's a great way to have some metal on hand. **

** WARNING - in general this kind of work can be dangerous, proceed at your own risk. Please use all caution when jacking and supporting the car, and never get under a car on a jack, but only when on stands, big stands, and don't raise the stands too high that they are possibly wobbly. If you have to raise the stands more than a few clicks, get bigger stands. I use small stands to get the car up high enough to jack it up further to get the big stands under it. **

There are gobs of great diys on this stuff out there so this is to document things and maybe elaborate on things newbs such as myself get stuck on, and stuff to do with the press since there are not a lot of pics of exactly how people did things. After experiencing the pain of doing a wheel bearing on an e36 I got the press so take some of the frustration out of it. Anyway, things got a bit out of hand and now the project scope is like this:

- oem bushings - all new, everything in the rear
- outer ball joints
- diff seals all round
- learn to weld
- akg rtab plates, and sway bar plates
- new parking brakes - lining totally gone but just on one side
- rebuild half shafts with new grease and boots like this
- new wheel bearings packed with grease like this
- clean everything
- paint subframe with POR-15
- new bolts and such on most of it - can't put back the rusty stuff after all this work

- and have the parts for the front ball joints, fcabs, z3 pickup, oil pan gasket, etc, etc. probably gonna put the rear back together before embarking on that and I may put in a clutch when I do all that since the main seal is giving it up.

Links that I collected that were incredibly helpful:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1408487
http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=315690
http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showt...nsion+overhaul
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1096464
http://www.dtmpower.net/forum/e36-m3...ack-build.html
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1596215

stuff you should get in advance includes:
- kroil. find the google special, wish I did it sooner since it's twice as effective as pb blaster.
- 1.25" to 1.5" galvanized pipe adapter
- 1.5 to 2" galvanized pipe adapter
- 1.25" and 1.5" plugs for pipe
- 2", 2.5", 3" and 4" pvc pipe joints. AGAIN PLEASE USE METAL NOT PVC!
- if you repack your bearings before install, get them and repack them before you park the car. it will just annoy you to spend an evening doing it while the car is on stands.

up on stands, cheap, Chinese stands. Put the release handles to the outside of the car so that you don't hit one of them while underneath. They have shear pins but still, when you're underneath you can bang into them very easily. Be careful supporting the car. Also one of my stands was wobbly so I put an old circular saw blade under it.


a lot of diy tell you to bend the tabs out on the axle nuts. if you have impact, skip the breaking screwdrivers and such and just blast them off with the impact.


tck coils and konis.


rear shock mounts that PO did.


rear end before shot. I previously put some ospho and rustoleum on the subframe mainly to make myself feel better and like I had done something. Note grime on diff and need for seals.


the e-brake cables would not come out of the trailing arms, also the abs sensors are fused in by rust etc. I merrily went to the brake inside and took the nuts off, and, still could not pull the cables out without destroying them. off came the exhaust, which of course broke the bolts, and it came back to me that I had read what a pia this is. yeah so now they get drilled out and replaced with stainless. that was after two days of pb blaster (didn't have the kroil yet). I goofed and had the impact on full and it took two off okay, and twisted these two off like butter. would have been better to put on low impact and let it beat on them some. with the exhaust and heat shield off I was able to twist the e-brake cables free of the chassis with small vice grips and pull them out.


finally trailing arms are out and diff and subframe follow.


fully committed now....


rtabs cracked. at this point I found the ball joints all had some play, some about 1/16" and started to feel really good about this project. I had a fear that I would get in here and find things weren't that bad. yeah so anyway back to reality....


subframe assembly, pretty rusty. called a powder coat guy and got about a $250 price to sandblast and coat all this stuff. figure I've got the front to do to and it would make more sense to sandblast myself and POR-15 and topcoat with satin black for a fraction of the price.


rtabs were very corroded from galvanic corrosion, and came out of the trailing arms with a scary bang. not sure but these are probably tough to do with the all-thread method based on how much force it took with the press. can always drill and cut the flange etc.


jig I welded up to press the hubs out. One came pretty easily and one required the 1/2" reinforcements you see welded in. When I read the diy where they used a slide hammer, I am amazed. I've done a regular e36 rear bearing and now mine and I cannot imagine these coming off that way so kudos to the gorillas that this works for. I have been wanting a welder since my neighbor and I messed around with his stick welder, so I picked up a reasonable Eastwood 135 (wish it was a Hobart) which is working great. Got a bronze ground clamp from the local welding store and it is MUCH better. By the end of all this I felt pretty qualified to do the rtab reinforcements.


and still it bent when pressed. wasn't sure this was going to work but making sure the press is square to the work is key and it came out.


grind off the flange of the rtab so you can back it up with a pvc joint and it will be able to move.


ball joints on trailing arm. welded this up so I had an adapter the right size. adapters are like cups made of steel and fit the chassis part that the bushing is being pressed into/out of. more welding practice


wheel bearing coming out. cake compared to the hubs. note pvc coupler. buy 2", 2.5", 3", 4" etc, the 2.5 is gray electrical. Note the pipe joints. 1.5 reducer and 2" reducer and caps for these was a big help.


cut the extra rubber off the subframe bushings. otherwise they will mushroom when pressed and make it harder or impossible.


subframe bush coming out


control arms. gotta be careful as others have stated. vice grips in the gap worked perfectly and out they came. socket on the bottom.


aluminum 1/8" x 1/2" x 4.5" long formed to size around the new bushing to make this adapter which is apparently notoriously hard to find the right size. the ring on the arm is very skinny. the hose clamp keeps it tight, pressed out pretty easily.


front diff bush. not bad once the subframe cut into the pvc as seen in the next pic.




diff bush. other side is worse.


my new busted bushing, bearing and hub collection


finished repacking the new bearings. more pain in the butt than I expected to get them clean and dry to pack but done now.


scrubbed the diff with simple green heavy duty which works great. cut the grime great.



Last edited by vmbray; Sat, Feb-11-2012 at 01:12:36 PM. Reason: credits for threads!
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Old Fri, Feb-10-2012, 03:26:51 AM   #2
vmbray
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Default Re: DIY Newb rear end overhaul *pics*

Been a long time and a LOT of work. Various things have delayed the project from normal life to getting stuck on the details of the car, and of course the ultimate snowball effect. Now on stands for three months plus and getting ready for the rubber to hit the road.

First a few side trips...

Did the driveshafts with CV2, thanks for the diy Calvin! Put the joints back on the shafts before grease as mentioned. One was a pain to get off, took the press, and a lot of 'encouragement' to get back on.

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1398300



Cant overstate what a pain it is to clean the outer joints. Lots of patience and the RED brake cleaner if you can get it. The green stuff is weak in comparison, on grease anyway. Buy like 6 cans and maybe you'll have some left.



I kept the balls position straight because I have had problems with this on other shafts, but really only when they're worn and these looked great after 136k miles. Red cups dirty, clear for clean, and numbered. Kimwipes would have been good here but anyway get them super clean.



I dropped the tank to do the RTAB reinforcements and was immediately glad I did. Made it a lot easier and the tank needed attention imho.



A LOT of rust on the fittings for the fuel lines.



Just like the power steering, dremel the fittings off carefully, gonna re-use the blue pipes.



Note the large quantity of rust flakes, that was from one fitting.



The blue pipes have metal liners so we can clamp new hose to them.



New hose and bmw clamps



Looking better.



Same for the vent pipes, off with rusty clamps and on with new ones. This is a handy and cheap clamp tool I ground out of a harbor freight set of end cutters. Works great, sometimes have to crush the clamp down with a screwdriver while clamping but on the bmw clamps works great.



On to the RTAB plates. Thought mine were fine and would have had a hard time detecting this with the car assembled but note the cracks starting.



Tack the plates up, used a stick to prop them up tight.



Ughh, flux core MIG. Get gas, and probably suck it up and get a 220v welder. Did this with a 110 Eastwood which works pretty well but now wish I got 220.



Finally, with gas got it done acceptably. Ended up grinding the flux core stuff down and went over it and it all came out pretty well. Upside down sucks, caught myself on fire briefly and was glad I was paying attention. Did not have trouble with catching the car on fire



The flux'd and done over side.



Had some rust spots



So I wire brushed, oshpo'd, cleaned, primed, and painted. For a few spots this took a lot of time.











Got the parts sandblasted, this was a chore to find someone who would do it. SHOULD HAVE HAD THEM POWDERCOATED but cheaped out and used POR15. It's okay and it does set up hard and withstood the press pretty well but still.







AKG sway reinforcements



Rear ball joints. Booger to keep straight, be very careful and take time here. Don't tear the boots. They will go crooked, let them get in enough that they 'stick' and then go to the other side like this and straighten them out.



Then as Jon Lovitz would say 'press away!'





Bearing ground down a bit to press the new bearings. This is so easy on a press it will make you laugh. Freeze the bearings and put some grease or oil on them. I used light oil. Don't worry they will not come out if you use oil



You can make a very easy rtab press from a 1.25 x 1.5 pipe adapter. Cut as shown. Hose clamps to compress and off you go. May go crooked same as ball joint just keep at it.





One finished trailing arm. Yeah baby!





Control arms. Also fun to press remember to put some vice grips in the gap to keep it aligned as before when pressing out.



Rtab limiters



An actually done trailing arm with hub and backing plate.



Cleaned, ospho'd, and POR'd the diff. New seals all around, split the case and re-sealed with black rtv.



Painted the input flange since it was out.



Same for the output flanges.



Assembly going in the car, elected not to do the whole thing since assembling it behind the car would be tough in my garage.







Nearly done, feeling good now. Don't you hate how pictures make rusty bolts look 10x worse than real life? Oh well looks great.







Made a tool to pull the shafts into the hubs. One slid right through just like it came out and one was tough. I tried them on the bench and knew that so one day I welded an axle nut to a bolt and ground it down. Took about 30 minutes, not too bad and not as hard as I imagined.


Last edited by vmbray; Tue, May-01-2012 at 12:02:23 PM.
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Old Fri, Feb-10-2012, 03:27:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: DIY Newb rear end overhaul *pics*

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Old Fri, Feb-10-2012, 06:32:51 AM   #4
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Default Re: DIY Newb rear end overhaul *pics*

Nice work so far!

I'm in the process of doing the same exact job but I don't have a press, so its been threaded rod and ingenuity to get all the old bushings out so far.
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Old Fri, Feb-10-2012, 04:54:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: DIY Newb rear end overhaul *pics*

Subscribed. Great write up, thank you.
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Old Fri, Feb-10-2012, 05:18:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: DIY Newb rear end overhaul *pics*

Great write up and great pix. Wish I had a press! I did my RTABs with the threaded rod method, and they came out but it was no fun. I'm sure all my rear ball joints (and every original bushing) are getting worn at 116,000 miles, so I need to do the big rebuild at some point. Your pics will be a great help when the time comes.
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Old Fri, Feb-10-2012, 05:31:54 PM   #7
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Thanks guys, glad it will help. The press is a great addition and for 160$ its just $10 more than BMW diff fluid. Geesh, redline it is.

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Old Fri, Feb-10-2012, 06:13:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: DIY Newb rear end overhaul *pics*

Redline is fine...
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Old Fri, Feb-10-2012, 08:36:54 PM   #9
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That's what's in it now and it seems to like it. Was shocked at the price when I looked. Totally ridiculous.

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Old Fri, Feb-10-2012, 08:51:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: DIY Newb rear end overhaul *pics*

Great documentation and I like the list of spacers and pipe adapters you made as I'm getting ready to finally do a rear-bushing refresh.

Did you go with the PVC rounds due to low cost and ease of working with in case you need to resize? I'd be wary of the PVC deforming even under my 12-ton press.
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Discussing DIY Newb rear end overhaul *pics* 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)