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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 11-09-2010, 09:56 AM
wyt168 wyt168 is offline
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Question Steering Wheel Shakes When Braking

The steering wheel of my '02 325i, 125k mi) would shake when I brake. It started a few weeks ago. And it shakes more violently the harder the braking is. My guess is the control arm bushings?! Or the rotors? Not too sure but this may be obvious to any trained mechanic or anybody who is (auto) mechanically inclined. Any suggestion as to what component(s) may be at fault here? I just want to get an idea of what could be wrong, and more importantly, a ball park figure of what it might cost to get it (them) fixed? The car is 8 yr old and got 125k under its belt. So I don't know whether it's worth it to fix the thing.
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2010, 10:23 AM
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Could be any or all of the below:

CABs
Tie Rod Ends
Ball Joints
Pad deposits built up on rotors (bed your brakes to eliminate this possibility)
See here: http://www.zeckhausen.com/bedding_in_brakes.htm
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2010, 10:51 AM
wyt168 wyt168 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
Could be any or all of the below:

CABs
Tie Rod Ends
Ball Joints
Pad deposits built up on rotors (bed your brakes to eliminate this possibility)
See here: http://www.zeckhausen.com/bedding_in_brakes.htm
Are CABs Control Arm Bearings?
Somebody mentioned it (control arm) in another thread.
Any ball park figure as to how much it would cost to fix any of the components you mentioned if I bring it in?
Just want to have a rough idea before I bring it in.
Thanks,
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  #4  
Old 11-09-2010, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyt168 View Post
Are CABs Control Arm Bearings?
Somebody mentioned it (control arm) in another thread.
Any ball park figure as to how much it would cost to fix any of the components you mentioned if I bring it in?
Just want to have a rough idea before I bring it in.
Thanks,
Control arm BUSHINGS

Depends on what you mean by "bring it in"....dealer or indie ?
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  #5  
Old 11-09-2010, 11:49 AM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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Classic symptoms of control arm bushings shot, although you may need the other parts Bob mentioned as well. Should be about $400 at indie or $600+ at dealer. An easy DIY although I had mine done for around $300 at indie. YMMV
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  #6  
Old 11-09-2010, 04:04 PM
jcjdavis1 jcjdavis1 is offline
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Hi. I would have the front wheels off and check your rotors and pads to see what condition they are in, cheapest thing to start on and easy diy. Jim
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  #7  
Old 11-09-2010, 05:54 PM
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As someone who's having the same issue and about to DIY, I can tell you most likely your CABs. Take a peek under your car behind the front tires and you'll see the bushings bolted onto the subframe with the control arm (L-shaped) coming out and curving inwards and then out to the wheel. Have a buddy grab your tire and wiggle it (it'll take some force) in-out and you will most likely see the arm move inside the bushing. THe movement shouldn't happen if the bushings are in good shape.
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  #8  
Old 11-09-2010, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aleks View Post
As someone who's having the same issue and about to DIY, I can tell you most likely your CABs. Take a peek under your car behind the front tires and you'll see the bushings bolted onto the subframe with the control arm (L-shaped) coming out and curving inwards and then out to the wheel. Have a buddy grab your tire and wiggle it (it'll take some force) in-out and you will most likely see the arm move inside the bushing. THe movement shouldn't happen if the bushings are in good shape.
Or, another "dynamic" test is to have a friend drive 15 or 20 mph while you stand on the curb, and just before they get to your position, have them nail the brake pedal while you watch the front wheel....chances are, you`ll see it move back in the wheel well a couple of inches as the bushings deflect....a sure sign of bad bushings.
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  #9  
Old 11-09-2010, 06:32 PM
mi5t mi5t is offline
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i have the same problem and do you think it is the bushings?
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  #10  
Old 11-09-2010, 09:50 PM
wyt168 wyt168 is offline
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Thank you all for the feedback.
Now it looks like it's most likely bad CABs (Control Arm Bushings), if that's not the only thing.

I found a YouTube video that describes how to detect bad CABs, exactly as Fast Bob described in his posting.



There is even a video that describes how to replace them.



@aleks: you might want to check the video out since you are going to DIY.
The comments there mentioned that you will need a 4+ton press to push the old bushings out or press the new ones in. I don't know whether that is true or not. You might want to check it out first before making the plunge to DIY.

I will probably shell out the $400-$600 to have it done at a shop. Hopefully that's the only thing that needs to be replaced.
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  #11  
Old 11-10-2010, 05:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyt168 View Post
@aleks: you might want to check the video out since you are going to DIY.
The comments there mentioned that you will need a 4+ton press to push the old bushings out or press the new ones in. I don't know whether that is true or not. You might want to check it out first before making the plunge to DIY.
You can buy CABs from many sources already pressed into the lollipops. They cost another $50 per set that way, but it's definitely worth the labor that is saved.
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  #12  
Old 11-10-2010, 05:57 AM
heztheone heztheone is offline
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if the car is shaking only around 55 mph or 75 mph, it could simply be ur wheels need alignment ...
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  #13  
Old 11-10-2010, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heztheone View Post
if the car is shaking only around 55 mph or 75 mph, it could simply be ur wheels need alignment ...
Or pad deposits on the rotors....re-bedding the brakes *is free*, and is a good place to start.
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  #14  
Old 11-10-2010, 07:50 AM
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I'm having a local auto shop press the bushings in. They'll do it for about $35.

Thanks for the video links. I'll take a look when I get home (YouTube is blocked at work )

Quote:
Originally Posted by wyt168 View Post

@aleks: you might want to check the video out since you are going to DIY.
The comments there mentioned that you will need a 4+ton press to push the old bushings out or press the new ones in. I don't know whether that is true or not. You might want to check it out first before making the plunge to DIY.

I will probably shell out the $400-$600 to have it done at a shop. Hopefully that's the only thing that needs to be replaced.
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