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F30 / F31 / F32 / F33 / F36 (2012 - current)
The sixth generation 3 series, chassis code F30. 2013 model year 328i and 335i sedans now in production. Read the F30 frequently asked question thread for all your basic question and dive into all the details in the ultimate F30 information thread.

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  #1  
Old 02-01-2013, 09:42 AM
MotoWPK MotoWPK is offline
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Mein Auto: '13 128i vert, '14 X5 35d
328 xDrive driveline vibration

Just returned from the inaugural road trip in our 2013 328xi. Performed well except for a somewhat disconcerting driveline vibration that occurs between 55 mph and 65 mph.

The car had ~1400 miles on it when we departed on this trip and up to that time I had not noticed this, but I also had not experienced any real highway cruising up to that point, paying attention to varying speed and load for the first 1200 miles. The first 600 miles of the trip we almost all at a constant 75 mph. Approaching our destination that first evening speeds dropped to the 55-65 mph level for the last ~20 miles of the day's journey. This is when I first noticed this driveline vibration. It has continued, seemingly without change in intensity, up to this point with ~4400 miles on the odo.

You feel the vibration through the steering wheel and in your feet through the floor pan. And, when conditions are quite enough (smooth road, low wind), you can just hear it, though at the low frequency end of perceptibility.

Frequency of the vibration is definately greater than that from a wheel imbalance, and it doesn't feel like that through the steering wheel, and it is rhythmic in nature, that is, it varies in intensity with this variation occuring at about a 1/sec frequency.

It is notices most in 7th or 8th (AT trans) which at the speeds experienced equates to ~2000 RPM +/- and at moderate load. At very light load or trailing throttle it is noticeably less and at higher load and engine speed it also decreases. At lower road speeds at 2000 RPM it is not present at all. It is also most noticeable on smooth roads where the normal road vibrations and noise don't mask it.

It appears to be more related to road speed than engine speed (e.g. at 2000 RPM and 45 mph it is not present at all). It also appears to be somewhat load dependent. My theory of its origination ranges from transmission input or output side or the turbo.

Has any other F30 328 driver, RWD or xDrive, experienced this? If so, have you addressed this with service and has anything come of that?

Other ideas and suggestions welcomed.
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  #2  
Old 02-01-2013, 11:51 AM
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Orient330iNYC Orient330iNYC is offline
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possible bent rear rim? hit any potholes?
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:40 PM
DavidM1975 DavidM1975 is offline
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Most likely you have a wheel/wheels that need to be balanced. Just go to any decent place that does wheels/tires and let them take a look.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:42 PM
MotoWPK MotoWPK is offline
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Mein Auto: '13 128i vert, '14 X5 35d
Nope, wheels and tires are true. I am about as positive as can be it is not tire balance or wheel out-of-true vibration - the frequency is simply too high for that.

Didn't mention this in my OP, but my sense is it's coming from the front. Occuring only within a specific road speed range, rather than engine speed, and being somewhat sensitive to load makes me think something from the transmission output on; output shaft bearing, transfer case bearing, front axle joint...some thing like that. Also, the rhythmic nature of the vibration 'feels' like a bearing. I suppose it could possibly be the turbo (out of balance, bad bearing) as it's speed is dependent, mostly, on volume flow through it, which is a function of engine speed/load.

Main interest at this point is feedback as to whether this is a usual characteristic or, if not, if anyone else has experienced it and had it addressed.
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  #5  
Old 02-01-2013, 03:48 PM
DavidM1975 DavidM1975 is offline
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Then it looks like a bigger/more complex problem. Let us know what it was when you find out for sure!
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  #6  
Old 02-01-2013, 03:54 PM
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Orient330iNYC Orient330iNYC is offline
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i had what i thought was a front drivetrain related vibration on my 2010 335i x drive- i would feel it very pronounced when accelerating at highway speed. i swapped back to stock rims to bring to the dealer to look at, thinking it was a suspension component or driveline bit.... the vibration disappeared

it was a bent rim. the fact it was only noticeable on the throttle threw me.

what are your road force numbers? (assuming you had the balance checked) it could be a shifted belt in one of the tires too, a road force balance will be able to rule that out. a regular balance may not be able to pick up something like that
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  #7  
Old 02-01-2013, 04:46 PM
MotoWPK MotoWPK is offline
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Interesting. Though it sure doesn't feel like a wheel/tire vibration, I suppose I cannot rule out something odd going on with the tires.
At this point I suppose it's best to take it in and have the service department look at it. If it's something as simple as an imbalance or some issue with a tire, they'll be able to spot it. If something more complex, they'll need to investigate.

Last edited by MotoWPK; 02-03-2013 at 10:54 AM.
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  #8  
Old 02-03-2013, 10:54 AM
MotoWPK MotoWPK is offline
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Mein Auto: '13 128i vert, '14 X5 35d
Update:

Took the Bimmer out yesterday to a nearby, smooth highway where I could cruise in the 55-65 mph range, concentrating on 60-62 where the previously observed vibration was most pronounced and...it was not there or maybe so slightly I could not be sure. Certainly nothing I could complain about or demonstrate to someone.

The last leg of our recent road trip was ~800 miles, with the first couple of hundred mostly in the 55-65 mph range with a number of smooth road opportunities to observe the vibration with minimal distraction from road irregularities. The next 400 miles were at 75 mph, above the range where the vibration had occured. Most of the final 200 miles were at 65 mph with plenty of smooth roads for good observation. During this last portion of the final leg the vibration had seemed noticebly less than during the first 200 miles. A key environmental difference was the last portion was at an altitude about 3000 to 4000 feet higher the first. My latest 'test' yesterday was at yet another ~2000 feet higher altitude.

Certainly I cannot see how altitude would have anything to do with a wheel/tire or transmission/axle induced vibration or, for that matter, the engine with the notable exception of the turbocharger. At the same engine speed and load, the turbo will see a change in its operation with altitude, higher altitudes requiring great turbo boost/speed to generate the same engine output.

I could be way off base here, but it does increase my suspicion that the source of the observed vibration may be the turbo - bearing or balance. The rhythmic nature of the vibration also seems consistent with this source based on my experience with various types of power systems over the years.

Of course the other possibility (hope?) is that whatever it was is gone with the additional miles on the car. I have no real way to test until I take the car to an altitude perhaps 3000 feet or so lower of my residence and none are within several hundred miles of me, so likely will not see it again, if it is still present, until the next road trip. Of course if it is observed, I am then not in a position to demonstrate to my local service department. A bit of a quandry.
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  #9  
Old 07-20-2014, 08:46 AM
stewsco stewsco is offline
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Mein Auto: 2014 335ix sportline
Moto, did you ever have any success discovering the cause of the vibration? I have a 2 month old 335ix exhibiting the exact same symptom. Your original post describes my symptoms and opinion about the cause exactly. I do have an appointment with my dealership but I'm afraid this is going to be a hard one to pin down and any info I can go in with might help get a quicker resolution. Thanks.
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