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Old 12-13-2008, 06:51 PM   #1
j dogg
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Vibration!!!!Need help please

I have a 2000 323 wagon..i am getting a bad vibration starting at 40mph to about 60mph. the steering wheel shakes and you can feel it through the whole car, and then just like that it stops and is fine for a while
the vibration goes away while braking but comes right back as soon as i let off the brakes.


Any help would be appreciated...
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:05 PM   #2
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It's not clear from your post if it always happens between 40 and 60, but always goes away outside that speed range, or if it's intermittent even in that speed range.

If it goes away above 60 mph, the most likely cause is simply an out-of-balance wheel/tire. Other items like a suspension or brake problem, or an out-of-round wheel/tire would probably only get worse the faster you went. If that's the case, the fix is simply to get the wheels/tires balanced at the dealer, or a good tire store.

I am concerned by how dramatic it sounds like the vibration is, and by the fact that it stops if you hit the brakes. If you get the wheels/tires balanced and it's still there, it's time to have the dealer or a mechanic check it out. If it's as bad as you make it sound, don't put this off, get it looked at very soon.
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:11 PM   #3
j dogg
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it doesn't always happen when i am between 40-60 it comes and goes..but if you go above 60 when it is doing it , it fades out..
Does that make sense????

thanks for your help
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:15 PM   #4
Xcelratr
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Yeah, that's more clear.

It also makes it less likely to be a wheel/tire balance issue. It's still possible, but balance issues tend to be pretty consistent, especially when the wheel/tire is out of balance by enough to create the kind of shaking you're talking about.

Get it checked out, might be a control arm, strut, or wheel bearing issue.

Good luck, bro.
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Old 12-14-2008, 06:37 AM   #5
j dogg
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Anybody else before it goes to the stealership?????
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Old 12-14-2008, 11:30 AM   #6
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Could be a warped brake rotor, or possibly a sticky brake caliper. Next time it does it, pull over to a safe place and check front wheels. If one of the front wheels is excessively hot, or one has more brake dust than the other (you can check this any time), I would suspect a sticky brake caliper on that side. I have had a sticky brake caliper twice on the front right side and both times replaced the caliper to fix it.

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Old 12-14-2008, 12:01 PM   #7
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More than likely an unbalanced wheel/tire.
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Old 12-14-2008, 01:59 PM   #8
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First check your wheels to make sure they're balanced. If that's not the problem then check the wheel bearings. If the car were shaking when braking it might indicate worn control arms and bushings, but in sounds more like a balancing or wheel bearing.
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Old 12-18-2008, 12:15 PM   #9
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How does one 'check' wheel bearings?
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:33 PM   #10
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I just started experiencing the same exact symptoms of the shaking steering wheel and then shaking disappears problem. I would be going 60 - 65mph then the steering wheel starts to progressively shake violently then maybe about a mile into driving or a minute (very long minute!) later, the shaking disappears. During that minute, I turn the steering left/right and also slow down/accelerate. I am not sure if any of those combinations help the problem "disappear".

This problem started last Friday, coincidentally it is about the same time where the temps dropped considerably here in Northern Jersey plus snow and ice. Yesterday, I discovered the front right caliper is sticking so I am thinking it is the caliper.

IxNay -- did your car shake with sticky caliper?

Coincidentally, my friend's 00' A4 1.8t started having the same problem! His calipers are fine so he is saying it is ice in the wheel or something is causing wheel imbalance.

In the 1.5 years of owning this 03' 330ci, this is the first time I've experienced the shaking. I never had this problem on my previous 01 325ci. I did recently install some new Goodyear Eagle GT's (Ultra High Performance All Seasons - about 1000 miles on them now) so the tire is a variable here too. Had Continentals on the 01 and 03 and never had this issue.

In any case, obviously, first thing I need to do is get the brake caliper checked out but I thought I'd share this in case it is helpful.

Note: When I spray brake cleaner fluid, it "seems" the caliper "let's go" but then the friction comes back again after a mile or so of driving. I guess the cleaner acts as a lubricant temporarily.

Anyone know if caliper is covered under extended warranty? Thanks all.
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Old 12-27-2008, 12:45 PM   #11
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Just to give everyone an update.. i checked everything out i have blown struts in the front. i wonder why i never noticed any handling issues????? anyway, i ordered new struts and are going to be putting them on next weekend, and i was wondering if there is anything else i should replace while i am working on it.. is it a good idea to replace strut bearings with them, i was thinking yea but i didn't know. thanks for all of your help!!!!

Also while i was changing the oil last weekend i noticed that the power steering fluid was low. it says ATF on the lid but the fluid is chocolate brown..is it supposed to be this color?????thanks in advance
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:34 PM   #12
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Can anyone help with the power steering fluid????
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Old 12-27-2008, 03:18 PM   #13
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maybe control arm and bushing commonly failed.
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Old 12-27-2008, 03:18 PM   #14
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PS fluid should be red. and it is ATF
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Old 12-27-2008, 03:20 PM   #15
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remove your splash shield and check for leaks especially the powersteering hose.
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Old 12-27-2008, 05:04 PM   #16
j dogg
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Originally Posted by reynaldo View Post
remove your splash shield and check for leaks especially the powersteering hose.
i will have to do that. i will have to get this figured out!!
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Old 12-27-2008, 06:07 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by IxNay View Post
Could be a warped brake rotor, or possibly a sticky brake caliper. Next time it does it, pull over to a safe place and check front wheels. If one of the front wheels is excessively hot, or one has more brake dust than the other (you can check this any time), I would suspect a sticky brake caliper on that side. I have had a sticky brake caliper twice on the front right side and both times replaced the caliper to fix it.

Jeff
This exact occurrence happened to me and it was a sticky caliper.
I found a CarQuest reconditioned BMW caliper for $84. Follow BMW bleeding procedure and it may be good to go.
I thought rotors and suspension all along and in the end it was in fact the caliper.

Good Luck
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Old 12-28-2008, 08:39 AM   #18
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Check your engine mounts too - how many miles on your car? Fixed my really bad vibrations thorugh the steering wheel.
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Old 12-28-2008, 01:59 PM   #19
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i had this too! its a unblanlanced wheel!

the vibration was very bad for me!

but the cause and fix was SIMPLE!

it was from the snow and ice that formed on the wheels.

i kicked it a couple times to get the ice out, and BAM the vibration was gone!
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:08 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by j dogg View Post
Just to give everyone an update.. i checked everything out i have blown struts in the front. i wonder why i never noticed any handling issues????? anyway, i ordered new struts and are going to be putting them on next weekend, and i was wondering if there is anything else i should replace while i am working on it.. is it a good idea to replace strut bearings with them, i was thinking yea but i didn't know. thanks for all of your help!!!!

Also while i was changing the oil last weekend i noticed that the power steering fluid was low. it says ATF on the lid but the fluid is chocolate brown..is it supposed to be this color?????thanks in advance
Did new struts fix the vibration? I have the same problem at the same speed on my 325ci. How do you check struts? I don't see any fluid leak on mine and everything is solid. When I force the wheel, the only movement I can detect is at the control arm bushing. But I replaced those and the control arms a year ago.
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