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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-07-2012, 03:27 AM
bassplyr73 bassplyr73 is offline
1998 328i Convertible
Location: San jose, ca
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 7
Mein Auto: 98 BMW 328i Convertible
New CA bushings and TR end links did not solve problem.

Good evening everyone. Thanks in advance for your time.

Preface: I have been through the Bentley manual, this forum, and numerous google searches. While there is no shortage of info pertaining to this subject, nothing I found addressed my specific problem.

My 98 328 Convertible suffers from steering wheel vibration while braking at high speeds (50 mph and up) as well as a soft, "clank, clank" noise while going over bumps at low speeds (5 mph to 10). Through research via google and Bentley, I replaced my control arm bushings and tie rod end links. The end links were done more because of opportunity than to remedy my situation. To my dismay, the vibration and noise were still evident afterwards. Additional research found nothing specific to my situation, everything seems to point to the CA bushing for these symptoms.

A little more about the vibration... It feels just like warped brake roters do. And then, the noise described above sounds like it could be metal to metal, but thin pieces of metal. Definitely from the front end, more on the right than the left.

I should also note, while I had my car on jack stands I tried firmly shaking/moving different suspension components, however everything felt good and tight. Not confident that I would have been able to uncover any slop that way so take it with a grain of salt, just an fyi.

So anyway, at this point I'm tempted to just pay a professional and be done with it, but I figured I'd present it to the good folks here at bimmerfest for one last go at it. Looking forward to your responses, should anyone have the time!

Thank you,
Ryan

**Edit - As @jonesin pointed out, 'TR End Link' or 'Tie Rod End Link' are incorrect, should have been 'Sway Bar End Link'.

Last edited by bassplyr73; 02-08-2012 at 01:58 AM. Reason: Correction
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2012, 03:46 AM
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jonesin jonesin is offline
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Location: Fort McMurray AB
 
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Mein Auto: '96 328is Cosmos
Quote:
Originally Posted by bassplyr73 View Post
Good evening everyone. Thanks in advance for your time.

Preface: I have been through the Bentley manual, this forum, and numerous google searches. While there is no shortage of info pertaining to this subject, nothing I found addressed my specific problem.

My 98 328 Convertible suffers from steering wheel vibration while braking at high speeds (50 mph and up) as well as a soft, "clank, clank" noise while going over bumps at low speeds (5 mph to 10). Through research via google and Bentley, I replaced my control arm bushings and tie rod end links. The end links were done more because of opportunity than to remedy my situation. To my dismay, the vibration and noise were still evident afterwards. Additional research found nothing specific to my situation, everything seems to point to the CA bushing for these symptoms.

A little more about the vibration... It feels just like warped brake roters do. And then, the noise described above sounds like it could be metal to metal, but thin pieces of metal. Definitely from the front end, more on the right than the left.

I should also note, while I had my car on jack stands I tried firmly shaking/moving different suspension components, however everything felt good and tight. Not confident that I would have been able to uncover any slop that way so take it with a grain of salt, just an fyi.

So anyway, at this point I'm tempted to just pay a professional and be done with it, but I figured I'd present it to the good folks here at bimmerfest for one last go at it. Looking forward to your responses, should anyone have the time!

Thank you,
Ryan
That sounds most likely.

When were they changed last?

Also, are you certain your caliper (right side from your explanation) isn't sticking?

Did you try moving the front wheels to the back? (One at a time is best in this case to make sure it doesn't follow the wheel).

Ed
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2012, 04:16 AM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is online now
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tr end links?? do you mean sway bar end links maybe?? don't forget to check the front sway bar bushings as well.

as for the vibration issue, it sounds like rotors. replace them or machine them if there is enough material to do so.


df
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  #4  
Old 02-08-2012, 01:42 AM
bassplyr73 bassplyr73 is offline
1998 328i Convertible
Location: San jose, ca
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 7
Mein Auto: 98 BMW 328i Convertible
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesin View Post
That sounds most likely.

When were they changed last?

Also, are you certain your caliper (right side from your explanation) isn't sticking?

Did you try moving the front wheels to the back? (One at a time is best in this case to make sure it doesn't follow the wheel).

Ed
Thanks @jonesin. To answer your questions:

1. I'm assuming you're referring to the CA bushings and end links? If so, I just replaced them myself, about a month ago.

2. I'm not certain my caliper isn't sticking because I haven't looked at it specifically. But wouldn't that cause other symptoms too? I only have the vibration while braking at high speeds and the "clank, clank" noise when going over bumps at low speeds. The first "clank" comes at the apex of the bump and the second "clank" once the suspension decompresses once the tires get over the bump.

3. I recently had my tires rotated without any change to the above symptoms. No better, no worse

Thanks again!
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  #5  
Old 02-08-2012, 01:55 AM
bassplyr73 bassplyr73 is offline
1998 328i Convertible
Location: San jose, ca
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 7
Mein Auto: 98 BMW 328i Convertible
Quote:
Originally Posted by drivinfaster View Post
tr end links?? do you mean sway bar end links maybe?? don't forget to check the front sway bar bushings as well.

as for the vibration issue, it sounds like rotors. replace them or machine them if there is enough material to do so.


df
@drivinfaster, thank you for your post! My bad, yes, that should have been sway bar end links. I'll edit my original post to reflect this. Thanks for the correction.

When you mention front sway bar bushings, you're referring to these right?

And you're right, it sounds exactly like rotors. That is what my first hunch was. Until a BMW mechanic doing the initial inspection told me it was most certainly the thrust arm bushings (research found that to be aka control arm bushing). He said the E36's were notorious for having these going out routinely. Moreover, he stated the vibration and "clank, clank" would be remedied by new bushings. When I found that it didn't fix the problem, I guess I wanted to believe it was just a different bushing that needed to be replaced. Maybe I should just go with my gut (your gut too as it appears) and make a weekend out of doing the front brakes, new pads, cleaning/lubricating calipers, new wear sensors, new rotors (or newly machined rotors if I can get away with it) and hope that it fixes the problem. If that ends up being the case, I will just have the "clank" noise left to deal with. Thoughts?

Thanks again!

Last edited by bassplyr73; 02-08-2012 at 02:14 AM. Reason: Adding question
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  #6  
Old 02-08-2012, 07:15 AM
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jonesin jonesin is offline
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Actually I was referring to when the rotors themselves were changed last.
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  #7  
Old 02-08-2012, 08:28 AM
bassplyr73 bassplyr73 is offline
1998 328i Convertible
Location: San jose, ca
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 7
Mein Auto: 98 BMW 328i Convertible
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesin View Post
Actually I was referring to when the rotors themselves were changed last.
Thank you for clarifying @jonesin. In regards to your question, I am not entirely sure as I am the second owner and in the 10,000 miles I've owned it they haven't been changed. One of the first things I did, however, was check the pads and there is plenty of material left. They are roughly half way through they're lifespan. Doubt this is much help, but it's the best I can do with the information available to me.
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  #8  
Old 02-08-2012, 08:45 AM
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jonesin jonesin is offline
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rockauto.com

You can get (decent quality) new rotors (I'd avoid the 'economy ones like the plague) for ~$30 each. Well worth the cost.
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