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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 02-10-2014, 08:44 AM   #1
tmalones
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Join Date: Feb 2014
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My Ride: 2005 bmw 325xi
random violent shaking

Hello guys, I have a 2005 bmw-325xi with 99,500 on the dash. I recently have been experiencing a random and violent shaking of the steering wheel (throwing back and forth). It usually starts when I begin to de-accelerate (let my foot off the gas on the highway and let the speed drop). I got the car three years ago from a dealer and had a steering rack put in two years ago, cv joints, axles and boots done a year ago. I recently brought the car in and had the tires re-balanced, had my left cv-joint/axle down again (under warranty). This was about a week ago. I have about a 40 mile commute to work every day and about a week later after having my car serviced for the problem, it happened on my way home from work a week later. I've been through a bunch of threads and read it could be brake calipers sticking, control-arm/ball joints/ bent rim/bad tire (which would be highly unlikely because I got new tires 3 months ago), possibly the other cv axle/joint, or maybe even bad tirods. I would appreciate any help. I was hoping it happened to another person on the forum and they would have the remedy. This is my first post so don't be too harsh, I'm not familiar with the up with the formality of it yet but I'll get there. Thanks a lot guys and I hope to hear from you soon.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:49 AM   #2
tmalones
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extended

I also forgot guys- after the random vibration, a knocking noise usually comes from the left front tire area and sounds almost like something is out of place and kind of grinding. Sometimes it can be felt under the the driver seat floor. I'm really stumped and a don't have any idea what it could be. I don't want to go to the dealer and spend thousands of dollars doing trial and error. I hoping someone knows what it is and is sure about it because of past experience. Anything helps though. Thanks guys!
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:22 AM   #3
Kubica
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I would check to make sure the lug nuts are tight. If this happened a week after a new left axle, I would take it back to the shop.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:27 AM   #4
tmalones
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I checked the lug nuts on each wheel last night. I'm definitely taking it back to the shop I just would like to get an idea of what it is ya know? I appreciate your help and post. Thank you! The only other thing I noticed was my windshield washer fluid reservoir is cracked and the shop put some washer fluid in when they did the car. I don't know maybe if it leaked and froze on something. I live In upstate ny and it's been super cold recently. I'm beginning I'll start to believe anything lol.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:47 AM   #5
330XiNamedBif
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By any chance do you smell burning brakes when this occurs? I had a front brake caliper seize and it caused the steering wheel to shake violently. Could be a serious safety issue if your calipers are sticking. If you haven't replaced your brake fluid you may want to consider that as preventative maintenance/ possible solution to your problem.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:56 AM   #6
samreege
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I had a similar problem before. Exactly the way you explain it with the vehicle shaking violently upon slowing down! My problem was in fact the front right calliper. It wasn't to expensive and once he changed the ceased calliper I experienced no shaking anymore straight back to a smooth ride. If you checked that already and it wasn't the problem then my advice wasn't so helpful lol. Only other thing I can think of is an issue with the control arm or ball joints. It's difficult with shaking issues sometimes as it can be between so many things. I'll do some more research while I'm in the office see what I can come up with brother. All the best!
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:31 AM   #7
SamDoe1
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Is there any improvement if you hit the brakes or does it get worse? What about when turning? How about accelerating?

There are lots of things, but being that it happens under deceleration and after they swapped an axle I might be inclined to think it's the wheel bearing. But without being there, I can only speculate.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:42 AM   #8
330XiNamedBif
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How long does the shaking occur for? I had a torn FCAB (Front Control Arm Bushing) and it was causing the steering wheel to shake back and forth 3 or 4 times when i initially depressed the brake. The control arm was shifting which is what caused the shake. Once the control arm hit reached the other end of the "slack" it would stop. It's an easy visual inspection.
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:41 PM   #9
tmalones
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The shaking will occur for about a minute or so and the vibration will stop. Sometimes though after its done vibrating, there's almost like a grinding noise that comes from (what sounds to me like) the front driver side wheel. If i let the car sit for a decent period of time it will completely go away and only come back when the vibration starts again (which is every other day or so). I drove to work and back today and it was fine. It's really weird. For most of the problems mentioned, i would figure it would be a constant thing than more of a random one you know? Cars also arent my expertise so that's why I figured I would turn to you guys in this forum. I really appreciate all of your guys help and taking the time, I think we'll eventually get down to the bottom of it. Thanks Guys!!
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:54 PM   #10
tmalones
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how would you guys recommend checking to see if the FCAB is good? and if the break calipers are sticking?
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Old 02-10-2014, 03:09 PM   #11
330XiNamedBif
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The more detail you give the more this sounds like a stuck brake caliper. If you address it now you might be able to get away without replacing the pads and rotors.
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Old 02-10-2014, 03:10 PM   #12
330XiNamedBif
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to check a FCAB jack up the vehicle and try to shake the wheel forward and backward. If you have play, then your bushing is failing.
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Old 02-10-2014, 03:13 PM   #13
SamDoe1
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If you don't know much about cars please take it to a qualified and trusted shop to get it taken care of. Without knowing what it is, this could definitely end up being a safety issue.
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Old 02-10-2014, 03:25 PM   #14
tmalones
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I'm going to take it to the mechanic tomorrow. I know enough about cars, I did the brake pads and rotors myself over the summer so hopefully I don't have to replace them. Could a break caliper sticking be the end product of me putting them on over the summer? The felt great when I was done. I appreciate all the help guys and the information, I never realized how useful this forum could be. I'm deff. not going to drive it around when I know it is doing this, for the safety of me and other fellow drivers on the road. I'll let you guys know what they say. I've had it in twice in the past two weeks for this problem. 1st time- thought it was because of out of balance tires and grease build up on rim, 2nd time- realized the cv boot was torn but the whole part was under warranty so he just did the axle too. 3rd time is always a charm right? Lets hope they get it right this time because I have a business trip to Boston in a week and a half and I would really like to take my vehicle. Everyone knows how nice the bmw is on road trips. Thanks a lot for your help and time guys, your the best!

Last edited by tmalones; 02-10-2014 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:04 PM   #15
tomoyer
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I'm going to also speculate here, given that you recently had a "new" CV Axle installed, I'm going to say that something isn't put back together correctly (loose Inner Ball Joint, Loose FCAB Bracket) or that the "new" CV Axle is no good. Of course there could be other things such as a torn FCAB, sticking/frozen caliber, warped rotor, or even the caliper mount bracket lost one of its 2 bolts to state a few things. Without actually being there and looking its hard to say exactly what's going on, but since you recently had work done at a shop, I'd let them look at it and if its something they forgot to do, or messed up, its on them to correct. Let us know how you made out.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:45 PM   #16
tmalones
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hey guys, was out tonight for a while and it started to do it a bit more frequently then normal. You can almost feel the vibration in the steering wheel about to happen before it turns violent. I tried to see what would happen when I hit my brakes while it was happening and it didn't really have much effect. The shaking back and forth still persisted. When you make a turn while it's going on you can almost hear something rubbing against a piece of the body. Once the car comes to a complete stop the vibrating will stop for about 10 minutes or so and then start back up. Its pretty wild. I was going to try and record a video of it but it was against my better judgement. I'm dropping it off at the shop tomorrow and hopefully they can figure out whats wrong with it. I appreciate everyone's help, I really do guys. Thanks for all the advice, its greatly appreciated. You guys are all pretty educated in terms of bmw's and frequent problems.
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