The focus for the car now is fix everything that doesn’t work and address everything that needs to be addressed. I started with the heater box rebuild. It was a pretty big job but one that I am appreciating daily even in sunny SoCal! So now that that’s done it’s time to address the wishy washy suspension.
BMW 2002s are known for their tight steering, amazing feedback and go kart like handling. Not mine. While it’s decent, it’s not by any means go kart like. Steering feedback is vague and the car just feels “twitchy”. All symptoms of worn suspension components. Upon visual inspection you can see the front subframe radius arm bushing is nearly gone. I’d bet the rubber bits are all original which would make them nearly 39 years old. I bought a poly bashing kit years ago and have been looking at them in the garage. Time to do the install!!
I jacked th front end up and placed a few jack stands under it and took a look at the condition of everything yup the rubber is old but everything else looks great. So to get to that bushing I have to remove the control arm which will allow me to remove the radius rod. To do that I’ll have to remove the sway bar drop links and possible remove the strut tube itself for more space. So I removed the caliper from the strut tube, removed the bracket holding the brake lines to the strut tube. Removed the drop links from the control arm. Loosened the bolts mounting the control arm and the one big nut on the radius arm. Then I wiggled and the radius arm came free. I was able to pull the old bushing out by hand. Apply some lube to the new poly bushing which was goes in super easy because they are a 2 piece design, unlike the rubber ones which are one piece. Now I was looking at the control arm bushings. They were in decent shape so they didn’t want to come out. I tried pulling, burning, hammering and nothing seemed to budge them. So I put it all back together with the old control arm bushings but with the new radius rod bushing. I know I won’t see the complete effect of the repair because it’s just 1 out of 6 bushings but that one was in REALLY bad shape. Once back together I took it for a spin and WOW. I can’t believe how it’s a night and day difference. The car is no longer twitchy. It’s planted. Steering feedback is perfect and it’s go kart like handling has returned. I am now seeking out high speed sweepers and corners because the car handles so so well. Also the noises from the front end are gone. It made lots of creeks and squeaks felt generally sloppy, not the steering is nice and tight. It used to rub on the inside of the fender well at full lock, now there is no more rubbing at all!
Stay tuned for part 2 where I’ll do the passenger side bushings as well as the drivers side control arm bushings. I read about a technique for burning out the center portion of the bushing then using a screwdriver to collapse it then pull it out.