BMW E36 323is Rear Trailing Arm Bushing Failure

Warning: Language. Please excuse my adolescent swearing. I have since matured. ***Click 'show more' for deails*** Here's a video I recorded some time in 2005-ish with an old friend. I used a throwaway Logitech 4000 USB webcam, lots of duct tape ( 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.

More Videos...

Replacing Rear Trailing Arm Bushings on BMW 3 series 92 thru 05, Z4 thru 08, X3 thru 10
BLOG ARTICLE: "Like" us on Facebook - "Follow" us on Twitter - "Subscribe" to us on YouTube - Visit our online store - All of the items shown in these videos are available in our online store at Need additional tech help? Please visit our tech blog for thousands of Tech and DIY BMW and MINI articles at: --- In this DIY and How-To video, we'll show the procedure for replacing the rear trailing arm bushings (RTABs) on the E36 and E46 3-series as well as the E85 & E86 Z4 and the E83 X3. We'll remove the old bushings and show the installation steps for stock replacement bushings, Urethane upgrade bushings and the Ultimate bearing-type bushings. The applicable Bentley repair manual will detail the specific procedures and torque values for your given BMW model. PARTS USED: • Various versions of replacement and upgrade RTABs: TOOLS USED: * Paint Pen Marker: * Trailing arm bushing press tool * Floor jack & jack-stands * 1/4" drive metric socket and ratchet set (10mm specifically) • 1/2" drive metric socket and ratchet set • open-end metric wrench set • Various pry-bars On the BMW models noted in this article, the rear suspension hub assembly is incorporated into a larger cast iron suspension assembly that we just call the rear trailing arm. The trailing arm is attached to the vehicle chassis and articulated via two lateral control arms (upper and lower) and a forward longitudinal pivot point at the front of the trailing arm. As with all of the connection points for the control arms (to the trailing arm and the chassis), the forward pivot point uses a large bushing for attachment to the chassis as well as allowance for articulation. As the wheel moves up and down during suspension movement, the forward trailing arm bushing becomes the pivot point. Additionally, the forward trailing arm bushing is performing the task of locating the rear wheel longitudinally and through this, also absorbs the majority of the torque loads that are transmitted from the tire's contact with the pavement and ultimately into the chassis. In other words, the bushing is the contact point for the positive loading under acceleration and the negative loading during braking, keeping the wheel in place on the vehicle. With the above points noted, the Rear Trailing Arm Bushing (RTAB) is a highly stressed suspension component. As the RTABs age, the vehicle will feel less secure on the road. The rear of the vehicle can move around as the torque loads of acceleration and braking act on the bushings, effectively steering the vehicle from the rear. As the bushings continue to age, a clunking can be experienced as the vehicle goes over bumps or transitions between braking and acceleration. Note that these symptoms can be present, yet a visual inspection of the bushings may not show any apparent problems. The bushings are simply too soft at this point. In replacing the RTABs, we have various options on the replacement parts: * Stock replacement - These bushings are available as either genuine BMW or various other quality aftermarket manufacturers. * Urethane upgrade - Installing urethane RTABs will provide a tighter control of the trailing arm. Not only will the rear suspension feel more "planted" in spirited driving, the steering inputs will feel more direct and will transitions between braking and acceleration. * Ultimate RTAB upgrade - The Ultimate trailing arm bushings provide all of the benefits of the urethane upgrade bushings along with full articulated spherical bearing action, while still damping vibrations through the chassis. The Ultimate RTAB uses an fully articulated suspension bearing installed in a billet housing. This design eliminates all flex yet provides 100% articulation of the trailing arm. Follow along with our DIY video as we discuss the different bushings and show how to remove the old bushing and install the three different types of new RTABs.

How to replace e36 trailing arm bushings without special tools (and installing POWERFLEX bushings)
Another diy video of me this time i am replacing one of my rtabs with powerflex bushings. No special tools necessary although having an impact wrench helps. Tools needed are: 10mm socket, 18mm socket, 17mm socket, breaker bar, drill, 18mm wrench or 3/4 , hammer, flat head screw driver, copper anti seize $1.50. Since you will be under the car, take necessary precautions and wear eye protection when marking the bolt location. They are dirty! I did not video myself hammering away but i did show the proper way to hammer the bushing out. Enjoy and goodluck!

e46 rear clunk noise
1:02 1:36 1:43 1:52 2:01 2:18 It's not the diff mounts, it's something else. It clunks when shifting into "reverse"...

What are your RTABs doing under hard acceleration?
Video of stock E36 M3 rear trailing arm bushing compliance under hard acceleration. 100k miles on chassis.