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Iceeberg 01-22-2013 06:39 PM

Front end vibration at highway speeds
Need some help... I am getting a vibration in the front end when I'm on the highway, no rhyme or reason, stays the same with/without acceleration. Seems a little worse up a long incline, some days are better than other. It is not in the steering wheel and feels like its in the tires, like a shuddering type vibration. I have fairly new tires, had 2 Road force balances done and had the tires checked to see if they needed truing ( did not need). I have had the cv boots replaced and they checked the front ball joints which they said were tight. What else could it be?? It is a 2004 BMW X5 with 176,000(mostly highway) miles on it. Any advice would help!! Thanks

OzzyX5 01-22-2013 11:27 PM

Hi there ,
I had a similar vibration only at higher speed, I found some dust had got between the rim and hub after doing work on cv boots. By tightening up the wheel it compressed the dust and I had to scrape it off with some effort, it has been good ever since. This may be something to check, hope it helps.

upallnight 01-23-2013 07:15 PM

Did they clean the grease off the rim from the torn CV joint boot?

Iceeberg 01-24-2013 05:51 AM

The BMW dealership did the cv boots but it seemed like the issue started after it was in the shop the last time. On inspection we found a transfer case leak so I took it to the dealership and they replaces the seal on the transfer case and a transmission gasket they found leaking also. They must have been very minor because there were only a couple spots on the garage floor. After I picked it up the "check engine" light came on as soon as I hit the highway. I took it back 2 times to check codes and they basically just deleted them, the third time I left it with them, they said one was a "mis fire" and the other an "o2 sensor" warning. They said there were 3 o2 sensors on the car and they checked 2which were fine, then they changed the spark plugs thinking that the mis fire was triggering the o2 sensor. They said the light eventually went off and they couldn't get it back on to see which "bank"? The o2 sensor was coming up. They kept it a week and drove enough that they went through a tank of gas, but they said if the light came back on they would replace the o2 sensor for free. The car doesn't drive bad other than the vibration. It feels like if something was stuck to the tires or maybe loose in the front end? But only at higher speeds. Bmw said caution on the ball joints but when I took it to a dependable local shop they said they were nice and tight. Any advice would be appreciated:) Kay

upallnight 01-24-2013 06:39 AM

Unless you have staggered wheels for your X, I would try swapping the rear wheels with the front and see if the vibration don't go away.

Iceeberg 01-24-2013 06:47 AM

They are staggered and the front have problem less than 7,000 miles on them. I've had them Roadforced balanced twice and took them to a shop that does truing on tires and they said they were fine.

Iceeberg 01-26-2013 11:08 AM

Transfer case??
Pretty sure I can rule out the tires but since the transfer case and transmission gasket were replaced, could it be the transfer case? And if so would it come and go at times? Or does it sound like a front suspension issue?

Buzz110 01-26-2013 04:11 PM

I would check for a bent rim. Even if the tire was balanced, a bent rim could also give you a vibration issue.

Iceeberg 01-26-2013 06:19 PM

I know this sounds dumb but can I visually see a bent rim or will I need to take it in somewhere? And would the vibration come and go? I drove it tonight and no vibration felt but I didn't go over 60mph and usually it is worse when I go over 65mphish.

Buzz110 01-26-2013 06:49 PM

I would take the rims to a rim repair facility. You can look them up on the Internet for your area. They will check to see if the rim is perfectly round, bent, etc. it sounds more to me that your vibration is occurring during certain speeds, which again coincides with a bent or warped rim.

Iceeberg 01-26-2013 07:37 PM

Thanks ill do that and let you know!:)

Iceeberg 01-28-2013 02:27 PM

Took it to my local BMW dealership and was told it is 1) left motor mount needs replaced $865 2) front suspension bushings need replaced $404. 3) needs alignment after that work $89 4) right motor mount needs replaced $467 and if that doesn't stop the vibration they said they are not ruling out axles? In the meantime I added Lucas treatment to it and the vibration is still there but barely felt. What's a girl to do?

upallnight 01-28-2013 02:38 PM

Look for an Independent BMW Shop. For all the work that they say needs to be done, but they can't guarantee that it will fix the vibration problem they are just throwing parts at it. Anybody can throw parts at a problem. You need to find someone who know what is causing the problem and what has to be done to fix the problem.

I use to believe that the best service came from the dealer until I brought my wife Audi to the Audi dealer and they F&^%$*k the trans on her car with only 42,000 miles on it. There was a recall to change the differential oil, but they forgot to put back in the oil after they drained the oil.

Iceeberg 01-28-2013 03:59 PM

Yes I made an appointment with a local garage that specializes in foreign make vehicles, they quoted me $680 for both L and R motor mounts if that's what it is. I called another BMW dealership and had them quote the L motor mount and they were higher at $960, said its a 7 hour job. Just wanted to see if my local dealer was trying to get me, the last couple times I've had to put on the bitch face for them trying to charge me for something they've done.

upallnight 01-28-2013 04:45 PM

You can tell if the motor mounts are bad, by looking at the engine and having someone step on the gas and release the pedal very quickly. If the engine is rocking side to side you have bad mounts, if the engine stays center in the engine compartment, the mounts are still good.

Before having them replace the mounts ask them if they think the mount is the problem. Worse thing is if you spend all that money and the mount wasn't the problem, but they will tell you that you told them to replace the mount, and they did what you told them to do. Have them drive the car and tell you what they think is the problem and get a cost for the repair. Never give them an open check to fix the car.

Iceeberg 01-29-2013 04:18 AM

Thanks upallnight, I have literally been that thinking about this. I'm going to pick it up today and take it to a local garage.

Iceeberg 01-29-2013 04:21 AM

It also seems like my lucky number at this BMW dealership for me has been either $600 or $1600ish!!

upallnight 01-29-2013 06:33 AM

The Indy that I take my X to when I don't want to do the work such as CV joint boots replacement charged me $500.00. He quoted me the same price for the oil seal replacement and the rear bushings. I took a pass on the oil seal and did it myself. $6.00 seal and 5 hours to replace the seal. Will probably do the bushing this summer.

Iceeberg 01-29-2013 07:35 AM

What year is your X? This new garage I'm going to quoted me the L and R motor mounts for $680, if that's what it is. I already called the dealership and explained to the service manager that its too iffy and that I'll bring their loaner back in the morning at which I'll take it to the new garage then. I'll keep you informed with what they come up with. Thanks. Kay

upallnight 01-29-2013 08:41 AM

I have an 2001 X5 with the 3.0I engine. Coming from immigrant parents, I was taught to live within my means, so when it comes to buying a car it is always 100% down with no monthly payments and no high insurance. I normally perform most of the work on my cars but sometime when I don't want to work on something because it's too big of a job for me I will bring it in to my Indy. With the internet is it easy to find a decent mechanic. You can go on Yelp and type in BMW and mechanic, and read the reviews. That is how I found my Indy. He use to work at one of the largest BMW dealership in our area and specialize in BMW cars.

upallnight 01-29-2013 11:36 AM

If you're looking for an Indy Mechanic, here's a list from another forum.

Iceeberg 01-30-2013 12:38 PM

Ok, I took the BMW loaner back to the dealership this am and picked my car up. They waved the $64 diagnostic fee and sent me on my way(after all I bought this car CPO from them and have purchased a half dozen vehicles from them). I took it to the local garage and he checked the motor mounts and the drive shaft and could not find anything other than a couple bolts on the transfer case were loose. He said he would like to drive the car on a nicer day(right now it's sleeting out) to check the hub centric rings and make sure they are properly installed. He seems very honest and I told him the car has driven better since the adding oil/oil change and the Lucas treatment. I feel like I have BMW Munchausen, but I am not going to do anything unless something else comes up, someone who never drives it probley wouldn't notice it as it is very seldom I feel it. So for now I'm going to make the best of it:)

upallnight 01-30-2013 01:07 PM

Are the wheels you have on the X the original wheels? Your indy mention that he needs to check the hub centric rings. Hub centric rings are only used on rims in which the hub is not the same size as the hub that is on the car. I had a set of E39 wheels when I had an E34. The hubs on the E39 are bigger then the hubs on an E34 so in order to use the wheels, I had to get a set of hub centric rings.

Hub centric rings comes in two type of material, plastic or aluminum. I brought the aluminum rings. If someone wasn't familiar with the wheels that you have on the car, the hub centric rings may have come off and they didn't notice it. There will be just enough eccentricity from mounting a rim with a larger hub on the X that could be the cause of your vibration. I know you are running with staggers but you didn't mention any thing about hub centric rings. Tire racks sells hub centric rings.

You mention in your first post that this problem occurred after the dealer replace the CV boots. In order to work on the cv boots they had to remove the wheels. Could have been that when they took the wheels off the car and placed it on the floor the hub centric rings) came off, and when they replace the wheels they didn't notice the hub rings wasn't on the wheel.

What type of rims are you running? BMW or after market?

Iceeberg 01-30-2013 02:14 PM

I had a hell of a time with the rims/wheels/ tires, see we had a 1998 540i for our then 15 y/o as his first car and to get him use to the car. We bought the rims for that car. After my husband and brother in law received a ticket(strike1) and then at 2am received a call at work from the highway patrol, that "everything was fine but we have your son and his friends but we don't want to leave your car parked on the side of the highway, we clocked them at 103mph) well that was strike 2 and I had enough. I said "those rims will look real good on my car" so I sold the car and put the rims on my car, with bigger tires. The tire shop put them on not realizing that they were off set or hub centric. They sent me home with new tires and a god awful shake, I returned it several times (switched the tires around cause they werent on right) then finally called the place I bought them from and they told me what I needed to buy. Finally got it right, I believe they were plastic. The rims I bought off eBay from a place in NJ? NY? I thought it was called Rims4less? I know they probley aren't the best. Should I buy different hub centric rings??

upallnight 01-30-2013 02:29 PM

A 1998 540i is a BMW E39. For that year for some reason only known to BMW they decided to install larger hubs on the E39 series cars that were larger than previous years car. If the wheels on A BMW was center by the lug nuts (BMW uses lug bolts) instead of the center hub you wouldn't have to use hubcentric rings. If you can find aluminum hub rings I would go with aluminum instead of plastic. But to eliminate the problem I would just go back with the original rims for the X or get a set of rims that doesn't require the hub rings.

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