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E90/E92/E93 M3 (2008 - 2014)
4th generation E90 M3 sedan, E92 M3 coupe and E93 M3 convertible. The last of the naturally aspirated M3s, powered by a 4.0 liter V8 making 414hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.

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  #1  
Old 02-04-2013, 10:12 AM
Capt_Jack Capt_Jack is offline
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M3 Dash Rattle

My first post on this forum. First I'd like to say thanks to all who post, as I've saved considerable time, money, and energy from the shared information.

I know that there have been several threads about the various rattles afflicting the M3. I've searched for my particular affliction, but have yet to discover a thread with the solution. My problem is a persistent rattle emanating from the passenger dash area. Worsens with higher speeds and is unrelated to road conditions (i.e., going over bumps does not exacerbate). It seems related to pressing the accelerator. Sounds like a BB on plastic. Last night I put in neutral, revved the engine and voila - annoying rattle. I'm considering having the dealership take a look, but I'd like some input from the forum to see if its fixable, or if more rattles are in my future by taking the car apart. I found a video that illustrates my exact problem.



Any suggestions/guidance is welcome.
Oh and my car is an 09 sedan.

Thanks - jack_a_
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:52 AM
1zamboni 1zamboni is offline
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Was that coming from A pillar area?
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  #3  
Old 02-06-2013, 12:13 PM
Capt_Jack Capt_Jack is offline
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No. Definitely from behind the glove box inside the dash area. I've tried messing with the glove box, not related. I can't replicate the rattle unless the car is on. So no shaking, pressing, etc of various suspect areas (i.e., navi, A pillar) seems to provide any info where it's coming from.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:29 PM
Jaysea7 Jaysea7 is offline
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Rattle or Relay?

Just bought an M3 myself (2011 29K miles), and I have heard relays, or what sounds like relays, switching. Especially when I flick on the high beams.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt_Jack View Post
No. Definitely from behind the glove box inside the dash area. I've tried messing with the glove box, not related. I can't replicate the rattle unless the car is on. So no shaking, pressing, etc of various suspect areas (i.e., navi, A pillar) seems to provide any info where it's coming from.
The panel that covers the fuses needs to be felted at the lock points. This is a nasty rattle that can be elusive and permeate throughout the whole cabin. Finally fixed that bastard and it's nice now
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:10 PM
Capt_Jack Capt_Jack is offline
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Awesome. Thanks for the fix. Did you go through the glove box to access? Not super mechanically savvy, so any specifics about your process would be great. I do know how to apply felt tape. I really want this noise gone.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Capt_Jack View Post
Awesome. Thanks for the fix. Did you go through the glove box to access? Not super mechanically savvy, so any specifics about your process would be great. I do know how to apply felt tape. I really want this noise gone.
Yes, open the glove box and look in the rear, you'll see a panel with two easy plastic screw holders. The panel is plastic on plastic, if you put small pieces of felt (or furry velcro) on the sides where the panel touches, that rattle will be eliminated. Then you'll be onto your next hunt
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:25 AM
Capt_Jack Capt_Jack is offline
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So, as an experiment I simply removed the panel altogether. Unfortunately, the rattle remains. Any other thoughts out there?
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:10 AM
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Now that I hear it louder with a headset, it almost sounds like the HVAC fan, but at idle, I don't hear it. Have you tried pressing on various panels while the sound emanates? There are a few trouble spots in the sedan that can cause these issues:

1. Center split armrest - poor design. It creaks and ticks and it is from the rear of the right pad that I had to carefully pry upwards and slide some thin felt underneath. Took me a month to hunt that one
2. The console tunnel on the passenger side, if you tap it, it's God awful fisher price type plastic. Easy fix, all you need is 1 or 2 sheets of typing paper and slice it under that panel from the passenger seat, it is never visible and dampens the plastic on plastic in that tunnel area
3. The HVAC and radio panels rattle against their frames. To access this, you can carefully pry the center long carbon piece (with the start button/vents). It is a quality piece itself and BMW uses a nice silicone damping connector to hold it in place. After removing, you'll see where these two panels touch the metal frames. I used thin felt and placed on the frame itself.
4. The cruise control stalk end button can rattle. pushing it in and out a few times solved it as I rarely get to use cruise control
5. The Navigation screen frame. 2 Torx T-20 screws hold it in place. Remove those, tilt the screen towards you and place felt at the top where the frame meets. Reassemble
6. A-pillars - these are fairly complicated actually. Remove the SRS airbag cover with an old credit card or something soft. There is a T-25 screw that needs to be removed. From there you can pull upwards towards the headliner gently and the a pillar cover will slide out. The plastic clip thing is one source of sound. I used 40 year silicone caulk to re-insert the clip into the a pillar cover, thus silencing and ceasing its movement when trying to re-attach it. The area where the cover touches the dash, is a source if creaking. Use krytox on the non-visible portion. Use a thin piece of felt on the hole where the clip attaches and push a hole in the felt with a small knife. This enables the clip to not have the plastic-on-metal contact noise. Reassemble the a pillar cover. (I took the opportunity to clean my cover while it was removed).
7. Top center vent cover, the only way to resolve this ticking is with Krytox, there isn't enough clearance for even the thinnest felt strips
8. B-pillars - another bastard to remove, but basically you have 2 felt covered pieces facing you, the rear of those are just plastic on sheet metal. I applied damplifier pro to strategic areas as well as felt on the areas that tap on the metal.

There are more, but these are some of the more annoying possibilities.

Drive with the HVAC off, radio off, tap on some panels, hold some panels to see if you can locate it. Sounds from high in the dash tend to reflect all over the cabin, so don't be surprised if it's a rear sound.
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Last edited by thekurgan; 02-09-2013 at 09:09 AM. Reason: bad speller
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  #10  
Old 02-10-2013, 12:44 PM
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Could be fan from heating system, try keeping the same RPM then make left or right turn, or brake but keep rpm in idle at same rate. if it goes away it might just be the bearings in this fan. was same on my 328i
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:23 AM
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thekurgan thekurgan is online now
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An addition to this, sorry for not mentioning.

The panel between the cupholders, although constructed well, uses two aluminum guides that, naturally, rattle in their respective holders. I don't have a picture, but if you use a pry tool and pop the left and right side, you'll see what I mean. In the center, there are two silicone guides, the pins that slide into these guides rest on the panel itself, and they vibrate. What I did was use 40 year silicone clear caulk and sort of "glue" them in place. Since it's not permanent, the silicone acts as a resonating absorption mechanism. I used the same caulking for all the guides in the A and B pillars as well as felt the heck out of those metal areas.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:39 PM
Capt_Jack Capt_Jack is offline
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New info to add. I've been commuting via interstate more than usual. What I've noticed is that the rattle increases in intensity (lots louder) as I remain at highway speed (about an hour or so). I don't run the hvac constantly and it doesnt change if i turn it of. I've not noticed anything goofy going on with the engine. The search continues.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:00 AM
Lee43 Lee43 is offline
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Hi. Wondering if you've had any joy with this? I think I have much the same problem based on the video you found. Have a 2012 M3 (about 6 months old) and have had it at the dealer three times to attempt to fix. I first thought it was the centre speaker housing (behind the iDrive) because if I put (fairly heavy) pressure on the iDrive hump the rattle stopped. I got them to remove the grille and speaker so I drive it round for a bit, but made no difference. They also removed the a-pillar covers, but that made no difference either. They thought it might have been part of the dash vibrating against the bottom of the windscreen. So they "reseated" the dashboard - which I think means they loosened the torx screws holding the dash on, moved it around a little and retightened. Thought that fixed it, but alas was still there - it's now not "ticking" at the same frequency as in the video - but still there. It's driving me nuts - the car is brilliant otherwise. I thought I might drop the iDrive screen out (2 torx screws) and the speedo/rev cluster (again only a couple of screws) and see if I can jam foam up in any gaps between the metal tube that the dash mounts on and the dash itself. The dealer showed me the BMW diagnostic guide and the next recommended step was to drop the whole dash out, which I wanted to avoid at all costs (figure that will introduce another zillion rattles!). Any further thoughts appreciated!
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:37 PM
Capt_Jack Capt_Jack is offline
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To close the loop. The rattle was coming from a loose screw that connects to the fender. Replaced and rattle (at least that one) is gone. Man, this is a noisy car.
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:47 PM
Lee43 Lee43 is offline
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Good news. Think I fixed mine too.... dropped out the iDrive screen and speedo cluster and jammed some cotton towels up in the dashboard gaps (noticed the dealer had already tried something similar). Been driving it for a week and so far so good - think it is silenced (fingers crossed)...
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:13 AM
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Interesting (nice) to see solutions to a common problem.
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:31 AM
highyo highyo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekurgan View Post
Now that I hear it louder with a headset, it almost sounds like the HVAC fan, but at idle, I don't hear it. Have you tried pressing on various panels while the sound emanates? There are a few trouble spots in the sedan that can cause these issues:

1. Center split armrest - poor design. It creaks and ticks and it is from the rear of the right pad that I had to carefully pry upwards and slide some thin felt underneath. Took me a month to hunt that one
2. The console tunnel on the passenger side, if you tap it, it's God awful fisher price type plastic. Easy fix, all you need is 1 or 2 sheets of typing paper and slice it under that panel from the passenger seat, it is never visible and dampens the plastic on plastic in that tunnel area
3. The HVAC and radio panels rattle against their frames. To access this, you can carefully pry the center long carbon piece (with the start button/vents). It is a quality piece itself and BMW uses a nice silicone damping connector to hold it in place. After removing, you'll see where these two panels touch the metal frames. I used thin felt and placed on the frame itself.
4. The cruise control stalk end button can rattle. pushing it in and out a few times solved it as I rarely get to use cruise control
5. The Navigation screen frame. 2 Torx T-20 screws hold it in place. Remove those, tilt the screen towards you and place felt at the top where the frame meets. Reassemble
6. A-pillars - these are fairly complicated actually. Remove the SRS airbag cover with an old credit card or something soft. There is a T-25 screw that needs to be removed. From there you can pull upwards towards the headliner gently and the a pillar cover will slide out. The plastic clip thing is one source of sound. I used 40 year silicone caulk to re-insert the clip into the a pillar cover, thus silencing and ceasing its movement when trying to re-attach it. The area where the cover touches the dash, is a source if creaking. Use krytox on the non-visible portion. Use a thin piece of felt on the hole where the clip attaches and push a hole in the felt with a small knife. This enables the clip to not have the plastic-on-metal contact noise. Reassemble the a pillar cover. (I took the opportunity to clean my cover while it was removed).
7. Top center vent cover, the only way to resolve this ticking is with Krytox, there isn't enough clearance for even the thinnest felt strips
8. B-pillars - another bastard to remove, but basically you have 2 felt covered pieces facing you, the rear of those are just plastic on sheet metal. I applied damplifier pro to strategic areas as well as felt on the areas that tap on the metal.

There are more, but these are some of the more annoying possibilities.

Drive with the HVAC off, radio off, tap on some panels, hold some panels to see if you can locate it. Sounds from high in the dash tend to reflect all over the cabin, so don't be surprised if it's a rear sound.

sorry for the thread jack, but can you elaborate on noise #1? (the center split arm rest) i have tried to lubricate the hinges but i think i'm off base as there is ZERO gain. what is the "rear of the right pad"?
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:44 AM
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Very useful thread. Some great ideas here.
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highyo View Post
sorry for the thread jack, but can you elaborate on noise #1? (the center split arm rest) i have tried to lubricate the hinges but i think i'm off base as there is ZERO gain. what is the "rear of the right pad"?

1. Center split armrest - poor design. It creaks and ticks and it is from the rear of the right pad that I had to carefully pry upwards and slide some thin felt underneath. Took me a month to hunt that one
Sure thing. I used a plastic door panel remover on the rear of the "pads" on the center console split armrest. Pry up each just a bit and slice some adhesive felt on either side, the plastic or the underside of the pads. The squeak/creak comes from the rear of these pieces. If I get time I can snap a photo of my application, it's barely visible from the rear seat area but is 100% effective. The hinges haven't squeaked for me, but if they do for you, the rear unit, where the vents are located, just slides out and access to the lower hinges and spring is visible.
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekurgan View Post
Sure thing. I used a plastic door panel remover on the rear of the "pads" on the center console split armrest. Pry up each just a bit and slice some adhesive felt on either side, the plastic or the underside of the pads. The squeak/creak comes from the rear of these pieces. If I get time I can snap a photo of my application, it's barely visible from the rear seat area but is 100% effective. The hinges haven't squeaked for me, but if they do for you, the rear unit, where the vents are located, just slides out and access to the lower hinges and spring is visible.
im still not visualizing it. sorry. if you could take a pic that would be great. rattle driving me crazy!
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by highyo View Post
im still not visualizing it. sorry. if you could take a pic that would be great. rattle driving me crazy!

Worst thing ever in a car is to spend a bunch of money on a new car and find out a week or two later that is has a rattling problem some where inside the freakin dashboard Luckily mine is fine
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:48 AM
Bluetonic Bluetonic is offline
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Great to hear you are finding solutions to these guys.

Capt jack,

I had the same thing on one fender (rattle inside from the a pillar) which the dealer fixed saying it was an adjustment to the fender, and charged me an hours work.

I ran off happy not having a massive bill to pay....

Now the other side is doing the same 100% as you explained and the same as i had before.

Can you detail where the loose screw was?

I'd like to avoid a trip to the dealers and another hours labour costs if its something I could fix myself.
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:04 AM
Bluetonic Bluetonic is offline
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No problem I found it.

For all interested its the bolt in the front door frame visible when you have the door open just above the door hinges.

Mine was loose too. Gave it tighten and some loctite 454 and its fixed.
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