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Suspension & Braking
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!

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Old 08-04-2013, 07:35 PM   #1
Zell
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Brake vibration - Driving me *nuts*!!! But with a twist!

Trying to figure out this vibration and it's driving me wild! Here are the symptoms:

1. Stepping on the brake, strong vibration in the steering wheel that gets greater as I press down on the brake. Increases particularly as it heats up, and as I go faster. The car feels like it is grabbing harder in one spot and not in another, so it makes a sort of "lurching" braking pattern.

2. New rotors from BimmerBrakes purchased 1.5 years ago, installed. Had no vibrations until about 5000 miles later

3. No unusual wear patterns on the rotors, brake pads are perfectly flat (F/R)

4. Guide pins are very clean, cleaned out inside of guide pin bushings with a rag as well

5. Parking brake is maladjusted and I've been meaning to fix it, makes ever-so-slight contact in the driver's side left when the rotor is turned, but the contact point is a very specific point

6. When slightly braking, I can hear an intermittent squeak that follows the vibrations from the rear-left wheel and some from the right side as well

7. On the passenger-side front rotor, there's a spot that grabs more when I turn it. It is very noticeable.

8. Car does not pull to one side or the other - stays totally straight

9. Driver's side rotor doesn't seem bad at all

10. Going over bumps, the passenger-front side makes a "squeak," that sounds like a brake, but I heard that could just be the spring contact point

11. If I stop on the brakes with moderate force, for a very short time I can hear an intermittent squeak from the driver-side rear brake for a short time, though I think that's the parking brake that's slightly rubbing

12. Only can hear any of this stuff with the windows down, it's not audible in the car

13. Rims never feel overly hot to the touch. Nothing out of the ordinary, so nothing seems to be sticking.

What could be causing this? The rotors are basically new, and I figure I can go get them turned. But what if the issue just comes back again? All of the dust boots on the rotors are in excellent condition, and I see no leaks, breaks, cracks or anything.

The odds of all four calipers being bad sounds extraordinarily rare, and I'd rather not buy 4 remanufactured calipers + rotors + pads. What do you all think? I have no symptoms of sticky or binding calipers, and my brake pads are totally flat, so they're not being pushed at some angle for some reason.
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:45 PM   #2
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You've warped your rotors. This is so common on all vehicles, I can't believe you've never heard of this before.
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:50 PM   #3
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Brake vibration - Driving me *nuts*!!! But with a twist!

Rotors


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Old 08-04-2013, 07:56 PM   #4
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Did you do a proper bedding procedure? Either way, do another one. http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30386
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Cavi Mike View Post
You've warped your rotors. This is so common on all vehicles, I can't believe you've never heard of this before.
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Originally Posted by Yewzer B Lewzer View Post
Rotors


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Okay, but they're new, and I had very, very similar symptoms before I changed them out. How can they warp that quickly, especially when I don't brake hard?

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Did you do a proper bedding procedure? Either way, do another one. http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30386
I did when I got them, yes, and then did another one a few months after.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:21 PM   #6
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Brake vibration - Driving me *nuts*!!! But with a twist!

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Okay, but they're new, and I had very, very similar symptoms before I changed them out. How can they warp that quickly, especially when I don't brake hard?



I did when I got them, yes, and then did another one a few months after.
You just stated that your rotors did not do this until after driving 5k miles on them. This does not qualify them as being new anymore. Think about all of the times you've braked over those miles. Swap out your rotors and I would bet this issue goes away. You should do this quick before your warped rotor or rotors takes your pads out with it.


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Old 08-04-2013, 08:36 PM   #7
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You just stated that your rotors did not do this until after driving 5k miles on them. This does not qualify them as being new anymore. Think about all of the times you've braked over those miles. Swap out your rotors and I would bet this issue goes away. You should do this quick before your warped rotor or rotors takes your pads out with it.


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Well in terms of brake rotors, these are more or less practically new...brake rotors last in the tune of 30,000+ miles. I'll go get them turned because they have a whole lot of meat on them - they have not even developed a lip yet. If the issue comes back again I will snag new rotors and pads and see how it is then.

And in terms of "warping" rotors, that's more or less a myth:

http://www.stoptech.com/technical-su...nd-other-myths

Now if I do actually have a warp, which I have some suspicion of my passenger-side rotor, there may be an underlying issue causing it to warp...but we're hoping that is not the case.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:39 PM   #8
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Take the rotors to a shop and have them checked.
They don't warp that easily, but so many aftermarket parts have questionable quality these days.
Also, how old are your FCABs? There can be more than one cause.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:41 PM   #9
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Take the rotors to a shop and have them checked.
They don't warp that easily, but so many aftermarket parts have questionable quality these days.
Also, how old are your FCABs? There can be more than one cause.
BimmerBrakes is a sponsor here, and they seemed high quality when I got them. FCABs are about 4 months old.

Yeah, that's what I am probably going to do - just head to my indy and see if they notice anything out of the ordinary. The indys I go to are usually very picky and particular about nearly everything on the car (as I would expect), and none of them mentioned anything out of the ordinary with the braking system. They even said something about a few missing screws on the fender liner. I'm just trying to solve this myself without spending too much money on things I don't need to spend money on. Trying to do a suspension overhaul soon, and an extra $500 on 4 new rotors and pads would be nice to not spend
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:47 PM   #10
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Just have your rotors turned, they are warped. Turning them does not cost much and will make them feel new again. All it takes is a couple times of emergency braking and the rotors will warp.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:58 PM   #11
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All right. I'll adjust the parking brake, go have them turned, and see how it goes in 5000 more miles. If it comes back I would suspect calipers.
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:23 PM   #12
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When you remove those rotors you can clearly see if the caliper pistons have torn boots or are seized or not. While the car is jacked up and wheels still on, try to wiggle the wheel to see if wheel bearings are worn that will also warp rotors quickly
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:44 PM   #13
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have control arm bushings ever been changed?
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Old 08-04-2013, 11:17 PM   #14
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Hello Zell. I'm Mango. I bring platinum plus advice to the table. I hope you take it!

First red flag I'm seeing is BimmerBrakes rotors and possibly pads? You didn't say what kind of pads you are using. This is highly important and before I spill my top secret information on why, tell me what brand Bimmerbrakes uses for their rotors as well as what pads you have. Or you can fly me to whereever you are and i'll tune your car up. I'm thinking theres a possibility Bimmerbrakes uses generic chinese-designed/sourced brake parts and passes the savings (and problems) onto you. Yes they're a vendor and I appreciate their support, but if they are selling inferior brake products, that could be dangerous. Lets get to the bottom of the most important topic here. Forget all the other stuff you are reading above.

I have OEM quality rotors and OEM quality pads and subject my car to some of the deepest, longest, hardest braking you can toss at it for over 30k miles and my braking is platinum plus glass smooth at all speeds, temps, and loads.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:53 AM   #15
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Pretty much agree with the above post from Mango. I would reconsider going with OEM rotors and a quality pad. My rotors were warped when I bought the car. I went with OEM rotors and Akebono Ceramic pads. I haven't looked back since.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:20 AM   #16
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Hello Zell. I'm Mango. I bring platinum plus advice to the table. I hope you take it!

First red flag I'm seeing is BimmerBrakes rotors and possibly pads? You didn't say what kind of pads you are using. This is highly important and before I spill my top secret information on why, tell me what brand Bimmerbrakes uses for their rotors as well as what pads you have. Or you can fly me to whereever you are and i'll tune your car up. I'm thinking theres a possibility Bimmerbrakes uses generic chinese-designed/sourced brake parts and passes the savings (and problems) onto you. Yes they're a vendor and I appreciate their support, but if they are selling inferior brake products, that could be dangerous. Lets get to the bottom of the most important topic here. Forget all the other stuff you are reading above.

I have OEM quality rotors and OEM quality pads and subject my car to some of the deepest, longest, hardest braking you can toss at it for over 30k miles and my braking is platinum plus glass smooth at all speeds, temps, and loads.
I was hoping you'd jump in here

As far as I know, BB rotors are their own brand. Hopefully Anthony can chime in here.

http://www.bimmerbrakes.com/category-s/2049.htm

Since they're a sponsor here I figured they'd be a safe bet. Their rotors were well-priced at the time, and even now they've gone down a considerable amount than what I originally paid for them. They are at Meyle-level prices at this point.

My pads I haven't been able to directly determine since they were done by the PO before I bought the car. The most I can read from them is a date stamp from 2008. There's way too much wear and dust to determine anything else, but there is a lot of pad material left.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:44 AM   #17
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You didn't mention it in your original post but is the brake pedal pulsing when you are feeling the vibration in the steering wheel. That would a big factor in what is actually causing the vibration. If the pedal isn't pulsing there's a very good chance this is control arm bushing/control arm related and not brake related at all. Minor brake squeal at light to moderate pedal application isn't really anything wrong in most cases. Annoying, but normal with certain pads. In many cases re-bedding the pads takes care of it.

But again if you have no pedal pulsing I would be looking at the suspension first and not the brakes.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:00 PM   #18
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I was hoping you'd jump in here

As far as I know, BB rotors are their own brand. Hopefully Anthony can chime in here.

http://www.bimmerbrakes.com/category-s/2049.htm

Since they're a sponsor here I figured they'd be a safe bet. Their rotors were well-priced at the time, and even now they've gone down a considerable amount than what I originally paid for them. They are at Meyle-level prices at this point.

My pads I haven't been able to directly determine since they were done by the PO before I bought the car. The most I can read from them is a date stamp from 2008. There's way too much wear and dust to determine anything else, but there is a lot of pad material left.
Yeah take a pic of the pads if you can. I am pretty good at identifying pads from manufacture marking/casting etc.

My guess is your pads and rotor combination are crap. Especially if you feel intermittent grabbing. PM me and lets talk about it. Trust me. Replace them with quality stuff. I'll tell you why if you want.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:43 PM   #19
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My pads I haven't been able to directly determine since they were done by the PO before I bought the car. The most I can read from them is a date stamp from 2008. There's way too much wear and dust to determine anything else, but there is a lot of pad material left.
Am I reading this correctly that you replaced your warped rotors, but reused the old pads? If this is the case, that is where you made the mistake as you should have replaced the rotors and pads. I doubt you can get away with replacing one or the other again... but if you are trying to save the rotors, check them with a dial indicator. I believe the industry standard for rotor runout is 0.002" before it will be noticeable, but you might want to look in a manual for BMW to double check what their limit is.

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If the pedal isn't pulsing there's a very good chance this is control arm bushing/control arm related and not brake related at all. [...] But again if you have no pedal pulsing I would be looking at the suspension first and not the brakes.
My car did the same exact thing when the front rotors were warped. Not even one inkling of pedal pulsation, but noticeable shimmy in the steering wheel when the brakes were pressed. I had never seen anything like it before. I checked and double checked the control arm bushings... minor play, yes, but there was no way it could cause the sort of uniform shimmying I had. If it were control arm related it would not be a perfectly inform shimmying in the steering wheel. I just decided to chance it on buying new OEM rotors and Akebono pads without attempting to use a dial indicator to verify. After the repair the problem went away completely. But I never had any pulsation in the brake pedal.
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Old 08-05-2013, 05:19 PM   #20
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Am I reading this correctly that you replaced your warped rotors, but reused the old pads? If this is the case, that is where you made the mistake as you should have replaced the rotors and pads. I doubt you can get away with replacing one or the other again... but if you are trying to save the rotors, check them with a dial indicator. I believe the industry standard for rotor runout is 0.002" before it will be noticeable, but you might want to look in a manual for BMW to double check what their limit is.



My car did the same exact thing when the front rotors were warped. Not even one inkling of pedal pulsation, but noticeable shimmy in the steering wheel when the brakes were pressed. I had never seen anything like it before. I checked and double checked the control arm bushings... minor play, yes, but there was no way it could cause the sort of uniform shimmying I had. If it were control arm related it would not be a perfectly inform shimmying in the steering wheel. I just decided to chance it on buying new OEM rotors and Akebono pads without attempting to use a dial indicator to verify. After the repair the problem went away completely. But I never had any pulsation in the brake pedal.
Yes, that is exactly what I did at the time because I was in college and tight on cash. Prior to doing this, I asked a shop to go turn the rotors, but they told me they would be below spec if turned. I determined the PO must have replaced the pads but not the rotors, and had them surfaced (researching my VIN showed a listing for my car in which the PO mentioned the brakes were done). I found the slide pins were lubed, so a non-BMW shop must have done it. Some friends and I doing the work on the brakes determined the pads were very new considering how thick they were, and figured a few good beddings would solve the old pad new rotor problem to remove the old material that was conformed to the old rotors. They were glass smooth for a while.

My question is, if it is the pads, how could they have brought the vibration back if I removed all the old material through bedding multiple times? The symptoms prior to replacing the rotors are near-identical. I'm just worried that it might be something else, and dropping money on new pads and rotors will not solve the problem and I'll be back at square one with ruined rotors again. That would be lame - though I do plan on doing this in the future.
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