Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-29-2012, 04:56 PM
bruno_monk bruno_monk is offline
Registered User
Location: Los Angeles
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 530i
Front End Clunk: SOLVED

Solved for me at least.

My car: 2002, 530i, non-sport, automatic.

I don't know where to begin so let me say that this problem has been plaguing me for over two years and I've spent in excess of $4k "throwing parts" at the problem: to no avail.

My car drove like a New York City taxi (an old, yellow one with bad maintenance). I hated my car every time the front end clunked: and it clunked during _every_single_drive_.

Arm bushings, arms, left one, right one, both, sway bar bushings, struts, mounts, both mounts, new tires, alignment x 2, pads, rotors, upper, lower, on and on and on. I even had the rack rebuilt. I had the 6 month old lower control arms replaced (a third time) under warranty and put new ones on. Even with all these replaced parts there was still _no_ improvement _at all_ in the clunk.

I started with my local, knowledgeable mechanic and took the car to him several times: no fix.
I took it to a large Los Angeles BMW dealer and paid for diagnosis: couldn't find the problem.
I took it to a local BMW specialist: replaced a bunch of parts (some for the second time): nothing changed.
Took it back to my local mechanic and personally sat with him as he took apart the entire front suspension (twice) and experimented with a "new this" and a "disconnect" that.

Everyone could hear and feel the clunking, which was quite pronounced, but no one could diagnose the problem.

Ok: what finally was my culprit? The knuckle / spindle / carrier : both left and right.
A little unclear why mine went bad but even visually they look chewed up. My local mechanic found it by chance as when he was removing the LCA to do the warranty swap, the one of the knuckle's metal bushings fell out.

Result after swapping the knuckles out? CAR DRIVES LIKE BUTTER! BUTTER I TELL YA' ! First time in two years!

I hope this helps someone else out there.

Last edited by bruno_monk; 02-29-2012 at 05:01 PM. Reason: added specific vehicle information
Reply With Quote
Ads by Google
  #2  
Old 02-29-2012, 06:21 PM
Fudman's Avatar
Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,192
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
Very interesting data point! Thanx for posting!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-29-2012, 07:27 PM
16valex's Avatar
16valex 16valex is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Albany NY
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,604
Mein Auto: 530I/5SC 97-528/5
Quote:
knuckle's metal bushings fell out.
I have to take a closer look at the knuckle again but right now I Just can't comprehend.

So you replaced both of your knuckles? This is a lot of work?

Is it part #2 in the link?

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...55&hg=31&fg=10

Last edited by 16valex; 02-29-2012 at 07:30 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-29-2012, 08:29 PM
champaign777's Avatar
champaign777 champaign777 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Champ
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,049
Mein Auto: 2003 530 Sport Twins
how the hell it can fail out ...
__________________

Last edited by champaign777; 02-29-2012 at 08:31 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-29-2012, 08:29 PM
bruno_monk bruno_monk is offline
Registered User
Location: Los Angeles
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 530i
Replaced both knuckles, all connections to it must be removed

You are right: it's number two in the diagram. I replaced both sides since the clunk was coming from both sides. My mechanic got both from a local junkyard (cheap and in good shape). Since the knuckle is the junction for most front end suspension components, everything basically needs to come off. Did I mention BUTTER?
I have photos of the knuckles that I'll post.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-29-2012, 10:18 PM
doru's Avatar
doru doru is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Calgary
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 4,459
Mein Auto: 2003 530iA
Maybe the PO was "4 x 4 -ing" the poor car on dirt roads
__________________
Looking for a DIY? Parts? Check this out, it might be your ticket
TMS underdrive pullies - Stewart WP - PSS9 - Beisan Vanos seals - Zimmerman cross-drilled & Akebono Euro - Deka 649 MF - 55w HID headlights - 35w HID foglights - Hualigan double din - ACS (rep) alu pedals - Euro central storage console - Breyton Magic Racing staggered wheels - M5 bumper - M5 steering wheel - Tint
Stable: e39, e53, e46 & Tribby
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-29-2012, 11:10 PM
Brett San Diego Brett San Diego is offline
Registered User
Location: San Diego
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 68
Mein Auto: 1998 540i
I'm unclear what bushing you're talking about falling out. Did you just transfer your old bearings or put in new ones?

Brett
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-01-2012, 04:17 AM
16valex's Avatar
16valex 16valex is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Albany NY
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,604
Mein Auto: 530I/5SC 97-528/5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett San Diego View Post
I'm unclear what bushing you're talking about falling out. Did you just transfer your old bearings or put in new ones?

Brett
I think he was talking about the LCA knuckle metal sleeve. There's no bushing in the knuckle.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-01-2012, 05:19 AM
Fudman's Avatar
Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,192
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
The control arm and thrust arm ball joints reside in steel sleeves that are pressed into the aluminum wheel carrier (knuckle). That is probably because the aluminum is incapable of sustaining the suspension loads than are transmitted through the ball joints. I imagine that the clunk is due to motion of the sleeve within the wheel carrier.

I am somewhat surprised this was not discovered during earlier suspension service when the control arms were replaced. Several forum members have had their sleeves come out of the wheel carrier when removing the ball joints. If the sleeve was not tight, it should have come out when the older ball joints were removed (just like during his latest service call).

Anyway, this is a very interesting piece of data for those who are experiencing unusual and unsolvable suspension noises.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-01-2012, 05:54 AM
DJ63's Avatar
DJ63 DJ63 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Catahoula Parish
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 162
Mein Auto: 2001 540/6 2014 328xdT
Very interesting stuff, as my front end has recently developed a light creak-like clunk noticeable only at low speed on pavement cracks or when low-speed braking, such as in a parking lot. I've just been trying to figure it out before I just resort to shotgunning the whole front end.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-01-2012, 07:56 AM
Fudman's Avatar
Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,192
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
I would strongly recommend investigating more common sources of front suspension clunking (e.g. sway bar links) before considering replacement of the wheel carrier. This appears to be a rare but possible source of clunking in e39s. Something to comsider if you've tried everything else and cannot get rid of the noise.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-01-2012, 08:16 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,832
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
The steering knuckles, as a rule, last the life of the car.

However, there are 2 situations where you may want to replace it:

1. Mishandled/abused by the P.O. or previous mechaincs: hammering, banging it during previous repairs etc.

2. Losing the "sleeve" or "bushing" where the thrust/control arms go in.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-01-2012, 10:35 AM
bruno_monk bruno_monk is offline
Registered User
Location: Los Angeles
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 530i
Fudman and 16valex are correct about the problem being the metal sleeves. The mechanic reported that "the sleeve fell right out" when he was replacing the LCA.
Also correct about investigating more common suspension components before attacking the knuckle.

As I am the original owner of the car, I can state for the record that no off-roading was done with this car. It has, however, been driven for 150k miles in rough Los Angeles city streets.

More to the point, various suspension components have been replaced (by various mechanics including the dealer) in the past. I can only relay to you that "over-tightening" was offered by the mechanic as a contributing factor for this condition. This jibes with cn90's comment.

In any event and for me at least, the problem is solved. I no longer dread driving over un-even pavement or having passenger's comment on the clunking (or the psychology of having an "unsolvable" problem nagging at me). FREE AT LAST!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_2030.jpg
Views:	441
Size:	93.1 KB
ID:	314697   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_2031.jpg
Views:	411
Size:	91.0 KB
ID:	314698   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_2032.jpg
Views:	388
Size:	108.0 KB
ID:	314699  

Last edited by bruno_monk; 03-01-2012 at 10:41 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-01-2012, 12:39 PM
16valex's Avatar
16valex 16valex is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Albany NY
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,604
Mein Auto: 530I/5SC 97-528/5
Hey Bruno, Thanks for sharing your experience with us. This is good information to the E39 library of knowledge.

I have a clunk at slow speed on my 97, I will check for this in the Spring.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-01-2012, 02:22 PM
champaign777's Avatar
champaign777 champaign777 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Champ
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,049
Mein Auto: 2003 530 Sport Twins
interesting thread but how the hell it can fail out if it locks by a ball joint and a nut from both sides
__________________

Last edited by champaign777; 03-01-2012 at 02:23 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 03-01-2012, 02:53 PM
16valex's Avatar
16valex 16valex is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Albany NY
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,604
Mein Auto: 530I/5SC 97-528/5
Quote:
Originally Posted by champaign777 View Post
interesting thread but how the hell it can fail out if it locks by a ball joint and a nut from both sides
The sleeve came out during the replacement of LCA due to the fact that some mechanics used the wrong tool, for instant pickle fork. etc...
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 03-01-2012, 03:27 PM
champaign777's Avatar
champaign777 champaign777 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Champ
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,049
Mein Auto: 2003 530 Sport Twins
__________________

Last edited by champaign777; 03-01-2012 at 03:30 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 03-02-2012, 06:01 PM
coopster530 coopster530 is offline
Registered User
Location: (eastern) Central TX
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 28
Mein Auto: 03 530
Quote:
Originally Posted by champaign777 View Post
Love it. As my Grandpa used to say "Don't force it. Get a bigger hammer!" LOL.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 07-06-2014, 09:25 PM
iowapink iowapink is offline
Registered User
Location: US
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: 1998 BMW 528i
Exclamation Need info pronto...please & thankyou ;)

so i bought the entire front and rear suspension package from this online site--it seemed like a reasonable deal and since we'd be under doing the work, why not right?? bought CONTROL arms-THRUST AND LOWER AND REAR--BOTH RIGHT AND LEFT, both sway baRS, tire rods, ball joints---the whole thing.

new tires, (I HAVEN'T BOTHERED WITH THE ALIGNMENT TILL I FINISH THE FRONT END SUSPENSION), pads, rotors, ETC.

anyhow in the process of swapping out the parts and I had the same experience...the sleeve of the knuckle where the front left lower control arm attaches--pulled out. now I didn't do it...this very kind man is working on my car.

But first he told me I am missing a bushing in the kit. I said, "that doesn't make sense." and I pressed him further. I asked, "perhaps you broke something?? maybe its not part of the front lower control arm but actually a part of the the piece where you removed it...from the knuckle".

I do NOT know much about cars...at all, but I am very a keen user of the internet and I found some fantastic videos on you-tube and from "bavauto". after watching the DIY for the control arms...i realized i was right and he was wrong. NOW I HAVE FOUND YOU GUYS HERE ON BIMMERFEST AND YOU HAVE SOLIDIFIED MY HYPOTHESIS

BUT I STILL NEED GUIDANCE.



so the piece i need IS THE LCA SLEEVE that popped out of the knuckle...can i buy that separately??

do i have to get the entire knuckle?

what is your opinion of salvage yard knuckles??

should i pay $238 for a entirely new knuckle??

what about taking the part to a machinist/welder to laser and make me a new sleeve??

HELP PLEASE... btw THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!!
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 07-06-2014, 09:44 PM
iowapink iowapink is offline
Registered User
Location: US
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: 1998 BMW 528i
is this what i need??

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/acc...shing/_/N-26ny
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 07-06-2014, 11:06 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: .
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,213
Mein Auto: .
No, the Autozone listing is for the huge balljoint that fits into the rear wheel carrier, Autozone has simply mislabeled it.

Unfortunately those sleeves are not sold separately, but are treated as parts of the knuckle.

These things come out when the tools to pull the balljoints aren't used correctly. They shouldn't come out on their own, as they are very tightly press-fit into the knuckles and further wedged in when the balljoint ends are bolted in and torqued to spec.

You might be able to get a machinist to fabricate one for you but chances are you will find the missing one stuck to the old balljoint bolt of the control arm that was removed.

Machining isn't going to be that simple though, as they're tapered inside. I was under the impression they are made of bronze, but some folks in this thread say steel.

If you can find the old one and remove it from whatever it's still attached to without damaging it beyond functional use, you will be lucky.

If not, a salvage yard should have serviceable e39 knuckles for relatively cheap.

Edit: if I've read your first post correctly, you still have the sleeve and only need to use a puller to get it off the balljoint bolt, right? If you do that, be careful not to try pulling it off from its lipped edges. They are not that robust, and if the stuff is bronze, they will be deformed or break off.

Last edited by pleiades; 07-06-2014 at 11:09 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 07-07-2014, 05:18 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,832
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
1+,

Remove the sleeve from the old LCA and transfer it over. A bit of heat may help remove it intact.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 07-12-2014, 07:38 AM
DHoffmeyer DHoffmeyer is offline
Registered User
Location: Virginia
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 59
Mein Auto: 99 528i
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing


Sent from BimmerApp mobile app
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:06 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms