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      04-03-2012, 06:54 PM   #1
syenisch
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DIY M3 1M Rear Subframe Bushing Install

I did this install over the weekend, and since there is no step-by-step guide here, I thought I'd write one up. Before completing this install, I thought it would be about as big of a job as I would take on myself, but after completing it, I really didn't think it was too bad. The key is having the right tools at your disposal. A subframe bushing tool made for our cars is absolutely essential, as well as a second jack. You do not need to remove the subframe or even touch the rear suspension! All you need to do is lower the subframe a bit, and to do that requires a few operations. It's all detailed below. Some steps reference pictures ("as indicated"); those pictures are at the bottom of this post.

I must note that all the pictures were taken after the install was complete. This explains why in some pictures, components are visible that were removed in previous steps. I am also identifying the socket sizes from memory, so if anyone finds I am wrong, please share!

Necessary Tools
2 jacks
2 jackstands
2 chocks
2 BMW jackpads or an alternative
11mm open-ended wrench
16mm socket
18mm socket
9/16” socket
3/8" ratchet
1/2" ratchet
Rear Subframe Bushing Tool or an alternative
2 vice grips, 2 hose crimpers, or an alternative

1. Get the car up on jackstands so that both rear tires off the ground. If you don’t have the special jacking pads made to fit inside the black plastic box around the jacking points, I recommend using the largest diameter socket that will fit inside the black plastic box. Turn it on its side and jack on that. If you only put stands under the rear jack points, there's nothing to keep the car from rolling forward/backward, so be sure to put something sturdy in front of the front tires. I use a couple of homemade chocks I made from blocks of wood that I jam in front of the tires. You will be working under the car at times. Safety is #1!

2. Using a 1/2" ratchet and an 18mm socket, remove the bolt indicated in yellow on each side.

3. Using a 3/8" ratchet and a 16mm socket, remove the two bolts indicated in yellow on each side. Accessibility in this area is limited, so you have to use a 3/8" ratchet with a low-profile socket. You could use a wrench, but I prefer to use a ratchet when possible. The bolt indicated in red was the one removed in Step 2.

4. Use a pair of vice grips (or a hose crimper or something similar) to stop the flow of brake fluid in the brake lines indicated in red. Then use an 11mm open-ended wrench to disconnect the rear brake lines by detaching the fittings indicated in yellow. Once you disconnect the fittings, some brake fluid will likely leak out of the hoses on both ends. One good solution is to put a Ziplock bag around it to collect any spillage. I obviously did not!

5. Use a jack to support the center of the rear subframe where indicated by the red arrow. If you have one larger floor jack and one portable jack, use the larger floor jack here.

6. Use a 1/2" ratchet and a 9/16" socket to remove the two bolts supporting the rear subframe on each side indicated in red. These bolts have a unique head, but I found that a 9/16” socket works perfectly. A metric sized socket might work even better; I just saw it was a unique head and started trying sockets one at a time. The one in the front is deep inside a “cup” and will require a lengthy extension for your ratchet.

7. There are four rear subframe bushings, two in the front and two in the rear. (From now I will just call them front and rear.) We will start by removing the bushings on the rear. On the opposite end of the subframe from where you are working, use a second jack (portable if possible) to lift up the subframe as high as possible. Then, slowly lower the center jack to bring the rear of the subframe down a bit to give you more clearance at the corner you are working. Make sure the center jack is supporting the subframe at all times though.

8. Attach the rear subframe bushing tool as indicated in the instructions. I used a threaded rod from a spring compressor I had instead of the rod in the unit because it allowed me to attach a ratchet rather than a wrench, which I thought would be easier and faster. You could accomplish the same thing by putting two nuts back to back on the bottom of the rod. When I sent the tool back to HP I included a few extra nuts so people could do this, but I have no idea if they will be sending the tool back out that way.

Note there is a flange on the bottom of the rear bushings. This indicates that the bushing should be removed out the bottom. The bushing is in a tight press-fit, and there's a lot of friction in that interface. It will take some elbow grease to get it out. For the first few turns, you are just displacing the center part vertically. Eventually the rubber will each its limit and start to bring the outside with it. Keep turning until the bushing completely pops out.

9. Next we will install the M3 bushing. Apply silicone lube to the bore in the subframe and the outer diameter of the bushing. I recommend 3 dime-sized blobs on each surface. Smear it around to evenly cover each surface. Next, attach the tool as shown. Be sure the bushing is properly aligned. It will self center to some extent, but you really don't want it entering the bore askew. With the help of the silicone lube, it should be much easier to install than it was to uninstall the stock bushings. I tried another lube and it was not nearly as easy. Silicone lube is commonly used in applications like this and really is the right stuff to get.

10. Lower the second jack on the corner of the subframe and move it to the opposite corner from the other rear bushing. Repeat Steps 8 and 9.

11. Next we will replace the front bushings on the subframe. Manipulate your jacks to give you the maximum amount of clearance on top of the bushing you are working on. The removal process really is the same as for the rear bushings. Be sure to use the tool as directed by the supplier. Again, the flange is on the bottom, so the bushing should exit to the bottom. However, when installing the front M3 bushing, the flange is on the opposite side. The M3 bushing must be installed from the top!

12. When all four bushings are installed, raise the center jack to lift the subframe up. Get it all the way up so that each corner is touching its mounting surface. Make sure the mounting pads of the subframe bushings are flush against the frame of the car. You may need work your way around the subframe with your second jack one corner at a time to get it just right. If you do, make sure not to jack it up on the bushing itself, as this could cause the front bushings to unseat since the bushing’s flange is on the top, and it would prevent you from inserting the bolt through the bushing. I recommend starting with the two rear bushings first. Once you get to the front bushing, remember that you need to pass the bolt through the deep "cup" in the arm you removed. Tighten each screw to finger tight, then come back and torque them.

I must admit I did not have torque values when I did the install. I just relied on years of experience and observation of the diameter of the bolt to torque to what I thought was reasonable. If anyone knows the torque values, please let the rest of us know.

If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message! Again, with the proper equipment, this install is totally doable. Good luck!
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Last edited by syenisch; 04-04-2012 at 08:31 PM. Reason: Fixed pictures
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      04-03-2012, 07:11 PM   #2
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Pics aren't working for me.
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      04-03-2012, 08:19 PM   #3
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Wow! Subscribed!
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      04-03-2012, 08:38 PM   #4
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pics aren't working for me too - but thanks for the DIY!
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      04-03-2012, 09:44 PM   #5
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No pics but plenty of pointers. Will have a go at this when I get my chance at that bushing tool.

Thank you for taking your time in composing such a write-up.
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      04-03-2012, 09:52 PM   #6
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Thanks!
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      04-04-2012, 06:26 AM   #7
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No problem, guys. This forum has given me a lot. This was my chance to give back. I am also hoping to make a write up on how to change camber plates/suspension in the very near future.

I do see that the pictures don't work. I will try to correct that in the next day of two.
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      04-04-2012, 07:24 AM   #8
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If I'm understanding this correctly, you didn't remove the entire subframe but just lowered it in place so you didn't have to take apart the whole rear suspension?

Also, is there any kind of markings or tabs to help you get the bushings aligned with the square pegs?

Awesome writeup, thanks for sharing.
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      04-04-2012, 08:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfe
If I'm understanding this correctly, you didn't remove the entire subframe but just lowered it in place so you didn't have to take apart the whole rear suspension?

Also, is there any kind of markings or tabs to help you get the bushings aligned with the square pegs?

Awesome writeup, thanks for sharing.
Correct - you don't need to remove the subframe. Just lower it. I will add that to the intro to the write up.

Not sure what you are referring to by the square pegs. In the frame, there is an alignment pin with cut off flat sides for the LF bushing I believe. Basically BMW's alternative to a pin/slot alignment configuration for aligning the subframe. But that doesn't impose any clocking requirement on the bushing, and I actually called HP Autowerks to confirm there is no clocking requirement on any of the bushings.
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      04-04-2012, 12:20 PM   #10
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Thanks, that's great that you don't have to take everything off. makes this a much more manageable job and I am guessing you might not even need an alignment done?

I was going by the pictures in this thread: http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=638163

The front bushings look like they have square holes so I assumed they fit onto square locating pegs. I've seen the pin/slotted bushing setup on e46's but was curious about how they did things on the 1 series. If you got any pictures of the alignment pin(s) would you mind posting them when you get a chance?

thanks a ton for the info.
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      04-04-2012, 12:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syenisch View Post

I do see that the pictures don't work. I will try to correct that in the next day of two.

Try uploading your pics direct to 1addicts. Go into the edit tab and click on ADVANCED mode. Then on the paper clip and upload direct. Make sure your photos are around 200 to 400kb in size. IF you need help just shoot me a PM.
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      04-04-2012, 08:32 PM   #12
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Believe I fixed the pictures... can someone confirm please? Interestingly they worked the whole time on my computer. Must have been pulling locally??
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      04-04-2012, 09:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syenisch View Post
Believe I fixed the pictures... can someone confirm please? Interestingly they worked the whole time on my computer. Must have been pulling locally??
Pics look good to me.
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      04-14-2012, 09:57 PM   #14
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Is this really as simple as you make it sound? I really, really want to get these done - my problem is finding a shop willing to do it (plus of course the cost of the labor). This DIY, however, makes me think I could probably do it myself...how long did it take you, start to finish?

BTW, did you have to bleed the brakes afterwards?
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      04-15-2012, 08:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer-Bob
Is this really as simple as you make it sound? I really, really want to get these done - my problem is finding a shop willing to do it (plus of course the cost of the labor). This DIY, however, makes me think I could probably do it myself...how long did it take you, start to finish?

BTW, did you have to bleed the brakes afterwards?
I honestly didn't think it was bad. Time consuming, yes.

I didn't bleed the brakes afterward, but I had an appointment to get new fluid at the dealer just a few days following. Probably would be a good idea to do it.
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      05-03-2012, 02:32 AM   #16
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From my limited understanding. I think the key to this one is that... almost everybody was saying that the entire rear subframe needs to be completely dropped for this install to happen. Now it seems that a large enough opening can be achieved to insert 2 of the harder new bushings? The scariest part of this whole procedure seems to be the lowering of the centre jack. What kind of jack do you have that gives you fine control of the lowering? Mine usually will lower things rather quickly once turned.....

The only last thing left is the torque values for all the bolts, and someone else to double confirm that this is doable even by a mechanic noob (like me, who have only ever changed summer/winter wheels here...).

That said, if it's this simple, why do places charge an arm or a leg for it? It sounds like as if this is doable under 2 hours for an experienced shop!
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      05-14-2012, 06:49 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BiscottiGelato
From my limited understanding. I think the key to this one is that... almost everybody was saying that the entire rear subframe needs to be completely dropped for this install to happen. Now it seems that a large enough opening can be achieved to insert 2 of the harder new bushings? The scariest part of this whole procedure seems to be the lowering of the centre jack. What kind of jack do you have that gives you fine control of the lowering? Mine usually will lower things rather quickly once turned.....

The only last thing left is the torque values for all the bolts, and someone else to double confirm that this is doable even by a mechanic noob (like me, who have only ever changed summer/winter wheels here...).

That said, if it's this simple, why do places charge an arm or a leg for it? It sounds like as if this is doable under 2 hours for an experienced shop!
Most of what I read said that you don't have to completely remove the subframe, but in any case, you definitely do not.

Regarding the jack - I have both a nice floor jack that releases by turning the "pole" and another $30 one that releases by turning a screw on the base. Both work fine if you're not reckless.

It costs a lot because it is time consuming. Easy does not mean quick. I wouldn't put this in the easy category, but it's definitely not hard. If you have no experience working on your car, I wouldn't bite it off as a first project.
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      05-14-2012, 08:21 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syenisch View Post
Most of what I read said that you don't have to completely remove the subframe, but in any case, you definitely do not.

Regarding the jack - I have both a nice floor jack that releases by turning the "pole" and another $30 one that releases by turning a screw on the base. Both work fine if you're not reckless.

It costs a lot because it is time consuming. Easy does not mean quick. I wouldn't put this in the easy category, but it's definitely not hard. If you have no experience working on your car, I wouldn't bite it off as a first project.
Do you by any chance have a picture of the subframe bushing tool you used?

Thanks.
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      05-14-2012, 08:41 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elsabor67
Quote:
Originally Posted by syenisch View Post
Most of what I read said that you don't have to completely remove the subframe, but in any case, you definitely do not.

Regarding the jack - I have both a nice floor jack that releases by turning the "pole" and another $30 one that releases by turning a screw on the base. Both work fine if you're not reckless.

It costs a lot because it is time consuming. Easy does not mean quick. I wouldn't put this in the easy category, but it's definitely not hard. If you have no experience working on your car, I wouldn't bite it off as a first project.
Do you by any chance have a picture of the subframe bushing tool you used?

Thanks.
I used the tool that HP Autowerks rents out. You should be able to find it rather easily on here and their website.
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      05-14-2012, 11:26 AM   #20
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Thanks for taking the time to write this up.
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      05-14-2012, 09:57 PM   #21
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Please confirm one thing for me. The front bushings remove from the bottom, but install from the top, correct?

This would be great news as it looks like the Powerflex front bushings come in two pieces making it easier to install without having to drop the sub frame as much.
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      05-14-2012, 10:02 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BiscottiGelato View Post
From my limited understanding. I think the key to this one is that... almost everybody was saying that the entire rear subframe needs to be completely dropped for this install to happen. Now it seems that a large enough opening can be achieved to insert 2 of the harder new bushings? The scariest part of this whole procedure seems to be the lowering of the centre jack. What kind of jack do you have that gives you fine control of the lowering? Mine usually will lower things rather quickly once turned.....

The only last thing left is the torque values for all the bolts, and someone else to double confirm that this is doable even by a mechanic noob (like me, who have only ever changed summer/winter wheels here...).

That said, if it's this simple, why do places charge an arm or a leg for it? It sounds like as if this is doable under 2 hours for an experienced shop!
I did mine several years ago. It's not complicated, but it is time consuming, and way more than 2 hours even for an experienced shop. It's slow going removing the bushings with the tool.
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