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General E46 Forum
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:19 PM   #1
Hateleydrift
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Steering wheel vibration

Just picked up a 2002 330ci for a good deal a few weeks ago, it came with a pretty bad vibration felt through the steering wheel from 50mph to about 75. The car is otherwise smooth. So I did some research and started replacing parts. So far I have replaced:

Front control arms
inner/outer tie rods
front/rear upper strut mounts
front/rear shocks
guibo/flexdisc
center bearing (preloaded properly upon installation)
driveshaft centering sleeve
rear lower control arms
all 4 new rotors and pads
new wheels/tires balanced last week

The vibration definitely improved when I did the driveshaft and the front control arms/tie rods. But it's still there for sure. I'm about to try subframe/diff bushings and trailing arm bushings next. After that I might swap the steering rack out and see if that works. Maybe its the steering linkage guibo? Already planning on putting an lsd in the car about 2 weeks, so if it's diff related it should be gone after that.

Any ideas here?
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:23 PM   #2
WDE46
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Wheels could be bent. Have them checked for radial and axial runout.
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:25 PM   #3
Hateleydrift
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Wheels are brand new ESM wheels, and the vibration was there with the old stock wheels. It's definitely not the wheels or tires.
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:53 PM   #4
lingon300k
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You have the exact same vibration--just lessened--at the same speed, after replacing the wheels and tires?
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:05 PM   #5
Stingray230sx
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did you do the FCABS when you did the control arms?
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:35 PM   #6
B694515
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I have the same problem. I am getting a full front end suspension upgrade tomorrow with new rims and tires as well as a brake job! I will let you know if the problem goes away.

BTW my rims right now are not bent but my tires apparently are wearing unevenly because my alignment is bad. I suspect it's an alignment issue or I'm guessing it's the tie rods because I had the vibration even after I put on the Meyle HD control arms and FCAB's.
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:46 PM   #7
YoitsTmac
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lol sounds like my issue


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Old 01-11-2017, 10:49 PM   #8
SheldonR87
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Wheel bearings maybe?? I had small vibrations and recently changed my front bearings (pretty easy DIY...) and that got rid of most of the vibrations I was feeling. I'm pretty sure the passenger side was completely shot. I have an 01 325 with 181k miles just for reference. They're not very cheap, but I would recommend trying.
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:52 PM   #9
DEADF15H
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Proper alignment?
Steering guibo is cheap and easy(2 bolts and easy acess), and should take out any play, but don't think that's your problem.

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Old 01-12-2017, 08:44 AM   #10
Hateleydrift
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stingray230sx View Post
did you do the FCABS when you did the control arms?
Yes fcabs were replaced
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:46 AM   #11
Hateleydrift
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SheldonR87 View Post
Wheel bearings maybe?? I had small vibrations and recently changed my front bearings (pretty easy DIY...) and that got rid of most of the vibrations I was feeling. I'm pretty sure the passenger side was completely shot. I have an 01 325 with 181k miles just for reference. They're not very cheap, but I would recommend trying.

Maybe wheel bearings will be next on my list. Got a few weeks till the diff is ready and I drop the rear subframe to do the subframe/diff bushings. I might do some wheel bearings in the meantime. Thanks for the input man.
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:49 AM   #12
Hateleydrift
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEADF15H View Post
Proper alignment?
Steering guibo is cheap and easy(2 bolts and easy acess), and should take out any play, but don't think that's your problem.

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Alignment is proper and the vibration happened before and after so you rule that out as the cause. I'll just do the steering guibo to get it out of the way, I think I have a urethane one for e30s somewhere in the shop. It would be nice if that fits...
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:53 AM   #13
Hateleydrift
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lingon300k View Post
You have the exact same vibration--just lessened--at the same speed, after replacing the wheels and tires?
Yes, same vibration. On both factory and brand new aftermarket wheels. It didn't really lessen the vibration much. Biggest vibration changers were the front control arms/tie rods and the driveshaft guibo/csb/centering sleeve.
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Old 01-12-2017, 09:28 AM   #14
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Do you go for the same guy for the wheel balancing?
I'm 90% sure my issue is due to the tire guy not having a calibrated machine & him using sticky weights that come off super easy.

Upper strut mounts were my next suggestion but I see you replaced those.
Keep us posted what you find out.
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Old 01-12-2017, 09:37 AM   #15
Hateleydrift
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostFlame View Post
Do you go for the same guy for the wheel balancing?
I'm 90% sure my issue is due to the tire guy not having a calibrated machine & him using sticky weights that come off super easy.

Upper strut mounts were my next suggestion but I see you replaced those.
Keep us posted what you find out.
I highly doubt it. For it to vibrate the same way on the stock wheels and the new ones with new tires? Highly unlikely. I am gonna do wheel bearings and the steering guibo today, see where that gets me. Thanks for all the help guys!
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:54 AM   #16
BaliDawg
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When you had the front end up in the air, was there any play in the steering?
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:12 AM   #17
Hateleydrift
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaliDawg View Post
When you had the front end up in the air, was there any play in the steering?
Not that I noticed, I will check more thoroughly today. Might be the rack or the steering guibo, thats all that's left in the steering components other then the steering column bearings...
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:13 AM   #18
BKMrSteel
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Steering wheel vibration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hateleydrift View Post
I highly doubt it. For it to vibrate the same way on the stock wheels and the new ones with new tires? Highly unlikely. I am gonna do wheel bearings and the steering guibo today, see where that gets me. Thanks for all the help guys!


He's probably right you know. This is who I would be looking at. If a wheel bearing was moving enough to vibrate your steering wheel, it would have to be making scary sounds. The speed range you gave us alone tells me it's probably unbalanced. Take it somewhere else and see.

It sounds too me like your throwing endless money at it without knowledge.


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Old 01-12-2017, 12:41 PM   #19
Archbid
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Wow. You are throwing a lot of money on parts pretty randomly.

When your bearings go bad, you can diagnose by turning the hub and listening for noise. And a rack is expensive.

I didn't see end links, so you might inspect these. Can you rotate your wheels front to back? Vibration in the steering wheel like that really is most often the wheels. The only counter-evidence is that wheel vibration could be exacerbated by new control arms and bushings, not lessened.

You could also try lowering tire pressure to see if it changes the nature of the vibration.




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Old 01-12-2017, 01:02 PM   #20
Hateleydrift
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKMrSteel View Post
He's probably right you know. This is who I would be looking at. If a wheel bearing was moving enough to vibrate your steering wheel, it would have to be making scary sounds. The speed range you gave us alone tells me it's probably unbalanced. Take it somewhere else and see.

It sounds too me like your throwing endless money at it without knowledge.


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Sounds to me like you don't know me very well...

I understand that this could still be up for debate, but like I said it's highly unlikely. Why would it vibrate on 2 different sets of wheels, I have a 3rd set I could try that I know 100% they are balanced because they are currently on my e28. But I'm pretty convinced it's not the wheels. I've been drifting for 12 years and burned through hundreds if not thousands of tires. I've ripped wheel weights off, broken wheels, driven home on bald/destroyed tires, smashed wheel lips on walls and kept drifting, you name it. I have never had a vibration through the wheel like this from just an unbalanced wheel. The car itself would vibrate a lot with damaged wheels or bald tires but the steering wheel would not vibrate or shutter. When wheel weights fall off the vibration is usually minimal and not this noticable.

Throwing endless money at it, not really...

I was planning on doing all the bushings/wheel bearings/driveshaft anyways. I do this to all the bmws I buy. It's a hobby, I have a lift and full equipped shop and I love doing it so its not really a big deal. The car was kind of neglected for a while anyways. I only paid $1700 for the car so that's makes it less of a big deal. It also needed most everything I replaced so far because the vibration has lessened quite a bit with most of the modifications. I also run my own racing team so I get a resale discount on most parts. Not really spending endless money here. My E30 is where I spend endless money.

As for not having knowledge...

I built the drift E30 myself, everything but paint and engine wiring/tuning. Fabricated tube front and rear, supercharged LS3 swap, e46 m3 spindles, SLR angle kit, JRZ coilovers and a hoard of other modifications to make the car work on track and hold up to the abuse of drifting. Every part of that car has been removed, checked, cleaned, repainted if needed, reinstalled or modified if needed then reinstalled. Took 1st place in the Southwest Drift championship last year and was on the podium all 4 rounds. Completely replaced all bushings in my e28 and installed coilovers, big brakes, etc. I have plenty on knowledge and experience. I came here for ideas and advise on a problem with a car a bought 2 weeks ago, not to have my intelligence insulted. So if you have any new suggestions I welcome them, but please don't suggest the same thing after I've clearly explained my reasoning.
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