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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Suspension & Braking

Suspension & Braking
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!

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Old 09-05-2012, 01:03 PM   #1
PrecisionX
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Braking solution?

I'm starting to get a little steering wheel vibrations in certain braking situations with my 02 330Ci with 56k ish. Any recommendations? Just pads and rotors or more stuff?
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:10 PM   #2
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Have you checked your suspension components? Jack the car up, inspect brakes and and bushings. Worn bushings can cause this as well. No real way to tell what you need without a visual inspection. If you aren't sure, take pics and post 'em.
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:12 PM   #3
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Check bushings, new pads + turn rotors (or new rotors if they're at min). Basically the best ways to fix steering wheel vibration on braking.
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:16 PM   #4
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Ive run my fingers down my cold rotors and it's not smooth. It's bumpy.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:37 PM   #5
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Ive run my fingers down my cold rotors and it's not smooth. It's bumpy.
This alone described by an inexperienced member does not tell us anything.
Rotors can be bumpy and still give tens of thousands of miles of service.
I have 96K miles on my original rotors and they will go much further even with the bumps I feel.

Last edited by Stinger9; 09-05-2012 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:23 PM   #6
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Ive run my fingers down my cold rotors and it's not smooth. It's bumpy.
bumpy as in running finger from center to edge or bumpy running in circles.
theres hot spots/lines and theres normal brake wear.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:27 PM   #7
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bumpy as in running finger from center to edge or bumpy running in circles.
theres hot spots/lines and theres normal brake wear.
Center to edge, not in a circle
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:56 PM   #8
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Check bushings, new pads + turn rotors (or new rotors if they're at min). Basically the best ways to fix steering wheel vibration on braking.
did you ever resolve your steering vibrations??
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Old 09-06-2012, 03:07 PM   #9
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did you ever resolve your steering vibrations??
Yup, mine ended up being my driver's side FCAB. I don't seem to notice any vibrations in braking now with the Meyle HDs. I loooove the improved road feel.

Still need to get my alignment done and will do a balance just for good measure, but so far I have no time to do them I wish there was a good alignment shop open on weekends.
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Old 09-06-2012, 03:35 PM   #10
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:23 PM   #11
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Use a micrometer and check the minimum thickness. If it's above that, go get them turned. If not, go get new ones. Those bumpy spots are hot spots from the pad on the rotor.

Should only cost you about $15-25 per rotor. Much cheaper than buying new ones, unless you go with Meyles. They're about $26 per rotor last I checked at https://www.europartsdirect.com/

I wanted to get mine checked cheap on the fly and took it to Firestone, because I figured it'd be very difficult for them to screw up something as simple as brakes. They even said they wanted to put my car on a special lift (on which I saw another E46 getting brake work done). The shop mechanic took a look at everything, sat down on the couch next to me and told me my rotors would be too thin if he turned them, and recommended that I DIY the brake job myself since it would cost a lot. Good guy. Only cost me $20 to have them look at it all. If they know you love your car, mechanics will take care of you. Well...most of them, I've seen in my experience.

If you do take it to Firestone or somewhere cheap to get them turned, I would do one of the following:

1. Take the rotors off and just bring them to the mechanic to turn. I'm sure they wouldn't mind and would probably give you a small discount for lack of labor. If you do this, just take it to the cheapest place that can turn rotors. It's a very easy thing to do.

2. After you get your car back, undo the lug nuts and re-torque them to specs with your own torque wrench. Chances are they put them back on with an impact wrench and are too tight.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:07 PM   #12
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is the vibration always there regardless of speed? if so, suspect rotors

or does it seem to only occur at higher speeds and then become more or less unnoticable as your speed decreases? if so, suspect front control arm bushings.

I had the latter at about 58k miles.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:24 PM   #13
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I had something similar in my 06 330Ci 95k miles. Very, very minor shudder under light braking. My front brakes were below min thickness, so I did that DIY. Felt better after that.
Plus it was time for new tires. They were almost slicks due to some track days I did this summer. And you could see significant feathering of the tread on the outside left tires. I also did an alignment because it was pulling noticeably to the right. Although that could be mostly due to the very uneven tire wear. Now I have no shudder.

Try stepping through a few items, checking them off as you go before spending any money:
- pad thickness
- feel the rotors ( should be pretty smooth)
- tire condition
- check the torque on lugs and brake parts
- look for loose or worn suspension components and bushings.

Good luck

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Old 09-05-2012, 03:55 PM   #14
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I had something similar in my 06 330Ci 95k miles. Very, very minor shudder under light braking.

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I have this same slight shuddering during light braking in my rear right wheel now, especially while i am in reverse. This happens intermittently though, so not all the time. It kinda feels like maybe the caliper is loose and buckling a little when i apply the brakes. The pads are good, i tried to move the wheel around a little to see if it was the control arm bushing but there was no movement, i inspected the brakes for any looseness. I'm going to take it to the shop tomorrow for a much more thorough investigation... thanks for the help!
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:13 PM   #15
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Given your mileage, I'd be willing to bet its your FCABs.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:26 PM   #16
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I was under the car for an oil change and didn't notice any bad bushings. The
Vibration is at any speed, if I slightly touch the brake pedal at low the wheel will shake, higher speeds if I hit the brakes harder at first and slowly apply more pressure it seems to iron out a little bit but I don't think there's 100 percent smooth braking at any time really
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:27 PM   #17
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I was under the car for an oil change and didn't notice any bad bushings. The
Vibration is at any speed, if I slightly touch the brake pedal at low the wheel will shake, higher speeds if I hit the brakes harder at first and slowly apply more pressure it seems to iron out a little bit but I don't think there's 100 percent smooth braking at any time really
take a pic of how the rotors look like.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:27 PM   #18
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Re-bed the pads. Do 5 60-0 stops and park the car w/out the e-brake or any brakes engaged and let them cool.

I think you've built up deposit on the rotors and you just need to brake them off.

Warped rotors are highly un likely

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Old 09-05-2012, 03:53 PM   #19
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I think you've built up deposit on the rotors and you just need to brake them off.

Warped rotors are highly un likely
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:42 PM   #20
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I'm starting to get a little steering wheel vibrations in certain braking situations with my 02 330Ci with 56k ish. Any recommendations? Just pads and rotors or more stuff?
It is impossible to tell without careful inspection. It could be simple uneven buildup of pad material on your rotors, it could be loose suspension bits, it could be both. Or it could be something else.

A little history might be useful. How long have you had the car? Did your use change recently (for example, did you take up weekend track days)?
Are you running stock rotors and pads? If not, what do you have? Or do you know?

One thing you might try is to make several hard braking sessions.
In a safe place, go from about 60 (edit, or 80 if it safe and legal) mph to about 5 mph. While you do
this pay attention to the vibration. Normally if the problem is brake related the vibration frequency will slow down as you slow down - if the problem is suspension related the frequency will normally not change much with speed. Do this 60->5 thing a few times. Normally, if it is brake related, each stop will get smoother as you redistribute pad material on the rotor (unless your existing rotor is very worn - measuring it and comparing to specs is a good idea). Note I said 60->5, do not bring the car to a complete stop. Depending on your pads and rotors it might take only one hard stop to deposit pad material on your rotor. Once you have that one high spot it keeps getting worse. Sometimes you can clean it off with hard braking, sometimes you can clean it off with brakeclean and steel wool, sometimes you just have to replace (or resurface) the rotor.

The safe bet is to replace everything. That should give you smooth braking for at least a while.

I'm new to BMW, so this advice is based on general experience, which may or may not apply to your car. The advice I give here is worth exactly what you pay for it.

Last edited by dknightd; 09-05-2012 at 04:44 PM.
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