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Problem disconnecting tie rod and sway bar from strut

Posted by Dave_G 
Here's the latest snag in this weekend's project. I'm taking apart the front suspension of my iX to replace the front CV boots and front springs all at the same time. I've got most of it apart, but to pull the strut out of the car I still need to disconnect the tie rod from the strut and the sway bar from the end link. The problem is that when I try to loosen the nut from the stud, the whole stud spins instead, on both the tie rod and the sway bar. Of course on the other end, there's nothing to grab onto, just a hemispherical plastic bump. They're thoroughly soaked in PB Blaster, but they just sit there and spin. The tie rod stud actually came loose about 1 or 2 mm, so you can see a gap now, but it's not coming out any farther.

I'm kind of at a loss as to how to get these off. Any ideas?

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
rkj
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Dave_G
Here's the latest snag in this weekend's project. I'm taking apart the front suspension of my iX to replace the front CV boots and front springs all at the same time. I've got most of it apart, but to pull the strut out of the car I still need to disconnect the tie rod from the strut and the sway bar from the end link. The problem is that when I try to loosen the nut from the stud, the whole stud spins instead, on both the tie rod and the sway bar. Of course on the other end, there's nothing to grab onto, just a hemispherical plastic bump. They're thoroughly soaked in PB Blaster, but they just sit there and spin. The tie rod stud actually came loose about 1 or 2 mm, so you can see a gap now, but it's not coming out any farther.

I'm kind of at a loss as to how to get these off. Any ideas?

Hmm, been there. The only two options Dave is pressing them more ON and trying to get the nut to spin or use a fork to get the stud to stop turning by the pressure between the tie rod and the strut housing, sometimes you can get the nut to spin as you tap the fork in tighter and tighter.
Do you have that handy little puller the tie-rods?

Rick
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rkj
The only two options Dave is pressing them more ON and trying to get the nut to spin or use a fork to get the stud to stop turning by the pressure between the tie rod and the strut housing, sometimes you can get the nut to spin as you tap the fork in tighter and tighter.
Hmm. Both good ideas. I'll try #1 and if that doesn't work I guess I'll go out and get myself a pickle fork. It's about time I had one anyway. smiling smiley
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Do you have that handy little puller the tie-rods?
No. What handy little puller is that? I have a generic puller, but I'm guessing that's not what you're talking about.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
rkj
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Dave_G
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rkj
The only two options Dave is pressing them more ON and trying to get the nut to spin or use a fork to get the stud to stop turning by the pressure between the tie rod and the strut housing, sometimes you can get the nut to spin as you tap the fork in tighter and tighter.
Hmm. Both good ideas. I'll try #1 and if that doesn't work I guess I'll go out and get myself a pickle fork. It's about time I had one anyway. smiling smiley
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Do you have that handy little puller the tie-rods?
No. What handy little puller is that? I have a generic puller, but I'm guessing that's not what you're talking about.

It's a little U shaped puller especially for tie rod end removal. One version

[www.shopwiki.com]

Mine is a lot cuter
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rkj
It's a little U shaped puller especially for tie rod end removal. One version

[www.shopwiki.com]

Mine is a lot cuter
Cool, another tool I can't live without. smiling smiley

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
rkj
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Dave_G
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rkj
It's a little U shaped puller especially for tie rod end removal. One version

[www.shopwiki.com]

Mine is a lot cuter
Cool, another tool I can't live without. smiling smiley

I love buying tools I need- So Dave, how are things going?
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Dave_G
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rkj
It's a little U shaped puller especially for tie rod end removal. One version

[www.shopwiki.com]

Mine is a lot cuter
Cool, another tool I can't live without. smiling smiley

Tell Earendil to send you the one I let him borrow a couple years ago! It can be the official BENN tie-rod puller.


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rkj
I love buying tools I need- So Dave, how are things going?
Unfortunately bad timing on this has kept me from working on it. I probably won't get back to wrenching on it for another week or so. For now it's just taunting me from the garage.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
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daniel
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Dave_G
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rkj
It's a little U shaped puller especially for tie rod end removal. One version

[www.shopwiki.com]

Mine is a lot cuter
Cool, another tool I can't live without. smiling smiley

Tell Earendil to send you the one I let him borrow a couple years ago! It can be the official BENN tie-rod puller.

That was only 18 months ago tongue sticking out smiley
I'd be happy to send it, however it wasn't quite the right size for the job I didn't think, I "made" it work, and did a little damage to the puller in the process.

Daniel, I did buy you a new one, didn't I?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

If you put pressure via a jack under the ball joint it will cause the bolt to not be able to spin and allow the nut to come off. Also an impact wrench will help too as the nut can be spun much faster than the bolt.
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Earendil
Daniel, I did buy you a new one, didn't I?

ehhh I don't remember


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wodcutr
If you put pressure via a jack under the ball joint it will cause the bolt to not be able to spin and allow the nut to come off. Also an impact wrench will help too as the nut can be spun much faster than the bolt.
Success! Earlier I had tried the jack-under-the-ball-joint thing, but my mistake was using a jack that wasn't raising it high enough, and it kept spinning. Today I used the big jack, raised it as high as it would go, and gave it lots of heat with the torch. (It had also been soaking with PB Blaster for several days). Popped on the impact wrench, and that nut spun right off like it meant to do that all along. Trouble? What trouble?

The sway bar ball joint was a little trickier since it's mounted sideways, so you can't get a jack under it. Channellock pliers were useless in holding it. Finally I pulled back the pointy end of the rubber boot, and the lip of the boot popped off a raised flange on the bolt. There was enough room to get a pair of needle-nose vise grips in there, and get a good enough grip to hold the bolt while pulling off the nut, all with no damage to the bolt or the boot.

Finally! The strut is out, and now I can replace the broken spring and the wobbly wheel bearing. (Replacement of the front axle CV boots is happening in a parallel process down in the cellar workshop.)

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
rkj
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Dave_G
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wodcutr
If you put pressure via a jack under the ball joint it will cause the bolt to not be able to spin and allow the nut to come off. Also an impact wrench will help too as the nut can be spun much faster than the bolt.
Success! Earlier I had tried the jack-under-the-ball-joint thing, but my mistake was using a jack that wasn't raising it high enough, and it kept spinning. Today I used the big jack, raised it as high as it would go, and gave it lots of heat with the torch. (It had also been soaking with PB Blaster for several days). Popped on the impact wrench, and that nut spun right off like it meant to do that all along. Trouble? What trouble?

The tie rod ball joint was a little trickier since it's mounted sideways, so you can't get a jack under it. Channellock pliers were useless in holding it. Finally I pulled back the pointy end of the rubber boot, and the lip of the boot popped off a raised flange on the bolt. There was enough room to get a pair of needle-nose vise grips in there, and get a good enough grip to hold the bolt while pulling off the nut, all with no damage to the bolt or the boot.

Finally! The strut is out, and now I can replace the broken spring and the wobbly wheel bearing. (Replacement of the front axle CV boots is happening in a parallel process down in the cellar workshop.)

That sounds more like it thumbs up
rkj
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rkj
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Dave_G
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wodcutr
If you put pressure via a jack under the ball joint it will cause the bolt to not be able to spin and allow the nut to come off. Also an impact wrench will help too as the nut can be spun much faster than the bolt.
Success! Earlier I had tried the jack-under-the-ball-joint thing, but my mistake was using a jack that wasn't raising it high enough, and it kept spinning. Today I used the big jack, raised it as high as it would go, and gave it lots of heat with the torch. (It had also been soaking with PB Blaster for several days). Popped on the impact wrench, and that nut spun right off like it meant to do that all along. Trouble? What trouble?

The tie rod ball joint was a little trickier since it's mounted sideways, so you can't get a jack under it. Channellock pliers were useless in holding it. Finally I pulled back the pointy end of the rubber boot, and the lip of the boot popped off a raised flange on the bolt. There was enough room to get a pair of needle-nose vise grips in there, and get a good enough grip to hold the bolt while pulling off the nut, all with no damage to the bolt or the boot.

Finally! The strut is out, and now I can replace the broken spring and the wobbly wheel bearing. (Replacement of the front axle CV boots is happening in a parallel process down in the cellar workshop.)

That sounds more like it thumbs up

Wait a minute, replace a broken spring?, you mean the big one Elizabeth?
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rkj
Wait a minute, replace a broken spring?, you mean the big one Elizabeth?
Yeah, ever since I've had my iX, the bottom coil of the front left spring has been broken. It's been fine for most driving, but there have been a few big bumps over the years where the effectively lower spring rate on that corner has caused the car to bottom out, causing me to make funny faces and swear that THIS time I'm finally going to replace that spring. Since I needed to pull the axle out anyway to replace the torn CV boot, I figured I might as well pull the strut out while I was at it and kill two birds with one stone. (And since I decided the front left wheel bearing was worn too, I'm actually killing three birds with one stone.) I found a pair of used iX springs from a guy on e30tech.com (my favorite E30 site that isn't here), so this whole thing is ending up costing me very little for parts, just many hours in the garage, which I don't charge myself much for. And I've learned a boatload about the iX front suspension in the process.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
rkj
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Dave_G
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rkj
Wait a minute, replace a broken spring?, you mean the big one Elizabeth?
Yeah, ever since I've had my iX, the bottom coil of the front left spring has been broken. It's been fine for most driving, but there have been a few big bumps over the years where the effectively lower spring rate on that corner has caused the car to bottom out, causing me to make funny faces and swear that THIS time I'm finally going to replace that spring. Since I needed to pull the axle out anyway to replace the torn CV boot, I figured I might as well pull the strut out while I was at it and kill two birds with one stone. (And since I decided the front left wheel bearing was worn too, I'm actually killing three birds with one stone.) I found a pair of used iX springs from a guy on e30tech.com (my favorite E30 site that isn't here), so this whole thing is ending up costing me very little for parts, just many hours in the garage, which I don't charge myself much for. And I've learned a boatload about the iX front suspension in the process.

That's interesting, I've never heard of springs breaking on these cars but the other day I was talking to Scott at Bav and he said there are many Bmw's that break springs; his car was in the shop as we spoke to change out one. Interesting.... I can think of a few times I would've understood one breaking on the 2002's.... but never did though B)-

Good luck Dave, love it when you can sit down and sort stuff out smileys with beer
Yesterday when I pulled out the strut on the passenger side I discovered that the spring on that side was broken, too, in the exact same way. The break was just turned so that it wasn't obvious with the strut in the car. Guess that would explain why my car never rode lopsided. smiling smiley Good thing I'm replacing the springs as a pair anyway.

Since I'm already this far along, I've decided to kill a fourth bird and replace the shocks with Bilstein HDs while I'm at it. They don't really need it yet, but I don't know how old the current cheapo shocks are (why don't previous owners ever keep records like I do?:X), and they will probably need replacing as soon as I get it all back together. At least this way I'll know I won't need to pull this all apart again for a while.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
rkj
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Dave_G
Yesterday when I pulled out the strut on the passenger side I discovered that the spring on that side was broken, too, in the exact same way. The break was just turned so that it wasn't obvious with the strut in the car. Guess that would explain why my car never rode lopsided. smiling smiley Good thing I'm replacing the springs as a pair anyway.

Since I'm already this far along, I've decided to kill a fourth bird and replace the shocks with Bilstein HDs while I'm at it. They don't really need it yet, but I don't know how old the current cheapo shocks are (why don't previous owners ever keep records like I do?:X), and they will probably need replacing as soon as I get it all back together. At least this way I'll know I won't need to pull this all apart again for a while.

I'd be tempted to replace the top bearing assy's for those bone shaker shocks- While you're in there grinning smiley
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rkj
I'd be tempted to replace the top bearing assy's for those bone shaker shocks- While you're in there grinning smiley
That's because you don't have an iX. The front upper strut mounts for the iX are $115 (vs. $31 for a regular E30). At that price, I'm much more tempted to just call them good and keep using them.

While I'm at it, what are people's thoughts about stuffing some grease in the top of the bearing there before putting the dust cap on? Good idea? Bad idea? Part of me wants to see bearings lubricated, but another part of me says that a blob of grease there could trap more dirt.

"Bone shaker" shocks? Are you referring to the Bilsteins? I've never used them on an E30 before (though I have them in my Miata) -- are you saying that if I do that I can look forward to a harsh and jarring ride, as opposed to the desired tight and responsive one?

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
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Dave_G
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rkj
I'd be tempted to replace the top bearing assy's for those bone shaker shocks- While you're in there grinning smiley
That's because you don't have an iX. The front upper strut mounts for the iX are $115 (vs. $31 for a regular E30). At that price, I'm much more tempted to just call them good and keep using them.

While I'm at it, what are people's thoughts about stuffing some grease in the top of the bearing there before putting the dust cap on? Good idea? Bad idea? Part of me wants to see bearings lubricated, but another part of me says that a blob of grease there could trap more dirt.

"Bone shaker" shocks? Are you referring to the Bilsteins? I've never used them on an E30 before (though I have them in my Miata) -- are you saying that if I do that I can look forward to a harsh and jarring ride, as opposed to the desired tight and responsive one?

Pack those bearings with lots of grease. Don't worry about dirt, it will be there even if the darn things are left dry sad smiley

Only if you get race bred springs will you have to worry about 'bone jarring'. The Bilsteins should give you what you are looking for without the tail bone smacking that race shocks would thumbs up
rkj
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Archeo-peteriX
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Dave_G
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rkj
I'd be tempted to replace the top bearing assy's for those bone shaker shocks- While you're in there grinning smiley
That's because you don't have an iX. The front upper strut mounts for the iX are $115 (vs. $31 for a regular E30). At that price, I'm much more tempted to just call them good and keep using them.

While I'm at it, what are people's thoughts about stuffing some grease in the top of the bearing there before putting the dust cap on? Good idea? Bad idea? Part of me wants to see bearings lubricated, but another part of me says that a blob of grease there could trap more dirt.

"Bone shaker" shocks? Are you referring to the Bilsteins? I've never used them on an E30 before (though I have them in my Miata) -- are you saying that if I do that I can look forward to a harsh and jarring ride, as opposed to the desired tight and responsive one?

Pack those bearings with lots of grease. Don't worry about dirt, it will be there even if the darn things are left dry sad smiley

Only if you get race bred springs will you have to worry about 'bone jarring'. The Bilsteins should give you what you are looking for without the tail bone smacking that race shocks would thumbs up

Yeah, I shouldn't be so quick to judge all Billstiens, but the ones I had in my 323 were just too hard. Pack those top bearings with light grease, the shim under the bearing will keep the dirt out if you grease that too, if you have the top cover (the IX has one I think) rubber it should all stay tight and clean.

I'd clean them first though, but you already knew that B)
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rkj
I'd clean them first though, but you already knew that B)
Indeed. They are apart on the workbench now waiting for cleaning. The new wheel bearing is going in tomorrow, and with luck the new shocks will arrive tomorrow too.

In the mean time, I'm still struggling trying to get the right side CV joints off. Stupid circlips. They're proving to be more stubborn than the left side was. The boots on the right side don't really need replacing yet, but they're showing age cracks, so it's just a matter of time, so I might as well do them now.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
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Dave_G
The sway bar ball joint was a little trickier since it's mounted sideways, so you can't get a jack under it. Channellock pliers were useless in holding it. Finally I pulled back the pointy end of the rubber boot, and the lip of the boot popped off a raised flange on the bolt. There was enough room to get a pair of needle-nose vise grips in there, and get a good enough grip to hold the bolt while pulling off the nut, all with no damage to the bolt or the boot.
Follow-up for future reference: it turns out that this wasn't the best way to do it. Not surprisingly, BMW engineered a better way to hold the bolt. People told me that there were supposed to be two flat sides that you can hold with a 17mm open-end wrench. Unfortunately, my iX does not have those flat sides. Instead, the end of the bolt is designed to be held with a T-30 Torx bit. But with the way this was positioned in the car, I couldn't see that until it was out. So, next time anyone wants to disconnect their iX sway bar and is having trouble with the bolt spinning, stick a T-30 Torx bit in the end.


__________
Dave
'91 325iX
rkj
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Dave_G
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Dave_G
The sway bar ball joint was a little trickier since it's mounted sideways, so you can't get a jack under it. Channellock pliers were useless in holding it. Finally I pulled back the pointy end of the rubber boot, and the lip of the boot popped off a raised flange on the bolt. There was enough room to get a pair of needle-nose vise grips in there, and get a good enough grip to hold the bolt while pulling off the nut, all with no damage to the bolt or the boot.
Follow-up for future reference: it turns out that this wasn't the best way to do it. Not surprisingly, BMW engineered a better way to hold the bolt. People told me that there were supposed to be two flat sides that you can hold with a 17mm open-end wrench. Unfortunately, my iX does not have those flat sides. Instead, the end of the bolt is designed to be held with a T-30 Torx bit. But with the way this was positioned in the car, I couldn't see that until it was out. So, next time anyone wants to disconnect their iX sway bar and is having trouble with the bolt spinning, stick a T-30 Torx bit in the end.
[attachment 104 img_4025.jpg]

Thanks Dave, things I never knew till now smileys with beer
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