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1981 8v c900 sedan, 1990 2.0 9k carlsson, 1992 21 c900 sedan
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Replaced balljoints (and the LHS lower control arm) on my 89 900i and the front of the car now seems to sit higher than before (the rear is low due to 'tired' springs - got SAS spacers to sort that out) and though the wheel steering alignment seems fine, I think the wheel camber is now wrong.

What's been happening is that when the car hits a spot of the road where there is a sudden change in the surface (like a pothole, rise in the asphalt due to water making it crack and bow up, etc.) the front of the car seems to behave like it shifts sideways.

I've had a good visual look today and can't really tell using my eye alone, but I'm curious as to what might have happened. I changed nothing other than the four ball joints and the LHS lower control arm (due to stripped shock mount thread). The replacement arm was a good one off a car I pulled apart a few years ago, and I changed both rubber control arm bushes on the replacement arm for brand new ones as the old ones were shot.

I might get the car to a tyre/wheel place for an alignment check though in the meantime, if I can, I'll get the car on a level surface and try to determine if one or both of the front wheels are cambered incorrectly. Changing balljoints should have zero effect (esp since I did all four), and I didn't touch the upper control arms so the shimming hasn't been altered.

Craig.
 

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I'd suspect the control arm bushings on the other side. If you have new ones on one side and old ones on the other, that might be enough to cause the issue. Especially since you know the ones on the a-arm you replaced were shot, likely the other ones are too.
 

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1981 8v c900 sedan, 1990 2.0 9k carlsson, 1992 21 c900 sedan
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'd suspect the control arm bushings on the other side. If you have new ones on one side and old ones on the other, that might be enough to cause the issue. Especially since you know the ones on the a-arm you replaced were shot, likely the other ones are too.
They're fine. The bushes on the control arm that has the stripped shock mount thread are fine too. I decided to put new ones on the replacement arm since the bushes on that arm were dead.

Righto to update this a bit, I took the car to work yesterday since my 9k is half on blocks due to ball joint work (ran out of time! grrr).

The outer edge of the tread on both front tyres is worn right down to below the wear marks now after four trips back and forth to work (85 km each) since I renewed the balljoints and the LHS lower control arm.

I don't think the control arm aspect has caused a lot of the problem - it seems to be squarely related to the replacement ball joints and the fact that the front of the car is now sitting higher than before.

Now I don't think that 88+ cars use different balljoints to pre-88 cars, but that might be part of the issue. The Meyle joints I used were salvaged from the 82 turbo sedan I pulled apart a few years ago. I had installed all the balljoints new about 6 months before that car was scrapped, and saved them since I know they're very good ones.

I'll see if I can get the car booked in for an alignment today but I suspect the fix could be to shim out the upper control arms to correct the camber which is very obviously negative when I have the car parked on a flat surface at work and I look at the vertical angle of the front wheels compared to the back ones.

I don't know if it matters, but Tom Townsend's guide for replacing ball joints says to undo the big 32 mm hub nut and remove the brake caliper when doing ball joint renewal. I didn't do that and left everything in place (except the steering tie-rod end) and renewed the top one, then the bottom one on each side.
 

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1981 8v c900 sedan, 1990 2.0 9k carlsson, 1992 21 c900 sedan
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Mhmmh, sounds like control arm bushes, Are you sure they are all good? I had the same problem in my 84t. The tire wear problem your experiencing sounds identical to the issues I had because of the bushings.

-tetnis-
I'm sure the bushes on both of the original lower control arms are fine as I gave them a very thorough inspection. I might, just for want of trying something, take off the arm I put on the car and take the bush housings from the one I removed and put them on the replacement arm.

At the moment I'm still leaning towards the problem being the way the balljoints are mounting in the respective control arms as nothing else was changed so it is the only variable that can affect both front wheels if that's the only thing that was changed on both sides.

I'll hunt down some Meyle balljoint bolts while I'm away on leave for a few weeks and compare to the ones I've got now when I get the chance.

Craig.
 

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1981 8v c900 sedan, 1990 2.0 9k carlsson, 1992 21 c900 sedan
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Now that I'm back from a few weeks leave I've had another look at the car and I'm fairly sure that the toe setting is definitely wrong though I won't be able to get a proper alignment check until late next week. I might have a go at trying to measure the present toe and camber values to see if I could adjust things myself so the car is at least drivable without handling problems and excessive tyre wear.

Craig.
 

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Mhmmh, sounds like control arm bushes, Are you sure they are all good? I had the same problem in my 84t. The tire wear problem your experiencing sounds identical to the issues I had because of the bushings.

-tetnis-
+1 on control arm bushes..my 84 turbo did exactly the same thing After the lower control arm was replaced..It got gradually worse until I parked it..Now, I am about ready to tackle the upper control arm bushings..(can't wait)
 
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