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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-02-2010, 11:52 AM
RonaldRegan RonaldRegan is offline
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Thumping and Clunking (Noise)

I've searched and could not find a post with these symptoms....

2002 BMW 115K miles and new tires: thumpning noise while driving at any speed, clunk noise when pressing brake pedel while in motion and when going over bumps....

- clunk noise when the brake pedel is pressed.
- clunk noise when going over bumps.
- vibration/thump at speeds ranging from 10 to 65 mph, increases in frequency with speed.

Can some offer up what they think needs to be replaced and what it might cost to have it replace or if any of it can be done by me with standard tools as a hardcore DIY'er and a garage?

I can imagine it could be suspension and or front end parts possibly even a defective new tire (thumping), but which parts and how much.... THANKS

Last edited by RonaldRegan; 03-02-2010 at 11:56 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-02-2010, 01:20 PM
rowdy lee rowdy lee is offline
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ummm...

Lift the front end and thoroughly inspect the front control arm bushings. If oem, they may have oil dribbling and the rubber may look nasty/softening or cracking excessively. (The 2 ball-joints on the upper surfaces of the control arms are not visible when they are installed. It may be possible to check for looseness/play by manhandling them.) Also inspect the sway bar end links for end play at the connections.

Or, am I misunderstanding? Is the clunk based on rotation? Increases in freq with speed?

If rotational, are your wheel bolts torqued to about 80 ft.lbs.

All these parts can be DIY. If control arms w/ball joints and new bushings are necessary, it is all possible to DIY. Control arm fasteners are torqued with weight of car on the wheels. Alignment after is advised.
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  #3  
Old 03-02-2010, 01:44 PM
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You should consider checking your sway bar end links. I had a similar sound coming from my E46 and the end links were the problem.
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  #4  
Old 03-02-2010, 02:25 PM
RonaldRegan RonaldRegan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rowdy lee View Post
Lift the front end and thoroughly inspect the front control arm bushings. If oem, they may have oil dribbling and the rubber may look nasty/softening or cracking excessively. (The 2 ball-joints on the upper surfaces of the control arms are not visible when they are installed. It may be possible to check for looseness/play by manhandling them.) Also inspect the sway bar end links for end play at the connections.

Or, am I misunderstanding? Is the clunk based on rotation? Increases in freq with speed?

If rotational, are your wheel bolts torqued to about 80 ft.lbs.

All these parts can be DIY. If control arms w/ball joints and new bushings are necessary, it is all possible to DIY. Control arm fasteners are torqued with weight of car on the wheels. Alignment after is advised.


Thanks to both of you for the responce. The clunk is not based on rotation, but on braking while the car is in motion. Thought that maybe two symptoms, thumping while in motion and clunking when braking while the car is moving, are related since the worn brushing or parts could cuase misalignment.

So the culprit so far could be the front control arm bushings, front control arm ball joints, and or the sway bar end links. Would anyone one of these be easly detectable from inspecting the parts while still on the car?

All of these parts look easy enough to replace from the pics of the parts thems selves, but do other components need to removed and reinstalled around these parts that could be more difficult?
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  #5  
Old 03-02-2010, 04:35 PM
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Gryphon Gryphon is online now
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The problem


The replacement


There are several video DIY's for this by forum members, search and get to it.
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  #6  
Old 03-02-2010, 04:47 PM
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catso catso is offline
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Have your rear subframe mounts inspected. The dealer will do it for free. There are several threads on this and other forums (ie: E46 fanatics) regarding this problem.
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  #7  
Old 03-04-2010, 11:10 AM
RonaldRegan RonaldRegan is offline
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Thanks the videos make it look incredibly easy compaired to other work I've done on my cars. Just to find away to get under there now....
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  #8  
Old 03-04-2010, 11:31 AM
RonaldRegan RonaldRegan is offline
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I called a shop and they want close to $500 for replacing the control arm bushings.... This is someting I can do myself for less than half that from the looks of it assuming I can get to the parts.

How are you guys getting under this car to do work without a lift? Any suggestions would be great.

I have to admit I'm used to working on Jeep CJ's and Wranglers that you can practicly walk under in comparison.....

THANKS!
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  #9  
Old 03-04-2010, 11:50 AM
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jonathan2263 jonathan2263 is offline
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You have to get the car off the ground to replace control arms and other suspension bits . Search "jacking up my e46" and if you post more questions about it , be prepared to start a range war .

Basically , lift the front end with a floor jack, (if you have sport suspension , you will need to use the tire jack to get the car high enough to get the floor jack under it ) and then put jackstands under the side jacking points .

Look at all suspension bits front and rear if you can . Your noises sound like typical front CAB noises but sometimes , it's difficult to tell where they're coming from.

CABs are an easy DIY , just be sure to get the ball joint seperator and 3 lb hammer before you start .
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  #10  
Old 04-03-2010, 02:38 PM
RonaldRegan RonaldRegan is offline
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Thank you! it was the control arm bushings. i replaced tham and my BMW is back to being vibration free for les than $100.... FYI: advance auto pats has them for $90 per set (yes for two)
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  #11  
Old 04-14-2010, 07:28 AM
RonaldRegan RonaldRegan is offline
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plecebo affect

the clunking has been fixed for sure and the steering is a lot more solid... so the control arm bushings were an issue.

The thumping is still there.... it's a thump that follows a rythem to rotation as the car is in motion. One shop checked the tires and rotated them..... the rotaion of the tires did not change the thump at all indicating that it's not tire related.

They are saying it's in the front right hub bearing. Is this something i can do myself?

Is this a likely culperate?

Thanks!
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