Project E46 M3: Part 12 – Whiteline control arm bushings, alignment, and tumbler switch fix

Project E46 M3 has been performing very well over the past year. It's sitting here with a subtle agressiveness to its appearance, thanks to its D-Force lightweight wheels wrapped with BFG Goodrich Rival tires, Wilwood's six- and four-piston four-wheel brake upgrade, a Bavarian Autosport carbon fiber front lip and rear LED taillights, black-out kidney and quarter panel grills from EAS, painted side marker from IND Distribution, and  a Magnaflow exhaust smothered by a carbon diffuser from Khoalty BMW Accessories. The 17-lb, 18-in D-Force wheels are now sold through Bavarian Autosport.

Project E46 M3: Part 12 – Whiteline Front Control Arm Lower Inner Rear Bushing install, Alignment, and Tumbler switch fix

By Pablo Mazlumian

It’s hard to believe that nearly an entire year has gone by since we’ve last updated Project E46 M3. There isn’t a whole lot to report except that the car has been a blast to drive, and has been performing almost flawlessly as well. At over 320 WHP and over 260 lb-ft of torque down low, it's been plenty fast, thanks to its somewhat light weight (by today's standards anyway).

I say that driving the E46 M3 over the past year has been “almost” flawless because there was a time when our ignition switch went out in the steering column, causing the car to be incapable of shutting off—something we’ll cover more in the latter pages of this write-up. We did, however, perform a little upgrade that any M3 getting up there in either mileage (or years) should consider.

This time last year, Whiteline released a set of lower inner rear bushings (part number W53518) for the E46 M3’s front control arm, but these units are already pressed in a factory housing for easier installation. And since this car has turned 14 years old this year (although it’s only got 66k miles), I thought this would be a nice upgrade. Plus, I was looking to do a front wheel alignment soon anyway (the car is pulling ever so slightly to the left, you see).

The bushings feature Whiteline’s Synthetic Elastomer, which ensures great ride quality at both low and high speeds, while providing precise turn-in at the same time. They also don’t need to be greased and won’t squeak. Other key benefits to Whiteline’s elastomer is high resistance to weathering and chemicals, increased feel under braking, and overall handling.  Also, at just $85 for the pair, they’re a great gain for the buck!

In order to pull the bushings off of the control arm without removing the control arm itself, you’re going to need a control arm bushing press. We got ours from our friends at Bavarian Autosport. I’ve been working with Bavarian Autosport for probably over ten years now, and these guys never fail to come through.

Bavarian Autosport has been my go-to place for factory BMW components and maintenance parts. That's where I get my Lubro Moly oil, oil filters, various seals (a rear main seal is on its way for our future BimmerWorld/Clutch Masters clutch install that will be featured next time), filters, and interior components. The firm also does sell a plethora of performance parts.

The part of the Bavarian Autosport setup is what we’ll use to remove the bushing, which will remain in the housing. The longer rods will be used to install the new bushings and housings. The tool kit runs about $150 from Bavarian Autosport.

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