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General BMW Model Discussion
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:07 AM   #1
rovert
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My dad's E39 540i steering wheel shakes at...

only 80km/h. If you go 5-10km/h over or under the shaking stops and the car is totally smooth. We have never been able to figure out what is wrong with the car and he has gotten alignments and make sure the wheels are balanced, as well as tire pressure. Does anyone have an explaination of why the steering would only shake at 80km/h on the speedo?

His car has also developed this low deep sound when in idle at a stop. He has an automatic so if we shift into neutral the deep sound goes away. Once back into drive it comes back...weird stuff. Other than that his car still drives like it's new and it is just a tad under 200,000kms!

Sorry if I'm posting about this E39 question here....it seems a lot of you are quite well educated at how a vehicle works and also it's way more busy and faster reply here!
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:16 AM   #2
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ok i will take a crack at it before the engineers wake up. this could be it, or it could not be. i dont know


when a car runs though it vibrates and such at a certain frequency. my roomate had to figure out a better belt system on a ford than it comes with. by better the frequency was supposed to be in tune so that it runs silently and doesnt cause a harsh vibration and such. i dont know much about it but i would guess (see sig) that perhaps at that engine speed the vibration is such that it hits a harsh spot with other resonance in the car, giving you a vibration at a certain rpm/mph

my exhaust system rattles a bit just at a certain rpm, a low one although i never checked exactly

well if thats complete BS at least you and i were entertained for a minute
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:16 AM   #3
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p.s. that steerig wheel on the e39 is such a POS. i wish i could slap an e46 m3 wheel on it. its like a hard noodle. i want to get it wrapped in more leather someday
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:24 AM   #4
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redronin
p.s. that steerig wheel on the e39 is such a POS. i wish i could slap an e46 m3 wheel on it. its like a hard noodle. i want to get it wrapped in more leather someday
e39's with sports package DO come with the M3 steering wheel. at least they did from 01+. yours is a 00, so although the sportspackage that year did offer a thicker steering wheel, it is not e46 m3 one. btw, the sportseats on the 01+ e39 sports package are to die for. they hug you so damn nicely...and together with the m3 steering wheel that came with it, the 01+ e39 sports package has one of the best cockpit feel i've ever experienced in any car.
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EDawg
e39's with sports package DO come with the M3 steering wheel. at least they did from 01+. yours is a 00, so although the sportspackage that year did offer a thicker steering wheel, it is not e46 m3 one. btw, the sportseats on the 01+ e39 sports package are to die for. they hug you so damn nicely...and together with the m3 steering wheel that came with it, the 01+ e39 sports package has one of the best cockpit feel i've ever experienced in any car.
great so i missed the boat by one year. so your saying its possible to buy an e46 m3 wheel and pop it into my 00 540? or is the colomn different.

i still love the car to death. it screams for clears a new wheel and some suspension mods tho. not to mention a short shift kit. i very very different tranny than the e46. its fun to drive and feel something different, but overall the car could be tighter. gotta love that v8
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Old 02-21-2006, 05:30 AM   #7
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^ i don't know if the 00 has a different steering column than the 01+. all i do know is that 01+ e39 sports package comes with the e46 m3 wheel and some awsome sports seats. sorry i can't be more helpful.
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Old 02-21-2006, 06:23 AM   #8
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get the front wheels rebalanced. should sort the vibration issue
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Old 02-21-2006, 08:15 AM   #9
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If it only does it at 80 km/h that would point to some sort of unbalanced wheel or alignment issues. If it does the same thing at the same RPM's in every gear you either have some sort of resonance within the car thats finding its way to the steering column, or you might have a broken motor/trans mount that resonates at that particular RPM. But I would lean towards an unbalanced wheel. Or maybe even a bent wheel. Good luck.
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Old 02-21-2006, 09:13 AM   #10
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The "E39 shimmy" is a very common issue. Sometimes it is impossible to eliminate.

Assuming you don't have a bent wheel, try -

different tire pressures
Hunter "roadforce" wheel balancing
different lug bolt torque
new front control arms and ball joints
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Old 02-21-2006, 10:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rovert
only 80km/h. If you go 5-10km/h over or under the shaking stops and the car is totally smooth. We have never been able to figure out what is wrong with the car and he has gotten alignments and make sure the wheels are balanced, as well as tire pressure. Does anyone have an explaination of why the steering would only shake at 80km/h on the speedo?

The E39, like the E34 and E28 before it, have two front control arms. One runs laterally and one runs diagonally from the strut back to the body. The diagonal one take all the thrust loads generated by braking causing the bushing at the body end to wear relatively quickly. The first symptom experienced is usually a front end shimmy at a very narrow range of speeds. The solution is new bushings. In the earlier 5 series, the ball joint in the strut end of that control arm is pretty beefy and will last thorugh a replacement set of bushings or two but I suggest you check them out anyway.

For more info, Google "E28 shimmy" and you will get a decade's worth of info.

After the bushings, the next most likely culprits are worn steering components (tie rods, drag link and center link on V8 cars) and a dragging brake caliper.
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:57 AM   #12
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I'm questioning it being something wrong with the wheel since if there was an unbalance in the wheel or a bent wheel, the "shimmy" would just get worse and worse as the speed climbs. I've had the car up a tad over 200km/h for a couple minutes and it's totally smooth and fine. I know I shouldn't have been going that fast but damn that V8 just gets you there so fast and so easy... It's so smooth too, just like riding in a private jet at speed.
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