e38 Rear Ball Joint Removal
Article by: voodoomelon
Article applies to all E38 models, 725/728/735/740/750 i/iL
– Jack and axle stands
– Custom ball joint removal ($25/€25) tool OR original BMW tool (big bucks, $300/€300+)
– Breaker bar
– Assortment of rachets with 24mm, 18mm, 16mm sockets
– White out/Tippex
– Torque wrench with 236 Nm (175 ftlb) capability
– Assorted flat head screwdrivers and hammer
– Ball joint 33326767748
– Snap ring (C slip) 33321091687
– Integral link (optional) 33326770749
– Starting work:
I got the car up in the air, one rear wheel at a time. Remember to replace components on BOTH sides of the car whenever dealing with suspension.
– Remove brake caliper
Remove the caliper with a 16mm socket, by removing the two caliper bolts located on the rear of the unit. Once removed, place it on top of the hub assembly behind the rotor/disc shield or hang it from a belt/rope from the strut spring. Do not let it hang by the brake line.
Just to skip ahead for a moment to comment on the alignment. The alignment of the rear end is adjusted via the large eccentric bolt that you will be removing. This bolt has a unique off-centre head that allows you to adjust the camber of the wheel. I used white out/tippex to mark the existing position of the bolt before I removed it.
Here is a pic of the bolt removed, however note the 3 dabs of white; these were painted on the carrier as you can see, and over onto the bolt head that was removed. On re installation, I simply lined up the lines to the millimetre and it was perfect:
Whilst an alignment is recommended after this job, I got my car tested in the annual National Car Test the following day with no alignment, and the results were spot on, less than 3% deviation.