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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
The E9X is the 4th evolution of the BMW 3 series including a highly tuned twin turbo 335i variant pushing out 300hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. BMW continues to show that it sets the bar for true driving performance! -- View the E9X Wiki

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  #1  
Old 12-14-2012, 12:05 PM
sle39lvr sle39lvr is offline
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Car Pulls to Right: Serious Talk Only Please

I am new to this forum. I have post this question on numerous other boards and got the usual-suspect answers, but trying to see if anyone wiser here could change my fate. So let me be very specific, and please read the whole write-up if you are planing to reply.

Basic Issue
Car pulls to right on flat, straight roads.

Details
Very noticeable on highway, since it increases with speed. When driving straight, I have to hold the steering slightly to left in order to correct it. Speeds past 100 it's unbearable where the car feels floaty wanting to drift away to right. Right side of the car sits about 0.25 lower than the left side of the car (details mentioned below). The car just doesn't 'track' right giving an awkward feeling.

Background on the car:
08 CPO Pre-LCI e90 without sports package. I got it around 45K miles where it had 1 user on Carfax with a very clean record. Routine maintenance was done on time and no premature suspension wear. No accidents, not a single scratch or dent. Came with 16" stock wheels and it was not that much noticeable with them. Now I have sports-package staggered wheels where I went through 3 sets of tires. Issue amplified with bigger and wider tires.


Tried Solutions:
1. Got an alignment - Went back to the dealer and got an alignment soon as I got the car. The issue did not go away, alignment specs were right on. Went back to the dealer and they test drove and said that the pull is very small and most of the BMW's tend to pull like that (nonsense!). I drove similar spec'ed loaners and new ones none of them had this issue at a level mine does. They did put it on the alignment machine again and made sure everything was fine along with inspection of suspension components. Mentioned the ride height difference from side to side, according to BMW, it's within spec.

First Alignment sheet (link)

2. Got another alignment - Went to another dealer, paid for another. Issue is still the same.

3. Changed tires - I am on my third set of tires, issue hasn't changed a bit.

4. Sway bars - After researching online, few people had issues where the front sway bar would sit crooked and fixing that would cure the pull. I took apart both sway bars, front and back, they were fine and issue is still the same.

5. Tire Air Pressure - Played around with different air pressure numbers side to side, not a fix.



Now the car is around 70K miles, nothing has helped me. On long-trips it a joy-kill to hold the steering wheel. The ultimate driving machine is not going straight down the road when my last, beater, toyota with 300K miles did it just fine...

I finally want to replace suspension bushings including everything in the strut tower. Could the rear differential cause such a thing? Other than that, I am out of suspects...

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by sle39lvr; 12-14-2012 at 12:23 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-14-2012, 12:40 PM
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Try to keep it under 100mph
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  #3  
Old 12-14-2012, 03:52 PM
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Is the car burning through tires or are you changing out good tires with the hopes of an improvement?
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  #4  
Old 12-14-2012, 03:58 PM
sle39lvr sle39lvr is offline
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Well not really...
First set was on the factory 16". Then I bought new wheels with half-way worn tires. They went out recently, just now I put a fresh set of Michelin PSS's.
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  #5  
Old 12-14-2012, 05:17 PM
CALLAWAY845 CALLAWAY845 is offline
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I would suspect that this car has been in a "situation" that was not caught on carfax. This situation resulted in a slightly bent unibody. Are there any bodyshops in your area that could prove or deny this?? My thoughts...
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  #6  
Old 12-14-2012, 05:19 PM
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Did you get a data sheet from the second alignment, if so can you post it.
There is no such thing as a flat road. Ensure all your tires are set to the same pressure. Find a large parking lot and drive straight at a target. Then reverse direction and drive exactly the same route straight toward another target. Is the pull the same in both directions/
In the same parking lot, so the same thing but this time apply the brakes for a brisk stop from 30 mph, stopping in less than 60 feet. Let go of the steering wheel before hitting the brakes. Did the wheel turn to one side?
In the same parking lot and repeating the both directions thing, accelerate from 0 to 30 briskly while not holding the steering wheel. Did the wheel turn to one side?
Measure the distance between the ground and the highest point of each wheel arch. Post the dimensions.
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  #7  
Old 12-14-2012, 05:31 PM
TXFred TXFred is offline
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On a flat parking lot, wet all four tires. Drive 100 feet, and then look at the tire marks on the pavement. If the car is crabbing, it should show in the tire marks.

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  #8  
Old 12-14-2012, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALLAWAY845 View Post
I would suspect that this car has been in a "situation" that was not caught on carfax. This situation resulted in a slightly bent unibody. Are there any bodyshops in your area that could prove or deny this?? My thoughts...
This is what I'm thinking, too. My wife's previous clk550 had this issue with drifting to the right, and it absolutely burnt through tires. Rears lasted about 4,000 miles. We of course did the regular carfax and autocheck and had a PPI. Everything came up clean.

A few months ago some fool without insurance hit my wife's car as she was pumping gas. When the repair shop began to work on the car they discovered a lot of damage that was caused by a previous accident. The insurance company even searched their data base and there was no sign of a previous collision or any body work.

We traded the car in, along with the insurance check, to a dealer and got our 09 335. We had performed countless alignments, tried different tires (went through 5 sets total!), and had several shops here look at the car; no one could find the problem. Sometimes it's better to dump the car as opposed throwing money at different repairs while not enjoying driving it.
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Last edited by Db750; 12-14-2012 at 06:20 PM.
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  #9  
Old 12-14-2012, 07:07 PM
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MMME30W MMME30W is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALLAWAY845 View Post
I would suspect that this car has been in a "situation" that was not caught on carfax. This situation resulted in a slightly bent unibody. Are there any bodyshops in your area that could prove or deny this?? My thoughts...
My thoughts exactly. I would be selling this car if possible.
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  #10  
Old 12-14-2012, 07:07 PM
sle39lvr sle39lvr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Did you get a data sheet from the second alignment, if so can you post it.
There is no such thing as a flat road. Ensure all your tires are set to the same pressure. Find a large parking lot and drive straight at a target. Then reverse direction and drive exactly the same route straight toward another target. Is the pull the same in both directions/
In the same parking lot, so the same thing but this time apply the brakes for a brisk stop from 30 mph, stopping in less than 60 feet. Let go of the steering wheel before hitting the brakes. Did the wheel turn to one side?
In the same parking lot and repeating the both directions thing, accelerate from 0 to 30 briskly while not holding the steering wheel. Did the wheel turn to one side?
Measure the distance between the ground and the highest point of each wheel arch. Post the dimensions.
Thanks for replying.

Tire pressure is 36/42 as specified by BMW. (f:225/40/18 b:255/35/18)

Driving straight: Pull to right + Wheel turns to right
Reverse straight: Pull to left + Wheel turns to left

Harsh acceleration forward: Slight pull to right + Wheel turns to right slightly

Brisk Stop going forward: Harsh pull to right towards the end + Wheel turns to right harshly
Brisk Stop reversing: slight pull to left towards the end + Wheel turns to left slightly



I will repeat these next few days.


Alignment 1 (Dealer)
Alignment 2 (Dealer)
Alignment 3 (Other)


Ride Height to top of fender:
Front Right: 658mm
Front Left: 665mm
Rear Right: 659mm
Rear Left: 672mm

Last edited by sle39lvr; 12-14-2012 at 09:27 PM.
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  #11  
Old 12-14-2012, 08:35 PM
CALLAWAY845 CALLAWAY845 is offline
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Wow, with those ride height numbers you posted...there is no way possible that car left Germany like that. Can I increase my bet that this car was in an accident?? Who knows, proving this might make this car eligible for a Carfax buyback.

Last edited by CALLAWAY845; 12-14-2012 at 08:37 PM.
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  #12  
Old 12-14-2012, 09:09 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sle39lvr View Post
Ride Height to top of fender:
Front Right: 658mm
Front Left: 665mm
Rear Right: 659mm
Rear Left: 672mm

RIDE HEIGHT
__________________________________________________ ______


Ride height is measured from the top of the wheel well fender flange to the bottom of the wheel rim.

Front Stock Values:

16" wheel -- 22.99 in -- 584 mm
17" wheel -- 23.58 in -- 599 mm
18" wheel -- 24.09 in -- 612 mm
19" wheel -- 24.60 in -- 625 mm

Rear Stock Values:

16" wheel -- 22.24 in -- 565 mm
17" wheel -- 22.83 in -- 580 mm
18" wheel -- 23.35 in -- 593 mm
19" wheel -- 23.82 in -- 605 mm

But if you wish to work with wheels off the car, which I did, measure from the top of the wheel well fender flange to the bottom of the hub. That was 18.7" front; 18" rear on my car.

Front wheel hubs I raised to normal ride height with floor jack and a piece of 2" x 6" wood under the hub as shown in pic #5 from the beginning of this post.

Rear hubs I raised with floor jack & short length of 4" x 4" wood under the camber arm just inboard of the bearing carrier.
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  #13  
Old 12-14-2012, 09:12 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sle39lvr View Post
Alignment 1 (Dealer)
Alignment 2 (Dealer)
Alignment 3 (Other)

Quick:

Date of that last alignment?

Is your steering wheel centered?
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  #14  
Old 12-14-2012, 09:13 PM
sle39lvr sle39lvr is offline
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I will have those value's tomorrow
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  #15  
Old 12-14-2012, 09:13 PM
sle39lvr sle39lvr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Quick:

Date of that last alignment?

Is your steering wheel centered?
When it pulls? It's the wheel that turns with the pulling

Last adjustment was about 3 months ago.

Last edited by sle39lvr; 12-14-2012 at 09:25 PM.
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  #16  
Old 12-14-2012, 09:48 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sle39lvr View Post
When it pulls? It's the wheel that turns with the pulling

Last adjustment was about 3 months ago.

No - is the wheel centered when traveling straight ahead slow? I do mean straight....
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  #17  
Old 12-14-2012, 09:49 PM
sle39lvr sle39lvr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
No - is the wheel centered when traveling straight ahead slow? I do mean straight....
Yes. Until it pulls, the car goes straight and the wheel is straight
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  #18  
Old 12-14-2012, 09:58 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sle39lvr View Post
Yes. Until it pulls, the car goes straight and the wheel is straight
Well, you've had diff tires to no avail.

You've had your suspension bushings & ball joints checked - all good. Ditto condition of suspension parts.

Assume you've had suspension bolt torques checked.

Problem's coincident with new wheels....

Subframe dimensions verified front 'n' rear?

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Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 12-14-2012 at 10:00 PM.
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  #19  
Old 12-14-2012, 10:00 PM
sle39lvr sle39lvr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Well, you've had diff tires to no avail.

You've had your suspension bushings & ball joints checked - all good. Ditto condition of suspension parts.

Assume you've had suspension bolt torque's checked.

Problem's coincident with new wheels....

Attachment 353281
I am a little confused. Could you elaborate this a bit more?
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:03 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Well, you've had diff tires to no avail.

You've had your suspension bushings & ball joints checked - all good. Ditto condition of suspension parts.

Assume you've had suspension bolt torques checked.

Problem's coincident with new wheels....

Subframe dimensions verified front 'n' rear?
Quote:
Originally Posted by sle39lvr View Post
I am a little confused. Could you elaborate this a bit more?

Problem can result from any of the above being bad....gotta run through the list as a process of elimination.
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  #21  
Old 12-14-2012, 10:04 PM
sle39lvr sle39lvr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Problem can result from any of the above being bad....gotta run through the list as a process of elimination.
Front or back?
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  #22  
Old 12-14-2012, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by sle39lvr View Post
Front or back?
Both - the E9x suspension is a multidimensional thing.
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  #23  
Old 12-15-2012, 12:19 AM
miotoo miotoo is offline
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@OP You're saying the problem is much more evident and 'amplified' since you introduced new rims+3 different sets of wheels..its possible the reason for 'minor' pull/drift on the oem set was one, and the reason for the current is another..

Are the new rims of reputable source? How did used tires get on them?

Did any of the alignment/balancing shops you went to have this equipment?

http://www.gsp9700.com/how/straighttrak.htm

I would rule that out before going all the way to ditching the ride..
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  #24  
Old 12-15-2012, 03:38 AM
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Just FYI, my guess would be when DSX says "reverse direction", he means turn the car around and drive the exact same strip of pavement in the other direction, as opposed to backing up over it.
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Old 12-15-2012, 06:57 AM
sle39lvr sle39lvr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miotoo View Post
@OP You're saying the problem is much more evident and 'amplified' since you introduced new rims+3 different sets of wheels..its possible the reason for 'minor' pull/drift on the oem set was one, and the reason for the current is another..

Are the new rims of reputable source? How did used tires get on them?

Did any of the alignment/balancing shops you went to have this equipment?

http://www.gsp9700.com/how/straighttrak.htm

I would rule that out before going all the way to ditching the ride..
Well the car came with 16" from the dealer. It was a minor pull back then. When I put new wheels with tires, they were used, so I have no way of telling if something is wrong with them other than they are properly balanced. The pull got amplified when going from skinny 16" wheels to 18" staggered set up and the issue stayed the same when I went to 2nd set of tires on those 18's. My dealer does have one of those machines and I had them balance both sets of tires from them.

Last edited by sle39lvr; 12-15-2012 at 07:02 AM.
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