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E60 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series (E60 chassis) was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E60 is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-28-2012, 03:59 PM
socal28 socal28 is offline
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Angry Front brakes warped, steering wheel vibration upon braking

Hi Guys,

I'm having this issue with my 2008 550i since last July.
I went to my local dealer back in July 2011 to have to brakes looked at for squeeking and noise (no vibration). They ended up replacing the front pads.
Since then, after about a month or 2 of normal driving, a vibration in the steering wheel will be noticed upon braking from ~45-30 mph. Took it back to the dealer and they replace the rotors and pads. 2 month later again, same vibration. Took it back again and they checked for the hub to see if it's true and it was, so they replaced the rotor and pads again. ~2 months later, vibration is back.
My car is there now for the 3rd or 4th time and they said they cannot warranty my brakes because they see discoloration on the rotors as if it's been over heated. My driving is pretty normal (probably more on the conservative side if anything) and I do not track the car.

Has anyone encountered this situation? What can I do to convince them that this is BMW's responsibility?
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  #2  
Old 02-28-2012, 04:37 PM
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GoRavens GoRavens is offline
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Do you hose them down when they are still hot?
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  #3  
Old 02-28-2012, 05:17 PM
socal28 socal28 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoRavens View Post
Do you hose them down when they are still hot?
No. Nothing out of the oridinary when going to the car wash on any typical day.
In my driving habit, I wouldn't think that would cause any issues as people drive these cars in the rain right?
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  #4  
Old 03-01-2012, 04:22 PM
socal28 socal28 is offline
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Well, BMW of Mountain View is refusing to warrant my brakes and is not going to fix this issue. They said that BMW will not reimburse them for this job.
They are accusing me of over heating them which in turn warping the rotors. Saying that I take turns too sharply judging from the side wall of my tires.
This is ridiculous! If a BMW 550i can't handle my normal (I would say more on the conservative side) driving that my other Nissan Sentra can, something is wrong!
Going to confront the service manager now.
I think this is a initial "bedding" issue that they do not complete with new brakes.
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  #5  
Old 03-01-2012, 04:26 PM
socal28 socal28 is offline
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How can I go about this taking it higher than the dealer?
Contact info for regional BMW USA service rep? How do I find this info?
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  #6  
Old 03-01-2012, 07:46 PM
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GoRavens GoRavens is offline
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Do they think you are taking it to the track??? Total BS. You can call BMW NA and start a claim. Also, ask them if you can speak to their BMW rep.
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  #7  
Old 03-01-2012, 10:09 PM
socal28 socal28 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoRavens View Post
Do they think you are taking it to the track??? Total BS. You can call BMW NA and start a claim. Also, ask them if you can speak to their BMW rep.
Yes, or whatever my driving style is to over heat them and cause them to warp.
These are massive discs, hard to believe normal driving style or even aggresive braking can wrap these.

As an update, got my car back and bringing it back next Tues when a BMW regional factory Tech will be there to evaluate.
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  #8  
Old 03-01-2012, 10:12 PM
socal28 socal28 is offline
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They said that they can tell of the over heating from the discolorization on the discs.
Brake experts, anything unusual with these?

With flash...


Without flash...


Maybe not the greatest pics. I'll try to get better one up later.
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LED interior, license plate and side markers lights.
Black powercoated OEM wheels, matte black kidney grills, shadowline rear "550i" emblems.
Reus Audio System
http://www.socal28.com/bmw/socal28bmw.htm

Last edited by socal28; 03-01-2012 at 10:17 PM.
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  #9  
Old 03-02-2012, 12:28 PM
terrystu terrystu is offline
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Rotors almost never warp. Have you considered thrust arm bushings? When they fail, they cause your exact symptoms.
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  #10  
Old 03-02-2012, 12:58 PM
TRS550 TRS550 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrystu View Post
Rotors almost never warp. Have you considered thrust arm bushings? When they fail, they cause your exact symptoms.
??????

If anything, BMW's rotors are known to warp. The design on BMW rotors is intentionally thin to reduce weight. That's why the recommendation is to never turn BMW rotors. There typically isn't enough material on them to do so without going below the min thickness stamped into them.

They're thin to start with and that's why they warp so easily.

I had mine replaced at 70K. Pads were fine. Rotors were warped. I had the same symptoms as the OP.
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  #11  
Old 03-02-2012, 01:16 PM
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I believe there are topics discussing 'rebedding' by a member who owns an e39.

Most likely, there is no such thing as 'a warped rotor'.

Recently I had all 4 rotors and pads replaced (all OEM), then I got shaky steering wheel during braking, and guess what, the cause of that was a nail in one rear tire. After fixing the tire, shaking steering wheel went away.
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  #12  
Old 03-02-2012, 01:51 PM
TRS550 TRS550 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverbimmer3 View Post
I believe there are topics discussing 'rebedding' by a member who owns an e39.

Most likely, there is no such thing as 'a warped rotor'.

Recently I had all 4 rotors and pads replaced (all OEM), then I got shaky steering wheel during braking, and guess what, the cause of that was a nail in one rear tire. After fixing the tire, shaking steering wheel went away.
????? If you've ever had a front wheel off on a car with warped rotors and put a dial indicator up against it, you'll believe in the concept of a warped rotor.

Just because it hasn't happened to you, doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
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  #13  
Old 03-02-2012, 04:45 PM
mfrasca mfrasca is offline
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Calipers dragging?
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  #14  
Old 03-02-2012, 06:34 PM
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Dking078 Dking078 is offline
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I reccomend you get the front bushings checked, with my Blk 540i I had both warped rotors & bad bushings... Imagine my face going down a mountain with the shaking from the steeringwheel!

Changed the rotors/pads, good improvement, but still shaky..Changed the bushings, shaking was gone.

Same thing with my 03' right now, I shake sometimes, but the rotors are good, even my tech noted the bushings are nearing the end of their life.

Though i'm not 100% sure i can relate an E39 problem to the E60, but the concept may be the same.
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  #15  
Old 03-03-2012, 11:36 AM
hedshrnk hedshrnk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRS550 View Post
????? If you've ever had a front wheel off on a car with warped rotors and put a dial indicator up against it, you'll believe in the concept of a warped rotor.

Just because it hasn't happened to you, doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
It is a very common error people make in putting a dial indicator on a rotor and assuming the errant reading indicates a "warped rotor". What you are seeing is uneven rotor wear due to worn or damaged pads, not warpage. There are literally dozens of sources available online which discuss the myth of the "warped rotor". Please note, I am not saying it is impossible for a rotor to warp, just unlikely in the extreme.

A much more likely cause would be failed thrust arm bushings, as posted by others.
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  #16  
Old 03-03-2012, 02:27 PM
TRS550 TRS550 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hedshrnk View Post
It is a very common error people make in putting a dial indicator on a rotor and assuming the errant reading indicates a "warped rotor". What you are seeing is uneven rotor wear due to worn or damaged pads, not warpage. There are literally dozens of sources available online which discuss the myth of the "warped rotor". Please note, I am not saying it is impossible for a rotor to warp, just unlikely in the extreme.

A much more likely cause would be failed thrust arm bushings, as posted by others.
That wasn't the cause on my car. The OP doesn't state the milage on his car. If his car is a high milage car, the yes, thrust bearings could be the issue. However, the OP stated once the rotors were replaced, the problem went away for 2 months in each case, making the thrust bearing diagnosis incorrect.
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  #17  
Old 03-05-2012, 09:24 AM
socal28 socal28 is offline
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Thanks for the input guys.
Yes, it seems that after they have replaced the rotors/pad, it is fine until ~1k to ~2k miles (1-2 months), then the vibration in the steering wheel while braking between 45-30mph is felt gradually increasing from then on.
I currently have 46k miles on the car. Main warranty just expired Feb 13th this year and is now on CPO warranty.
When I bring it back tomorrow morning, I will mention the arm bushings and see what they say.
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LED interior, license plate and side markers lights.
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  #18  
Old 03-05-2012, 01:02 PM
hedshrnk hedshrnk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socal28 View Post
Thanks for the input guys.
Yes, it seems that after they have replaced the rotors/pad, it is fine until ~1k to ~2k miles (1-2 months), then the vibration in the steering wheel while braking between 45-30mph is felt gradually increasing from then on.
I currently have 46k miles on the car. Main warranty just expired Feb 13th this year and is now on CPO warranty.
When I bring it back tomorrow morning, I will mention the arm bushings and see what they say.
Be forewarned - suspension bushings are not covered under CPO.
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Old 03-05-2012, 02:48 PM
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Silly question - when was the last time the tires were balanced? The e39 was notorious for getting wheel shake from a slightly unbalanced tire. You wouldn't feel it during normal driving but as soon as you got on the brakes, you could feel it. Certainly not trying to discount the fact your rotors may be warped but you may want to insure the easy stuff is out of the way before calling BMWNA.
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Old 03-05-2012, 02:50 PM
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Before you purchased the car someone may have tracked it hard.
Common problem with a poor cool down lap.
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  #21  
Old 03-05-2012, 03:53 PM
socal28 socal28 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hedshrnk View Post
Be forewarned - suspension bushings are not covered under CPO.
If is indeed the bushings, I will fight to have it repaired under warranty has this issue has started well before my original warranty expired.
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  #22  
Old 03-05-2012, 03:55 PM
socal28 socal28 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xclone View Post
Silly question - when was the last time the tires were balanced? The e39 was notorious for getting wheel shake from a slightly unbalanced tire. You wouldn't feel it during normal driving but as soon as you got on the brakes, you could feel it. Certainly not trying to discount the fact your rotors may be warped but you may want to insure the easy stuff is out of the way before calling BMWNA.
It just doesn't make sense to have it related to something external to the brakes as it's perfect right after they install new rotors and pads. It's only after a 1000 miles or so where it starts to vibrate. If it were the bushings or wheel alignment/balance, would that affect the vibration in the steering wheel no matter what condition the brakes are in?
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LED interior, license plate and side markers lights.
Black powercoated OEM wheels, matte black kidney grills, shadowline rear "550i" emblems.
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http://www.socal28.com/bmw/socal28bmw.htm
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  #23  
Old 03-05-2012, 03:58 PM
socal28 socal28 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalekressin View Post
Before you purchased the car someone may have tracked it hard.
Common problem with a poor cool down lap.
Possibility, but I drove it over 5000 miles and over 4 months after picking it up without any vibration issues.
This saga only started after dealer changed out the brakes for some light squeeking noises.
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Sports, Navigation, Comfort Access, Sports Automatic Transmission, Heated Front Seats, Logic7, Sirius Sat, USB/Ipod, Auto Rear Sunshade.
LED interior, license plate and side markers lights.
Black powercoated OEM wheels, matte black kidney grills, shadowline rear "550i" emblems.
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  #24  
Old 03-05-2012, 04:47 PM
Rickz96 Rickz96 is offline
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Socal I have the same problem on my 535Xi. I have the third set of rotors on my car since last June. My problem is I seem to have the wrong pad rotor combination with regards to my driving style. I will agree I am harder than most when it comes to brakes. I will say that I have followed the instructions verbatim on "bedding in" the pads and it does help. My opinion is that the brake setup on my car are undersized for "spirited driving". Not sure if the 550 has larger brakes than the 535. I am currently waiting for my HPS Hawk brake pads as I know this will rid myself of brake pad deposits on my rotors. This will however cause decent amounts of brake dust and rotors that I will have to replace very frequently. Oh well, something has to give and I don't feel like spending 5K+ on a wheel and brembo brake upgrade. I have used the Hawk pads (blue) on my track car in the past and have had excellent results.

Here is a photo for viewing pleasure of the pad deposits. Notice, this didn't show up like this until I started to buff it with a disk. Before that it looked like a blue stripe on the rotor.

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  #25  
Old 03-05-2012, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socal28 View Post
It just doesn't make sense to have it related to something external to the brakes as it's perfect right after they install new rotors and pads. It's only after a 1000 miles or so where it starts to vibrate. If it were the bushings or wheel alignment/balance, would that affect the vibration in the steering wheel no matter what condition the brakes are in?
That is true but perhaps they re-balanced the tires as well. Not saying they did but I had a warped rim and the balance would only last about 2000 miles before I started getting a shimmy during braking.
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