E36/E46 RTAB install without special tools- tips/tricks- not DIY
I just finished replacing the RTABS on my E46 M3 with the new style OEM bushings (with the two slits, and no flange). it was a ROYAL PITA.
I did this without the special tools, and used the 2"pipe cap method that is on another DIY.
This is NOT a DIY, I just wanted to post my issues and resolutions when using that DIY.
1. Getting the bushing out: I used a hole saw to cut out half way through the rubber area surrounding the centre middle part. I then used the 2" pipe cap from the DIY, and attached a 2" PVC threaded coupler to it (in my case I used a Thomas and Betts Part # E943J).
I put the threaded rod through, and secured with washer and nut. I pushed the whole assembly through the bushing, and on the other side secured with a large washer and a nut. When tightening I'm essentially pulling the centre metal cylinder right into the space I have created with the PVC adapter and pipe cap. the rubber WILL tear, and let this peice loose.
** get plenty peices of threaded rod and nuts. you will end up slightly stretching the threads..** (unless you get some high grade hardware..)
2. getting the outer casing is the same as mentioned in the DIY, just hammer away and fold. no problems here just takes time.
be sure to removed and file/sand down ANY corrosion left behind!! (see next issue)
3. bushing pressed in without any problems on the passenger side. squeeze both pipe caps until you can't anymore, and the bushing will be exactly in the center line of the housing (equal protrusion on both sides)
On the DRIVER side though, the bushing distorted A LOT while pressing in. I figured it got caught by some corrosion in the housing. While the distorted bushing will be pressed it started to squeeze INTO the pipe cap, and you no longer have ANY pushing power. the trick here is to make sure the housing is clear of any obtructions, and press the bushing in SLOW making sure it's going in straight and well seated on the pipe cap lip.
4. I had a tough time getting the rtab bracket UP into place. I had to jack up the hub and push the hub FOWARD at the same time to enable me to get the RTAB bracket in a place where I can start putting in the bolts. used lots of muscle... didn't find an easier way.
all in all, took me 8 hours.
Tools cost me around $16.00
a shop quoted me $270 labour to do the job. so me personally I didn't find this DIY worth it to me.
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED:
I would STRONGLY suggest you buy the MIS tool for ~$100 and get this thing done in a lot shorter time. Most of the time is spent (wasted): 1. setting up and fiddling with the threaded rods and pipe caps, making sure alignment is good.... 2 drilling "pre holes" into rubber. 3. knocking out the outer casing of bushing - which is corroded is a MAJOER PITA. 4. improperly pressing in the bushing could damage the bushing.
. . .just some notes on my experience. hope this either helps someone, or convinces them to buy the tool. ($100 for 3-4 hours time saved..)