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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 08-27-2014, 02:29 PM
clarkyonilne clarkyonilne is offline
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Location: UK
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Mein Auto: 2001 E46 318ci
Clunking and tapping on the front end

Hi Guys,

this is my first post on here. Ive searched around for a similar problem on here but cant quite find anything the same. I have a 2001 E46 318ci with about 140k on the clock. I was driving home this evening and i heard some knock/clunk from somewhere like the front passenger side wheel. It sounded like something had come loose, fallen off and banged off the bottom of the car. I pulled over and checked it out but couldnt see anything noticeable. I carried on driving and i started to hear a noise like something was rubbing in the wheel, like a kind of tss tss tss tss noise (almost like cable hanging down and leaning in the inside of the alloy) which changed speed relative to the wheel speed. then suddenly the knocking noise came back like something was hanging off the bottom of the car and would every now and again bang off the bottom, then back to the tss tss tss tss noise. I pulled over again and this time took off the front wheel to investigate expecting to find something hanging down and causing the issue. I checked what i could and everything seemed pretty secure with nothing obvious in view causing the noises. I put the wheel back on and drove off and the banging noise returned followed by the tss tss tss tss noise again.

Im completely baffled as what might be causing this and whether its even save to drive to the garage.

the noise defo sounds like its coming from the front passenger side somewhere, if not he wheel the maybe closer to the centre of the car, (under the passenger seat area). After googling this for a while, the only noise that comes close is the differential bolts being loose but thats surely at the back and the noise would at least sound it was coming from there wouldnt it?

there is no obvious change in handling or performance and the noise seems sporadic in its change from one sound to another.

Any ideas, thoughts and help would be greatly appreciated.

cheers
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  #2  
Old 08-28-2014, 07:27 AM
jvr826's Avatar
jvr826 jvr826 is offline
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Location: In the woods. Santa Cruz County, CA
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 8,839
Mein Auto: 05 330ci 6MT
How do your front control arm bushings look? This is a common failure/maintenance item and can result in clunks under certain situations. Did you notice anything odd about the handling/steering?

If you're concerned about safety, have it towed to a mechanic if you don't have the means/time to lift it up (safely) at home and look under there yourself. Something so loud and constant should be fairly obvious I'd think.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:57 AM
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Dreasdoku Dreasdoku is online now
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Location: Gresham, Oregon
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 53
Mein Auto: 2000 BMW 323i
Lift the front end off the ground and hand spin the wheel. Push and pull it. Put your hands on the suspension, control arm, tie rod ends, and everything else under there. Check for excessive play in any of them or any movement anywhere that it shouldn't be. That in a lot of cases will give you an idea what is going on. If you can't find anything and still fell uncomfortable about driving it to the shop have it towed. That is what I would do anyway.
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