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

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Old 01-17-2013, 11:25 AM   #1
e46beater
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Car wanders/pulls

Having an issue locating the cause of why my car wants to pull on the road. Its unlike a normal alignment issue because you can let go of the wheel and the car drives straight. Its more or less when the road is a little uneven or has a groove the car seems to catch it and pull that direction very easily and getting the wheel to stay centered requires more effort.

When I purchased the car the owner said it was just aligned but they didn't have the spec sheet (supposed to be aligned according to the BMW spec). I just replaced the LCA mounts/bushings and the problem still persists. Also there is no real abnormal wear only some light feathering on each inner tire.

Any suggestions on what to look at next? Could caster (if adjustable?) be out of adjustment? The car has 150k on it and i'm sure there's some other worn out parts they maybe contributing to the problem.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:34 AM   #2
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Having an issue locating the cause of why my car wants to pull on the road. Its unlike a normal alignment issue because you can let go of the wheel and the car drives straight. Its more or less when the road is a little uneven or has a groove the car seems to catch it and pull that direction very easily and getting the wheel to stay centered requires more effort.

When I purchased the car the owner said it was just aligned but they didn't have the spec sheet (supposed to be aligned according to the BMW spec). I just replaced the LCA mounts/bushings and the problem still persists. Also there is no real abnormal wear only some light feathering on each inner tire.

Any suggestions on what to look at next? Could caster (if adjustable?) be out of adjustment? The car has 150k on it and i'm sure there's some other worn out parts they maybe contributing to the problem.
See sig, second link, scroll to bonus. Personally verify that a proper alignment is done.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:44 AM   #3
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See sig, second link, scroll to bonus. Personally verify that a proper alignment is done.

Awesome link thank you very much for the info. I sort of assumed with this many miles I'm probably looking at replacing most components. I just bought tie rod ends and new lower control arms. Struts are next.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:45 AM   #4
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Awesome link thank you very much for the info. I sort of assumed with this many miles I'm probably looking at replacing most components. I just bought tie rod ends and new lower control arms. Struts are next.
Yep its just the way it is. Most wandering problems is alignment and RTABs. but it's best to replace as much as you can.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:34 PM   #5
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Could be your tires too. Some tires tramline really badly, especially when they start to get worn, like Falken FK452s.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:36 PM   #6
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Could be your tires too. Some tires tramline really badly, especially when they start to get worn, like Falken FK452s.
Failed to mention they are new bridgestone 225 tires on stock 17x8 wheels. Thanks for the help though!
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:51 PM   #7
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Check your tire pressure too...use door jamb pressure to start and modify slightly from there if needed.

Bet your front tires are too high.
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:32 PM   #8
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Check your tire pressure too...use door jamb pressure to start and modify slightly from there if needed.

Bet your front tires are too high.

Pressure in check thanks though
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:50 PM   #9
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OP. Next time you drive your car try this:

Get up to speed (around 30 mph) in 2nd gear then safely hit the gas. Does the rear end wag or step out to the side?
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:07 AM   #10
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OP. Next time you drive your car try this:

Get up to speed (around 30 mph) in 2nd gear then safely hit the gas. Does the rear end wag or step out to the side?
Tried it a few times last night... the combo of a anemic auto and no hp not much happened, the car goes fairly straight.

I did notice something this morning though, I took a friend to work today and the problem seemed worse he's around 250lbs or so.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:18 AM   #11
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e46beater- any updates or is the car still wandering? I've been experiencing the exact same problem with my 325i with only 45k miles. I notice it more on blacktop which is softer and more likely to have concave road sections than on concrete which is harder. I did the control arms and bushings with little improvement. I read in another thread the steering guibo is often the culprit. I'm waiting on that to see if it helps but I'm not that enthusiastic as my steering seems tight and no clunk in the column. If not I'm going to swap my front tires to the rear because they aren't matching and see if that has any effect. Other people have also suggested tie rods and RTABS as well as strut bushings. Its driving me nuts. I hold the wheel straight on a straight highway, next thing I know I'm headed into the other lane. Keeps me paying attention though! LOL
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:49 AM   #12
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This week I changed out the suspension which was completely blown, I think that had a lot to do with it. I noticed while under the car the rear TAB's seem loose as well. Havent been able to drive the car due to the weather but I'll let you know how it drives now with the suspension change.
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:37 AM   #13
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Ive driven the car since the suspension upgrade and its a lot better, I didnt realize how blown my struts were but it did contribute a lot to the problem. I still have something loose in the steering as at a stop I can turn the wheel and hear a decent clunk side to side. I need to dig into that next then get everything realigned.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:11 PM   #14
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That sounds like the common symptoms of the steering guibo. Cost is about 50 bucks and from what I've read a pretty easy diy. I'm looking to do mine this weekend.
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Old 03-08-2013, 08:22 AM   #15
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That sounds like the common symptoms of the steering guibo. Cost is about 50 bucks and from what I've read a pretty easy diy. I'm looking to do mine this weekend.

Got one on the way! Thanks for the feedback. Let me know how it goes
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Old 03-09-2013, 08:23 PM   #16
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Put it in today. Went in easily but didn't see much difference. Think the old one was just fine. Now my steering wheel is not centered. Now I have to figure out how to fix this. Seems it always something!
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:46 AM   #17
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Good to know.. I have to be honest even my 300k Integra drove better than this car.. its amazing how many front end issues this car can have.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:55 AM   #18
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Good to know.. I have to be honest even my 300k Integra drove better than this car.. its amazing how many front end issues this car can have.
completely different suspension design. the particular 3-series suspension formula demands lots of work from the bushings. it's a high-performing, yet high-wear suspension. it's suited for the type of car that must handle well yet ride comfortably.
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:05 PM   #19
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completely different suspension design. the particular 3-series suspension formula demands lots of work from the bushings. it's a high-performing, yet high-wear suspension. it's suited for the type of car that must handle well yet ride comfortably.
Ok has more front end issues than my 06 WRX Sti with 275 slicks with 115k on it lol. Even comparing apples to oranges my BMW has had a cushy life and still demands more maintenance on the front end than those two cars or even my 03 Duramax that pulls the STi to events lol
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:22 PM   #20
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Ok has more front end issues than my 06 WRX Sti with 275 slicks with 115k on it lol. Even comparing apples to oranges my BMW has had a cushy life and still demands more maintenance on the front end than those two cars or even my 03 Duramax that pulls the STi to events lol
Yep. like i said. BMWs have to do two jobs since it's a BMW (luxury brand)

it must ride comfortably yet perform at a high level. Good luck on an integra or sti riding comfortably. (former Impreza owner here)

A lot is asked of the BMW bushing system. that is why they wear quickly.
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