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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:45 AM   #1
trizzuth
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My front end wobbles

Using this thread to catalogue the work I do to try to address my 3 year long stretch of having some front end wobbles.

Pretty sure it all started more than 3 years ago when I replaced my front wheel bearings. Since then, I've gone through 3 separate sets of rotors and pads up front, all of which end up with runout and produce horrible wobbles.

Now I have new wheels/tires on the car, and I get some wobbles just going down the road *sometimes* and *sometimes not*. So here's what I've done and eliminated as the potential cause of the issue:

Replaced rotors/pads 3 times, it is NOT "warped" rotors, the rotors are getting runout after being on the car for awhile, so something else is causing this.

Replaced both front calipers as they were not seized up, but the pistons were getting rusty and I wanted to eliminate 15 year old calipers as a potential cause. Also replaced front brake lines when I did this. This was done maybe 1-2 years ago. At the exact same time I did this, I put brand new Brembo blank rotors and pads on the fronts. Still ended up with the wobble that I have today.

I also sheared my passenger side strut pinch bolt replacing the suspension probably 3-4 years ago maybe, and had to replace the bolt with a non-OE bolt/nut combo. Unsure if this had anything to do with the runout I am getting.

At this point, I think the bearings are bad, I've inspected them with the car off the ground, wheels spin freely, they are not barking around corners, yet I do get some strange oscillation on the highway at certain speeds.

I have new wheels/tires for the summer, 1 year old and new wheels/tires for the winter that I've only drive on for a few months this spring. Cannot be wheels/tires as the vibration is not always there, and varies at different speeds, aka is not consistently happening at any one speed.

So for this round, I've sourced some used kingpins off of ebay, complete with hubs/bearings and backing plates. These came off an 04 Z4 with 61K miles and look like they were removed off of a brand new car. It's a Cali car too. So on Saturday, I will be taking these used kingpins and bearings and swapping them out for what I have on my car now, as well as machining the rotors down to eliminate the runout with my buddy's Pro-Cut brake lathe.

Kingpin and bearings are exact same part number, only the backing plate is not. I am hoping it's close enough to the E46 backing plate (i've carefully inspected pictures) so that it will work on my application. Or I'll be totally pissed.

Oh, I also just recently completely refreshed my entire power steering system, all hoses, hard lines, and pump and reservoir, all new, only thing not new is the rack. Steering seems fine. TONS of wobbles. Horrible. If you drove my car for 5 minutes you'd say to yourself HOW THE F do you deal with this on the daily??

Oh, and I've inspected all front end suspension components many times and it's all super tight. I will reinspect this weekend and see if anything else pops up.

If this doesn't fix my wobbles once and for all, I'll die. Wish me luck!
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:26 AM   #2
teamdfl
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Yes, it can be your "new" wheels. Check wheel runout with a dial indicator on a balancing machine. A dragging front wheel bearing can cause problems. Worn suspension stuff is not always obviously bad to the amateur mechanic. Are your front control arms and bushing older than 25k miles? Replace them. The steering rack, tie rods, and/or steering joints can be loose as well. Find someone with experience keeping high mileage BMWs on the road to watch over your shoulder.
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:31 AM   #3
trizzuth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teamdfl View Post
Yes, it can be your "new" wheels. Check wheel runout with a dial indicator on a balancing machine. A dragging front wheel bearing can cause problems. Worn suspension stuff is not always obviously bad to the amateur mechanic. Are your front control arms and bushing older than 25k miles? Replace them. The steering rack, tie rods, and/or steering joints can be loose as well. Find someone with experience keeping high mileage BMWs on the road to watch over your shoulder.
Lol, I'm the one keeping a high mileage (222,000) BMW on the road, watching over my shoulder. If that's not good enough, I will have the help of my friend who is also an expert in keeping a high mileage (365,000) BMW on the road.

Realize of course it could be "new" wheels - they are NEW, not "new" to me. Had one of them road force balanced at BMW, as I felt it hopping slightly when it was in the rear. That one is up front now. I have a full ZHP suspension kit in the car right now, metal ball joints in the control arms, pretty positive both control arms are fine still, and tie rods and steering joints but will double check all of these again when I am under there tomorrow. Definitely due for a set of FCAB's, but they're not blown out, just worn, and worn FCAB's will NOT cause the kind of wobbles I have, I've experienced worn ones before this is nothing like that.
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:37 AM   #4
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^ Why argue with someone that's trying to help you? A quick search on teamdfl shows him to be very suspension smart, just saying.
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:42 AM   #5
trizzuth
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^ Why argue with someone that's trying to help you? A quick search on teamdfl shows him to be very suspension smart, just saying.
I'm not arguing, I'm simply stating some facts about my car. What makes you think I am not suspension smart too? This thread was mainly to track what I've done to chase down a front end wobble situation that has lasted over 3 years. Everyone can offer advice, but can't truly understand the situation this car is going through unless you've had to live with it for 3 years like this. Rotors already been on the brake lathe twice, and eventually evolved into runout again. New rotors, same thing.

Gotta be an issue with the bearings. Or at least I am hoping. I will report back how things are after I do this work.
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