E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Suspension & Braking

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rating: Thread Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average. Display Modes
Old 07-19-2012, 03:18 PM   #1
BMW2k3
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 74
My Ride: '04 330ci & '93 E30
Chasing Front End Vibration - 04 330ci

Hi All-

I've got a e46 330ci coupe with 114k miles which has developed a strange and intermittent frond end vibration at highway speed (55+).

Symptoms:
-Vibration and shake in the steering wheel which varies in intensity when going over 55-60mph. Changes and smoothes out at certain speeds. Some days the shake is barely noticible, other times it literally feels like a wheel is loose.
-Play in both wheels when shaken with front end off of the ground. Passenger side is worse.
-Popping sound from front end when turning (in either direction) and applying brakes at slow speeds - ie. pulling into/out of a parking space. Noticible metallic "pop" as you stop to change direction if that makes sense.
-Steering is crisp & tight, car does not shake/feel loose under braking.

Here's what I've done so far:
-Balanced tires (2 times, different shops), cleaned all wheel hubs and properly torqued wheels.
-Inspected front end suspension parts: car has recent Meyle HD CABs and I have not found any visible play in the control arm ball joints or tie rods.
-Replaced steering shaft flex joint/guibo.
-Replaced front brake pads, rotors, guide pin bushings and bled brakes thoroughly. Calipers are in good condition and not sticking.

Could this be bad front wheel bearings? I would'nt think they would cause this much vibration/shaking but I guess it is possible. Are control arms still not out of the question even if they have no visible play that I've found?

Appreciate any second opinions before I start throwing money at the problem.
__________________
Current:
E46 330ci 6MT: BMW Performance SSK | 3.15 Diff | M3 Strut Bar | SS Brake Lines | Rogue Poly RTABs | UUC UDP

Past:
E92 335i 6MT: JB4 | DCI | CDV Delete | BMW Performance SSK
E36 M3 5MT: AFE Intake | M50 Manifold | ASC Delete | DDM Catback | Shark | Clears
E46 323ci 5MT: 330 Brakes | H&R Cup Kit | SSK | Clears | 3.46 | 18" CSLs | E36 M3 Clutch & LTW Flywheel
BMW2k3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Ads by Google

Guests, get your FREE E46Fanatics.com membership to remove this ad.
Old 07-20-2012, 10:11 AM   #2
Ky///m3
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Louisville
Posts: 755
My Ride: 1988 E30 M3
causes:
-improper balance
-tire defect, will not pick up on most balancers, need to spin wheel/tire up
-rubbing caliper
-bent wheel
-control arms/fcabs bad
__________________

2006 E46 M3 HPF stg II SOLD
1988 E30 M3 Touring Class
1995 E36 M3 I-Prepared Class
Ky///m3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2012, 10:47 AM   #3
hummer
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Haverhill, MA
Posts: 3,323
My Ride: 2001 330CI
I would add struts to the list and at your miles I don't see how original ball joints could still be good and sway links, tie rods. Believe it or not, RTABS can also cause problems up front and yours are surely gone if original.
hummer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2012, 04:08 PM   #4
BMW2k3
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 74
My Ride: '04 330ci & '93 E30
Update - should have mentioned in first post:
-Tires are recent Conti DWS with good tread
-Took all the wheels off and looked for bends/bubbles in tires, didnt find anything. Checked the front tires again when mounted and no visible damage found.

I thought it was control arms, however after jacking the car up twice and having someone pull on the wheels (12 & 6, 3 & 9, etc) to check for play, I cant find any in the ball joints, in the control arms or tie rods.

Would play in the wheel without play in the suspension point toward wheel bearings? Meaning, if someone is shaking the wheel and it has some play but the suspension isnt moving.
__________________
Current:
E46 330ci 6MT: BMW Performance SSK | 3.15 Diff | M3 Strut Bar | SS Brake Lines | Rogue Poly RTABs | UUC UDP

Past:
E92 335i 6MT: JB4 | DCI | CDV Delete | BMW Performance SSK
E36 M3 5MT: AFE Intake | M50 Manifold | ASC Delete | DDM Catback | Shark | Clears
E46 323ci 5MT: 330 Brakes | H&R Cup Kit | SSK | Clears | 3.46 | 18" CSLs | E36 M3 Clutch & LTW Flywheel
BMW2k3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2012, 01:21 PM   #5
BMW2k3
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 74
My Ride: '04 330ci & '93 E30
Another update on my vibration problem for anyone with similar issues:

I still have the vibration after the following:
-Replaced front LCAs and LCA bushings with Meyle HD parts. Outer ball joints on the original arms had some vertical play when applying pressure with vice grips, however it was minimal. Bushings had been previously replaced with Meyle HD on the OEM arms and were in good shape.
-Rebalanced all four tires - all wheels balanced out. I did this myself using the equipment at a BMW indy shop where I have worked in the past.
-Thoroughly inspected the tie rods, steering rack, sway bar endlinks and shocks for any visible failures, play, leaks, etc. and found none.


I'm going to be replacing the RTABs shortly with the Rogue Engineering street bushings as I'm sure my RTABs are on their way out, but I doubt this is causing the problem.

I'm still suspicious of the play in the passenger front wheel without any play in the suspension itself, will probably end up replacing this wheel bearing. Is there any way to identify damaged/defective tires short of dismounting them? All wheels are straight, no bubbles/damage to the exterior of the tires.
__________________
Current:
E46 330ci 6MT: BMW Performance SSK | 3.15 Diff | M3 Strut Bar | SS Brake Lines | Rogue Poly RTABs | UUC UDP

Past:
E92 335i 6MT: JB4 | DCI | CDV Delete | BMW Performance SSK
E36 M3 5MT: AFE Intake | M50 Manifold | ASC Delete | DDM Catback | Shark | Clears
E46 323ci 5MT: 330 Brakes | H&R Cup Kit | SSK | Clears | 3.46 | 18" CSLs | E36 M3 Clutch & LTW Flywheel
BMW2k3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2012, 09:31 PM   #6
heyitznosaj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Boston
Posts: 3
My Ride: hooptie
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW2k3 View Post
Another update on my vibration problem for anyone with similar issues:

I still have the vibration after the following:
-Replaced front LCAs and LCA bushings with Meyle HD parts. Outer ball joints on the original arms had some vertical play when applying pressure with vice grips, however it was minimal. Bushings had been previously replaced with Meyle HD on the OEM arms and were in good shape.
-Rebalanced all four tires - all wheels balanced out. I did this myself using the equipment at a BMW indy shop where I have worked in the past.
-Thoroughly inspected the tie rods, steering rack, sway bar endlinks and shocks for any visible failures, play, leaks, etc. and found none.


I'm going to be replacing the RTABs shortly with the Rogue Engineering street bushings as I'm sure my RTABs are on their way out, but I doubt this is causing the problem.

I'm still suspicious of the play in the passenger front wheel without any play in the suspension itself, will probably end up replacing this wheel bearing. Is there any way to identify damaged/defective tires short of dismounting them? All wheels are straight, no bubbles/damage to the exterior of the tires.
If there is play when you wiggle the wheel up and down and side to side, it is typically the wheel bearing. Try re-torquing the front wheel bearings first before you replace them. Also run your hands along the tire to feel if the tire itself is "warped" or "Cupped". Worn suspension components, bad shocks, and bad alignments will cause your tires to wear abnormally and will cause noise and vibration. Hope this helps.
heyitznosaj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2013, 08:08 PM   #7
Protostar1
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Columbus, IN
Posts: 22
My Ride: 2003 330ci, 2006 Evo
BMW2k3, I just sent you a PM along the lines of:

I have a remarkably similar issue to what is described here. No obvious parts are sloppy and the car generally feels quite tight despite the mileage (173k). However, at speed and especially under higher speed braking, I have a moderate vibration. I am thinking it might be the upper strut bearing, but am far from sure. I have checked all other items noted here (did replace FCABs as one was torn about 6k miles ago) and none seem to be an obvious suspect. Any advice anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated!
Protostar1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
(c) 1999 - 2011 performanceIX Inc - privacy policy - terms of use