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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-03-2011, 12:38 PM
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Rami2001 Rami2001 is offline
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E39 540i Vibration

Hi there.

I wanna start fixing the issue of the shimmy vibration that I get on my 2001 540i (non sport) on certain speeds. It happens when the car gets to 35mph, 45mph (stronger), 60mph (strongest). I feel the vibration from under the pedals and the front seats. Other speeds are just fine with no vibrations. Also I could tell that the car breaks once drive to a certain speed then remove my foot from the gas.

I made some researches in this forum and googled some other online, and I found that the leads to this problem could be several things, but I don't know with which I should start, so I created this thread.

Some say the problem could be one of these:

- Drive shaft
- Thrust Bushing Arm
- Axel bearing
- Hub Centric Ring
- Bent wheels
- Wheel sizes
- Tire sizes

What I have on my car is:

- 18" OEM E39 M5 wheels (non-bent and look great from outside, haven't checked the inside)
- Brand new Pilot Sport Michelin Tires:
Rears: 275/35/R18
Fronts: 245/40/ZR18
- Sport suspensions from Eibach Springs
- Brand new shocks from the dealer
- Brand new Rotors and Pads
- Tire balanced checked and they are okay
- Wheel alignments checked and they are okay
- Non-shaking steering wheel on driving nor on braking

The car has only 98k miles. It drives sweet other than that stupid vibration.

Here are some pictures of what I have:

Rear Left


Rear Right


Front Right


Front Left


Thanks & Happy New Year !!

Last edited by Rami2001; 01-03-2011 at 12:39 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2011, 03:14 PM
lau814 lau814 is offline
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i HAVE SAME PROBLEM BEFORE,CHECK YOUR BREAK.
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  #3  
Old 01-03-2011, 03:28 PM
franka franka is offline
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Lots of shops do not do a good job of wheel balancing.

I stand there and watch each wheel and tire to make sure the inside and outside edge of the wheel rim is straight and the tire is straight and flat while spinning. I also watch the machine to see if the balance comes to zero.

In your case your Michelin tires should be good but the inside edge of any one or two wheels could be bent. These are the first things to check.
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  #4  
Old 01-03-2011, 09:33 PM
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Rami2001 Rami2001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franka View Post
the inside edge of any one or two wheels could be bent. These are the first things to check.
I'm gonna start with this. Thanks!
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  #5  
Old 01-03-2011, 09:36 PM
98540iA 98540iA is offline
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its the wheels, they are shot..... sell them to me ;-)
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  #6  
Old 01-03-2011, 09:55 PM
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Rami2001 Rami2001 is offline
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Originally Posted by 98540iA View Post
its the wheels, they are shot..... sell them to me ;-)
lol. make me an offer. I might sell them
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  #7  
Old 01-03-2011, 10:18 PM
98540iA 98540iA is offline
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I actually just bought some non-oem 18" staggered wheels.... if I hadn't, I would be PM'ing an offer instead of this reply. Those M5 style 65's are my FAVORITE wheels, I think e39's look better with those than any other oem wheels. I looked and looked a couple months ago but nothing..... fyi, you can get a good amount for those. I did not see a set of 4 used for under $1200 and that's with no tires on them.... and you have the bomb shizzle Pilots on them too, you are the man!
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  #8  
Old 01-03-2011, 10:27 PM
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Rami2001 Rami2001 is offline
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I know. They're sweet. If I get the vibration thingy fixed, I'm thinking about whether bar-coat them to glossy black or ship them to California and get the chromed.
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  #9  
Old 01-04-2011, 06:52 AM
franka franka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rami2001 View Post
I'm gonna start with this. Thanks!

Who or where did you get the tire/wheel balance from? I assume you have taped on weights. Correct?
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Last edited by franka; 01-04-2011 at 06:55 AM.
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  #10  
Old 01-04-2011, 08:47 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rami2001 View Post
- Drive shaft
- Thrust Bushing Arm
- Axel bearing
- Hub Centric Ring
- Bent wheels
- Wheel sizes
- Tire sizes
We really need a good diagnostic thread for diagnosing vibration at highway speeds.

Here is what I have in the bestlinks thread so far.
- The main causes of vibration while highway driving (1) (2) (3) (4); while highway braking (1) (2) (3); and while slow speed braking on bumps (1)

But those vibration on the highway threads are all about the thrust arm bushings - not about the other causes you listed.

I think I'll add this thread - but that means we need to add value to diagnostic procedures to isolate the causes of the following:

What can cause vibration at highway speeds under non-braking conditions?
  • - Worn thrust arm bushings or bent thrust arm (1) (2) (3) (4)
  • - Worn drive shaft or center bearing or Giubo (1) (2) (3)
  • - Worn axle bearing, rear (1), front (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
  • - Hub Centric Ring (what is this?)
  • - Deformed or out of balance wheels
  • - Worn tires (belts and/or treadwear)
  • - Wrong wheel sizes
  • - What else ?

Last edited by bluebee; 01-04-2011 at 08:59 AM.
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  #11  
Old 01-04-2011, 10:07 AM
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Rami2001 Rami2001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Hub Centric Ring (what is this?)
I don't know either. I made a research and I found this: (Read Product Descriptions)

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...K%3AMEWAX%3AIT

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...K%3AMEWAX%3AIT
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  #12  
Old 01-04-2011, 12:53 PM
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Rami2001 Rami2001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franka View Post
Who or where did you get the tire/wheel balance from? I assume you have taped on weights. Correct?
I checked them at wetmore's and discount tires. They both said that my wheels and tires are functionally well. No need for tire/wheel balance. So they didn't tape anything.
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  #13  
Old 01-04-2011, 01:10 PM
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Josh P. Josh P. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rami2001 View Post
I checked them at wetmore's and discount tires. They both said that my wheels and tires are functionally well. No need for tire/wheel balance. So they didn't tape anything.
It's very hard to tell just by looking at some wheels and tires already mounted on a car if the wheels are in fact a) aligned and b) balanced. That's what the machine is for.

Personally I've never seen a BMW that was aligned and balanced properly w/o wheels weights unless it came right off the ship... but maybe that's just me. BMWs are notorious for being very sensitive when it comes to balance due to suspension specs.

Take it somewhere with a Hunter machine and make sure they put weights in the car.
If you don't want to pay for that, then get your suspension inspected for worn thrust arms and bushings. I have the steering wheel shimmy at about 80mph, hoping it's wheels but thinking it's more likely suspension components.
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Last edited by Josh P.; 01-04-2011 at 01:12 PM.
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  #14  
Old 01-04-2011, 01:37 PM
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TemporarySanity TemporarySanity is offline
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I had a horrible shake like you describe that ended up being a stuck left front caliper.
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  #15  
Old 01-04-2011, 06:17 PM
franka franka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rami2001 View Post
I checked them at wetmore's and discount tires. They both said that my wheels and tires are functionally well. No need for tire/wheel balance. So they didn't tape anything.
I'd bet good money that I could balance tires better than 1/2 the guys at Discount shops.

Did you check the inside edges of your wheels yet? Its very hard to check each w/o taking them off the car.
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  #16  
Old 01-04-2011, 09:26 PM
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Rami2001 Rami2001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franka View Post

Did you check the inside edges of your wheels yet? Its very hard to check each w/o taking them off the car.
No, not yet. It's been a snowing week. I'll check them right when the weather gets cool.
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  #17  
Old 01-04-2011, 09:38 PM
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golferjohnm golferjohnm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
We really need a good diagnostic thread for diagnosing vibration at highway speeds.

Here is what I have in the bestlinks thread so far.
- The main causes of vibration while highway driving (1) (2) (3) (4); while highway braking (1) (2) (3); and while slow speed braking on bumps (1)

But those vibration on the highway threads are all about the thrust arm bushings - not about the other causes you listed.

I think I'll add this thread - but that means we need to add value to diagnostic procedures to isolate the causes of the following:

What can cause vibration at highway speeds under non-braking conditions?
  • - Worn thrust arm bushings or bent thrust arm (1) (2) (3) (4)
  • - Worn drive shaft or center bearing or Giubo (1) (2) (3)
  • - Worn axle bearing, rear (1), front (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
  • - Hub Centric Ring (what is this?)
  • - Deformed or out of balance wheels
  • - Worn tires (belts and/or treadwear)
  • - Wrong wheel sizes
  • - What else ?
The hub centric rings are necessary when a non-oem tries to create multiple applications for the same wheel...the centric ring fits snugly on the hub of the rotor and the aftermarket wheel goes ontop of the ring. It closes the ever-so-slight gap when the center-bore isn't an exact fit. That way the same wheel could work for a 6 or 7 series a well
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  #18  
Old 01-05-2011, 06:09 AM
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TemporarySanity TemporarySanity is offline
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Rami2001, where in MI are you?
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  #19  
Old 01-05-2011, 06:50 AM
franka franka is offline
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Originally Posted by golferjohnm View Post
The hub centric rings are necessary when a non-oem tries to create multiple applications for the same wheel...the centric ring fits snugly on the hub of the rotor and the aftermarket wheel goes ontop of the ring. It closes the ever-so-slight gap when the center-bore isn't an exact fit. That way the same wheel could work for a 6 or 7 series a well

Plus the good wheel spacers are all hubcentric, like a bmw hub. The hunbcentric section fits snuggly into the wheel to keep the wheel perfectly centered as its tightened. Get the best quality of spacers from H&R. I've been running spacers for years and seen a few.

Discount Tire pretty much destroyed one of my front spacers huncentric rings and cracked the other front ring by failing to sufficiently tighten the front wheels on the prior visit. But I didn't know that at the time. I brought the car in for re-balace due to front vibration and noticed the little concentric rings, one cracked and half missing. the other just cracked. That's not good. Could have caused meto loose control of the car.

That is what I was saying in an earlier post about Dicount Tire. At least 1/2 are not trained and knowledgeable. If I was not standing there to see it I would still have the balance problem or worse. Still I had to put the cracked one back on until I could get a new beautiful pair from H&R onto the car.

The moral of the story is that if you want good work from a discounting shop, or any shop, you better know what good work is and stand there to make sure it's done correctly. Balance included. And if you aren't assertive enough to get in the shop then get a friend that is and is knowledgable.

One last important point. Discount Tire has a policy against spacers. They will not work on a car with spacers. Period. Concentric hubs/ring spacers included. I can undestand non-concentric easily and agree with them. In my case they price matched the new tires I wanted, Dunlop Derizza Z1s and bought them themselves instead of my shipping them in from Tire Rack. But when they discovered spacers while taking off the wheels there was a big to do. but since they had a set of 4 tires, special ordered, they had acquies. This has happened a couple times and there are notes in my file so they seem to go along now. In one visit for new tires the front only spacers stuck solidly to the wheels and were never noticed. Again the quality of Discount employees is lacking, and my bad Dicount expeiences occured in differnt Discount stores while I was serching for a good one. Haven't found one yet but If I watch I can be sure things are done correctly and still get price matching and free balances.

Watch the service proceedures on your car to get the best and correct service. Otherwise its buyers beware and buyers suffer.
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Last edited by franka; 01-05-2011 at 07:13 AM.
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  #20  
Old 01-05-2011, 07:00 AM
franka franka is offline
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Rami2001, where in MI are you?
I'm from MI too, Detroit, ALLen Park, Dearborn. Left when I was about 18-19 yrs
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  #21  
Old 01-05-2011, 07:23 AM
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energizedmortal energizedmortal is offline
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i had violent vibration and shaking even after new shocks, brakes and thrust arm bushings, turned out that my rear tires were bald on the insides from cupping. Rotated the sidewalls inside out, problem solved...got new tires and alignment good luck i hate vibrations!
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  #22  
Old 01-05-2011, 07:42 AM
franka franka is offline
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BAM, solved....Vibrations can be from simple things which can be the quickest and easiet to check out. Its hard to get that idea thru to people in many cases. Perfect.
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  #23  
Old 01-05-2011, 10:47 AM
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Josh P. Josh P. is offline
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Originally Posted by franka View Post

Watch the service proceedures on your car to get the best and correct service. Otherwise its buyers beware and buyers suffer.
What's the old joke: That'll be $40/hour, $50/hour if you watch, and $70/hour if you help.

Personally (and I'll probably get flamed for this) I'd never use spacers on an E39, just one more added (and unnecessary) part to cause vibration and tracking problems.There are lots of great wheels out there that will fit the E39 out of the box. They may cost a little more, but there's less to go wrong. If you do all your own wheel mounting, balancing, and alignment, then maybe. But not many of us do.
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OEM M5 bumper, 40% Huper Optik ceramic tint, Dice Silverline Pro iPod adapter, 540SP radial spokes, Zimmerman Z-Coat rotors w/ Hawk HPS pads
"Mods": driveshaft, cooling system, Vanos, CCV, PSR, VCG, FSU, spark plugs, buncha belts-n-hoses, & other things I'd just as soon forget

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  #24  
Old 01-05-2011, 12:08 PM
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Rami2001 Rami2001 is offline
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Rami2001, where in MI are you?
Oak Park.
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  #25  
Old 01-05-2011, 03:21 PM
franka franka is offline
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Originally Posted by Josh P. View Post
What's the old joke: That'll be $40/hour, $50/hour if you watch, and $70/hour if you help.

Personally (and I'll probably get flamed for this) I'd never use spacers on an E39, just one more added (and unnecessary) part to cause vibration and tracking problems.There are lots of great wheels out there that will fit the E39 out of the box. They may cost a little more, but there's less to go wrong. If you do all your own wheel mounting, balancing, and alignment, then maybe. But not many of us do.

In reply to 1st part.....then you will pay thru the nose....old saying

In reply to the 2nd part. ......I have 275/18s on the front and rear as is often done to M5s, they are on BMW wheels, the spacers are reqd to prevent the tires from rubbing on the shocks. I've been running them for years w/o any tire or unusual suspension wear, no alignment problems, no problems of any kind.

Thanks for the advice.
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