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BMW E36 323is Rear Trailing Arm Bushing Failure

Warning: Language. Please excuse my adolescent swearing. ***Click 'show more' for deails*** Here's a video I recorded some time in 2005-ish with an old friend, Richie. I used a throwaway Logitech 4000 USB webcam, lots of duct tape (...like 2 yards), and a laptop. This video is almost a decade old, and depicts a failed suspension bushing under various loading conditions. You are looking at a failed driver side Rear Trailing Arm Bushing (RTAB) of a 1998 BMW 323is (E36 chassis, stock GM automatic transmission [built in France]). The bottom of the video frame is the front of the car, the top is the rear. Notice how the trailing arm (the thing that's moving in the video) is able to wobble about as it mushes around inside the RTA console as the rear wheel undergoes loading forces. This is a perfect example of: A) A failed RTA Bushing. B) Why you should install RTAB limiters to prevent this kind of behavior, and double the life of your bushings. When the Rear Trailing Arm (RTA) moves left to right, the rear toe for that wheel is changing. If both left and right bushings are torn, you get toe out under acceleration, toe in during hard braking, and unstable toe over bumps and rough terrain - resulting in an unstable feeling rear end. This is bad. My car was crab-walking all over the place because of this bushing. I was having the 'rear steering' effect. When the car is under hard acceleration, the arm is allowed to move towards the front of the car (down,in reference to the video frame). Under hard braking, the arm moves backwards (up in reference to the video frame). Up and down (in and out in reference to the video frame) and rotational motion occurs when the wheel travels up and down over bumps. The bushing is there to assist in the absorption of road vibrations and isolate the car body from the wheel to increase passenger comfort and reduce noise. It's NOT there to allow the suspension geometry and alignment to change on the fly (as mine is in the video) What I did in the video: Accelerate from a standstill through 1st gear, into 2nd, and then cycled full on and full off of the throttle 4 times, then drove at about 55 mph on some country roads (see video statistics link for google maps location). I then swerved left and right about 7-8 times at the end of the video (with no traffic, within lane constraints), you can see how the arm reacts to slow suspension travel. Dialog: talking about how awful the bushing is, then about how my passenger window seal is broken and you have to open the door so the window seals. I tried to repair it with rubber cement and it looked melted - and failed. We cross paths with a police officer, and we swear a lot. I've grown up since then and recognize that is in bad taste and reflects quite poorly upon my character. In retrospect I regret my choice of vernacular during that age period.


 


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