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Old 07-02-2017, 06:00 AM   #1
Sykriss
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Moderate steering wheel shake at 35mph and 55mph

Hey guys, in the quest to get my car back in mint condition, I have replaced the majority of front suspension components. New struts, strut mounts, shock tower reinforcement plates, lower control arms, fcabs and tires. The car has always had pretty decent steering shake at speed, replacing these parts improved it significantly but I still get shakes at 30-35mph and 50-55mph. Smooth above 60 and under 30, but when rolling at low speeds (<5mph) I can feel what would best be described as a tire mounted off center or a large bubble on a tire (rears are brand new, though I do need new fronts due to camber wear). I also need an alignment, but I've been putting it off until I get my rear end bushings replaced, and I have a pretty decent amount of play in the steering wheel (almost a full inch) which I attribute to a worn steering guibo. Suggestions?

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Old 07-02-2017, 06:54 AM   #2
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Possible that's it's the combination of all of the things you listed. Won't know until the tires are replaced and the alignment is done.
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Old 07-02-2017, 09:37 AM   #3
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was the car sitting for a while?

flat spots on tires if so

i sit mine all winter but it still needs to be started and moved every 2 weeks, snow load permitting

i learned young, letting a car just sit is nothing but trouble
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Old 07-02-2017, 10:04 AM   #4
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My Corvette shook at 60mph - but not after I replaced the wheels.
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Old 07-02-2017, 10:45 AM   #5
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Did you replace the tie rods too? Including all the way back to where it connects to the rack?

I'd also check the tires. At a minimum, rebalance.
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Old 07-02-2017, 11:29 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Sykriss View Post
Hey guys, in the quest to get my car back in mint condition, I have replaced the majority of front suspension components. New struts, lower control arms and fcabs. The car has always had pretty decent steering shake at speed, replacing these parts improved it significantly but I still get shakes at 30-35mph and 50-55mph. Smooth above 60 and under 30, but when rolling at low speeds (<5mph) I can feel what would best be described as a tire mounted off center or a large bubble on a tire (rears are brand new, though I do need new fronts due to camber wear). I also need an alignment, but I've been putting it off until I get my rear end bushings replaced, and I have a pretty decent amount of play in the steering wheel (almost a full inch) which I attribute to a worn steering guibo. Suggestions?
Have any idea if your wheels are damaged? A slightly bent wheel will cause those symptoms, even if it's negligible damage. It's also possible you have defective tires

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Old 07-02-2017, 01:16 PM   #7
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balance will not fix flat spot in tire shake , believe me
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Old 07-02-2017, 01:27 PM   #8
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The rear tires are basically brand new, around 800 miles on them. The tech said he couldn't see any out of roundness and neither could I when I looked. The fronts are questionable, though; they are the same tires that were on the car when I bought it about ten months ago. It did sit in a garage for a period of about ten weeks before I could drive it. They definitely need to be replaced. I haven't serviced the tie rods yet, figured I would try and eliminate suspension related issues first. There is a little bit of curb rash on the drivers side front rim, but it looks to be only cosmetic.
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Old 07-02-2017, 03:39 PM   #9
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Look through JFOJ's responses on this thread--everything you'd ever want to know about steering wheel shake and wheel vibration:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...887&highlight=
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Old 07-02-2017, 04:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sykriss View Post
Hey guys, in the quest to get my car back in mint condition, I have replaced the majority of front suspension components. New struts, lower control arms and fcabs. The car has always had pretty decent steering shake at speed, replacing these parts improved it significantly but I still get shakes at 30-35mph and 50-55mph. Smooth above 60 and under 30, but when rolling at low speeds (<5mph) I can feel what would best be described as a tire mounted off center or a large bubble on a tire (rears are brand new, though I do need new fronts due to camber wear). I also need an alignment, but I've been putting it off until I get my rear end bushings replaced, and I have a pretty decent amount of play in the steering wheel (almost a full inch) which I attribute to a worn steering guibo. Suggestions?



Steering wheel shake is a feature of an out of balance condition, or a bent rim, or a crappy tire. Also, if the car has 5 Series rims, it is easy to mount them on the car off of center. The center bore on a 5 Series wheel is larger than the hub of the car, this means that the tires get centered by way of the lug bolts, and this is not a good way to do it. If you must center with the lug bolts. then put them in finger tight, all of them, then shake the tire so the tapered shoulders of the bolts center the wheel, then tighten the bolts in a star pattern a little at a time until you are at a point where you can torque them without the wheel shifting position on the hub. You can mount a 5 Series rim onto a 3 Series and be off by a millimeter, which gives the affect of an out of balance tire. You can have a damaged tire casing that will feel like a flat spot spinning around, which feels like an out of balance tire.
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Old 07-02-2017, 04:45 PM   #11
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Steering wheel shake is a feature of an out of balance condition, or a bent rim, or a crappy tire. Also, if the car has 5 Series rims, it is easy to mount them on the car off of center. The center bore on a 5 Series wheel is larger than the hub of the car, this means that the tires get centered by way of the lug bolts, and this is not a good way to do it. If you must center with the lug bolts. then put them in finger tight, all of them, then shake the tire so the tapered shoulders of the bolts center the wheel, then tighten the bolts in a star pattern a little at a time until you are at a point where you can torque them without the wheel shifting position on the hub. You can mount a 5 Series rim onto a 3 Series and be off by a millimeter, which gives the affect of an out of balance tire. You can have a damaged tire casing that will feel like a flat spot spinning around, which feels like an out of balance tire.
I definitely think this is at least part of the problem. The wheels don't seem to have any centering shoulder so when I remounted them it had to be done by the lugs. I need to adjust my ride height before I take it in for an alignment, so I'll remount them extra carefully and see if it improves.
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:26 AM   #12
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http://www.e46mango.com/2017/06/so-y...hakes-huh.html

I wrote this article for U. It has a cool animal on the hood too!
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Old 07-12-2017, 11:35 AM   #13
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Yesterday I reinstalled my front suspension and adjusted ride height a bit. Noticed a few things. 1. Both sway bar end link nuts that connect to the strut were basically finger tight. 2. Drivers side strut wasn't all the way seated in the hub. 3. Missing drivers side caliper clip. Fixed all of these issues except the caliper clip and the car drives quite differently, much less sloppy feeling. The steering wheel shakes have been reduced significantly but not completely, probably 60 percent gone. I tested for play with the front tires in the air and everything felt rock solid. I'm thinking that brake caliper clip may have a role in my brake shuddering issues, but I can't imagine it would cause vibration when not using the brakes... Gonna revisit this after I get new front tires, that missing caliper clip, and an alignment.

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Old 07-12-2017, 01:11 PM   #14
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A huge percentage of drivers have bent wheels, most of which are unperceivable.
The E46 (and BMWs / MBs in general) are those types of cars where you do feel the minor imperfections moreso than other vehicles.

I'd suggest jacking up the car, one wheel at a time, and rotate it by hand while closely observing it.
Use a fixed reference point and compare the edge of the wheel (both inside and out) against it. Look at the tire too.

Chances are you have bent wheels, or tires with manufacturing defects.
Vibration when braking are usually "warped" rotors / FCABs (or a combination of both)

Vibration can also come from the brakes, even while they are not applied, if you have a sticking caliper.
Check the inner and outer brake pads for wear - they should be even.

Last thing I can add - shakes in the steering wheel indicate a problem with components on the front axle.
Shakes felt in the seat come from the rear axle. Obvious, but it's always a good reminder when pinpointing problems.
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Old 08-22-2017, 05:55 PM   #15
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Got a pair of brand new 215/35 Indy 500s today and I'm still getting vibrations. All four wheels balanced out great, though, I still want to have them road force balanced. Occurs in the same range of speeds, 30ish to 60-70. The vibrations are felt in the steering wheel & front pedals/footrests. The front of the car feels like it's shaking somewhat. It also seems to come and go. This leaves three possibilities (in my mind): Steering rack flex disc (which I have already ordered, will be replacing this weekend), tie rods, and/or an alignment. The car badly needs an alignment but I've been waiting until I get all my suspension work done to do so. If I replace the rack flex disc, get an alignment, and it still shakes, then it's time for tie rods... and if that doesn't fix it, I honestly have no idea what the issue could be.
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:30 AM   #16
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Ok so I just got back from bringing a buddy of mine to the airport which let me get the car up to 90-100mph during some portions of the drive. Once I hit around 85 the entire car started shaking in a consistent oscillating pattern (which would increase in frequency as I got closer to 100mph). It'd be perfectly smooth for a second, then vibrate pretty strong for a second, rinse and repeat. Pretty sure that whatever is causing this is the same thing that's causing my other issues. I couldn't really tell if it was predominantly coming from the front or the rear as it felt like the entire car was shaking. I can't tell if there was a noise associated because the shaking was enough to make plastic panels etc inside the car make noise. The sun visor was vibrating a quarter inch or so back and forth during these periods. It was really kind of unsettling.
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:11 PM   #17
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I'm telling you, my money is you have bent wheels.
You can balance out an egg if you wanted to. That doesn't make it round.

Road force will help to some extent (it did for me), but its not a cure-all.
Another commonly overlooked item is the upper strut mounts. They are cheap and bearings wear out over time.
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Old 08-23-2017, 01:10 PM   #18
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I'm telling you, my money is you have bent wheels.
You can balance out an egg if you wanted to. That doesn't make it round.

Road force will help to some extent (it did for me), but its not a cure-all.
Another commonly overlooked item is the upper strut mounts. They are cheap and bearings wear out over time.
Every time I re-mount the wheels, the symptoms improve significantly (not 100%, but much better), but it always comes back... These rims don't seem to be hubcentric, so what I think I'll do is measure the hubs on the rims and try and find a set of hubcentric rings that fit proper(while I save money for new rims). Hopefully that minimizes it enough so I can focus on other maintenance (I'd rather spend that 1k on a new battery, fuel pump+filter, and a new starter, than a new set of rims). I guess I'm just getting antsy for it to drive smooth after dropping so much money on suspension work, new rubber, etc.
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:10 PM   #19
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If you're running wheels with the wrong hub-size, and without hubcentric rings, there was no need for this thread to exist.

Basically you wasted everyone's time, including your own.
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Old 08-28-2017, 11:01 PM   #20
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Had same issue, turned out it was a front right wheel bent on the inside. Jack the car up and spin it and see if it wobbles too much (it's normal if it's just a little bit), look on the outside/inside the rim.
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