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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 04-17-2015, 03:56 PM   #1
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Cracking sound when coming to stop/start

I am getting a "cracking" kind of noise coming from the front of my car (I think mostly left side, but can't be totally sure) when coming to a stop and hitting the brake pedal somewhat hard. The sound is is not a click noise, but a louder cracking sound. Here are some points:

- Most noticeable at slow speeds and hard braking
- Cracking noise happens when brake is applied, and also happens when releasing the brake and slowly accelerating.
- Cracking sounds also occur when turning (say backing out of a parking spot with foot on brake).
- Sound does NOT occur when applying brakes normally/softly during driving, and also does not happen when the car is not moving (i.e., actuating brakes when stopped makes no noise). The noise seems to be due to some sort of torquing of something and happens when the torque is applied and when released.

I have replaced all of the front brake components (new OEM calipers, Meyle rotors, BMW pads, Mintex pads, etc.) - no impact. I don't think it can be the brakes (especially since it makes no noise when braking at a stop).

Mechanic checked suspension components (control arms, bushings, tie rod, sway bar links, etc.) - all seems to be good. Car has 98,000 miles and suspension is original.

My guess is even though suspension seems fine, there is something loose in the ball joint or other component connected to the wheels causing the sounds, but no ideas where to start.

Someone has had to have been through this before, right? :-)
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Old 04-17-2015, 04:22 PM   #2
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Cracking or creaking? Meaning, is it similar to a spring creaking or strut/bearing creaking or popping? Or, if you had AWD does it sound like a CV joint going bad? I'm trying to get a better idea of the sound...
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:10 PM   #3
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It doesn't sound like a spring. More like cracking or loud popping noises. I will try to post a video with the sound later.

It is a RWD car, so no CV joints
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Old 04-17-2015, 08:58 PM   #4
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I would double check all fasteners, like the subframe bolts swaybar and so on.

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Old 04-18-2015, 12:43 PM   #5
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Here is a short video where you can hear the sounds. Any ideas?

Thanks Iszlszx - I will check all the bolts and connections. Maybe it is something as simple as a bolt loosening up over time.

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Old 04-18-2015, 01:06 PM   #6
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I have had a similar light" cracking" noise from the driver rear corner. Almost sounds like an electrical short in the rear speaker but it occurs even with the stereo off.

I'm lowered on Bilsteins HD shocks and coil overs (PSS 10 I think).

I'm afraid mine might be subframe crack.

Your sound is much louder tho.

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Old 04-18-2015, 01:10 PM   #7
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Try the support brace..maybe it's loose or too tight.
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Old 04-18-2015, 02:14 PM   #8
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Tighten your sway bar links. I had one loose and would make noise on slow turns or bumps.

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brakes, cracking front suspension

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