First I want to apologize for the slacking off on my part regarding this blog. I had hoped to add a new post weekly. With a tough economy, I find myself spending more time working than typing.
This past weekend (Labor Day) I decided to replace my rear trailing arm bushings. Why you ask? Because they had 190k miles on them! I could tell the rear of my car was getting really unstable under hard cornering (or "commuting"). It was especially noticeable when doing rapid directional changes and when hitting on and off ramps hard. Best way to describe it is a drifting feeling, like the back end is lagging behind. Since I have quite a lot of suspension upgrades to my car, it bothered me and I just felt it was time to tighten things back up.
I was honestly a little nervous about the project at first, after all I was replacing the main connection point for the rear wheels. But after looking at it and reading the DIY's, it really isn't bad at all. In researcing the project I noticed a lot of the DIY's on the net say you MUST have this special removal tool for the bushing. Well, the little tool is $90! I didn't have $90, so I said my usual "I'll figure it out" and went to work. There are many, many DIY's on the procedure so I will spare you the details. But I will say this, if you have an air chisel, a hammer, and a sharp screwdriver, the old bushings come out just fine without the tool. I highly recommend the use of powerflex solid bushings for replacement of the OEM bushings. Unlike the front control arm bushings by powerflex, these do not increase driving harshness at all. They do however make a HUGE difference in handling, I picked up 7-9mph in the hard corners I usually drive. Also, the powerflex (or any urethane bushing) eliminates the worry about "preloading". Preloading is caused by the rubber bushing binding up when re-installing it and is a complicated process to keep it from doing so. With the urethane one's you bolt on and go. If you want to see pics of the process, here is the link to the post I made on bimmerfest.com http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=396118&highlight=rtab.
So to recap, here are the things you need to know to do this job:
1. Buy powerflex or UUC urethane bushings. I recommend powerflex and you can get them from Bimmerworld here. Bimmerworld is great and ships fast.
2. While the RTAB bushing removal tool is great, there are a variety of ways to remove the bushings without it. If you are creative, mechanically inclined, and don't mind a little sweat, it is not needed.
3. Mark the location of the upper bracket with a pen or scribe it with a screwdriver. This will ensure you get the plate back into position correctly.
4. You may need to drop your sway bar (I did) if you have aftermarket ones for clearance
Other than that, it was an easy DIY that netted great results. I mean you REALLY feel this "mod" and how it tightens up your car. Best $79 you'll spend. I guarantee it!