vazbmw
vazbmw HalfDork
12/29/21 9:47 p.m.

Hi Folks

I am looking to build custom control arms (wishbone and thrust arm) on my BMW E34.

I know I can just spend $1000 and buy some…but I am a GRMer.

I can’t find any rebuildable ball joints with that correct taper.

Do you folks have any ideas for ball joints or the equivalent that will fit an E34?

 

Thanks in advance

adam525i
adam525i Dork
12/30/21 11:03 a.m.

I'd start with quality arms from Lemforder (if you can get them) and then modify the bushing end with the spherical bearings that you'd like to use. That way you already have balljoints and arms that are up to the task. Otherwise I bet the E30/36 etc. balljoints have the right taper and should be up to the task as they only use one at the strut rather than two like an E28/31/32/34 etc.

What I did on my track/autocross E28 was E31 aluminum control arms which come with spherical bearings and Lemforder thrust arms with the Moosehead engineering spherical bearings pressed in. I've had them on the car since 2017 and super happy with them, they are rebuildable too and came with the spare parts. You probably know these options already though.

vazbmw
vazbmw HalfDork
12/30/21 6:55 p.m.

In reply to adam525i :

Thank you

I didn't know about moosehead.

Great advice!

vazbmw
vazbmw HalfDork
12/31/21 12:28 p.m.

In reply to adam525i :

One more question.

Do the e31 thrust arms fit the e34 also?

adam525i
adam525i Dork
12/31/21 2:26 p.m.

In reply to vazbmw :

Everything I've ever read indicates they are all compatible between E28/31/32 and E34. My car is up on jack stands in the garage so I took a quick measurement of the control arms, from the centre of the ball joint to the centre of the spherical bearing it is roughly 330 mm long so you can double check to what you currently have.

Moosehead engineering actually lists them here as well and indicatest they work too.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
12/31/21 2:31 p.m.

Moosehead has a good reputation in the e28 community.

vazbmw
vazbmw HalfDork
1/15/22 9:40 a.m.

In reply to adam525i :

Thanks so much for all your knowledge and advice

I ordered some mono balls from Turner and installing them in some arms.

adam525i
adam525i Dork
1/15/22 9:51 a.m.

In reply to vazbmw :

Cool, I hadn't run across those yet. Let us know how they are once you put some miles on them.

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
1/15/22 12:00 p.m.

Turner makes monoballs for a wider range of BMWs than Moosehead does, it looks like.  I've been debating the Turner ones for my E38, but I haven't convinced myself that it won't be a NVH disaster on the street (although I'm sure it'll make the steering better with the summer tires on).  As is, the Ground Control camber plates were a significant NVH penalty over the stock strut tops. 

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
1/15/22 12:35 p.m.

In reply to rslifkin :

As far as Turner vs Moosehead, after Turner's namesake sold out to the ECS Tuning empire and the part/customer service quality took a nosedive, I would be inclined to go with Moosehead where possible just to support small business. The part selection is what it is, though, so I get it.

I installed control arms with spherical bearings on my E28 and I wouldn't do it again for a mostly-street car that has to see typical northern US city roads, FWIW. They did sharpen up the front end quite a bit but made Wisconsin expansion joints/potholes/other sharp bumps a teeth-shattering affair. It might be less noticeable on a heavier car like the E38 but overall I felt like it was a step in the wrong direction. (That said, I live in California now, and with the nice roads around here I wouldn't be afraid to install some.)

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
1/15/22 1:07 p.m.

Every person I have personal experience with who eliminated rubber suspension bushings hated the NVH on the street and either undid it or sold the car.

YMMV of course.  Personally the increased maintenance expense kills it before the NVH.

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
1/15/22 2:59 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

Every person I have personal experience with who eliminated rubber suspension bushings hated the NVH on the street and either undid it or sold the car.

YMMV of course.  Personally the increased maintenance expense kills it before the NVH.

That's kinda my fear.  But at the same time, even the stiffer "heavy duty" rubber bushings in the thrust arms are still so mushy that the steering, etc. becomes "less than great" with stiff, sticky summer tires on the front.  Put the snows on and suddenly it's like a whole different car. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
1/15/22 3:14 p.m.

In reply to rslifkin :

Oh, no doubt.  Once you start exceeding the suspension loads that the vehicle was engineered for, compromises do have to be made.

Tyler H (Forum Supporter)
Tyler H (Forum Supporter) UberDork
1/17/22 12:12 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

Every person I have personal experience with who eliminated rubber suspension bushings hated the NVH on the street and either undid it or sold the car.

YMMV of course.  Personally the increased maintenance expense kills it before the NVH.

~Agree, and it seems especially pronounced on BMWs vs other platforms.  Even on track or race cars, I don't like non-compliant bushings until the suspension is stiff enough that it doesn't have much travel anyway.  

*I owned an E28, but never tracked it.  It may be worse on E36/46s.  Not sure if the earlier steering box cars are a different story.

Cactus
Cactus HalfDork
1/17/22 2:08 p.m.

The moosehead bushings use nylatron races, less NVH than metal-on-metal heim joints, but they're never going to match rubber. Honestly, just don't upsize the wheel too much so your tires still have some sidewall and it'll ride pretty fine. I've got e31 lowers, moosehead uppers and coilovers on my M5 and the NVH isn't bothersome. 225/50/16 tires, handles great.

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