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-   -   2011 x3 3.5 highway stability (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=596423)

bdaj 01-24-2012 08:56 PM

2011 x3 3.5 highway stability
 
Hello, first post. I came upon this site when I googled steering issues for the 2011 x3 but so far have not seen my exact potential issue. We traded in or 2009 x3 for the 2011 and I have found that on the highway in moderate to high cross winds the car behaves erratically. The old x3 was very solid in high winds and continued on where you pointed it. This model the steering wheel will be on center but the car will pull to the left or right when hit by a cross wind (I admit I am guessing/hoping it's a cross wind that is instigating this). In other words, it appears the front wheels are moving independent of the steering wheel. I will have the steering wheel pointed straight and the car will literally drive into the other lane if I do not correct it by going in the opposite direction with the steering wheel. I would expect if my front wheels are pointed enough to move me to the other lane that would be reflected on the steering wheel position. It's a very strange sensation and I'm wondering if anyone else has had this experience.

thanks, jd

UncleJ 01-25-2012 07:37 AM

There have been some steering issues with the new one (johnbmw6, among others) so you might want to get the dealer to check yours out. Doesn't sound like normal high wind behavior, but it could have been road surface or something extraordinary.:dunno:

Me530 01-25-2012 08:09 AM

Could you be experiencing this?

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tirete....jsp?techid=47

bdaj 01-25-2012 09:06 AM

Thanks for the responses
 
I don't believe it is tram lining in that the steering wheel does not move.. Just the direction of the car. For instance, I will be in the left lane and perhaps a gust of wind comes along and while the steering wheel is straight the car will move rather rapidly to the right lane while the wheel is still straight. (I have tested this by letting it go with no other drivers around). One more point is this behavior seems to lessen when I turn traction control off. Then it feels bit more like the old x3

bdaj 01-25-2012 09:14 AM

Something else to help describe
 
Bascially I feel nothing at the steering wheel while the car is moving in another direction. No resistance or movement to reflect what the tires are doing. I have to basically overcompensate to the left or right with the steering wheel to get the car back into a straight line. So if I get blown right while the steering wheel is straight I feel out of contact with the front tires until I go pretty far off center to the left with the steering wheel. I then can put the steering wheel straight again to basically go straight again for a while. It's pretty disconcerting and something I have never experienced in any of the 3's, 1, or the older x3. And honestly all the corrections make for a not very relaxing long trip.

Want the Thrill 01-25-2012 01:00 PM

I have a 2011 35i and it does not do this. Doesn't sound normal to me and I haven't read of anyone elses X doing this. I would get it checked out.

Me530 01-25-2012 02:58 PM

I guess this is something you could take the dealer. Might also be a good question to ask Mike Miller from the Car Club.

lbjgh 01-25-2012 04:34 PM

man, you do live in the windy city! :)

bdaj 01-25-2012 04:52 PM

thanks for the replies.
 
Very windy!:)

I will call the dealer and perhaps BMW to discuss I will update with any information.

Luna-01 01-29-2012 07:31 PM

wierd steering in windy conditions
 
Hi,

I just posted another subject related to rain and standing water (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=596223) --the car did very well. There were also winds gusting to 55+ mph, during which we slowed down considerably--I noticed two things depending on my direction relative to the wind:

1) in headwinds, the car is very stable. In winds 45 degree-ish frontal, the car is twitchy--I had the feeling it was aerodynamics--that is, the car "loads up" at speed--hit it with a heavy side wind and the airflow is upset...none of the car's actions even remotely approached lane drift. I was surprised that a direct crosswind was less noticeable than the 45 degree frontal.

2) The steering was never involved--the car still went where it was intended, but there were shudders as the air flow separated from the car surfaces. My wife initially thought we were feeling tiny skidding/correction issues--maybe standing water, but observation proves only heavy winds cause the issue.

This is no issue at all compared to my 1990 Suburban, which drifts into the next town in a 20mph wind.

Luna-01

bdaj 01-30-2012 05:51 AM

Thank you for the information
 
So, if I am understanding correctly even when it was twitchy the steering wheel would reflect the direction of the tires? Or was the " twitch" minimal to the point where there was no directional difference between the tires and the intended direction of the vehicle as indicated by the position of the steering wheel?

Still haven't made it to the dealership but did some more testing. The issue is most evident above 70 miles an hour.

Luna-01 01-30-2012 12:23 PM

wierd steering in windy conditions
 
Hi,

I only titled my post as "steering" since that was the original subject....

The twitches I observed did not effect the direction of the car--while I didn't choose to play with it, my feeling was that if I took my hands off the wheel, there would be no appreciable drift--I certainly was not having to correct via steering.

The feeling was odd--suggestive of the X-drive or DSC/DTC intervening in little wheel slips--that's why I thought it might be some minor hydroplaning since it was raining very hard, however, there was no indication of X-drive or DSC/DTC being activated.

In short, this was no big deal and I can see how maybe I shouldn't have brought it up--I don't have any further info with which to clarify--I was not concerned nor surprised by what we observed.

Since I was going 65 and the winds were gusting to 55mph, I would expect some noticeable reaction to virtually instant airspeed changes of 50-ish mph, particularly if at an oblique angle.

I hope this helps

Luna-01
_____

04prox2 01-30-2012 06:57 PM

I've noticed simular issues with mine. My 06 x3 could handle the road at 200KPH with one hand on the wheel and ran straight. The 2011 3.5i at that speed you better have both hands on the wheel and it uses up all off the driving lane. I never drive it out of sport mode it's to loose. I've have tried 2 sets of wheels RFT's and regular no difference. The older x3 had a stiffer ride but was way more stable

bdaj 01-30-2012 07:58 PM

Sounds like I'm not alone then
 
04prox2 It sounds like you know exactly what I am talkimg about. Taking up the whole lane is another thing I have experienced and definitely feel like I need both hands on the wheel.

harplayr 01-31-2012 10:40 AM

I also think the previous generation X3 handled massive crosswins better than the current generation (owned a 04, 10 and now a 2011).

I had chalked it up to the fact that the old X3 had a much stiffer suspension, and the straight line tracking seems to be less too. My car doesnít pull or drift, but it will follow the crown in the road more than the previous generation X3 which seemed to want to go straight.

I donít have sports package on my 25i, and in strong crosswinds (30+mph) I can feel the body roll giving the impression of lateral movement. That is why I felt I should have gotten the upgraded adjustable suspension for those conditions. I also agree that it is worse in 45deg winds than straight on or 90deg winds.

What I find that works best for me, is when in very windy conditions I rest my hands on the center spokes, rather than gripping the outside of the wheel. For me this gives a better sense of whatís going on and prevents over compensation.

bdaj 02-05-2012 08:39 AM

Thanks.
 
Well, my wife had taken the x3 on a long trip and said she doesn't notice any issues. I don't think she goes over 65mph so if she is happy perhaps I will let it rest until the scheduled maintenance. I am a little bummed that the experience between the old x3 and the new one are pretty much opposite.. low speed driving in the new one is a pleasure while higher speeds in the older version felt much closer to a e90 3 series. And again, turing off traction control seems to improve the stability on the new one so I will go with that when needed.

06BMWX3 02-07-2012 06:32 AM

I dont know if that can help you at all, but I had the EXACT same issue with my 2008 Mini Cooper S, even my wife did not want to drive it. The dealer did not want to fix it, so I ditched the RFT and had a wheel alignment at my cost, and the problem was all gone.

I dont know if the RFT or the alignment fixed the problem, but it drove like a dream after that :)

Adventure 07-23-2012 05:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bdaj (Post 6585053)
Hello, first post. I came upon this site when I googled steering issues for the 2011 x3 but so far have not seen my exact potential issue. We traded in or 2009 x3 for the 2011 and I have found that on the highway in moderate to high cross winds the car behaves erratically. The old x3 was very solid in high winds and continued on where you pointed it. This model the steering wheel will be on center but the car will pull to the left or right when hit by a cross wind (I admit I am guessing/hoping it's a cross wind that is instigating this). In other words, it appears the front wheels are moving independent of the steering wheel. I will have the steering wheel pointed straight and the car will literally drive into the other lane if I do not correct it by going in the opposite direction with the steering wheel. I would expect if my front wheels are pointed enough to move me to the other lane that would be reflected on the steering wheel position. It's a very strange sensation and I'm wondering if anyone else has had this experience.

thanks, jd

Hi,

Have the same issues with our 2012 x3 2.8i. The car is very stable in the city and highway ... however if traveling over 70 mph with a moderate cross wind you have to correct the car. Feels like car is going into other lanes or will be blown off the highway.

Unlikely a 4 wheel alignment issue (With no cross wind the car goes straight and drives very well at speeds in excess of 85mph).

Just bringing this issue up as recently bought x3 for our family car to replace Honda Odyssey Touring - That car (the Honda), on the highway, felt much more stable.

bdaj 07-23-2012 05:57 PM

it is an unerving feeling.
 
I noticed that turning off traction control improved the tendency to fly into another lane. Perhaps give that a try and see if you notice any improvment, as well. HOnestly, our x3 hasnt been in for service yet so still waiting to talk to service advisor about it. I am surprised there is not more complaining about this on the internet.

AzNMpower32 07-23-2012 06:43 PM

I'd would have thought that with the Spartanburg autobahn not far from the factory that they'd figured out high-speed stability when doing final on-road testing.......(locals know which 15km stretch of hwy I'm talking about ;) )

Coder 07-25-2012 07:44 AM

Our 2011 X3 is more affected by cross-winds than I expected, given the well-controlled suspension. I did get an improvement by selecting Sport mode, set to change only the suspension settings and not the gear selection. The slightly stiffer shocks did help somewhat. The vehicle height probably has something to do with it as well.

bdaj 07-25-2012 04:52 PM

when your x3 is pushed by a cross wind does the steering wheel move with the direction of the car? my wheel stays straight even though the car is moving toward another lane. this is the worst part.. feels really disconnected.

mama_jo's 01-24-2013 06:00 PM

2012 x3 35
 
bdaj, I am feeling your pain. My 35 is just now a year old with 12,xxx miles. in the last couple of thousand, it seems to have gained a mind of its own in the steering department. it reacts very strangely when crossing seams on the highway, almost as if the tires want to stick to the seam and stay with it. i feel as if there are more lateral forces managing the car's direction than going forward in a straight line. its as if the steering wheel is not in control of the car's direction. very disconcerting, not at all fun to drive, tiring, embarrassing as i feel i am all over the road and someone should call a dwi unit! i took it to the dealer and test drove with the shop foreman. he noticed something was awry and suggested a 4 wheel alignment and a cross-rotation of the tires. on my dime by the way as it is not a covered item under the warranty. the alignment read out showed some things "red" which means they were out of spec, but did not show to what degree. but i went along with the recommended program. no change. i am going in for my annual oil change and will not accept the car back if this is not corrected. it is so disturbing that i am considering another brand. We have four BMW's in the family and i am extremely familiar with them. the '08 X-3 3.0si drives as if it is guided by lasers. its almost a sports car with its spot on handling, brakes, and steering. the new X-3 could be the same if they got this electric steering right. i have Pirelli Cinturato tires. all my other cars run Michelins. if i put the car in sport driving mode, it feels better, but its still not the way i think a BMW should handle. Crosswinds affect the steering as well as rough roads and longitudinal seams. This is very disturbing. my suspicion is its software, or control arm bushings, or possibly tires. my fear is that its the new electric power steering and this is just the way it is. more on this from after Monday or Tuesday when i hear back from the dealer. the new loaner X-3 2.8 is much better, but still has some of that sideways front end tendencies. lots of up and down on the front fenders noticable as you drive. thinking of trading to the new four cylinder but definitely not without a fix on this. otherwise i love the car. First Post!!

bdaj 01-24-2013 06:51 PM

Update!
 
We took the car in for the annual service about 1 month ago. I explained the odd behavior to our service adviser. In addition to the poor handling we also had a few steering malfunction messages pop. Right away he said it sounded like a software issue. They ran some scans and found many faults for flex-ray (not sure what they were and I am reading off he service invoice). According to paper work they did an at5100_zgm to resync the flex-ray. They also did the update for the acceleration hesitation at the same time. The car is much much more stable now and the acceleration is much smoother. It feels like a different car and I enjoy driving it now!

AzNMpower32 01-24-2013 07:32 PM

Given how awful I-85 in Greenville & Spartanburg Counties is immediately in front of the BMW Greer plant, I'm surprised the engineers didn't realise this when they designed the vehicle. I mean, they DO test the prototypes in the real world.....


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