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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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 03-15-2011, 06:21 AM
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ztom ztom is offline
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Location: Thousand Oaks CA
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 528i
Vibration diagnosis flow chart for e39

Here'a a shot at one speciic for e39..

See note A, B, E, F

Does the vibration occur only at specific speeds, straight line, no brake applied, no gas?
Yes, then does it occur at 40-50mph?
Yes, then thrust arm bushing. Also see note F
No, then does it occur at 70-80mph?
Yes, then lower control arm. Also see note F
No, then see note C

Notes:
A - Check tire pressure
B - Swap tires to see if a change.
C - Check wheel alignment
D - Maybe wheel bearing play, worn out
E - Check that lug nuts are tight
F - Sometimes a new tire is needed because it has worn unevenly

Does the vibration occur generally higher speeds, straight line, no brake, no gas?
Yes, then see note B,C

Does it vibrate only when brakes applied?
Yes, then check for loose control arm joint(s). Check brakes calipers on tight. Check if rotors warped.

Does it vibrate on a turn, no brake, no gas?
Yes, then check if it happens more on right turn, then right side is suspect, and vice versa. See note D

Does it vibrate on acceleration?
Yes, then check center support bearing and Guibo
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  #2  
Old 03-15-2011, 07:42 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ztom View Post
Here'a a shot at one speciic for e39
Wonderful! I've added this link to the VERY best of E39 Links already (keyword===vibration):

How does this look for starters?

- The main causes of vibration while highway driving (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5); while highway braking (1) (2) (3); and while slow speed braking on bumps (1) & TireRack vehicle vibration diagnosis chart (1) (jpg) with match mounting hints (1) & due to worn drive shaft, flex disc, center bearing, or "giunti Boschi", aka giubo - often misspelled as "guibo" (1) (2) (3) (4).
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  #3  
Old 03-15-2011, 07:45 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ztom View Post
Does it vibrate only when brakes applied?
Yes, then check for loose control arm joint(s). Check brakes calipers on tight. Check if rotors warped.
Talk to MatWiz.

If it vibrates violently, while braking at low speed on bumps, it's the shocks and/or struts. (See the loooooooooong reference on this above.)
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  #4  
Old 03-15-2011, 01:31 PM
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ztom ztom is offline
I gotta have more cowbell
Location: Thousand Oaks CA
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 528i
Yes thanks, I agree.
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  #5  
Old 11-30-2011, 10:49 AM
rush_ad rush_ad is offline
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Location: Tampa
 
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Mein Auto: 2003 530i
Quote:
Originally Posted by ztom View Post
Here'a a shot at one speciic for e39..

See note A, B, E, F

Does the vibration occur only at specific speeds, straight line, no brake applied, no gas?
Yes, then does it occur at 40-50mph?
Yes, then thrust arm bushing. Also see note F
No, then does it occur at 70-80mph?
Yes, then lower control arm. Also see note F
No, then see note C

Notes:
A - Check tire pressure
B - Swap tires to see if a change.
C - Check wheel alignment
D - Maybe wheel bearing play, worn out
E - Check that lug nuts are tight
F - Sometimes a new tire is needed because it has worn unevenly

Does the vibration occur generally higher speeds, straight line, no brake, no gas?
Yes, then see note B,C

Does it vibrate only when brakes applied?
Yes, then check for loose control arm joint(s). Check brakes calipers on tight. Check if rotors warped.

Does it vibrate on a turn, no brake, no gas?
Yes, then check if it happens more on right turn, then right side is suspect, and vice versa. See note D

Does it vibrate on acceleration?
Yes, then check center support bearing and Guibo
My 2003 530i vibrates between 70-80 mph. In Florida speed limit is 70 so driving between 70-80 is the 'normal' range. It is very annoying to have car vibrate all the time.

The vibration seems to occur in rear, under the seat and the car as a whole. The steering wheel does not wobble or vibrate so I think the front of the car should be in good shape.

From this diagnosis it looks like the lower control arm is the culprit. Is this an easy fix? Or how much does it usually cost to have this repaired?
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  #6  
Old 11-30-2011, 12:12 PM
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doru doru is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rush_ad View Post
My 2003 530i vibrates between 70-80 mph. In Florida speed limit is 70 so driving between 70-80 is the 'normal' range. It is very annoying to have car vibrate all the time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rush_ad View Post

The vibration seems to occur in rear, under the seat and the car as a whole. The steering wheel does not wobble or vibrate so I think the front of the car should be in good shape.

From this diagnosis it looks like the lower control arm is the culprit. Is this an easy fix? Or how much does it usually cost to have this repaired?


Might be your rear tires. Not balanced, or bad quality rubber (uneven), or bent wheel.
Check also the rear balljoints.
If you had lower control arms - they are in the front, and the steering whell would shimmy.
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Stable: e39, e53, e46 & Tribby
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  #7  
Old 11-30-2011, 12:25 PM
rush_ad rush_ad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post

Might be your rear tires. Not balanced, or bad quality rubber (uneven), or bent wheel.
Check also the rear balljoints.
If you had lower control arms - they are in the front, and the steering whell would shimmy.
The rear tires are brand new and therefore balanced.

I bought the car used about two weeks back. When I went to test drive the car, it used to vibrate around 65 mph. So I asked the seller if he can replace the tires. So he did. When I test drove it second time, the car was not vibrating around 65 mph. So I bought the car without driving over 70 mph.

Not it seems like I had the seller replace with tires without much help. And the problem still remains. Also, this points to that the new tires aren't bad since the old tires also had the same problem.

1) I can check for bent wheels.
2) How do I check the rear ball joints? I am a total noob and would be nice to have a pic or two.
3) Any tutorial to replace the lower control arm?

Thanks.
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  #8  
Old 11-30-2011, 12:41 PM
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doru doru is offline
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Lift the car up, grab the wheelsat 9 & 3 o'clock, see if you have play.
Front & rear.
If no play, sometimes the wheel was placed incorrectly.
With the car up, you should torque the lug bolts so they center the wheel on the hub. Then (car on stands), torque the bolts to proper spec (110-120 Nm). If tighter, you may experience shimmy.
To check if the wheel is true and has no bends, a tire shop can do it.
The front lower control arms are not very difficult to replace, but first do the diagnostics. Also, sometims you need a road force balance, especially if the wheel size is greater than 17".
For front & rear axle suspension parts, there are numerous threads on this and other forums. Also, a detailed procedures are on the Beisan web site. On this forum you can search using key words like "total suspension overhaul" and "CN90"
GL
__________________
Looking for a DIY? Parts? Check this out, it might be your ticket
TMS underdrive pullies - Stewart WP - PSS9 - Beisan Vanos seals - Zimmerman cross-drilled & Akebono Euro - Deka 649 MF - 55w HID headlights - 35w HID foglights - Hualigan double din - ACS (rep) alu pedals - Euro central storage console - Breyton Magic Racing staggered wheels - M5 bumper - M5 steering wheel - Tint
Stable: e39, e53, e46 & Tribby
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  #9  
Old 07-30-2012, 09:56 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the record, so others benefit, today Doru posted his vibration-elimination success story:
-> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Finally got rid of the shimmy

Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
It started to shimmy when accelerating steady. As soon I as I reached 65 mph - the steering wheel started the dance up until about 75 mph. Then, it subsided, but you could feel it in the steering column. Now it's like glass. No matter how fast I accelerate, you can reach the governor speed, there's nothing. Just pure driving bliss.
Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
It was the front piston calipers sticking that did the shimmy. Changed the boots and the shimmy is gone. I had the shimmy around 100 - 110 Km/Hr (65-70 mph).
Also, the calipers were dragging before. The rubbers were deformed and the pistons end started to rust as well. All is good now. There are a few good DIY: CN90 DIY and Stinkpalmd DIY

So, it's not always the suspension parts (I knew, I had them changed last year with only some improvement - the 50 mph was gone, but not the 65-70 mph).
See also:
- The main causes of vibration while highway driving (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5); while highway braking (1) (2) (3) & why it's not rotor "warp" (1); and severe shuddering while slow speed braking on bumps (1) & TireRack vehicle vibration diagnosis chart (1) (jpg) with match mounting hints (1) & due to worn drive shaft, flex disc, center bearing, or "giunti Boschi", namely the giubo (pronounced sort of like jew'eebo), and sometimes unknowingly misspelled as "guibo" (1) (2) (3) (4) & how to repair the rear driveshaft seal by the differential (1) or the inner constant velocity (CV) half-drive shaft (1).
__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #10  
Old 08-16-2012, 04:22 PM
imhighlander imhighlander is offline
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Mein Auto: E39 540i/6; E34 540iA
@bluebee - Now one of my favorite posters. (I've been migrating from BF.c)

MODS - Can we PLEASE sticky this thread?
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Last edited by imhighlander; 08-16-2012 at 04:24 PM.
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  #11  
Old 02-17-2013, 06:37 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the crosslinked record, RDL posted the TIS wheel runout specifications here today:
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
TIS specifications for rounout and balancing wheels & tires.





__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #12  
Old 02-17-2013, 06:44 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Location: San Jose, California
 
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This, posted today, is useful ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
First, keep in mind that a bad brake problem can shake the car so badly that it become difficult to determine if the pedal is pulsing or vibrating with the rest of the car.

Brake pedal pulsing always means that the caliper is forcing brake fluid back into the master cylinder. If there is a rotor thickness variation the mechanism is obvious. At the thick section of the rotor, the caliper piston must move backward into the caliper cylinder & push fluid to the master cylinder and thus move the pedal.

Then consider a truly warped (potato chip) rotor assuming no thickness variation and no uneven pad deposits.
If the warp is large or the speed is high
The distance the caliper must move is large &/or the movement is fast. So to move that distance in the rotation time, the acceleration must be high. This requires high force (Newton's 3rd law: F=ma) As the rotor pushes the pad/piston to one side, the caliper's inertia "pushes back." The brake fluid is squashed between the moving piston and the "wanting to be stationary" caliper and pulses back toward the m/c and pedal. We feel pedal pulse. If a front rotor, the force shaking the caliper is going to exert a torque on the steering axis => steering wheel shimmy. If a rear rotor, there will be a side to side force/vibration.

At smaller warps or slow(er) speeds
The caliper is still forced side to side during rotation as the pads/piston follow the rotor. But since the movement is small &/or slow, acceleration is low too. It doesn't take much force to move them back and forth. There isn't much pressure variation in the caliper cylinder and no pedal pulse is felt. Similarly, any vibration or steering wheel shimmy is reduced.

Taking this same line of thought on true rotors with uneven pad deposits (assumed to be infintesimally thin)
The piston and caliper are stationary, only brake torque is varying as the pads stick and unstick on the deposits. No pedal pulse since the piston isn't trying to push the caliper back and forth. One would not have any pedal pulse at any speed. There will be a general vibration in the car as the road wheel is pushed less and more toward the rear of the car. In addition if the varying brake force is acting on a front wheel it will generate a steering wheel shimmy as this varying force acts over the lever arm of scrub radius.

And to make things even more complicated, a badly warped rotor (a rare event) can result in one pad not making full contact over part of the rotation, i.e. behaves the same as uneven deposits. So diagnosis become more challenging.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
I don't believe one can reliably check thrust arm bushings to eliminate them as suspect.

I had at least one fail yet visual inspection and push/pull by hand and pry bar found no difference side to side. Once I removed them, one side bushing oozed a black oily liquid, the other side didn't. So at least one was in fact bad. With two new t-links my symptoms disappeared.

I then redid the push/pull tests. I found the compliance to be the same, or at least I couldn't tell the difference between before and after. I'd agree that this was not a scientific comparison of old to new or even side to side. OTOH, I've never seen BMW specs of force vs flex vs damping in order to perform an accurate measurement for pass/fail. Or the equipment to perform it.

It seems to me that the only practical avenue is to renew t-links or the bushings if you have the symptoms and no other less expensive suspect cause can be found.


See also:
- The main causes front-end clunk while driving (1) & clunking while braking (1) & the generic causes of vehicle vibration while highway driving (0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) & while highway braking (1) (2) (3) & why it's not rotor "warp" (1) & severe ABS shuddering while slow speed braking on bumps (1) & how fluid-filled thrust arm bushings crack and tear causing the BMW to vibrate at speed (0) (1) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) & a comprehensive TireRack vehicle vibration diagnosis chart (1) (jpg) with wheel match mounting hints (1) & how a worn drive shaft, flex disc, center bearing, or "giunti Boschi", aka giubo (it's not spelled guibo although it sounds like it is to some) can cause the vehicle to vibrate (1) (2) (3) (4) & how to repair the rear driveshaft seal by the differential (1) & how to repair the inner constant velocity (CV) half-drive shaft (1).
__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 04-03-2014 at 07:18 AM.
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  #13  
Old 06-26-2014, 06:24 AM
Kurt615 Kurt615 is offline
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Great! Thanks for all of the help guys!
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