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///M3 Forum
The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 11-19-2012, 12:01 AM   #1
SeattleShwarz
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New M3 Owner (Odd Highway characteristics and tire wear)

Hi y'all,

From the south, grew up in trucks my ENTIRE life. Recently graduated with a masters in Aeronautical Engineering. Moved up to Seattle, WA. to work at Boeing. Since I live in Seattle, my 7.3l F350 10" lift CC LB was proving to be difficult to maneuver in the tight confines of roads built for Smart cars. I recently Bought a 2002 M3 Carbon Black M3 Vert W/ 76k miles in October 2012. Sorry for the long intro.

To the problems:
I got a screaming deal for this car, and had a PPI and CarFax done. The PPI reveled the following:
-CPV (I can do myself)
-Guibo (I can do myself)
-Wheel Bearing (Completed)
-Rear shocks are failing
-Front Tires have EXCESSIVE wear on the outside
-Rear Tires have EXCESSIVE wear on the inside

Has 19"x8.5 in front, 19"x9.5 in back, unsure of offset (BBS-LM's)

Here's the specifics:
- Car hasn't been aligned since the last owner put on the 19" rims.
- At highway speeds 60-70 MPH, the steering wheel shakes and has a slight but noticeable vibration throughout the car.
- Tire's have odd wear
- The rear tires have a pinky gap and have 1/4"-1/2" gap
- The front tires have a 1" - 1-1/2" gap.
- The car will occasionally "Grab" the road and veer off to the left (sometimes right) at highway speeds (not a substantial pull, but enough to wake me up and screaming "F*CK!" - "OK, were good."
- There is a high pitched noise coming from somewhere on the car, I cannot pin-point it, but I know for sure it's not another wheel-bearing.

So the questions:
- What are some definitive conclusions based off of my symptoms?
- Could the Rear Springs be broken/sagging?
- What to do about the random road grabbing?

Sorry for the long post, just trying to narrow my focus of attention, don't have much time during the work-week, so would like to fish out the non-sense and help pin-point the problems, so I can get it taken care of.
I am very mechanically inclined. The car did not come with the manual, so if you could provide measurements, or let me know what it is so I can search and find it.

TL;DR: Are my rear springs shot, look at the pictures. Skim the problem section and try to provide some knowledge about existing problems that I am unaware of.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:14 AM   #2
///MPR77
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Best case scenario is that the car needs an alignment.
How is the suspension?
Wheel shaking, could be FCAB front control arm bushings, and possibly control arms.

Uneven Rear Tire wear is often a symptom of RTABs rear trailing arm bushings.

I would start with an alignment, and while it's up in the air, inspect all the bushings, and check your wheels for play, it could be time for a general PM refresh.

GL.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:49 AM   #3
SeattleShwarz
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Thanks MPR. I'll take a look. Jack it up tomorrow at work, I'll try to work in an alignment this week. But, since the rear is so outta wack, wouldn't I have to get another one, once I figure out the Ride Height issue, Anyone have any measurements for loading, or height of the spring so I can test my rears?
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:56 AM   #4
choxor
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Check for worn suspension components BEFORE you get an alignment. If you align the car with worn components after you replace them your alignment is going to be off again.

Personally I'd take it to a shop, let them put it on a lift, and identify all the worn parts. Fix it THEN get it aligned. There's no shame in bringing your car to an expert to get it assessed. You can DIY the actual repairs.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:47 AM   #5
the fly
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+1 on worn FCABs. If there more than 3 yrs old, they're probably toast. You may be able to see the year stamped on the rubber (like "01") if you look closely.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:07 PM   #6
taylor192
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Since you got a smoking deal on it, and seem able to DIY, then I suggest replacing the following. It'll cost you < $200, about a day to do it all, and greatly improve the handling of the car:
Steering coupler
FCAB
RTAB
RSMs

and you might as well do struts at the same time.

My car had the same wandering issue at highway speeds, especially on Seattle concrete highways. Similar to tramlining (expected on concrete highways) yet worse. Replacing the steering coupler and FCAB virtually eliminated it.
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:06 PM   #7
illestminimike
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FCAB's and RTAB's for sure need replacement. You'll need an alignment after changing RTAB's anyway.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:22 PM   #8
pahasbimmer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Since you got a smoking deal on it, and seem able to DIY, then I suggest replacing the following. It'll cost you < $200, about a day to do it all, and greatly improve the handling of the car:
Steering coupler
FCAB
RTAB
RSMs

and you might as well do struts at the same time.

My car had the same wandering issue at highway speeds, especially on Seattle concrete highways. Similar to tramlining (expected on concrete highways) yet worse. Replacing the steering coupler and FCAB virtually eliminated it.
^That... Plus maybe look into getting some new tires (depending on how bad your uneven tire wear is) AFTER you get all suspension issues fixed and BEFORE the final alignment (or at least re-check the alignment after putting new tires on... if you go that route)... Best of all good luck and enjoy the car... Both e46fanatics and m3forum are excellent DIY resources.

Last edited by pahasbimmer; 11-19-2012 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:55 PM   #9
SeattleShwarz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choxor View Post
Check for worn suspension components BEFORE you get an alignment. If you align the car with worn components after you replace them your alignment is going to be off again.

Personally I'd take it to a shop, let them put it on a lift, and identify all the worn parts. Fix it THEN get it aligned. There's no shame in bringing your car to an expert to get it assessed. You can DIY the actual repairs.
Yeah, I'll take it to a shop, see if I can't get it all worked out. The Northwest Thread is dead it seems like; I'll post a thread in there to see if I can find a good indy shop, or maybe a dealer? Anyone know of any in the Seattle area??

Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Since you got a smoking deal on it, and seem able to DIY, then I suggest replacing the following. It'll cost you < $200, about a day to do it all, and greatly improve the handling of the car:
Steering coupler
FCAB
RTAB
RSMs

and you might as well do struts at the same time.

My car had the same wandering issue at highway speeds, especially on Seattle concrete highways. Similar to tramlining (expected on concrete highways) yet worse. Replacing the steering coupler and FCAB virtually eliminated it.
Thanks! I'll check into those parts; I'll get an opinion from a shop and we'll go from there. Those parts seem pertinent to good handling, I'll look into replacing those as well..

Quote:
Originally Posted by pahasbimmer View Post
^That... Plus maybe look into getting some new tires (depending on how bad your uneven tire wear is) AFTER you get all suspension issues fixed and BEFORE the final alignment (or at least re-check the alignment after putting new tires on... if you go that route)... Best of all good luck and enjoy the car... Both e46fanatics and m3forum are excellent DIY resources.
Thanks for your reply! I'll keep that in mind. I'll definitely get new tires. They are completely worn down on the outside of the front, and inside of the rear.

- Do the BMW's need a "special" alignment, or can I just take it to a jiffy lube/Les shcwab?
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:32 PM   #10
Hamsocne
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You can get your owner's manual here: http://www.linquist.net/motorsports/bmw/3manuals
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:43 PM   #11
VTEC_THIS
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your wheels may need to be re balanced if your steering wheel is shaking, had the same problem and was perfect after getting the wheels re balanced
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:08 PM   #12
scca_ziptie
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As long as the wheels aren't bent and no bubbles/bulges in the tires - the FCABs and RTABs are a good place to start - the failed rear shocks won't help you much here either. These would be 3 of the items I would R&R first.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:10 AM   #13
omhl
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shocks, rtabs for the highway grabbing thing.

mine did the same.
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:26 AM   #14
the fly
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In case it helps anyone, I sell new OE rubber pre-pressed in the FCAB lollipops. Makes the job a bit easier...

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showt...=376064&page=6
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:29 PM   #15
fatskidmark
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Don't know if you found a good shop yet, but Broad Stroke Associates: http://www.broadstrokeassociates.com/, is highly recommended. I'd advise you to get your wheels and tires re-balanced also. I'm local in Puyallup, good to hear from some one else in good'ol Washington!
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Old 12-08-2012, 11:52 AM   #16
YGOSLO
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About your highway pulling left and right, could be th roads around here. These are the worst highways I've seen. I drive on I-5 between Lacey and JBLM, and those roads suck. And north of JBLM, watch out!! You better have a good grip on the wheel. And this is in multiple cars. The roads here are just sh!t.
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:00 PM   #17
rcsummers
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Bushings

Alignment

Maybe a bent wheel.
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:16 PM   #18
jhaurimn
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Pull on the wheels both horizontally and vertically to test out sway end link and fcabs, also look at rear trailing arm bushings. Would think that would be checked In the ppi tho
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