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E60 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series (E60 chassis) was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E60 is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 05-24-2013, 03:54 PM
jim165 jim165 is offline
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Control Arm Bushings or Warped Rotors?

I'm starting to get some terrible steering wheel vibrations when braking and my first assumption was the brake rotors are warped. However, I'm not getting any pulsing through the brake pedal like you'd normally experience, although the steering wheel is going crazy. I did a few things as a test:

-Jacked up the passenger side of the car and spun the front wheel. It spun freely so that rules out a sticking caliper on that side. Tried to move the wheel towards and away from the car and no movement. Tried to move the wheel front to back and there is movement, so I assume control arm bushings are bad?

-Jacked up the other side and did all of the above and wheel spun freely and had no movement in any direction.

Anyone experience this or have insight? I'm thinking I will probably need new control arms vs. brake rotors. Thanks...
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  #2  
Old 05-24-2013, 04:56 PM
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Oceans10 Oceans10 is offline
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That would be my guess. You probably popped a bushing.
An easy way to determine it is to drive over a rough pavement and turn the wheel in serpentine motion. If the steering feels wobbly and disconnected, then it is likely control arm/bushing issue.
The warped rotors you only feel on braking.

I've replaced upper and lower bushings and lower control arms. Those arms are over $200 each, bushings are around $70 a pair. All 4 are the same.
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  #3  
Old 05-24-2013, 05:32 PM
jim165 jim165 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oceans10 View Post
That would be my guess. You probably popped a bushing.
An easy way to determine it is to drive over a rough pavement and turn the wheel in serpentine motion. If the steering feels wobbly and disconnected, then it is likely control arm/bushing issue.
The warped rotors you only feel on braking.

I've replaced upper and lower bushings and lower control arms. Those arms are over $200 each, bushings are around $70 a pair. All 4 are the same.
Thanks Oceans. The wild vibrations are happening only when I brake from higher speeds and there is absolutely no vibrations coming through the brake pedal. I think I'm going to order some Meyle HD control arms and stick them on...
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  #4  
Old 05-24-2013, 05:49 PM
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Oceans10 Oceans10 is offline
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you need the bushings too. They are pressed onto these rods on the end of the arm, gotta do it as a set.
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  #5  
Old 05-24-2013, 08:43 PM
pjinca pjinca is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oceans10 View Post
you need the bushings too. They are pressed onto these rods on the end of the arm, gotta do it as a set.
!) Jim, you were capable of looking under the car so I assume you can remove the small inner cover (it looks like a cup and covers the part of the control arm that connects to the car). Once you uncover that, take a small pry bar and put it between the control arm and the frame, if the bshing obviously flexes, you need new bushings.

2) Don't bother getting the bushing alone, because once you pay a machine shop to press out the old and press in the new you have just paid about what new control arms with bushings installed cost.

3) I don't know about the E60's, but I do know the 545.550 lower control arm bushings are fluid filled, aftermarket ones are not, get OEM ones and get it done right the first time

Good luck Bro,PM me if you need any help or tips

BTW, if you do them yourself just remember to have rhino ramps or a small jack you can use to put the weight of the car n the suspension before you fully tighten them down. Finger tighten the bolts to the frame (tighten the ball joint one fully), then put the weight of the car on the wheels and tighten the other bolt/nut completely.
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Last edited by pjinca; 05-24-2013 at 08:50 PM.
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  #6  
Old 05-24-2013, 08:58 PM
jim165 jim165 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjinca View Post
!) Jim, you were capable of looking under the car so I assume you can remove the small inner cover (it looks like a cup and covers the part of the control arm that connects to the car). Once you uncover that, take a small pry bar and put it between the control arm and the frame, if the bshing obviously flexes, you need new bushings.

2) Don't bother getting the bushing alone, because once you pay a machine shop to press out the old and press in the new you have just paid about what new control arms with bushings installed cost.

3) I don't know about the E60's, but I do know the 545.550 lower control arm bushings are fluid filled, aftermarket ones are not, get OEM ones and get it done right the first time

Good luck Bro,PM me if you need any help or tips

BTW, if you do them yourself just remember to have rhino ramps or a small jack you can use to put the weight of the car n the suspension before you fully tighten them down. Finger tighten the bolts to the frame (tighten the ball joint one fully), then put the weight of the car on the wheels and tighten the other bolt/nut completely.
Thanks a lot, pjinca and others. I will try the prybar technique to check them for sure. Also, I probably wasn't clear enough, but the Meyle HD is a complete replacement arm with stronger bushings. I plan to get these in hopes of longer service than OEM.
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  #7  
Old 05-24-2013, 09:37 PM
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Cool. The oem bushings are made by Lemforder, which is a ZF owned company.
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  #8  
Old 05-25-2013, 05:15 AM
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txag_530i txag_530i is offline
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Inspect the bushings for crakcing, separation, etc. If the bushings look OK, then it might be the tie rod ends.
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  #9  
Old 05-25-2013, 05:45 AM
l1tech l1tech is offline
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You WILL get flex out of the bushing by using a prybar to check it, after all it is pliable. Obviously if you have noticeable tire movement while using your hands then chances are that there is a bushing that is bad however if you have a bushing that is bad enough to be giving you the sypmtons that you are having I would think that there would be other issues also such as tire wear, noise etc... I think you have warped rotors.
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:50 AM
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You can replace trust arm bushings on the car
I did it on e39 should be the same on e60 , you just need the right sleeves
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  #11  
Old 05-25-2013, 08:21 AM
terrystu terrystu is offline
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You have received lots of excellent advice here, just one thing to add. I haven't noticed that you have mentioned the mileage on your vehicle. If you are in the 70k+ range, your bushings are ready for replacement anyway. So don't waste any of your time with prybars or other diagnostics, just replace the thrust arms with Meyle or Lemforder.
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:46 AM
jim165 jim165 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrystu View Post
You have received lots of excellent advice here, just one thing to add. I haven't noticed that you have mentioned the mileage on your vehicle. If you are in the 70k+ range, your bushings are ready for replacement anyway. So don't waste any of your time with prybars or other diagnostics, just replace the thrust arms with Meyle or Lemforder.
Yeah, good advice here by all. I have 61K miles on it and live in Texas, so no potholes or roads that are too bad. I've gone ahead and ordered Lemforder control arms and will have them installed at my next oil change. If that doesn't turn out to be the issue, no money lost as it will have to be done anyway. There is some wandering when on the highway that I'm starting to notice and of course the usual clunks and thumps when I turn into my driveway. Just my luck though, it's probably the rotors that are causing the vibrations..

Ordered from Amazon for $132 each. If anyone needs the link:
Right Front, Lower: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Left front, Lower: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Last edited by jim165; 05-30-2013 at 05:59 AM.
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  #13  
Old 05-31-2013, 07:52 AM
limeykraut limeykraut is offline
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When I bought my '06, I had a local Indy that I've known a while check it out. When he had it in the air, the underneath was clean, but there was a black mark running from the bushing area onto the lower part of the silver arm itself. He said they were hydraulic bushings, and it looked like they were leaking slightly, even though they felt tight. There was no signs of anything above the arm dripping onto that area, so it was clear it was coming from the bushing.

Just in case that helps anyone with diagnosing...
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Old 05-31-2013, 08:04 AM
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The tension strut bushings/arms are mounted towards the front of the vehicle. The wishbone arms are towards the rear.

They're both on the same horizontal plane

If your tensions strut bushings have failed, you should feel/hear a slight "clunk" when applying the brakes even at slow speed.

Even at 5 mph and applying the brakes quickly will result in a slight surge and clunk from the front end.

Make sure to preload the vehicle before final torqueing of the bolts to the subframe.
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:21 PM
jim165 jim165 is offline
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Okay, so I was researching other possible issues with the vibrations in my car this week and there are theories that brake rotors don't actually warp, but brake pad material builds up on the rotor surface. The suggestion was to re-bed the brakes by doing 8-10 hard stops from 60 to about 15, reaccelerate to 60 and repeat until the brakes start smoking. Next, drive down the expressway to cool the brakes and park the car to allow it to completely cool down. The key is NOT to come to a complete stop between acceleration and braking cycles. I did all of this and lo and behold, the vibration is about 95% gone! I still get no pulsation through the pedal at all, but the steering wheel barely moves now! There is an occasional bit of vibration, so I'm attributing that to the control arms. I will have those replaced in the next week and report back. Just something to try if anyone has the same issue...
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:36 PM
pjinca pjinca is offline
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There are several problems with that advice:
1) Rotors DO, in fact, warp if heated and cooled too quickly.
2) 8-10 hard stops s exactly how NOT to bed in brakes. To bed in brakes I find an industrial area with no traffic, I do 10-12 runs going from 10mph-60mph-10mph and back, NEVER a complete stop. Keep doing this until you can smell the brakes and when you get down to 10 mph you'll notice smoke from the brakes. This process will burn off residue left on the rotors, afterward just drive home normally.
3) Other causes of vibrations are: unbalanced wheel(s), unbalanced tires (seen this with the cheaper brands, but only after recently changing tires), control arms, tie rod ends, anything loose in the suspension (check every bolt you can think of), and last but not least - check the OEM strut tower brace, these are known to come loose and strip out, if it's loose enough iit can easily cause the vibration you feel, and it can cause other components to loose
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  #17  
Old 05-31-2013, 05:00 PM
jim165 jim165 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjinca View Post
2) 8-10 hard stops s exactly how NOT to bed in brakes. To bed in brakes I find an industrial area with no traffic, I do 10-12 runs going from 10mph-60mph-10mph and back, NEVER a complete stop. Keep doing this until you can smell the brakes and when you get down to 10 mph you'll notice smoke from the brakes. This process will burn off residue left on the rotors, afterward just drive home normally.
Hey pjinca,
take a quick look at my post again, that's basically what I was describing as method of rebedding the brakes and it's exactly what I did. I brake from about 60mph to 15mph and accelerate again and repeat the cycle without coming to a complete stop between cycles. I think this is known as the Zeckhausen method.
http://zeckhausen.com/bedding_in_brakes.htm
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Old 05-31-2013, 05:02 PM
pjinca pjinca is offline
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LOl, had no idea there was a named method for the procedure I have been doing for 20 years
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Old 05-31-2013, 08:18 PM
stmoore01 stmoore01 is offline
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one more thing to check

I had the same issues pop up recently after putting new rims and tires on my 535xi i went to have the tires road force balanced and the indy put the car up on the lift and noticed the control arm bushings were leaking, he recommended getting these fixed first then do the balancing . Got that fixed under warranty and still had some vibration so i had the road force balancing done. That improved but didn't totally correct the problem so i pulled the wheels and checked for rotor warping, no warping. On advice from one of the thousands of threads I've read I checked the caliper pins for wear and the upper caliper pins had indentations and grooves on them. changed the pins and now everything is smooth. Worth a check.
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Old 06-02-2013, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by stmoore01 View Post
... On advice from one of the thousands of threads I've read I checked the caliper pins for wear and the upper caliper pins had indentations and grooves on them. changed the pins and now everything is smooth. Worth a check.
Are you talking about #6 on this diagram?

http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...42&hg=34&fg=05
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:57 AM
terrystu terrystu is offline
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Originally Posted by latitude39 View Post
Are you talking about #6 on this diagram?

http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...42&hg=34&fg=05
#6 is the correct part. They wear because most shops simply re-install them without proper cleaning and lubrication. On every brake job I clean the pins with a wire brush attachment on my dremel, then apply high temp brake lube. Do that and they will last forever.
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Old 06-02-2013, 09:49 AM
latitude39 latitude39 is offline
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Thanks, terrystu,
Good advice.
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:01 PM
merlintiaga merlintiaga is offline
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I have similar issues with my car. The problem I have is scalloping on the inside edge of the front tires. I have a set of summer tires that are unevenly worn across the inside edge.When I hit the brakes at 75+, I can feel the car shutter and the steering wheel shakes. When I have my winter tires on this does not happen. If it starts shuttering I can brake harder or softer and it stops.

I've had my front end inspected by an indie and a dealer. Bushings, etc. are all fine. Alignment is in check too.

Rotate your tires front to rear if your not running staggered tires (different size up front than in the back). My 545i has staggered tires that are unidirectional so I had them remounted on the rim so I could run the rights on the left, and lefts on the right. This helped somewhat. Also, I've run slightly lower tire pressure (right on the lower recomended limit). This helps a lot because the tire is softer and doesn't shake so much on braking.

Also, I've had warped brake rotors on this car. I've also heard the garbage that brake rotors don't warp and it's pad material build up on the rotor. That is a bunch of garbage. I have a PhD in engineering. Rotors can warp. The last pair I had that warped were out several thousandths of an inch. We have a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) at work. We measured my rotors. They were warped. The idea that it is pad material is absolute trash. If pad material were covering rotors under normal conditions, then rotors would last forever because the pad would not be contacting the rotor, it would be contacting the pad material on top of the rotor. Clearly this is wrong. We've all replaced rotors. Pad material is not on your rotors unless you've over heated your brakes in a huge way.

So check your tires. Might be a cheap fix.
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  #24  
Old 06-03-2013, 12:30 PM
stmoore01 stmoore01 is offline
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Yes that is correct, although the picture on real oem in this case is misleading. The upper pin diagram is fine but the lower pin does not look like that, it is like the top pin but shorter. You can buy them on amazon ( napa part number ) for about $7.00 for both top and bottom pins, or go to your dealer and pay $44.00 each which I did first and returned afte I realized I got raped.
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  #25  
Old 06-04-2013, 09:25 AM
LivinSD LivinSD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjinca View Post
LOl, had no idea there was a named method for the procedure I have been doing for 20 years
Does it matter if the brakes aren't new? Say 30% worn? Does it still help to do this?
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