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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
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Old 05-31-2016, 08:50 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2016
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My Ride: 99 328i
Lots of strange noises from the front end

Hi, sorry if this is a repost but it seems like all the rattling threads have different root causes and I wasn't sure which one to pursue. My 99 328i w/ 131k miles has started making some weird noises and doing some weird things in the past week or two.

This started with a bit of a shake back and forth when on the freeway at speed. It's not constant and seems to be more pronounced in areas with bad pavement (especially bridges where the road has grooves cut in it) so I thought it might be that causing it.

Last week I noticed a pretty hefty *clunk* when I transition from going uphill/flatland to downhill and a similar noise when I first start braking.. pretty much when the weight shifts to the front (though this noise sounds more from center or back).

Finally, today there was a squealing I've never heard when moving my steering wheel left to right (and right to left) when parallel parking. I noticed no noises when doing this while moving.

I don't know if any of these are related, but for additional background, I've not done anything to the front end besides brake pads and rotors since I bought it. Some of the solutions I saw given to others were to check the bushings (which ones?), to check the struts and arms, and one that pointed to a loose differential resulting in a clunk that sounded similar to mine. I am okay with a wrench and down to try these (or others) but need to know where to start.

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Old 06-01-2016, 06:34 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. You'll probably get some more action on this kind of question if it were in the general E46 area instead of down here in the suspension area. Read, read, read. Absolute tons of great information. Read the stickies and the DIY's. Check the obvious stuff first on your front end. Wheel bearing play, sway links, tie rod ends, control arms, inner ball joints. All this stuff can drive you crazy if it isn't working properly. Buy quality parts from reputable vendors with good reviews and stay away from eBay parts unless they are selling the good stuff. I've replaced everything in my front end except the tie rod ends. Drives like a new car. Expect to spend plenty to get the car in reliable mechanical condition. Good luck to you!
2003 330xi Two pedals, four door handles
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:36 AM   #3
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Up front you're probably looking at new control arms (ball joints are built into them) and lower control arm bushings (LCABs). There may be more up there, but this is a good start. In the rear it could be any of the bushings (diff, subframe, RCAB).
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:49 AM   #4
mr ilia
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My Ride: 2004 BMW 325i 5spd
328/323 cars I would also check rear subframe mounting points. Especially if it has started all of a sudden and inconsistent.
They way you describe it, I'd check subframe first.
---- My Beemer history ----
2004 BMW 325i sedan - Schwarz II
1998 BMW 323i coupe - Lazurblau
2004 BMW 325ci - Sapphire Black
1991 BMW 318i sedan - Lazurblau
2001 BMW 330i sedan (Auto) - Japanrot

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Old 07-06-2016, 01:43 PM   #5
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Forgot to come back and update..

Changed out both of the front-lower control arms (and the bushing) and got an alignment done and this helped A LOT. Like Jim said, it's like a new car. I do still get the weird *clunk* when I brake or go from flat ground to downhill, but no longer do I fear my wheel falling off.

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clunk, front end, noise, vibration

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