MOT failure: front suspension ball joint issue - some advice

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masd
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Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:10 pm

Hi there. Car failed its MOT today - the "front suspension has excessive play in a lower suspension ball joint offside front inner" - can someone advise on expected repair cost, and how big the job is?
Speedtouch
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Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:55 pm

Sounds like the bush has worn either in the wishbone or the 'lollipop' joint at the back of it. All reasonably easy to fix, assuming none of the bolts have seized, however, you may need to buy a new wishbone (control arm).

See the Zone Wiki for more info:

http://www.e30zone.net/e30zonewiki/inde ... #Wishbones

It's a day's work for a reasonably competent home mechanic, and probably a morning or afternoon's work for an experienced garage - shouldn't cost much more than around £200.
///M aurice
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biffer
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Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:19 pm

You can either replace the control-arm whole,or the worn ball-joint can be pressed out and replaced on its own- £80 vs. £20 for Lemforder stuff.
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Bonymaenjack
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Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:11 am

Not a difficult job to do ,. although if you only change the one joint in my opinion that's false economy because the other two could be just about to fail .
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fb
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Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:48 am

My advise is to change the whole control arm as mentioned,if not both sides! winkeye
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martauto
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Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:47 pm

fb wrote:My advise is to change the whole control arm as mentioned,if not both sides! winkeye
If one side is on it`s way out then the other may not be far off too and dont forget the tracking either.

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paultv
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Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:26 pm

I just came away with a pass but the same advisory of slight play on one side, which explains the problem with tracking, never stays right, in my case the entire front suspension is heading for a rebuild as I've got variously aged parts on the front end including top mounts and springs which have twenty years difference in age, rubbish and frankly dangerous at 130 mph.

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Partridge
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Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:06 pm

Speedtouch wrote:
It's a day's work for a reasonably competent home mechanic, and probably a morning or afternoon's work for an experienced garage - shouldn't cost much more than around £200.
A DAY! Is that blindfold with one arm tied behind your back?

Four bolts hold the wishbone on. If you're adept at cracking joints with a hammer, it's off within 30 minutes. Brute force with the vice and the inner BJ is out a few minutes later. Bash in a replacement, reassemble. Tracking unaffected. 90 minutes tops.
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ungovernable
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Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:42 pm

Wish my repair jobs went that quickly...
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masd
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Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:43 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone. I won't be able to do this job myself, so the decision would be to replace the single ball joint, replace all three, or replace the entire control arm - both sides if required. Guess its all down to condition etc - unless anyone strongly recommends going down one route. I think getting all ball joints replaced, and checking the nearside front (do it if required) is best option for me right now.
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Tue May 01, 2018 8:52 am

Partridge wrote:
Speedtouch wrote:
It's a day's work for a reasonably competent home mechanic, and probably a morning or afternoon's work for an experienced garage - shouldn't cost much more than around £200.
A DAY! Is that blindfold with one arm tied behind your back?

Four bolts hold the wishbone on. If you're adept at cracking joints with a hammer, it's off within 30 minutes. Brute force with the vice and the inner BJ is out a few minutes later. Bash in a replacement, reassemble. Tracking unaffected. 90 minutes tops.
I was making allowances for someone attempting the job for the first time, who may well encounter issues with stuck bolts, maybe not having the right tools, etc., plus tea/fag breaks, playing with their Smartphones, scratching their bum, etc. :wink:
///M aurice
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Tue May 01, 2018 8:59 am

Speedtouch wrote:
Partridge wrote:
Speedtouch wrote:
It's a day's work for a reasonably competent home mechanic, and probably a morning or afternoon's work for an experienced garage - shouldn't cost much more than around £200.
A DAY! Is that blindfold with one arm tied behind your back?

Four bolts hold the wishbone on. If you're adept at cracking joints with a hammer, it's off within 30 minutes. Brute force with the vice and the inner BJ is out a few minutes later. Bash in a replacement, reassemble. Tracking unaffected. 90 minutes tops.
I was making allowances for someone attempting the job for the first time, who may well encounter issues with stuck bolts, maybe not having the right tools, etc., plus tea/fag breaks, playing with their Smartphones, scratching their bum, etc. :wink:
it took me best part of a day to remove the old arms & install a new pair including new lollipops & bushes, & that did including, tea/fag breaks,going for a pee behind the bushes (to much tea), talking to next door & scratching my arse :D

also included, getting all the tools out, lifting the car, doing the job, dropping the car back down, putting the tools away & clearing up.

so yeah allow a day to do it all.
if it's got t*ts or wheels it's bound to be trouble...............prove me wrong.
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arrisbmw
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Tue May 01, 2018 9:16 am

if your planning on keeping the car. i,d get both sides done, buy complete control arms. don,t buy the cheap Chinese rubbish,
iirc ,, lemford or meyle are good makes about 50 each.

the lollipop folk are refering to is a rubber bush that mounts the rear of the control arm to the car chassis, worth changing this at same time, if worn.


for your info . the lower track control has two ball joints on it , inner and outer, its probably the outer that the m.o.t place is referring to.

so basically its held on the by 3 joints, outer b/j , inner b/j and rear rubber bush (lollipop)

just read your original post again , i don,t think you can change the inner joint . its a integrated part of the c/arm. but if thats loose they could be feeling the play from badly worn lollipops.
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terryjippo
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Tue May 01, 2018 9:33 am

Be lovely to drive once you change the lot, I did mine last year and almost turns your E30 into an Integrale ;)
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ACJJ619
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Tue May 01, 2018 2:38 pm

I did mine 18 months ago as a relatively inexperienced home mechanic with limited tools. It took a short day and was quite straightforward so I'd recommend giving it a go yourself.

I did the whole arm I think it was Meyle for £50-£80.

Four bolts hold it on. The balljoint attached to the hub can be sticky so some PlusGas and a balljoint splitter would make the job very easy indeed. The two big bolts holding the arm to the chassis can be quite stiff so I'd recommend a breaker bar for those.

The bolt holding the main middle balljoint can be tricky to access as it's on top of the wishbone at the bottom of the engine bay. I had to borrow some extension bars to make it long enough to be able to tighten from above.
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martauto
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Tue May 01, 2018 4:19 pm

steve_k wrote:
it took me best part of a day to remove the old arms & install a new pair including new lollipops & bushes, & that did including, tea/fag breaks,going for a pee behind the bushes (to much tea), talking to next door & scratching my arse :D

also included, getting all the tools out, lifting the car, doing the job, dropping the car back down, putting the tools away & clearing up.

so yeah allow a day to do it all.
I`ll go with that Steve, did my old 316 in my mates place with all the tools and him ,(and a beer ) so that sounds about right for us numbties. winkeye winkeye winkeye

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arrisbmw
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Tue May 01, 2018 4:25 pm

ACJJ619 wrote:
The bolt holding the main middle balljoint can be tricky to access as it's on top of the wishbone at the bottom of the engine bay. I had to borrow some extension bars to make it long enough to be able to tighten from above.
you should be able to get on it with an open ended spanner.
this might help
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Tue May 01, 2018 5:40 pm

martauto wrote:
steve_k wrote:
it took me best part of a day to remove the old arms & install a new pair including new lollipops & bushes, & that did including, tea/fag breaks,going for a pee behind the bushes (to much tea), talking to next door & scratching my arse :D

also included, getting all the tools out, lifting the car, doing the job, dropping the car back down, putting the tools away & clearing up.

so yeah allow a day to do it all.
I`ll go with that Steve, did my old 316 in my mates place with all the tools and him ,(and a beer ) so that sounds about right for us numbties. winkeye winkeye winkeye

Mart.
there's a fantastic stress reliever in the form of a fork type ball joint splitter & a lump hammer winkeye winkeye
if it's got t*ts or wheels it's bound to be trouble...............prove me wrong.
getting oral sex off an ugly person is like rock climbing.....don't look down ;)
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masd
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Wed May 02, 2018 7:41 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone. I think I will go down the route of replacing both control arms at the same time - just need to get the parts etc. Wish I could do it myself but dont have the tools, or space really!

Previous owner actually had the car lowered as well, so now im debating whether to have the springs changed (back to original) as well. (the car is a little too low for the speed bumps etc). Id rather save this job for when I have a bit more cash, but.....with the wheels off etc could be an opportunity.

What do you guys think?
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Satan
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Wed May 02, 2018 8:04 pm

Been lowered 30mm, sell the springs if you change them or do a swap with someone.
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aimlessrock
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Thu May 03, 2018 9:12 am

personally im not a fan of lowered cars and would use this opportunity to swop the springs- if your roads are anything like the ones up here a cracked sump is on the cards.
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Satan
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Thu May 03, 2018 11:20 am

aimlessrock wrote:personally im not a fan of lowered cars and would use this opportunity to swop the springs- if your roads are anything like the ones up here a cracked sump is on the cards.
London, loads of speed bumps and 20mph zones.....
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Bonymaenjack
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Thu May 03, 2018 12:00 pm

The UK is becoming one big speed hump , the bloody things at everywhere :x
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masd
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Sat May 05, 2018 12:40 pm

the car came lowered, and looks good, but I just keep on scraping the front, and I cant live like this anymore haha.

These springs?

https://www.europerformance.co.uk/pages ... category=1

Any recommendations on the springs. Just keen to go back up to original height

Thanks
Speedtouch
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Sat May 05, 2018 2:03 pm

Bilsteins should be as good as any.
///M aurice
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