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View Full Version : Help! - Can't stop vibration


84alfaman
02-26-2005, 01:04 PM
I need some advice. I've had a vibration that starts at about 40-45 miles an hour from the rear of the car. I feel it through the seat, not the steering wheel. At about 55, there is a small shake in the wheel. Also, the problem is always most noticeable when cold, and then it improves as the vehicle/tires? warm up.

I replaced the tires to BFG Traction TA's and the problem was still there. After several balances and a trip to the dealer, everyone still pointed at the tires as being the problem. So, I was able to get the tire shop to switch the BFG's for the OEM Michelin. I picked up the car today and the problem is still there!

My BMW dealer doesn't seem to know what else to do. They said my suspension checked out fine. Could they be missing something? This is getting frustrating! :mad:

RakNaks
02-26-2005, 04:39 PM
Okay lets start from the begining. What wheels and tire size do you have. What Michelin tire do you have. Were the rims checked out for run out...ie bent rims. Have you got a chance to strobe balance the car.... meaning on the car balanced? Have you changed the brake rotors on the car if you did what did you use.

E39spd
02-26-2005, 08:46 PM
Also, were any of the balance machines "Hunter Road Force" balancers?

That machine takes care of a lot of problem balancing issues and can identify bent rims, out of round tires, and can match the high spot of the tire to the low spot of the rim to get rid of vibration (plus it aplies a force to the tire wheel combo like it was driving on a surface).

MatWiz
02-26-2005, 09:42 PM
Okay lets start from the begining. What wheels and tire size do you have. What Michelin tire do you have. Were the rims checked out for run out...ie bent rims. Have you got a chance to strobe balance the car.... meaning on the car balanced? Have you changed the brake rotors on the car if you did what did you use.
where can you find "on the car balance" or "strobe balance" ??? I have been asking around for more than a year and no shop had ever heard of it :eek:
do you have any more pointers into that?

psychrunner
02-26-2005, 09:47 PM
I need some advice. I've had a vibration that starts at about 40-45 miles an hour from the rear of the car. I feel it through the seat, not the steering wheel. At about 55, there is a small shake in the wheel. Also, the problem is always most noticeable when cold, and then it improves as the vehicle/tires? warm up.

I replaced the tires to BFG Traction TA's and the problem was still there. After several balances and a trip to the dealer, everyone still pointed at the tires as being the problem. So, I was able to get the tire shop to switch the BFG's for the OEM Michelin. I picked up the car today and the problem is still there!

My BMW dealer doesn't seem to know what else to do. They said my suspension checked out fine. Could they be missing something? This is getting frustrating! :mad:

I have had a similar problem, but mine is mostly with the steering wheel shaking at about 54 MPH, mostly when called. Two independent type BMW shops have checked out suspension, etc., both aligned the wheels and said "should be good to go", but the problem still occurs. Started about two weeks after getting new tires (Yokohomas). Have talked to both shops. They seem to minimize the problem. One said could be a brake caliper sticking, but seemed not too concerned. BTW, mine is a 740iL.

RakNaks
02-27-2005, 11:18 AM
I live in the Atlanta, GA area and we have two shops that balance on the car. I am very suprised that in NYC you can not locate one! Well, I think I have solved my balance problem with my e39. It has alot to do with the tires. I am getting this info from the Tire Gurus of Grand Turismo East here in Atlanta. And my personal experience with 104,000 miles. There are two tires that will balance on the e39 that is the Michilen Pilot XGT-v or z4s or the Dunlop 2000E that is made in Germany. I have tried several brands Yokos, Toyos, and even Bridgestones. My tire store was doing everything from Hunter GSP 9700 road force variation to chanting. Now before anybody jumps the gun....this was MY experience with the SO-3 Pole Positions. I spared no expense and ordered the SO-3s. We mounted them and found three out of four were out of round! I could not believe it. I bought these because Michilen decied to drop the Pilot XGT line during this time. After the SO-3 debacle I ended up with the XGT-V4s that were in stock. They were great. Another tire that I am working with is the Kumo 712s. So far they balance nicely. However you musty rotate frequently as they due tend to feather a bit. And yes I changed my shocks and struts to Bilistien awhile back. If I can be of help please keep on posting. Oh also look online at www.hunter.com. Look at the top of the line balancer and locate one near you. All you have to do is type in a zip code.
Thanks

jvr826
02-27-2005, 11:58 AM
I run S-03's on my car and have flatspotting after the car sits for a while, overnight or days. This transmits vibrations into the car as I drive until the tires come up to operating temperature. When I first got them I had the wheels rebalanced twice cuz I thought they were not done properly. It's possible this is what you were experiencing, just a suggestion.

Other than the flatspotting, I think the S-03's are excellent. I've had 3 maybe 4 sets in 3 years, all have done this.

RakNaks
02-27-2005, 06:14 PM
Jeff, you are right even the Dunlop 9000 do the typical flat spot till warm up and the Kumho too. We mounted the tires (SO-3) on the wheels, then put them on the car while on the lift and then rotated them. These tires were not even on the ground. My tire guy knows me so well, that he refused to finished balance them or even better yet warranty them for balance. Now the XGT and Dunlop 2000E, I dont have to worry about the typical warm up period. Kinda nice, but overall these two tires seem to work for me in my opinon. I never have to go back to be balanced the 2nd or 3rd time. The Dunlops do however need to be rotated often. Another important tip is that as the XGTs wear out they slip in the rain, 3/32 on the tread be done with them.

84alfaman
02-28-2005, 05:43 PM
Okay lets start from the begining. What wheels and tire size do you have. What Michelin tire do you have. Were the rims checked out for run out...ie bent rims. Have you got a chance to strobe balance the car.... meaning on the car balanced? Have you changed the brake rotors on the car if you did what did you use.


I have the stock 15" cross lace BBS wheels. The Michelin tires that my tire dealer recommended are the MXV4 Plus, which was the OEM tire. It is a 225/60 R15. I have had the rims checked for run-out, both radial and lateral. I've had them road force balanced several times, but have not had them balanced on the car. The brake rotors have not been renewed recently.

I'm starting to think it can't be the tires. What about the drive shaft center bearing or the rubber "doughnut" that absorbs driveshaft vibration? Could it be that it hardens with age and is no longer very effective? Ever heard of this?

Thanks for your help.

RakNaks
02-28-2005, 06:15 PM
Humm I never had any issues yet with my driveshaft. But it could be an issue. Now where are the guys putting on the weights. From factory they put tape weights on the outside even on expensive two piece BBS. Now this is a step that I do to make sure the wheel is on exactly. I have someone get inside and hold the brakes. I put the wheel on and at the same time I rotate the wheel on the hub and hold it flush till I get two bolts really hand tight. Then I torque the bolt at 50NM then to 100NM in steps. For the price I would insist on the Pilots XGT-H4 or Z4. The MXVs are a hit and miss. If your tire dealer would love your business and cares take this step.
Keep us posted... A smooth e39 is the only way to ride!!!!!!!

LA525iT
02-28-2005, 06:32 PM
You might want to check for bent rims. I recently bent 2 around LA's rain-induced pothole jungle.

GuapOh
03-01-2005, 10:51 PM
common with e39's.

Fixes:
replace rear ball joints;
dynamic balance

enjoy.

84alfaman
03-01-2005, 11:46 PM
common with e39's.

Fixes:
replace rear ball joints;
dynamic balance

enjoy.

First, let me say I love the electric red on your car. I had that color in my 2003 325i. What do you mean by a dynamic balance? Is that the same thing as a road force balance?

thanks

RakNaks
03-02-2005, 06:54 PM
Hey Guapoh!

How difficult is it to replace the rear ball joints? Remove the axle carrier and press out?
Anything special? :yikes:

I never heard about those going bad. Learn something new everyday. :p

BMW528i_Bilal
03-04-2005, 06:40 AM
I recently had the same problem with my 2000 528i. My factory contitacts were worn out, and then i got micheln MXV4 tires, and the problem automatically stopped.

Kaari
03-04-2005, 08:09 AM
I need some advice. I've had a vibration that starts at about 40-45 miles an hour from the rear of the car. I feel it through the seat, not the steering wheel. At about 55, there is a small shake in the wheel. Also, the problem is always most noticeable when cold, and then it improves as the vehicle/tires? warm up.

I replaced the tires to BFG Traction TA's and the problem was still there. After several balances and a trip to the dealer, everyone still pointed at the tires as being the problem. So, I was able to get the tire shop to switch the BFG's for the OEM Michelin. I picked up the car today and the problem is still there!

My BMW dealer doesn't seem to know what else to do. They said my suspension checked out fine. Could they be missing something? This is getting frustrating! :mad:


There are some excellent suggestions here.. since you have replaced your tires- theres one more thing you want to look at- rotors... over heating- since you do drive the car a lil bit before the vibration- look into your rotors - over heating can definately cause this- front/ and the back... let us know what happened....

BMW528i_Bilal
03-04-2005, 08:40 AM
Thanks for the suggestion Karri. My car is starting to vibrate again a little, i guess the tires were a temporary absence from the problem. I will certainally take your advice and ask the BMW service dealer to look in to the problem. I don't know about you but i think a German car needs everything replaced after 5 years of service. I just had a $4700 service done on the car, and once again its showing a problem again, will it ever stop???? :eek:

Kaari
03-04-2005, 10:11 PM
Thanks for the suggestion Karri. My car is starting to vibrate again a little, i guess the tires were a temporary absence from the problem. I will certainally take your advice and ask the BMW service dealer to look in to the problem. I don't know about you but i think a German car needs everything replaced after 5 years of service. I just had a $4700 service done on the car, and once again its showing a problem again, will it ever stop???? :eek:

It will. And it must. Keep in mind- what you experience behind the wheel of a bmw is un parallel to anything ever experienced - keep the faith. :)

gm840
08-08-2005, 08:35 AM
Hi- Not sure if I followed the thread correctly but, as these things can be difficult to track down, you need to be systematic and patient. It's worth the wait. First, try and establish if it is:

* wheels etc i.e. does it do it only when the car is moving, whether s under acceleration or just rolling etc. - but not when stationary with motor revving; or

* driveline etc. eg. does it do it when moving but perhaps only under acceleration and not while coasting along; or

* engine or transmission or driveshaft coupling - e.g. does it when stationary as well as when driving along but perhaps then only really noticeable when uder some load eg accelerating?

We've had a lot of trouble identifying a vibration in my 840 but, after getting under the car while running on a 4 post hoist, have seen to the naked eye that the vibration seems to be coming from the driveline coupling (ie where trans meets driveshaft). Will replace on 20 August to confirm.

Like your car, mine is much worse when cold, which suggests when rubber is harder, which supports the physical observation that the vibrartion is centred on the (rubber) driveline coupling. We'll see.

We've also discovered that how the exhaust is bolted up may have quite an affect (since it potentially "loads up" the engine mounts if tightened up with any tension on it.

Generally, see my posts on 6/7/8 Series forum.

Perhaps you've already fixed?? Can you please let me know?

cheers. GM840

cwes99_03
08-21-2005, 03:35 PM
My car is in the shop right now with driveline vibrations. Took it in because the vibration suddenly became a scrapping noise. The center drive shaft and housing were bad/broken. Got it back last Monday, and took it back on Wednesday because the vibration was still there only now between 20 and 25 mph where before it was around 30. Don't know if they replaced the rubber dampener, but they had replaced the trans mounts. Haven't heard from them about my car in 4 days now, but they are a trustworthy shop in Bloomington, Illinois. Hope to get my baby back soon, my old buick is nothing like the bimmer.

JSpira
08-21-2005, 06:34 PM
My tire store was doing everything from Hunter GSP 9700 road force variation to chanting.
Thanks

You gotta tell us what the tire store's chant was...

Greco
08-22-2005, 07:32 AM
When they are checking the ball joints, tell them to look at the wishbones as well.

84alfaman
08-26-2005, 06:08 AM
Well, I started this thread in February and I'm still trying to resolve my problem. After many suggestions and visits to my BMW dealer - they were clueless. I found a shop that had some ideas. They said that my driveshaft was bad. What I think was really wrong was the U joints that are integral to the driveshaft. Anyway, that was replaced and things seem to be better, but I still have some vibration in the steering wheel around 55. This points to tires again, but I've replaced them twice and had them road forced several times. What I'm going to do is this: I've just ordered a new set of wheels and tires, an upgrade, and will be putting those on this weekend, if everything is fine, then I know my problem was with my old wheels or tires, however, if not, it's back to the drawing board. There was a mention of ball joints. Can these cause a vibration?

It's been frustrating because I want my car to be perfect. It's a real cream puff in every other way, so I keep being persistent to get this fixed.

texbid
08-29-2005, 03:41 PM
I just bought my 2002 E39 540i 6 speed (need I say more) but it has the exact vibration that you mention. I feel it through the seat and I feel it in the steering wheel. I am running the Dunlop 2000E. I have an appointment with the dealer for monday to get the thing looked at. I will post a response from them.

What a car ....

gm840
09-06-2005, 09:10 AM
Guys

I've had so much trouble trying to fix my vibration problem. See my post today in the 6/7/8/ forum showing my 9 steps to date.

Has anyone got any further ideas / developments??

cheers
GM840
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/newreply.php#
Dunno

texbid
09-06-2005, 10:06 PM
i just talked to the BMW service that has my car. They claim that the vibration is due to flatspotting on my dunlops. They will replace all 4 tires under the CPO warranty. I hope this fixes the problem but reading the posts I have my doubts.

Swiss Tony
09-20-2005, 08:28 AM
I have this problem on my 02 E39, turned out to be dunlop / long tyres, put on 4 pirelli p0 tyres and it's gone :D

texbid
09-20-2005, 02:21 PM
the dealer has isolated the problem as a lack of road force balancing on the brand new tires. I have not diren the car yet ... se will see.

Thehobe
09-25-2005, 11:43 AM
I've owned BMW's for almost 40 years now and have had to replace the driveshaft rubber isolator/coupling many times. On the old 2002's (1970), there is a driveshaft bearing mount containing a rubber retainer that fails over time. The result is a terrible vibration if the rubber totaly fails.

The 540's also have a "center bearing" that could very well be the problem you are having. The bearing doesn't fail but the rubber retainer dampening the driveshaft motion does. The life of the rubber of the bearing is 5-10 years. I had to replace mine twice in 200,000 miles over a 25 year period on my 2002. The rubber may actually wear out faster when the car is driven less often.

Important: there are two separate items the rubber driveshaft coupler and the center bearing. These are two completely separate items and not found on other car brands.

Good luck, I hope this may solve your problem.

Thehobe
09-26-2005, 01:45 PM
Try the driveshaft center bearing. This is a driveline support mounting containing a ballbearing that is suspeded in a rubber collar. I had a severe vibration on my 1970 2002 and found that the rubber had titally deteriorated. I replaced the bearing and all of the vibrations (starting at very low speeds) disappeared. The 540's also use the bearing/rubber assembly. Please note that it is not the rubber driveshaft coupling. That is a totally separate part.

gm840
11-04-2005, 11:20 PM
Hi 84alfaman

I've been through similar trauma with my 840Ci and discovered it was the CV joint, which I fixed by replacing the entire driveshaft (CV included). It worked a charm, when about 10 other things had failed. See my posts in the 6/7/8 forum.
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106348

it's highly likely that's your problem, especially given the similarities to mine eg.:
* the speed when occurs
* worse when cold
* from rear (where CV is, of course).

Let me know.

cheers
GM840

gm840
11-06-2005, 06:03 AM
I've sorted out my vibration!! After numerous unsuccessful efforts I replaced the driveshaft, which fixed the problem. It was the CV joint. (I know this because I'd already replaced the uni joint, centre bearing and guibo). No wonder it was the CV joint. No grease nipple and I bet no-one repacks them. Anyway, all's well that ends well.
cheers, GM840

rockdude
11-08-2005, 07:10 PM
I have a 1987 325e experiencing vibrations at about 50 mph. I had the center bearing replaced about 6 mons ago when it started scraping. Replacing it got rid of the scraping, but it created a vibration that wasn't there before. Now the scraping noise is back...

I'm thinking the driveshaft is out of balance which wears out the center bearing. Problem is that everyone tells me that driveshaft problems should be a "shudder" at low speeds, maybe 20-30. Anyone had driveshaft vibrations at 50-60 mph?

gm840
11-09-2005, 07:27 AM
Rockdude

My 840 vibration (just fixed after trying 10 possible solutions) occurred at ~ 30 mph, also at ~ 60 mph and ~ 90 mph (ie. harmonic effect, albeit worse at lower speeds). It was never a shudder; more like a tingle (at worst) or just a fairly fine vibration.

As I've posted in the 6/7/8 forum, it was the CV joint, WHICH WAS NOT DETECTED BY THE 2 DRIVESHAFTS EXPERTS AT DIFFERENT PLACES (including the best in town). It also couldn't be detected by examination because it couldn't be pulled apart. But the new drivesaft fixed it. It must have been the CV as I replaced the uni joint, bearing and guibo and checked the balance twice.

I'd seriously think of the CV, cos it doesn't get serviced properly (with no grease nipple).

Let me know. GM840

texbid
11-09-2005, 04:55 PM
i have taken mine back to the dealer for a secong time. first time they claimed it was bad balancing on the tires....

obviously not ....

I dont know what they will do next.

Ågent99
11-09-2005, 06:09 PM
I recently had my upper thrust rod bushing(s) replaced in my 2001 530i. It caused a slight shimmy in the steering wheel around 40-50 mph but hot/cold didn't matter.

31129068753 was the part number replaced.


These E39 suspensions are finicky...as are the drivers! :rofl:

kyoko2
04-10-2008, 05:59 PM
I was just researching what is done for an inspection 1 and came across this site where you had discussed problems with shimmy's on your e39's. I have been experiencing the same problem for the past year, and cannot seem to get to the bottom of the problem. Mine is a 2003 530i with the sport suspension. I'm taking my car in for an inspection and wanted them to look into the problem of the shimmy. I'm not even remotely knowledgeable about cars, so I wanted to be a little educated on what the problem could be before I take it in.

It all started with getting new tires last year. My car never, ever, ever shimmied before. Originally, my car had Michelin Primacys (17 in wheels), and my husband took the car to Costco for new tires while I was out of town. He had Michelin Pilot Sport 2's put on and when I returned from my trip I right away detected a shimmy on the car at speeds above 40 in the seats and in the steering wheel, and my car was handling terribly. It felt like it was going to go out of control at high speeds on the freeway. So I took the car back to Costco and they said it was badly out of balance. Couldn't figure out why they were so badly out of balance since they do balancing when they put on new tires, and they had just been put on. They couldn't explain it.
I had also just had the car to the dealer a few months earlier and had the alignment checked because I was having a problem with my wheels making a loud noise. The dealer just told me that the tires needed replacing, that low profile tires only get about 20,000 miles before they will start sounding loud. They checked the alignment at my request and said that was perfect, to get new tires.
My car was also soon going to be out of warranty, so I wanted them to do the brakes, so they replaced only the front disc brakes (lining, sensor and brake discs) because they said the rear ones were not at the level that bmw goes by for replacement under warranty. Could the shimmy have something to do with the brakes? I don't think they replaced the rotors, but have a call in to my service guy to ask him specifically.
I had taken the car back to Costco for balancing 3 times- the third time they did match mount balancing and it was better, but not perfect, so I thought it could be the tires. I had them order me new ones- Primacy- because they were the original kind and thought I should go with them. That didn't solve the problem and they tried re-balancing them again. Still didn't help, so I took it to a different Costco and tried them. The guy at that Costco " perfectly balanced" them and that if it still shimmied, it it was my car.
I've just lived with it till now, when I have to take it in for the inspection, and want to have the garage to check if it is indeed something to do with the car and not the tires.
Sorry this is so long, but wanted to give you an accurate picture of the events. I'd appreciate any advice. And mine also seems to be worse when the car is cold, but not always.

Dan Z
06-24-2010, 03:13 PM
I drive a 2001 740I and I have had these vibration problems since I bought the car in Sept 2009. The car is smooth as silk until around 50 mph. then the steering wheel starts to shake and then the steering wheel stops shaking but the ride is not silky smooth anymore. The ride gets gets a little rough but then smooths out pretty well at about 80 mph.I tried 4 new tires-no Change. Balancing , alignment....no change. new control arms and tie rods...still no change. well maybe a little better. Then I started having brake pulsation problems. I brought my car to a mechanic who said there was plenty of "meat' left on my rotors so he ground them flat and put on all new ceramic pads. the brakes were now fine and lo and behold the vibration was gone! I couldn't believe it. Then about 4 months later the rotors were pulsating when I braked so I had new Wagner rotors installed in the front. You guessed it the vibration came back just as before. Does this give anyone ideas as to what could be causing this? I like the idea of the driveshaft and CV joints coming in question. I will have it checked out, but I am running out of money.