[Help Thread] Trying to diagnose extreme mis-alignment/ rocking & knocking front-end - E46Fanatics 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

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!

Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 07-20-2019, 11:09 AM   #1
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 13
My Ride: 330ci Cabriolet
Year: 2004
[Help Thread] Trying to diagnose extreme mis-alignment/ rocking & knocking front-end

What's up everyone?

So - to sum everything up a couple of months back I had an accident moving about 50 or so in the rain through a curve and hit the curb. The impact was on the left side of the car which resulted in replacements for:

Set of 5-spoke e92 wheels
Front Drivers Side Control Arm/ Bushing/
Front Driver Side Sway Bar Link
Rear Driver Side Control Arm
Driver Side Rear Axle Shaft
Driver Side Rear Strut

Following so, I went to get a four-wheel alignment and to my dismay the shop found themselves unable to do much adjustment at all.

Additionally they pointed out some play in my front passenger side control arm bushing, and a bend on my rear passenger side control arm - oddly enough on the trip home my passenger side rear axle shaft broke

After a tow trip for the car and about a week or two later I had all the items replaced and back on the road, the misalignment was definitely still there so it was time to take a trip back up to the tire shop.

After about three hours of waiting bad news came back that they were able to do just a bit of moving but 'something was bent' and they weren't sure what it was.
The technician at the shop said that the main problem is really my front right side (which the inside of my tires are definitely showing).

After a brief visual inspection the main components seem to be in-tact and I'm not sure what could be the problem here.

I've done a bit of tugging on the sway bar to see if it's just bushings going bad but everything feels stiff. Furthermore, when I'm driving although I'm getting a pull to the right, and really bad shaking at 40+mph the suspension still feels firm and planted but I haven't taken it up on the highway to be safe.

I was curious what you guys think that my problem could be? I'm super confused because the impact was literally on the opposite side.

I've attached a copy of the specs from the alignment machine the shop used, besides that I've got a video to show you guys what I'm hearing from inside the cabin.

I'm hoping that it's really something simple like going ahead and picking up a new set of tie rods, but they look good to me??

I'd greatly appreciate any kind of insight or perhaps some good recommendations. I want to exercise some of my options before I throw in the towel.

If there's any other ways that I can make it easier to understand definitely ask me a question - all the help is appreciated!

Attachments/ Images

Video #1 (Shaking/Knocking) Headphones really help!


Video#2 (Front-End Suspension)


Last edited by RicoBravoUSA; 07-20-2019 at 11:19 AM.
RicoBravoUSA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2019, 05:18 AM   #2
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Boca Raton, FL or Salisbury, NC
Posts: 2,205
My Ride: 2001 325i Auto
Model: 325i
Transmission: Auto
Not sure what part of NC you reside in. EuroEnvy in Concord, is a BMW specific shop with an alignment rack in house. They're enthusiasts and know the cars inside and out. They will be able to diagnose it, and fix it if you so chose.

I'm not qualified, but normally you would replace both sides of your steering/suspension components, as the old rubber bushings and wear parts are worn out, unless they've been replaced recently.
If your paying someone else to do it, it's going to get expensive fast.

It's not technically hard with the DIY documentation on this site, and a set of basic tools. I refurbished mine with no previous experience. Just this site and YouTube.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N910A using Tapatalk
DEADF15H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2019, 08:11 PM   #3
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 13
My Ride: 330ci Cabriolet
Year: 2004
Originally Posted by DEADF15H View Post
Not sure what part of NC you reside in. EuroEnvy in Concord, is a BMW specific shop with an alignment rack in house. They're enthusiasts and know the cars inside and out. They will be able to diagnose it, and fix it if you so chose.
Much appreciated. I'm actually in Greensboro about an 1-2hr distance for me more or less.

I definitely have been reading that it's best that a BMW certified shop do the alignment, something about the procedures being different or something.

I'll definitely keep them on a list in case push comes to shove.

Fingers crossed that I can get a good it lifted up a higher actually up on a machine for a while and check the frame.

Inspection/ registration definitely due and it ain't ready
RicoBravoUSA is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 12-27-2019, 11:14 AM   #4
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 13
My Ride: 330ci Cabriolet
Year: 2004
UPDATE/ REVIVAL: (So much later..)

So, post-revival from said shop I decided to go ahead and purchase some new tires for the rear - big improvement but definitely still a risk. Per advice from my grandfather we took it to another shop in-town with a better *communicating* relationship (@DEADF15H Appreciate the recommendation, I def. followed em' on Instagram) and they had no problem making their adjustments - however they pointed out that before even touching the rear end we would need to source a replacement for the "trailing arm" because not only was it cracked but it was slightly bent out of shape.

So, from there I poked around online and nearby our parts suppliers either didn't have or know what I was talking about.. There was success at our local LKQ Pull-Your-Part but after getting it home, I realized that my 330 axle/spindle was bigger.. as was the trailing arm. I made a return to LKQ with no problem and after going back and forth through maybe 3-4 "sellers" (with bad response/communication) I decided to refer to the BMW CCA (Tar heel Region) Facebook Group.
I got pointed in the direction to someone about 50 minutes or so away who hooked me up with one the right fit. I hightailed back home and got everything put together the next day to get it back into the alignment shop as early as possible. So, a couple hours later I get the notice to come pick it up and they explain that they were able to get the back into spec for sure, but up front the camber was still just a bit off and it was likely that the struts may be bent as well.

So, pulling off I was in a mixed emotion of achievement because it was a night and day difference from before, but there definitely was some of the rough handle on the roadway at high speed - not enough to make you nervous (like you'd lose control), but a passenger will definitely feel the rockiness. Granted - I was back feeling confident enough to do 100+/- in the AM without being too worried.. So I knew it was some progression.

Now, I'm back with details from this alignment because I'm deciding whether to simply enough replace the front-struts, and the strut mounts (along with spark plugs, and a new oil pan gasket/ valve cover gasket for the new year) or instead go with an adjustable coilover kit online/ try and score one from someone generous for a fair price.

Honestly, my preference is to just do the struts and mounts - I'm a very relaxed driver (prolly stoned enjoying the birds and the clouds, and the leaves..) so the soft/ comfortable but solid stock feeling is what I like - I'm hearing that opting for the coilovers will be considerably more firm and "responsive" to bumps and textures, but quality if you don't mind spending a little extra. As for the more "economic options" (ex: maxpeedingrods) you're looking at needing spinal surgery soon cause either the whiplash or cause they'll fail on you.

Anyways - here's the image of my specs after the alignment..

Just to clarify - we're at the "Current Measurements"

What do you guys think? What do you recommend?

Last edited by RicoBravoUSA; 12-27-2019 at 11:14 AM.
RicoBravoUSA is offline   Reply With Quote

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 07:29 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) 1999 - VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.