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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E46 (1999 - 2006)

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 09-24-2011, 10:32 AM
ssurfer4 ssurfer4 is offline
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Location: Alton, IL
 
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Mein Auto: 2004 E46 330Ci Coupe
E46 Suspension pops and wobble

I have been getting the same clunking noise recently. I also noted some play in both front wheels when off the ground. Also, i get a wobble in the steering wheel when braking and just cruising down the road. It is not all the time, but intermittent. I had the LCA bushings looked at by a shop. I told them the symptoms and all they said was the LCA bushings were fine. They didnt say anything about the ball joints or tie rod ends. I am now slightly skeptical of this shop and would like to do any necessary work myself. I have found a complete LCA, ball joint and tie rod end bushings set (Meyle) with Powerflex bushings (66mm is what i believe to fit my 04 330Ci coupe (94k miles). I am going to change the oil today and inspect everything. I am positive the bushings need replacing as i saw direct play in them. If i find the ball joints and/or tie rod ends have play as well, does $519 for all the parts sound like a good deal? I have been searching the internet but am not sure about quality of other manufactures and dont want to order generic parts from ebay unless otherwise recommended. If anyone else is interested, i am including the link for parts below.

http://store.bimmerworld.com/bimmerw...its-p1415.aspx

Also, any suggestions on replacing/upgrading the rotors and brake pads all the way around would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
p.s. I have this car since March and am absolutely in love with it. Dont think i will ever move away from bmw and this car is most likely a lifer
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  #2  
Old 09-24-2011, 03:24 PM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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Odds are you need everything for the front suspension. Try oembimmerparts.com for great service and friendly advice.
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  #3  
Old 10-18-2011, 05:48 PM
ssurfer4 ssurfer4 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 E46 330Ci Coupe
So I need some advice. I replaced the control arms and ball joints (Meyle) along with Powerflex bushings. I also added Bilstein Sport Struts up front with the factory springs. I took it into the shop for an alignment today and they said the camber was out of wack so much they are going to have to make shims to be able to align it. Is this normal? I did note that the Bilstein's were about 3 inches shorter than stock struts. When i installed the, they came to within about 1/8" inside the bottom of the lower strut mount. I tried and tried to get them to come all the way out of the bottom mount, but with no luck. Are they supposed to stick out the bottom of the lower mount and if so, by how much? Any quick help would be appreciated.

The shop only wants $90 to do the shim fix, but if this is an installation issue, I would much rather have them mounted correctly than have a jerry rigged fix.

Thanks, and btw, this thing rides like a champ now. R/R tracks, what R/R tracks!
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  #4  
Old 10-18-2011, 06:46 PM
Bilstein Bilstein is offline
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The Bilstein Sports are designed to lower your car, so typically they're paired with sport springs which accommodate the shorter shocks.

When you lower a car you typically do so without major alterations to the suspension geometry, so your negative camber increases as a function of how many inches you lowered the car. The shop's "shims" are meant to re add the shock length you took out when you added the sport shocks.

My feeling is, get a matched set of sport springs and live with the negative camber or replace the shocks with Bilstein HD's or something similar.

How negative was your camber BTW?
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  #5  
Old 10-18-2011, 06:58 PM
ssurfer4 ssurfer4 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 E46 330Ci Coupe
They did not tell me how much the camber was out. My car has the Sport Package which is why I ordered the sport struts. I would like to keep the original ride height as the car is rather low as is. Should I have gotten the HD's instead or just go with the shims? From the posts on this forum, I read that using the factory springs would not lower the car but I guess I misunderstood.

Thanks for the information. I guess you live and learn. But I will say the ride is really quite amazing with these Bilstein's.
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  #6  
Old 10-18-2011, 07:01 PM
ssurfer4 ssurfer4 is offline
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Also, how will the negative camber affect the ride, tire wear and braking performance?
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  #7  
Old 10-18-2011, 08:18 PM
Bilstein Bilstein is offline
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That really would have helped, knowing the camber, but from what you said they said, that "the camber was out of wack so much", it was probably outside the range their alignment library has on file for your car so it alarmed them.

If you go to the upper right of this page where it says "Google custom search" and search on suspension, and shocks and similar key words/phrases you'll see that this is a popular topic with a lot of fairly rich discussion for you to read.

The HD's are pretty popular with the most common complaints revolving around "ride harshness" because they are kind of working hard to return the car to a neutral stance so the suspension can deal with what you throw at it next.

Just for reference I have the Bilstein sports paired with H&R sport springs the combination of which lowered the front by 1.25 inches and the back by 1.00 inch. My neg camber is -1 degree in the front and -1.3 degrees in the back. A couple guys here run way more negative than that.

Regarding your last post, the neg camber will increase your car's cornering ability, but the trade off is that you'll likely experience accelerated inner tire wear - depending on how aggressively and frequently you take your car out and run it hard through the twisties. Running real negative with a lot of highway driving will show up as wear on the inner part of your tires soon, maybe even within 5,000 miles - but it all depends. Unless you're really crazy negative, you probably won't notice it in your braking as just the act of braking increases your front contact patches.

Finally, yeah you probably should have gotten the HD's. I don't have any experience with shims, but it seems like a patch, a band-aid. Too bad you couldn't sell the sports used to buy new HD's - or could you?
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  #8  
Old 10-18-2011, 08:24 PM
Bilstein Bilstein is offline
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You have springs that want to progressively resist compression over a range of inches, and you have shocks that want to inhibit those springs from undulating over a smaller range of inches, therefore you have an unmatched spring/shock set. That's what I meant when I referred to the shim as a band-aid.
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  #9  
Old 10-18-2011, 08:24 PM
mexakin05 mexakin05 is offline
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Hows the sway bar links??
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  #10  
Old 10-18-2011, 08:27 PM
ssurfer4 ssurfer4 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 E46 330Ci Coupe
thanks for all the help and advice. Right now, I cant afford to get new HDs and wait for a buyer on the Sports. The stock shocks were completely shot. I will research this in depth and maybe be able to switch next year if I find I dont like it or it is wearing the tires too much (they can be expensive for this car). Right now I am going to have to have the shims done. BTW, this is a daily driver and I dont get a lot of chances to hit the twisties for actual fun driving, and if I do, usually I take the bike out *shrugs shoulders* But regardless this is by far the best car I have ever owned!!!
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  #11  
Old 10-18-2011, 08:28 PM
ssurfer4 ssurfer4 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 E46 330Ci Coupe
Sway bar links and tie rod ends looked in good shape (no play, no cracking, no signs of major wear). That is why I didnt bother to replace them. Also, the rear shocks are still stiff and in good shape.
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