Idle Idler Arm Bushings

Minor update/vent session:

I decided to adjust the steering box and, with the drag link off, replace the idler arm bushings. Adjusting the box with a Torq-meter was fairly uneventful, except for the fact that I found it was pretty trashed. Pressing forth I managed to ruin the drag link boots getting it off the pitman arm and idler arm.

Removing the idler arm required removing the control arm and at that point it’s worth it to remove the radius rod as well. After the idler arm was dropped, I spent a day and a half removing the fucking bushings out of the subframe. Once those were out with a combination of air chisel, welder, and lots of swearing, I went to go put in the bushings that I’ve been sitting on for a couple of years. Well much to my surprise they were way too big by about 1-2mm. Inquiring on the 2002FAQ forum led me to the conclusion that I had late subframe bushings rather than the early ones I needed. Only then did I find the mention of BMW changing subframes throughout production buried somewhere in the fucking front suspension section rather than the steering section. Well that was nice.


These are late subframe bushings for fluted idler arm tubes.


These are the early subframe bushings, p/n 32 21 2 475 055.

Sell the bushings I had at a loss, and buy some brand new early bushings. Get them about a week later. They look wrong but I’ll try anyway… No luck. I email the parts supplier and let him know my situation.


The bushings that I was sent, which are the wrong part inside a bag with the right part number.

So he checks his stock and his supplier’s stock and says they all look the same. The problem arises from a weird step inside the tube, illustrated here:


to the left is a cross section illustration of the tube on the subframe, in the middle is an illustration of the bushing I was sent, and the right is the correct bushing. Below is an isometric-ish view of the tube itself

So basically I’m at the point where the correct bushing apparently doesn’t exist, and I’m being told to just cut the bushings that I DO have down so that I can use them.

In short, fuck you BMW and mobile tradition. What was supposed to take me an afternoon has now taken me the better part of 3 fucking weeks.

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