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Old 03-09-2012, 06:48 PM   #1
EyExR
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325iX Rear Subframe Bushing Replacement and Much More w/Pics!

I finally got around to doing this headache of a job. I’m glad I did though because my car feels fantastic and I addressed all the issues I had while I was in there, including trailing arm bushings, rear differential seal replacement, soft brake line replacement, new e-brake shoes, and new rear wheel bearings. I like to get my computer out to the garage just in case I need to reference anything or beg for help.



Okay, I’m going to basically go through the steps that I did for this job. So, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in this order…It’s just how I did it. Hope this helps a few folks who are about to tackle this job. Be prepared to NOT drive the car for a while as problems are inevitable and you’ll always find something that needs attention that you didn’t plan for… This took me nearly a month because of my limited time and repeated runs to the hardware store or BMW. Remember to plan ahead and replace all lock nuts! And it’s a good idea to go stainless steal on the bolts that hold the flanges together on the muffler.

Before jacking up the car, loosen the lug bolts for the rear wheels.

Remove safety retainer covering the axle nut



Loosen the axle nut. They are usually on very tight so a cheater bar like this might be necessary. I just slip a pipe over a breaker bar and the nut came loose.



Spray penetrating oil on all the bolts you’ll need to loosen. Especially the bolts you see I’m spraying below.





Jack up the car and put it on jack stands. Don’t forget to chock the front wheels. You might also want to disconnect the battery if the car is going to sit a while. …oh, it will…. Lol

Remove muffler









Move jack stands to rear of car on the frame rails under the trunk. I guess you can also support the car at the factory jack points but I wasn't getting under the car with that. Love my car - but not that much. lol.

I purchased some big jack stands from Harbor Freight. I didn't want to mess around with blocks of wood... And it'll be good to have these at my disposal in the future.

Remove brakes, including pads, calipers, and rotor.











Remove axle nut





Remove the bolts that hold the axle to the rear differential. The first pic is to show you what you are removing but you'll really need a breaker bar and some extensions. These bolts are on very tight!









Support the axle with a jack stand



Using a hammer and a punch, knock the axle out of the hub



Remove bolt that holds the shock to the spindle.



Remove brake shoes







Using a hammer and a punch, knock the axle out of the hub





This is the SIR-B90 Tool I used to do both wheel bearings. Makes it such an easy job. Glad I bought this a while back.



Here are the bits of the tool you’ll need to remove the hub.



You set it up like this





And this is what it looks like when removed



The inner bearing race was seized on there so I simply made 3 cuts with a Dremel, pried them with a screw driver and I got it off without issue.





You’ll now need to move the circlip before removing the bearing. They can get rusted in there pretty good so spray some penetrating fluid on there.



Remove circlip with circlip pliers and tame it out with a flathead screwdriver





Now remove the bearing with the B90 Tool. This is the sequence of adapters. I’m pointing to where the bearing will sit when you put it all together.





Clean it up



Here’s the order of adapter to put the new bearing in. Once complete put a new circlip in.







I wanted to get my e-brakes working better so I decided to install new shoes and lube up the rest of the system with lithium grease.



Below is the harness for the e-brake cable. Simply pull it out and push the retaining pin out with an awl or some other means. The pin is the little rusty circle closest to the bearing in the pic below.



Remove bolts that holds the rear swaybar to the trailing arm.



Put saran wrap over the brake reservoir to keep brake fluid from pouring out of your lines when you remove them.



Now remove 4 inner and outer soft brake lines at the unions



Remove ABS sensors





Remove the bolts that hold the subframe bracket to the car. These can be a HUGE pain and I had to dremel one off because I stripped it. Another bolt simply cracked in half from all the torque. Tons of penetrating fluid here! I should have let it soak for along time….





Remove speed sensor from rear diff



Remove 4 lock nuts that hold the drive axle to the diff



Remove the nut and bolt that holds the diff to the frame through the diff bushing.



Loosen (do not remove) the 4 bolts at the top of the rear diff. These can be tight and difficult to get to. I used a wrench and had to position myself to get enough torque. But they eventually came out. No pic of this but just feel around for the bolts. You can't miss them. Get a jack in place. Remove the 4 bolts and very carefully lower the diff





Support you subframe with jackstands.

Remove the large nuts that hold the subframe to the car.





Once I got those nuts off, I was hopeful that the subframe would drop out with a little encouragement but no chance. So I tapped the sleeve from the bottom and threaded a bolt in there.

I used one of my bike tools to hold the tap









Using a screw driver remove the “gunk?” over the bolt found under the rear seat. This pic should help.



Then, using a punch, hammer down on the subframe from inside the car through that hole. You’ll contact the bolt you threaded from the bottom. A couple of good strong whacks and the subframe finally came out. Remember to support you subframe with jackstand before you do this. Otherwise it will all come crashing down on the ground.



Collapse the drive shaft with a large wrench and remove. I can't see skipping this step. I tried but the subframe would not get around the driveshaft.





Carefully lower the entire subframe with trailing arms intact. I used a jack to lower it...



I removed my swaybar for painting and new bushings and hardware



Now remove the trailing arms from the subframe



All the bits out!



Remove the subframe bushings. I started by using a butane torch to burn them out a little.



Then I used a 3 jaw puller to get it the rest of the way out.



The outer sleeve will most definitely get stuck in the subframe. I used a sawzall to to make a deep cut.





Then pried it out with a flathead screwdriver





I used this homemade tool to remove the trailing arm bushings. The metal sleeve from my new Powerflex bushings worked perfectly to push it through.



I then used the following arrangement to get the new trailing arm bushings in.



I got it all the way in with a 3 jaw puller



So, thankfully I got the heads up about the Powerflex bushings being shorter than the stock iX bushings (thanks Chris!). I would have had to put washers between the diff and subframe to make up the difference in height so that it did not put undue strain on my drivetrain parts. This would mean new bolts as well. And possibly spacers at the bushing itself... This is ONLY an issue if you are keeping the stock springs. Which I am….Here you can see the difference in height between the OE bushing on the left and the Powerflex bushing sleeve on the right.



Also the base of the bushing is different. Notice how the OE bushing bottom fits into the groove of the subframe bracket. After installing, I noticed they don’t actually make contact but during driving the rubber should flex enough so that it does. In hindsight the Powerflex bushing would probably have flexed just the same way and would have been okay. It really boils down to the sleeve height. If you can get a sleeve the same length as the OE sleeve, you can use the Powerflex bushings without issue.







I bought POR-15 paint and painted everything. The subframe, trailing arms, brake calipers, some rust spots under the car (thankfully very little) and my brake drums. The stuff is amazing. Here’s my newly painted brakes. ....I didn't paint the dog.





I also cleaned up my rear diff a little. Not fantastic but worlds better than it was.



I had a major leak on one side of the diff, so I replaced the seal and O-ring. To do this you need to pry out the splined flange





Pry out the seal.




Remove the inner circlip





Unbolt the plate below



And pry it off like so. This can be a little tricky…





You might think to drain your diff fluid first. I didn’t and it poured out when I removed that plate above. I had a catch container on hand.



Remove O-ring



Clean everything up



New seals and O-ring.



Put some sealant around the new seal





I used a 2 inch PVC cap to neatly and gently hammer in the new seal







Reinstall. I used the rubber mallet to gently get it back on.



Install new circlip



Now, time to install the subframe bushings. Again, I used a PVC cap for this job. Drill a hole big enough to get a threaded rod through it.



Soap the bushing up and arrange the threaded rod, bolts and a metal sleeve like so.



I got it most of the way in and finished it off with a puller.



Be sure to get it all the way in like so.



Reinstall everything!



Getting the hub back on I used the SIR-B90 tool arranged like this.



Nothing like new bits!!

Good luck


Last edited by EyExR; 03-03-2016 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:13 PM   #2
nomansland92
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Very good right up, ill be doing my ix soon
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:32 PM   #3
EyExR
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cool man. keep it high!
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:06 PM   #4
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repost from e30tech.

o_O
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:23 PM   #5
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repost from e30tech.

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Nope. Repost from EyExR....
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Old 03-10-2012, 11:38 PM   #6
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Nice write up. I need to do this but don't relish the idea haha
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Old 03-10-2012, 11:44 PM   #7
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Also, just to clarify, the standard E30 poly rear subframe bushings don't work in the iX? Are there any poly bushings available specifically for the iX?
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:06 AM   #8
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Also, just to clarify, the standard E30 poly rear subframe bushings don't work in the iX? Are there any poly bushings available specifically for the iX?
They'll work fine if the car is lowered. And if you have stock springs, you can used standard E30 poly bushings, but you'll need to put spacers between the rear diff and the subframe, otherwise you'll put too much stress on the drivetrain and wear it out.

I wanted to stay at stock height, so the OE bushings made the most sense to me. It erased all uncertainties...
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:24 PM   #9
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I'm in the middle of the same job.. Everything except the Diff and Rear subframe is out..

EyExR: what did you mean by "Collapse the drive shaft"
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:28 AM   #10
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Cool, thanks for the info
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:52 PM   #11
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I'm in the middle of the same job.. Everything except the Diff and Rear subframe is out..

EyExR: what did you mean by "Collapse the drive shaft"
You will need to loosen the large nut in the image below.

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Old 06-11-2012, 06:40 PM   #12
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hey guys. don't know how or why my pics got oversized and out of order. Might be imageshack.us - the host site. I'll look into it and see if I can fix it. shoot me a PM if you want the Word Doc....
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:22 PM   #13
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WOw just WOW.. read you front end suspension DIY and now this one. Do you have a word .doc for each you can send me that are in the right order? I will have to change my rear bearings and the front soon.


Thanks!!! Keep it up!
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:49 AM   #14
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just replaced my IX subframe with a used one yesterday as car had an incorrectable toe out issue (put new bushings while at it) and this fortunately fixed the alignment problem so car wont be a tire shredder now .(think previous owner was a drifter and slid into curbs to bend the subframe,noticed it has wheels off four different IX cars.hmmm) drives much better now
i sure was glad to be doing this job on a lift in our shop with tranny jack ,cant imagine doing this on jack stands on your back UGH.....
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:55 AM   #15
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As far as the subframe bushing sleeve issue goes, I'm having a problem understanding why it would put more stress on the drivetrain. The bushing should be the same height as the oem one, except the sleeve is not going up into the car as far.

I'm kind of worried about putting extra stress on the bolt/unibody, would an acceptable alternative to getting/making longer sleeves be to use normal non-iX washers and space the diff down(if needed?)

I see stacking washers above the sleeve to extend it high enough, but I don't see that adding nearly the strength that would be missing from the lack of a solid sleeve.

Edit:

Also, what is done to the location of the diff mount so that it aligns with the taller washers from the factory? (diff mount tabs, diff mount, diff cover, subframe differences, etc?)

Edit 2:

I also swapped to a normal e30 subframe, which apparently is different after all (according to Here) so how much more of a pain is this going to be because of this? Can I just treat the rear end like a normal e30 and use a regular subframe washer/e30 mounts and not worry about spacing down the diff or adding washers to the bottom of the subframe bushing sleeve?
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