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View Full Version : How often do you guys replace your ball joints?


Autotechnica
06-06-2003, 01:23 PM
It seems like every year I have to replace them. I have an E36. It's becomming a real pain in the ass. I don't understand why on other cars you don't commonly hear about wheel bearings and ball joints going. Maybe 5 years later you would replace the tie rods on an american rust bucket car. On BMW it seems like every 1-2 years. I always thought it was because BMW's were built with low tolerances and everything must be perfect and top shape. Am I wrong or is it just that BMW owners tend to keep their cars in better condition?

Everytime I visit Charlie :) I'm introduced to a new surprize in terms of repairs. Nothing serious, but always a repair to expect down the road. Thanks god I know such a good mechanic.

I've also recently lowered my suspension with Bilstein SP's and Eibach pro kits, I'm pretty sure this has something to do with my ball joints going sooner.

Does hitting pot holes and dips in the ground wear out ball joints faster or does hard cornering? I see guys driving lowered honda's that run off the road to dodge pot holes and sewer covers, is it that bad? Not until recently I have made this a regular practice.

Bry

Euro_E30
06-06-2003, 01:52 PM
Ball joints went down in price alot..*th-up*
they r like 28 bucks each..

Autotechnica
06-06-2003, 02:01 PM
Originally posted by Euro_E30
Ball joints went down in price alot..*th-up*
they r like 28 bucks each..

Yep, but if you can't install them yourself, you have to pay for labour. Anyways, there are inner and outer ball joints on one control arm. Also, I think E30 parts are much cheaper than E36. My friend bought rear shock mounts oem from dealer for his E30 and it was $35 a pair. For E36 it's like $80 a pair.

Bry

MACI4LIFE
06-06-2003, 02:36 PM
I'm in the same boat. My steering is shot and the car seems to float from side to side and then jerk sharply in the direction that i'm slightly turning towards.

Don't quite know what it is but i think its a loose steering rack or bad bushings. :(

dtthiaga
06-06-2003, 02:36 PM
Do you do a wheel alignment after replacing the ball joint? I'm not sure if it's needed or not.. just curious.

The e36 do have weaker ball joints. It could also be, the cars handle so well, that drivers tend to take corners faster, causing the ball joints to go earlier.

Autotechnica
06-06-2003, 02:47 PM
Originally posted by dtthiaga
Do you do a wheel alignment after replacing the ball joint? I'm not sure if it's needed or not.. just curious.

The e36 do have weaker ball joints. It could also be, the cars handle so well, that drivers tend to take corners faster, causing the ball joints to go earlier.

Your absolutely right, I never thought of it that way. After I upgraded my suspension I drive the car hard every time I see a curvey road. It's more exciting than straight line acceleration in a faster car.

Anyways, I don't think alinement is needed. But if the entire control arm is replaced I would recommend it. I'm sure it will affect your alinement, but probably only off slightly. Just corner hard a few times and that already throws your alinement off, so don't bother.

Bry

Autotechnica
06-06-2003, 02:50 PM
Originally posted by MACI4LIFE
I'm in the same boat. My steering is shot and the car seems to float from side to side and then jerk sharply in the direction that i'm slightly turning towards.

Don't quite know what it is but i think its a loose steering rack or bad bushings. :(

Could be your tie rods?

Good way to check for worn ball joints. Just jack your car up and try to wiggle the wheel with your hands, if there's play your ball joints are going. After I replaced the ball joints it's very stiff, no play at all.

Could also be a result of wider tires? I change my rims/tires from 205/60/15 to 225/45/17 and the car always follows the road, it pulls from left to right when the road is uneven or there are cracks in the road. It's normal because I know people who experience this in brand new M3's as well (245 tire width!).

Anyways, Julian (Gamite) says after alinement it solved this problem. I'm going to get an alinement and see if it does anything for my car.

Bry

moregothanshow
06-06-2003, 04:55 PM
it is true wider tires pull real hard...i just went for 205 to 225 also and it is a huge difference in terms of uneven road pull....i am guessing it is because most bmw drivers that like to do real driving tend to push the car a little more during curves...

Furious
06-09-2003, 06:52 PM
this is super common on our cars i seem to do it once a year.

Autotechnica
06-09-2003, 08:32 PM
Same here. It got to a point where I really regret getting an E36 and thought about buying an E30 instead. Those cars generally seem to have less repairs. Maybe BMW ball joints are no good like their rear shock mounts.

Does anyone make aftermarket balljoints? I've seen on BMP's website there is something called Ball joint dust boot made of Urethane, is it the same thing?

bry

djcontra
06-10-2003, 04:01 PM
I replace mine whenever I notice one worn out. I've only had to do it once on my last car during the 2 years I owned it.
I replaced all the ball joints, tierod ends, and did a full alignment.
Of course if you're hard on your car, and whip around corners all the time, expect them to wear out much faster.
I guess what I'm saying is you can't put a time-period on the life of the parts, you just have to notice when they're wearing down.

Kithegearhead
06-11-2003, 12:24 AM
around every 60K ball joints must be replaced, that is a price for the beautifull respose and agility of the BMW. That is normal. E39 got the problem with rear ball joints just like a 3 series. It is not too big of expence for the pleasure of driving
cheers

Autotechnica
06-11-2003, 02:51 AM
Originally posted by Kithegearhead
around every 60K ball joints must be replaced, that is a price for the beautifull respose and agility of the BMW. That is normal. E39 got the problem with rear ball joints just like a 3 series. It is not too big of expence for the pleasure of driving
cheers

60K for normal driving right? I always like to powerslide the car at night at Langstaff rd and Essex. There are no cars, no cops, no people, no nothing, just a hell of a lot of nice turns. After 5 min I guarantee that your tires/brakes will be cooked! Ever fun, you guys should try that place out. It's near Hwy 7 and Bayview.

I feel like my ball joints need replacing every 20K-30K km. What's the point of having such a great hanlding car if you don't get to throw it around. I'm not going to pay a couple hundred bucks just to blow a ball joint cuz I've been running over lots of pot holes on the highway. Might as well blow them from hard cornering having fun :)

Bry