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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-05-2015, 10:10 PM
italianopalo italianopalo is offline
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Mein Auto: BMW E39 523i
Rattle/knocking noise radiating from under the car

Hi,

I drive a 1999 523i Auto and for the last two months (mileage approximately 230,000 km), I have had a rattle/knocking noise that radiates from underneath the car roughly where the catalytic converter is. The noise was initially only present under acceleration from 0-50 km/hr (0-30mph) at low gears and low RPMs (1-2k) but more recently the noise has been present even when coasting with the accelerator not depressed, and is present from 0-80 km/hr. Noise is not present when I rev the car at neutral. I have also noticed that in the last few weeks, the whole car vibrates unusually at highway speeds (60mph) especially when going uphill. The noise is akin to a fully auto machine gun.

My independent BMW mechanic diagnosed this noise as a failed catalytic converter so I took my car to a muffler shop to remove both cats entirely but the noise still remains. The dashboard has absolutely no warning indicators on (CEL etc) apart from a blown rear tail lamp.

Last edited by italianopalo; 02-05-2015 at 10:30 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-05-2015, 10:49 PM
edjack edjack is online now
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Giubo or center bearing.
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  #3  
Old 02-06-2015, 12:38 AM
italianopalo italianopalo is offline
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For your reference, it is this exact noise.
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  #4  
Old 02-06-2015, 03:38 AM
crobmw crobmw is offline
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Is it A/T or manual ?
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  #5  
Old 02-06-2015, 04:10 AM
timarnold timarnold is offline
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Edjack is right. It is sounds most likey like the centre bearing, but you ought to replace both whilst the driveshaft is removed.
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  #6  
Old 02-06-2015, 08:06 AM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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And don't forget to check the CV joint at the rear of the driveshaft. Your mileage is low for a failure of this CV but if it is slinging grease on the adjacent underbody parts, it's time to change this part too.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:35 AM
pudl pudl is offline
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Similar here: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=756606
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  #8  
Old 02-06-2015, 09:41 AM
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doru doru is offline
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Try the easy thing first (although it might point to the center bearing), but nonetheless. Check this out.
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Old 02-06-2015, 02:10 PM
italianopalo italianopalo is offline
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Thanks to everyone for their opinions so far. I will also add in two months ago (before the noise started appearing), I had a flat tyre while I was on the highway. I hadn't realised it was flat until someone pointed out on the highway so I promptly pulled over and chucked on the spare tyre but in hindsight, I may have driven on the tyre without realising for a few km. Does that immediately increase the risk of CV joint damage in the rear? (It was the right rear tyre).
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Old 02-07-2015, 07:02 AM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by italianopalo View Post
Thanks to everyone for their opinions so far. I will also add in two months ago (before the noise started appearing), I had a flat tyre while I was on the highway. I hadn't realised it was flat until someone pointed out on the highway so I promptly pulled over and chucked on the spare tyre but in hindsight, I may have driven on the tyre without realising for a few km. Does that immediately increase the risk of CV joint damage in the rear? (It was the right rear tyre).
No! The only damage would be to the rim and the tire. The rim damage would probably be cosmetic but I'd have it inspected (spun on a balancer) for bend damage.
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  #11  
Old 02-07-2015, 02:20 PM
italianopalo italianopalo is offline
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So I took my car back to the muffler shop just to check whether my cats had actually failed or not and while I was there, the mechanic there had a look under and noted there was some play in the center bearing/guibo area as well as some grease where the CV joint is. As a college student with minimal income, I can't afford to drive this money-waster anymore so I think the time has come to return to the cars of the far east. Thanks everyone for your help though!
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  #12  
Old 03-05-2015, 04:11 PM
italianopalo italianopalo is offline
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Sorry if this is considered a necrobump but as an update, I haven't driven this car for a good 3 weeks but when I drove it today to the mechanic to have a checkover to clear it for selling, the suspect noise was now gone. Furthermore, the mechanic said that he couldn't find anything wrong with the drivetrain and even when he drove it on the motorway, there were no vibrations/noises. Could this have simply been due to broken catalytic converter pieces (cats are now gone) stuck in the exhaust? It wouldnt explain the motorway speed vibrations though I would presume.
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