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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 12-14-2010, 09:46 PM
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moiz21 moiz21 is offline
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Grinding noise when turning...

So quick question for ya guys. I get a grinding noise when making right hand turns only lately. And it's only when the car is cold. Once it warms up the noise goes away. Doesnt make a difference if I break or not during the turn. Any suggestions?

P.S. I've tried doing a search but get so many different possibilities. Was wondering if there is a way to narrow down the issue. Can give more info as needed. Thanks in advance to everyone.
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  #2  
Old 12-15-2010, 04:56 PM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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Originally Posted by moiz21 View Post
So quick question for ya guys. I get a grinding noise when making right hand turns only lately. And it's only when the car is cold. Once it warms up the noise goes away. Doesnt make a difference if I break or not during the turn. Any suggestions?

P.S. I've tried doing a search but get so many different possibilities. Was wondering if there is a way to narrow down the issue. Can give more info as needed. Thanks in advance to everyone.
First thing I would try, if you have not done it already, is to replace the power steering fluid. Use Dextron III compatible ATF. There is a link in the wiki at the top of the page on how to do this. Very simple, cheap, and worth a try. Could also be a wheel bearing going bad. Try jacking up the left front of the car and see if the left front wheel is rough, or if there is any play when turning by hand to rule that out

Last edited by SJBimmer; 12-15-2010 at 05:12 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-15-2010, 08:04 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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Originally Posted by SJBimmer View Post
First thing I would try, if you have not done it already, is to replace the power steering fluid. Use Dextron III compatible ATF. There is a link in the wiki at the top of the page on how to do this. Very simple, cheap, and worth a try. Could also be a wheel bearing going bad. Try jacking up the left front of the car and see if the left front wheel is rough, or if there is any play when turning by hand to rule that out
+1. Replace the PS reservoir fluid (which is Dex III ATF) if you haven't done so recently.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:18 PM
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I'll definitely give the PS fluid a change. Easy enough DIY.

Is it still likely to be that even though the grinding is only coming from one side?
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  #5  
Old 12-16-2010, 04:22 AM
gesoffen gesoffen is offline
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More details please moiz!
Does the grinding noise happen while stationary (i.e. with the wheels not moving)? Does it happen only in fast turns? Is it coming from up high? Or down low?

If the grinding happens while stationatry, I'd suspect strut top bearing if the noise sounds like its coming from behind the dash/base of the windshield or bushings/ball joints if coming from the footwell area. If it only happens while moving, my first move would be to pull the front wheels off and inspect the brake pads/rotors (inner and outer pads) to see if they are near the end of life. If you have any uneven pad wear, you could be down to the rotor backing on one or more pads before the wear sensor goes turns on. This is especially true if the rotors are worn too (likely).
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  #6  
Old 12-16-2010, 05:13 AM
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More details please moiz!
Does the grinding noise happen while stationary (i.e. with the wheels not moving)? Does it happen only in fast turns? Is it coming from up high? Or down low?

If the grinding happens while stationatry, I'd suspect strut top bearing if the noise sounds like its coming from behind the dash/base of the windshield or bushings/ball joints if coming from the footwell area. If it only happens while moving, my first move would be to pull the front wheels off and inspect the brake pads/rotors (inner and outer pads) to see if they are near the end of life. If you have any uneven pad wear, you could be down to the rotor backing on one or more pads before the wear sensor goes turns on. This is especially true if the rotors are worn too (likely).
It is not making any noise at all while stationary. And it makes noise when taking turns of varying speeds. Not necessarily fast turns only. But if I take turns very slow it will make less noise than if I take it at average speed. And the noise seems to be coming from down low in the footwell area. And I'm fairly certain it isn't the pads cause I had them changes a few months ago.
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  #7  
Old 12-16-2010, 05:58 PM
sergdman sergdman is offline
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Originally Posted by moiz21 View Post
It is not making any noise at all while stationary. And it makes noise when taking turns of varying speeds. Not necessarily fast turns only. But if I take turns very slow it will make less noise than if I take it at average speed. And the noise seems to be coming from down low in the footwell area. And I'm fairly certain it isn't the pads cause I had them changes a few months ago.
Let me know how you make out as my car is having a similar problem. Does yours make noise if your not moving, but turn the steering wheel all the way to the left or right when you first start it?
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:25 PM
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I vote for a bad front left wheel bearing.....first thing I think of when I hear "grinding" and "turning" in the same sentence.

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  #9  
Old 12-28-2010, 02:55 PM
joebry joebry is offline
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I posted something on this same topic a few weeks ago. My scraping or grinding only happens when I turn to the right and it happens almost regardless of the speed. I can go very slow and easy and it does not scrape but anything other than a crawl and the noise is there.

It does not happen turning left.

If it is power steering fluid, why not scrape when turning right or left?
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  #10  
Old 12-29-2010, 06:29 AM
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I vote for a bad front left wheel bearing.....first thing I think of when I hear "grinding" and "turning" in the same sentence.
Ditto on the bearing, though it could be front or rear. The noise probably abates when turning to one side. You can figure out which side it is by moving back and forth in slow slalom-like motions. If the noise is greater when turning left, it's a right-side bearing. If the noise is greater when turning right, it's a left-side bearing.

If it's only a gentle grating right now, let it be. As the bearing gets worse, it will turn into an intrusive helicopter-like sound which is easier to locate front vs. rear.


Also, as it's winter and we are getting some sand/salt/gravel on the roads, it could be as simple as some grit or a pebble in the brake caliper or the parking brake drum. Here's to hoping!
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  #11  
Old 12-29-2010, 06:37 AM
joebry joebry is offline
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Originally Posted by MicahO View Post
Ditto on the bearing, though it could be front or rear. The noise probably abates when turning to one side. You can figure out which side it is by moving back and forth in slow slalom-like motions. If the noise is greater when turning left, it's a right-side bearing. If the noise is greater when turning right, it's a left-side bearing.

If it's only a gentle grating right now, let it be. As the bearing gets worse, it will turn into an intrusive helicopter-like sound which is easier to locate front vs. rear.


Also, as it's winter and we are getting some sand/salt/gravel on the roads, it could be as simple as some grit or a pebble in the brake caliper or the parking brake drum. Here's to hoping!
If it is the bearing, what is a ball park estimate for fixing it on a 2003 525i ?
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Old 12-29-2010, 06:41 AM
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If it is the bearing, what is a ball park estimate for fixing it on a 2003 525i ?
Couldn't say as I haven't had to do it on an e39. I do think that the e39 rear bearing is easier to do than the PITA press-fit-in-the-trailing-arm e46? You'd have to look for a DIY to see how it goes.....
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  #13  
Old 12-29-2010, 06:45 AM
joebry joebry is offline
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Originally Posted by MicahO View Post
Couldn't say as I haven't had to do it on an e39. I do think that the e39 rear bearing is easier to do than the PITA press-fit-in-the-trailing-arm e46? You'd have to look for a DIY to see how it goes.....
Thanks.
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  #14  
Old 12-29-2010, 06:32 PM
jinda jinda is offline
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If it is the bearing, what is a ball park estimate for fixing it on a 2003 525i ?
I think you can get better answer for that question from the series 5 forum
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:10 PM
QAfred QAfred is offline
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Originally Posted by moiz21 View Post
So quick question for ya guys. I get a grinding noise when making right hand turns only lately. And it's only when the car is cold. Once it warms up the noise goes away. Doesnt make a difference if I break or not during the turn. Any suggestions?

P.S. I've tried doing a search but get so many different possibilities. Was wondering if there is a way to narrow down the issue. Can give more info as needed. Thanks in advance to everyone.
I have the same vehicle...2000, 323i and had the same grinding noise last week when turning the steering wheel in either direction...seemed to go away when it was warmed up or warm outside?
I jacked the car, wheel bearings, Control Arms and CABS all in good order..and no noise when car is jacked up and steering wheel was moved back and forth etc. all was smooth.

I replaced the struts this past summer and also remembered the new bump stops were very tight when slipped over the strut rod, so I gambled / guessed that it might be the rubber bump stop grinding on the bottom of the strut mount. I very lightly greased the top of the strut bump stop- between the bump stop and the mount and the noise went away.

However, it also warmed back up down here in FL so I am not sure, just yet, that I fixed anything. I really suspected the seals in the rack and pinion steering rack or the power steering pump itself as going south. Wife said she has not heard the noise today..but it is 65 degrees out today.
Still working it and will keep you posted when I know for sure...please do the same.
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  #16  
Old 06-24-2013, 01:49 PM
jakej90 jakej90 is offline
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Anyone find a solution to this problem? My car is doing the exact same thing as described by the OP.
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  #17  
Old 06-24-2013, 04:29 PM
joebry joebry is offline
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Anyone find a solution to this problem? My car is doing the exact same thing as described by the OP.
Well, in a manner of speaking I found the solution. I had it towed in and the BMW fixed it and it was a couple of thousand dollars.

I have since gotten a new car so I do not have the bill to tell you exactly what work was done.
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  #18  
Old 06-25-2013, 07:38 AM
jakej90 jakej90 is offline
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Why'd you have to tow it? I can't imagine the issue caused the car to be nonoperational
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  #19  
Old 06-25-2013, 08:17 AM
joebry joebry is offline
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Why'd you have to tow it? I can't imagine the issue caused the car to be nonoperational
I am about ten miles from the dealership and losing my front end was not what I wanted to do on the interstate. Since I did not know what it was, it seemed like the smart thing to do.
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