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Old 06-30-2010, 09:36 PM   #1
delmarco
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Question E46 Pirate Ship Creaking Continues! Argh! What is this on my Shock Strut Tower?

Here are two videos of the dreaded e46 pirate ship creak issue that I have been having:





For my car it is not as loud as you see in those videos and I ONLY seem to hear it when driving and turning slow, or driving slowly over a speed bump or bumpy road (and it is an off and on thing that goes and come and doesn't always creak).

In my quest to find the source of my creaking I had my car looked at over the weekend by a professional at a local shop and everything checked out.(Control Arms, Bushings, Tie Rod, End Links, etc...) But my car still creaks.

So today I realized I forgot to mention the strut/shocks to the guy and decided to do my own inspection. here are pictures of the only discrepency that I saw. On my Passenger side the tower or tube body is covered by a thick caked layer of something. This caked layer is also all over everything else in the wheel arch cavity on that side.

Passenger's Side:














Compared to Driver's Side:




The struts doesn't seem to be leaking or have any noise issues at all when I tested them.

What is that?
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:37 PM   #2
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jesus, when was the last time you replaced your suspension
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firefirefire90 View Post
jesus, when was the last time you replaced your suspension
what do you mean?
The car has 57,000 miles.
How often do you replace them?

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Old 06-30-2010, 09:48 PM   #4
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maybe it's because you're on the east coast, but when I took my suspension off at 110k, it looked way better than that
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:44 PM   #5
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winter hasnt been kind to your car has it?
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:52 PM   #6
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lolwut, talk about taking the internet too seriously.
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:39 PM   #7
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so today no creaking at all.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:17 PM   #8
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That oil is the shocks internal oil , which means that you need new shocks.(or if you're lucky it's just "road glue")

The creaking usualy occurs when the springs rotate in their seats , this usualy happens when the springs dont abosorb enogh load to force them in their place.

Oh and you cant really check your joints by pushing/pulling on them , you need a breaker bar to feel if yo have any "play" in the joints, joints that could cause this are :

Endlinks(not likely)
Control arms (might be)
Tie rod (maby)

Another thing to check is your strut bearing , to do this you can remove everything connecting the strut to the body (one bolt for wheel carrier and your done), then try to move the strut horizontaly ,if you notice any play you should look into a new bearing (though this would be noticable while driving as a loud "clunk" driving over irregularities)

My guess is that you just need new shocks (maby time to look into aftermarket , OEM is $300 each)
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Old 07-02-2010, 02:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pir4t View Post
That oil is the shocks internal oil , which means that you need new shocks.(or if you're lucky it's just "road glue")

The creaking usualy occurs when the springs rotate in their seats , this usualy happens when the springs dont abosorb enogh load to force them in their place.

Oh and you cant really check your joints by pushing/pulling on them , you need a breaker bar to feel if yo have any "play" in the joints, joints that could cause this are :

Endlinks(not likely)
Control arms (might be)
Tie rod (maby)

Another thing to check is your strut bearing , to do this you can remove everything connecting the strut to the body (one bolt for wheel carrier and your done), then try to move the strut horizontaly ,if you notice any play you should look into a new bearing (though this would be noticable while driving as a loud "clunk" driving over irregularities)

My guess is that you just need new shocks (maby time to look into aftermarket , OEM is $300 each)
That's my guess.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pir4t View Post
That oil is the shocks internal oil , which means that you need new shocks.
The creaking usualy occurs when the springs rotate in their seats , this usualy happens when the springs dont abosorb enogh load to force them in their place.
I believe this assessment is correct.

After a long road trip, I began getting a pirate ship noise over bumps but not when turning. I knew the shock had a leak for quite a while but left it as I didn't have any drivability issues. I guess the road trip finally killed the shock completely. The shock was a non-BMW Sachs replacement for a factory one a couple of years ago. So it was a piece of cr*p for dying in less than 15k miles. Curiously enough the blown factory one didn't cause any noticeable noise at all. I only realised the factory shock was blown when I was replacing the spring to fix the lower height on one side problem. I am going to pay dealer money for a proper BMW shock this time. The factory shock on the other side still runs great after 122k miles, likewise for one of my rear shocks that I inspected today.

I was going nuts trying to find the noise in the rear of the car, until finally the narrow but high speed bumps at walmart helped me isolating the noise to the front. Only yesterdays I experienced unusual increase in vibration inside the cabin on the side of the broken shock (although I didn't know it was broken at the time). Now everything begins to make sense, and the sudden change in cabin vibration characteristics could be used as a indicator of a broken shock. I tried that bouncing the suspension diagnostic trick; it didn't do jack.

The 'stuff' on the OP's tower was leaked shock oil mixed with road dirt that was accumulated over a period of time.

Last edited by GoingNuts; 09-08-2011 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:44 PM   #11
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my car creaks when the e brake is up and the car is unloaded.
it used to creak when the rear shocks, outer cover, rubbed on the inner shaft when you bounced it..

check thos if you havent already, and please, clean your undercarriage damn it
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Old 07-02-2010, 06:51 AM   #12
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I would agree as per my txt last night; blown shock. Looks like shock oil all over it!!
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Old 07-02-2010, 07:58 AM   #13
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My car creaks when I sit down in it but I think it's just because I am fat.
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Old 07-02-2010, 08:38 AM   #14
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Delmarco, the residue on your passenger side undercarriage is the material used on the roadway shoulder. I believe it is a limestone based aggregate used for drainage and sound dampening. I noticed this on my other car when replacing struts and it did not appear on the drivers side. It does a good job of promoting corrosion as well and makes removing suspension bolts a . Welcome to the east coast.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Delmarco, the residue on your passenger side undercarriage is the material used on the roadway shoulder. I believe it is a limestone based aggregate used for drainage and sound dampening. I noticed this on my other car when replacing struts and it did not appear on the drivers side. It does a good job of promoting corrosion as well and makes removing suspension bolts a . Welcome to the east coast.
Thanks Rich! so I don't need new shocks?

thanks.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:05 AM   #16
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My car creaks when I sit down in it but I think it's just because I am fat.
i believe it's because the e-brake needs to be adjusted - but someone correct me if i'm incorrect

mine does the same
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Old 08-18-2010, 08:26 AM   #17
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i believe it's because the e-brake needs to be adjusted - but someone correct me if i'm incorrect

mine does the same
I think the e-brake usually squeaks, not creaks...more like stepping on a mouse than a haunted house door....and sometimes that can be fixed by driving to 30 and using e-brake to stop...thus cleaning up the rust inside rotor...that or an adjustment

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Old 07-06-2010, 09:03 PM   #18
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I had a similar noise but NOT when turning the wheels like that. My car would creak loudly when going over uneven surfaces (anything that flexed the chassis). Turned out to be the little "knobs" on the hood hinges. The noise was driving me crazy it was so ridiculously loud. Couple of dabs of grease and it has not made a peep since then. You could lube yours for kick but yours seems to be in different circumstances to mine.....it does sound the same though. The littl knobs look like some sort of support for the rear corners of the hood, they are part of the hinge IIRC. Try it.....pretty much free so what do you have to loose?
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:52 AM   #19
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I have the same noise and I can't figure out what it is. I noticed the noise after I replaced all of the shocks.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:30 PM   #20
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All you guys with a creaking when you get in/out of the car try this:
Drive car in reverse, apply hand brake. Do that a couple of time and your creaking SHOULD go a way (for a while at least).

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