Sway Bar Link Replacement on the E39 M5

July 9, 2012 at 9:05 pm Leave a comment

This weekend I replaced the sway bar links on my E39 M5. This is a well known issue with the M5, the links can break over time. Since I was replacing one, I went ahead and replaced both the left and right side links and the rubber bushings inside them.

Sway bars reduce body roll of a vehicle during turns. I noticed the broken link when I had the car up in the air resetting some of the front plastic underbody. While driving on the Beltway recently I hit a traffic cone left right in the middle of the traffic lane by the construction crews doing work around Tysons Corner.  I came on it at moderate speed with traffic around me, so couldn’t swerve and ran right over it.

Man, was I angry. I was immediately afraid for the bumper, but luckily no real damage was done. Some plastic panels were knocked out of place and my fog light dislodged, easy fixes.

Since there is no safety issue with a broken link in everyday driving, I ordered the parts online rather than picking up at the local dealer. The brackets were $6 each online, and the rubber bushings were $9. BMW of Alexandria wanted $23 for the same bracket, and they only had one in stock!

There is (of course) a long forum thread on how properly to address even a seemingly simple procedure as this one. There is a very pricey aftermarket solution, and some owners have used the bracket from the E36 M3 since it is made of steel, rather than aluminum. I decided to repair using the original parts – if one breaks again I’ll know to look to the other alternatives.

Super easy job, especially if you can put your car on a lift. Less convenient to do with the rear of the car on ramps and you on your back.

Broken Bracket



While working on the car I also replaced the air filters. Another super easy DIY, just loosen some clips and carefully open the plastic air box.

Hopefully the M5 will be set for a while. Next up is some major preventative maintenance on the M3. There’s always an upcoming project with out of warranty BMWs, especially M models.

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