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Old 02-05-2020, 08:18 AM   #1
bGTOb330ci
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Wandering Steering and clunk

Yes, another one of these threads.

Back story: Recently bought a 2003 330ci with 200000 miles. Had a bunch of clunks that I have all sorted out (RTABs loose, rear half shaft bolts loose, solid steering coupler loose). One issue remains.

I have wandering steering on the highway a front end passenger side clunk, which usually only shows up after the car has been driven a ways. Typically I'll hop on the freeway for 15 minutes and when I get off and come to stop the clunk will start with pretty much every application of the brakes or accelerator, or bumpy roads, or low speed tight turns (both when I steer, and repeatedly during steady state turns). I can also get clunking if I get out of the car and shove the front passenger fender down.

Diagnostically, I have done the whole wheel shake tests and I did notice what I thought looked like top/bottom play, which made me think ball joints or wheel bearing. Also hopping under the car and trying to check for play, didn't really get anything. Couldn't feel any play in the inner or outer tie rods. Made sure to verify torque of subframe bolts and reinforcement plate.

Previous owner put on Bimmerworld Delrin front control arm bushings which have no more than 6000 miles on them so I don't believe those to be failed.

Does this sound like anything to anyone? Trying not to just replace everything but based on the driving experience and my diagnostics, it feels like either the ball joints, wheel bearings, or steering rack. I also have a 712 rack which i can't seem to find anywhere.
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Old 02-17-2020, 01:29 PM   #2
swordsman11868
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Wandering Steering and clunk

To me the clunking sounds like front control arm bushings (FCABs).

The wandering sounds like worn RTABs.

If you post this same question in the General Forum you will probably get a lot more responses.


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Old 02-18-2020, 11:25 AM   #3
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Thank you for the response, I made a post there.

FCABs would have been my first thought as well, but the PO recently fitted Bimmerworld Delrin FCABs and they look intact. Checked the mounting torque for them as well.
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:20 PM   #4
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Wandering Steering and clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by bGTOb330ci View Post
Thank you for the response, I made a post there.



FCABs would have been my first thought as well, but the PO recently fitted Bimmerworld Delrin FCABs and they look intact. Checked the mounting torque for them as well.


Ok thatís great. It seems like you have covered all the bases.

Hopefully someone with insight to your problem will chime in.
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Old 02-27-2020, 06:19 PM   #5
bGTOb330ci
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I also noticed you mentioned RTABs, I replaced those with poly very early on and the wandering persisted.

I got a little more aggressive with my inspections and put a jack under the control arm on the passenger side, while raising it I saw noticeable movement in the outer balljoint before the knuckle started raising with it. I'm hoping this is the cause of my clunking/wandering. Control arms on the way!

I did my front wheel bearings as well, and the hubs seemed unnervingly loose once I got the brakes off. I wasn't sure if that's just how they were without any preload on them from the lug bolts or what but with the new ones on they are tight, so I'm hopeful once I get the arms in there on Saturday all my problems will be gone.
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:42 AM   #6
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Update:

Did wheel bearings and arms in one go this weekend. After the first test drive I think I'm in the clear!! Steering felt tighter, could still feel a lot of feedback but didn't feel like I was wandering, and despite my best efforts I couldn't get any clunks. Drive was short though so we will see but I think I'm in good shape! Bad news is, it looks like my valve cover is leaking pretty badly on bank 2. Never a dull moment.
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