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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 10-03-2013, 12:21 PM
BigJon53 BigJon53 is offline
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Location: Michigan
 
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Mein Auto: 2000 323Ci Auto Vert
Where to check next?

I have a 2000 323Ci vert with 93000 miles. Since I bought it two years ago, it has had a persistent
steering wheel vibration @ 75-80 mph. Here is what I have done:
1. New powerflex control arms
2. New wheels
3. New tie rods
4. Wheel balance
5. Moved tires front to back
6. New steering column guibo
7. Alignment
8. Checked sway bar links, seem solid.
9. New pads, rotors
10. Bearings seem ok, no noise
11. Replaced power steering fluid

None of these made any change to the steering wheel shake. What else should I check? It is smooth less than 70 mph and greater than 80 mph.
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  #2  
Old 10-03-2013, 02:07 PM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 330Ci ZHP 3 pedals
Try bedding the brakes....it`s free, and just might help....
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  #3  
Old 10-03-2013, 03:38 PM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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Also check your steering guibo. If worn it can cause these symptoms.

Doh! I see you did this already. Tired eyes today.

Last edited by SJBimmer; 10-03-2013 at 06:01 PM.
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  #4  
Old 10-03-2013, 04:09 PM
WolfieTed WolfieTed is offline
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Mein Auto: '99 323i E46
Is it rack and pinion steering system on the E46? Might be that one of the teeth is worn from center, it would make sense that this area would wear first?

Just an idea, not based on anything other than a basic knowledge of cars
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  #5  
Old 10-03-2013, 04:12 PM
WolfieTed WolfieTed is offline
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Mein Auto: '99 323i E46
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJon53 View Post
I have a 2000 323Ci vert with 93000 miles. Since I bought it two years ago, it has had a persistent
steering wheel vibration @ 75-80 mph. Here is what I have done:
1. New powerflex control arms
2. New wheels
3. New tie rods
4. Wheel balance
5. Moved tires front to back
6. New steering column guibo
7. Alignment
8. Checked sway bar links, seem solid.
9. New pads, rotors
10. Bearings seem ok, no noise
11. Replaced power steering fluid

None of these made any change to the steering wheel shake. What else should I check? It is smooth less than 70 mph and greater than 80 mph.
This one is based on fact though, the front bushes go quite frequently on 323i I would assume the same for the 323Ci as well? That makes everything feel a little loose? And at the correct speed it may cause an wobble/vibration issue?
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  #6  
Old 10-03-2013, 04:52 PM
BigJon53 BigJon53 is offline
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Location: Michigan
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 62
Mein Auto: 2000 323Ci Auto Vert
I have replaced the steering guibo, and I did bed the brakes right after I replaced them. The vibration is still present when making slight turns left or right, would that preclude the rack being the issue? As far as the bushings, I replaced the entire lower control arm(with bushings), are you referring to something else? Thanks for the replies.
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  #7  
Old 10-03-2013, 04:57 PM
WolfieTed WolfieTed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJon53 View Post
I have replaced the steering guibo, and I did bed the brakes right after I replaced them. The vibration is still present when making slight turns left or right, would that preclude the rack being the issue? As far as the bushings, I replaced the entire lower control arm(with bushings), are you referring to something else? Thanks for the replies.
No. That is what I was referring to. You seemed to have done so much I thought that maybe the rack was the last thing, and the bushings were a long shot, but you said it yourself LCA and Bushings were done?

I'm not sure about the steering rack? Something I have never looked at. and you are probably right, maybe not the issue. I can't see what is left to look at though? Sometimes you can blinded by the work, can't see the woods for the trees so I thought I would throw out something to see if it helped. I am curious as to what it could be though?
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  #8  
Old 10-03-2013, 05:10 PM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfieTed View Post
No. That is what I was referring to. You seemed to have done so much I thought that maybe the rack was the last thing, and the bushings were a long shot, but you said it yourself LCA and Bushings were done?

I'm not sure about the steering rack? Something I have never looked at. and you are probably right, maybe not the issue. I can't see what is left to look at though? Sometimes you can blinded by the work, can't see the woods for the trees so I thought I would throw out something to see if it helped. I am curious as to what it could be though?
Steering racks DO incur some on-center wear, often resulting in that nasty vibration. One way to tell if that`s it is to drive on a highway with a gradual-sweeping curve or two. Set your cruise control to the speed where the vibration occurs while on the straightaway, and see if the vibration dissipates as you progress into the sweeper.
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The road goes ever onward....
(R.I.P. Jever)

*Please support the Wounded Warrior Project*

When faced with choosing between two evils, always go with the one you`ve never tried before....
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  #9  
Old 10-03-2013, 05:22 PM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJon53 View Post
I have replaced the steering guibo, and I did bed the brakes right after I replaced them. The vibration is still present when making slight turns left or right, would that preclude the rack being the issue? As far as the bushings, I replaced the entire lower control arm(with bushings), are you referring to something else? Thanks for the replies.
Sounds like you have done everything right so far. The next thing I would try is to measure the runout on the rims with a dial indicator. This will indicate whether a rim is bent, or you may have uneven rust accumulation between the rotor hat and the wheel. Make sure the hub the rotor mounts to is clean and true as well. Also check for tar/dirt globs on the wheel. if all else fails, I have had success with this type of problem by having the tires/wheels balanced with them still on the car. If you are certain that your alignment is correct, the on car balancing can eliminate hard to find balance related problems caused by uneven rust accumulations on the rotors (between the vanes). New rotors would be the ultimate solution if you have this type of problem of course. Good luck!

http://www.butlertire.com/services.asp
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  #10  
Old 10-03-2013, 05:23 PM
BigJon53 BigJon53 is offline
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Location: Michigan
 
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Mein Auto: 2000 323Ci Auto Vert
Ok Bob, I will try that. Hope it's not the rack,though. They are expensive, even if I do it myself.
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  #11  
Old 10-03-2013, 05:29 PM
BigJon53 BigJon53 is offline
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Location: Michigan
 
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Mein Auto: 2000 323Ci Auto Vert
SJBimmer, I have replaced the rotors, but the runout thing on the hub sounds like a good idea. The new rotor could be bad as well, but that seems like too much of a coincidence. Thanks!
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  #12  
Old 10-03-2013, 05:44 PM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJon53 View Post
SJBimmer, I have replaced the rotors, but the runout thing on the hub sounds like a good idea. The new rotor could be bad as well, but that seems like too much of a coincidence. Thanks!
I have been bitten several times by the "new parts should be perfect assumption" never rule anything out! You will find it, just hang in there and be methodical. I take notes on what I have checked so far because unfortunately, the grey matter isn't what it used to be. Please post back on your findings.
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  #13  
Old 10-03-2013, 06:04 PM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJon53 View Post
SJBimmer, I have replaced the rotors, but the runout thing on the hub sounds like a good idea. The new rotor could be bad as well, but that seems like too much of a coincidence. Thanks!
My reading comprehension suks today! I see you mentioned replacing the rotors in your original post. (facepalm)
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  #14  
Old 10-06-2013, 02:23 AM
CALLAWAY845 CALLAWAY845 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2007 x5 3.0...2009 328i
Hello BigJon...my dad's name is John, and I am from Michigan as well . Anyways, I think you have a bad wheel bearing. My x5 was doing the same thing; I would hear a droning sound, with slight to moderate vibration, between the speeds of 70 to 80 miles/hr. The car drove like a gem at speeds slower or faster than this range. This issue was brought up to 2 different dealers, and multiple individuals at each center, trying to figure it out. The reason mine was difficult to diagnose is it did not act like the typical wheel bearing, the only symptom was the above, and it was neither getting better or worse. Of note, my x5 had about 75k on it at the time of this issue. Neither the dealer or I wanted to just start changing parts until we got it solved. Finally I had the dealer "diagnostician" test drive my x5, and he said with a reasonable amount of certainty, that it was a wheel bearing issue. Changed wheel bearing rear passenger side...solved. Good luck in your quest, let us know how it ends up.
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  #15  
Old 10-06-2013, 10:21 AM
BigJon53 BigJon53 is offline
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Location: Michigan
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 62
Mein Auto: 2000 323Ci Auto Vert
Callaway, thanks for the message. I have thought of that as well, but, like yours, it really doesn't make any noise, I just feel the vibration through the steering wheel. I am going to take a closer look this coming week, as I have been throwing parts at it, and haven't found the problem yet. On the positive side, the car is really tight! Did you feel the vibration through the steering wheel or through the seat?
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