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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
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Old 02-04-2017, 02:23 PM   #1
ieathonda
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: houston, texas
Posts: 15
My Ride: e46 325ci
Vibration at 50mph

Hey guys, i rarely drive my e46 and have been messing with it here and there. I noticed some vibration a few weeks ago and ever since i changed out my fcabs to meyle's, ive have been chasing vibration issues for weeks. I recently found both of my front wheels were bent so i got new ones and balanced them 3 times and had 2 separate alignments in the last week. I have vibration from 50mph+ and it is less pronounced after some parts but still enough for me to feel nervous about driving it on the highway.

New parts:
Koni sport front and rear
Gc coilovers
Uuc front camber plates
Uuc rear camber arms
Rogue RSMs
Steering guibo
Swaybar links
Meyle FCABs
OEM RTABs
Brembo front and rear blank rotors
Akebono pads
Power steering pump

I ordered some new tie rods and control arms as well and will be installing those this week.

Any ideas of what it could be? I believe the wheel bearings, control arms and tie rods are the only parts i have not changed up front and the ca may be the culprit? The vibration is a fast shaking only noticeable from 50+mph. I have checked the calipers and both wheels spin freely. The car has 120k miles and most of the parts were original. From what ive read, most suspension components should be changed after 100k anyway.
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Old 03-06-2017, 05:52 PM   #2
ieathonda
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: houston, texas
Posts: 15
My Ride: e46 325ci
update:

Installed half parts i had besides control arms because i ran out of time and am really crunched on time the last few weeks.

Tie rods were completely shot. Boots had cracks and eventually had some rust built up on the tie rods and parts of the joints. Drivers side didnt have any play, inner tie rod on passenger had a few mm, enough play to be felt.

Got an alignment after tie rods and the ride is dramatically better. Very smooth and solid up until about 60mph, where the shake is still present but not as violent. Im 100% sure at this point that its the control arms as I have replaced every single part, nut, bolt that is related to suspension.

I will post an update once the control arms are done. Its a very easy install but working my 8-5 and my second job afterwards makes for very little time to do much else.
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:39 PM   #3
jimvideopro
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 142
My Ride: 2006 330CiC
I would be interested to know what you find. I am chasing a similar vibration that gets noticeable at 65+. I put in Koni S.TRT dampers and H&R sport springs about 10 months ago and have had the vibration since, despite trying several different pairs of wheels up front. The car has Meyle control arms and cabs. My shop says the cabs are still good, and theorizes the shocks and springs are mismatched causing the vibration.

(BTW, the pic below is before the suspension work... looks MUCH better now w the drop.
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Last edited by jimvideopro; 03-26-2017 at 09:41 PM. Reason: More info
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:35 PM   #4
ieathonda
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: houston, texas
Posts: 15
My Ride: e46 325ci
I would double check your tie rods, a good amount of vibration was eliminated once I changed out the worn out tie rods. They had visible play once off the vehicle, pretty hard to tell without a friend messing with the steering wheel.

So I have changed every single suspension component in the front and got an alignment and am STILL have a small but noticeable vibration at 65mph+. it gets much worse creeping towards 80mph.

At the point I am almost thinking I wll have to get a new steering rack as I still have the original and this car has 115,000 miles now. Its really got me stumped. I changed out control arms, tie rods, FCABS, endlinks, shocks, shock mounts and both front wheels are perfectly balanced. All power steering components are NEW except for the steering rack. I still have about 1" of "free play" that does not move the vehicle going 65mph. It tramlines slightly and wanders on the freeway which requires me to constantly keep both hands on the wheel in order to make minute corrections in how the car tracks...

I guess ill order a steering rack, I will jump off a cliff if the rack isnt it lol.

EDIT: I may have found the issue. Had some slight "clunking" while jiggling the steering wheel left and right with the car off. I had already replaced the steering guibo so i am almost 100% its the upper steering coupler joint. Have ordered one and will be installing whenever it comes in.

Last edited by ieathonda; 04-20-2017 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:18 PM   #5
SSchwab
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Oregon City Oregon
Posts: 357
My Ride: 99 328i, 00 Z3 2.8
Let us know if the rack resolves the wandering. I plan to order a reconditioned rack and new steering pump and lines in the near future for the same reason, after replacing all the other original front end components, plus the rtabs.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:50 AM   #6
GhostFlame
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 484
My Ride: E46 Sedan
I've found myself in a similar situation, replaced the following so far:

- Inner / outer tie rods (driver side had play)
- Front rotors (Zimmerman)
- Front calipers (ATE rebuilt)
- FCABS (MOOG)
- Wheels (CSL Reps)
- New tires

I had a SLIGHT vibration with my winter 16" OEM wheels before replacing any of the above parts.
I went to my wheel & tire guy and he balanced them out, which ended up making them worse than before.

My thoughts are that I either use a really shitty guy for my wheel balancing, and my current summer 18's are out of balance, or I need hub centric rings and didn't even know about it.

- CSL reps are 18"x8.5", ET40, center bore is unknown (could be 74mm instead of 72.56mm).
Very hard to tell, since they fit rather snug on the wheel hub.

- Symptoms are vibration at 40-60 mph, but inconsistent. They won't vibrate at this speed all the time.
- Under 40mph, no vibration whatsoever.
- Over 70 mph, almost no vibration at all.
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:25 AM   #7
ieathonda
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My Ride: e46 325ci
I would recommend***8203; you guys to check your steering guibo and the steering u joint coupler. I found alot of noise yesterday and play in the u joint. Wiggled the steering wheel while the car was off and have a good amount of clunking/clicking/looseness to what i can attribute to the u joint going bad. It was hard to diagnose with all of the worn suspension parts but i am definite that is my issue.
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Old 04-21-2017, 12:20 PM   #8
GhostFlame
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 484
My Ride: E46 Sedan
I don't think that's the cause of your problem.

I've had that clunking for almost all 7 years of owning my car. Pretty sure its normal noise when you jerk the steering wheel with the car off.
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Last edited by GhostFlame; 04-21-2017 at 12:21 PM.
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