We recently did some work to make changing the lower BMW control arm bushings easy as pie. These bushing assemblies, commonly referred to as ‘Lollipops’ (Aqua reference withheld) which feature an outer housing that bolts to the chassis, and a fairly beefy bushing. The end of the control arm goes through the center of the bushing, and that’s how the suspension isolates from the road at the back of the control arm. This design is featured on E30’s and E36’s, and it is actually common to mix and match different ones for different purposes. The E46 uses a similar style, but this article is just to feature the E30 and E36 control arm bushing and bracket. We have a huge catalog of E46 parts too, so if you’re here looking for E46 bushings, just hit the jump and put your car into the vehicle selector.
BMW E30, E36 Control Arm Bushings
The problem in the past is, when you want to change these bushings, you had to bust the press out. Not everyone has a hydraulic press, so we are taking the liberty of pressing in these bushings for you, and putting together a kit that you can simply bolt onto your car and be done with it.
As mentioned above, there are some reasons why you may want to swap out for different style control arm bushings. The main reason being that on all E30s and E36s (up to ’95), the M3’s used an offset bushing. The standard bushings have the control arm mounting hole directly in the center, while the M3’s got an offset bushing. In the offset bmw control arm bushing, the hole is offset from the center, which moves the rear pivot point of the control arm outwards. This pivots the location of the wheel a slight amount, increasing caster and improving high speed stability. That’s important when you are designing a car for the German Autobahn.
We have pretty much every conceivable option available if you are looking to replace the bushings on your car, from mundane to race-car. Here is a list of our newest assemblies with the bushings already pressed in for daily driving, sport, and race applications. Because these bushings impact your suspension geometry, it’s important to always get a front end alignment when changing BMW control arm bushings.
It’s not a bad idea to make these part of an entire front end service that also includes tie rods, ball joints (control arms), and strut mounts.
This is the bushing for the regular model E30 cars. It’s a comfort oriented bushing and is relatively soft for a classy and luxury sport ride. There are spaces in between the rubber to make this a compliant bushing for street driving on roads that might not be the smoothest.
If you want a more solid and stable ride for your standard E30, or are replacing your bushings on your E30 M3, use this kit. Unlike the standard E30 bushings, the M3 bushings are solid and offset, leading to more caster and a very slightly longer wheelbase. Call this the ‘Autobahn setup’.
For the E36, the bushings for the standard non-M3 lollipop brackets are designed in a similar way. They feature gaps to aid in compliance over bumps and rough roads, and provide an OE stock style ride. They are, however, slightly more rigid than the E30 bushings, most likely due to the added weight of the E36 chassis. That makes these a reasonable upgrade for the E30 if you are not looking for a solid or offset bushing, but do want a slightly tighter bushing.
Up to 1995, the E36 M3 used the same solid offset design as the E30 M3 to push the back of the control arm out away from the chassis to allow for a few degrees of extra caster as well as a slightly long er wheelbase for high speeds. The E36 M3 control arm bushing is slightly stiffer than the E30 counterpart (again, most likely due to the bit of added weight between models)
In 1996, BMW thought to themselves, after decades of making offset bushings, enough was enough. They instead changed the control arm to build the caster directly in while using a centered bushing. Technically speaking a centered bushing would be a slightly better design, strictly for the fact that the amount of rubber around the central mount is the same all around, providing better dampening while still allowing the extra wheelbase and caster. This is why some people prefer to go the M3 control arm route, if they are replacing the ball joint anyway. It is NOT recommended to use an offset bushing AND an M3 control arm, which would cause excess positive caster.
Powerflex Lollipop Options
In addition to the standard replacement control arm bushing brackets, we also sell kits with the Powerflex Polyurethane versions pressed into the brackets. Because the installation is a little different for these over normal bushings, it’s nice to have them show up to your door pre-made and ready to bolt in. These will be stiffer than all the options listed above, even the solid rubber bushings. The Powerflex Purple Performance Street bushings are a great option for street going sports cars that occasionally see race track use. The ride will be slightly noticably stiffer than with solid rubber, and handling will improve due to improved suspension geometry stiffness.
The Powerflex Black race bushings are as it sounds, these bushings are one step before going complete solid, and will offer the least amount of compliance out of all of our options. If you have a road racing E30 or E36, these will be the best at maintaining correct geometry under heavy load with minimal flex. If you are in the market for these, check out the other Powerflex options we have available for your E30 or E36 to maximize on track performance. All Powerflex bushing sets carry a lifetime warranty.
100K10419 – Control Arm Bushing Kit – Front (Centered) (Purple – Performance Street)
100K10421 – Control Arm Bushing Kit – Front (Offset) (Purple – Performance Street)
100K10420 – Control Arm Bushing Kit – Front (Centered) (Black – Performance Race)
100K10422 – Control Arm Bushing Kit – Front (Offset) (Black – Performance Race)