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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 04-30-2015, 02:58 PM   #1
frankie1220
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Chicago
Posts: 6
My Ride: 2004 325i
Unhappy Shaky steering, right side drag, brake smell = unknown problem

I'll try to make this short. Please hit me up with some possible problems.

Problems:
drag to right side causing me to constantly correct at ALL times - it's not really bad, it'll just slowly steer me right
brake smell after a drive on the right side.
shaky steering wheel accompanied by audible shakiness and feeling of whole car being shaky or vibrating especially at 50mph and above
right steer and shaky steering can occur from 30mph and above.
On and off occurrence of above said problems (EXCEPT the right steer, that one's always there). Bumps on the road may cause or cure shaky steering/cabin


Fixes I've had done lately and not to long ago and not at the same time:
front suspension changed - this one was wrongfully changed because they thought it would fix problems but it didn't
front rotors changed - this was changed after suspension change didn't work out, they concluded it was uneven so they changed it. problems temporarily resolved but then later on reoccurred.
new front ceramic brakes - no known fixes, just needed a new pair but might need a new one again because it seems like they're getting worn out because of these problems.
wheel alignment - which fixed the right steer and that brake smell but after a month problems came back
tire rotation - which did not fix the problems

My main concern is the steering vibration. It comes and goes during 30-60 mph. I thought it would be tires or tire balance issues but given the fact that driving on rough roads can make the vibration completely disappear on and off make me suspect otherwise. Any thoughts would be appreciated Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-30-2015, 03:29 PM   #2
rsyed07
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Central FL
Posts: 1,050
My Ride: E92 335is, E46 330i
You have a sticking brake caliper. A very common E46 problem. Replace the caliper or rebuild the piston in the caliper.
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Old 04-30-2015, 03:31 PM   #3
Sedan Hussein
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Southeast
Posts: 986
My Ride: e46
Sounds like it. Rebuild kits are fairly cheap.
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Old 04-30-2015, 04:10 PM   #4
Loaded325i
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: oregon
Posts: 491
My Ride: bmw 325i
Depends on your tool set. You need to take the piston out of the brake calipers and clean the rust out. Then replace the seal. Pretty easy. If you can't do this rock auto has some decent rebuilt units. I've had luck with those on customer vehicles.
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