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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 03-04-2014, 04:50 PM
kylepilot747 kylepilot747 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1991 BMW 535i
E34 91 535i suspension clunking

I replaced my springs and struts with bavauto bilstein sport suspension kit. It rides fairly firm like it should, But going over bumps I get clunking on the right front side of the car. I did replace the sway bar links as well but didn't fix the problem. What you think the problem might be? The upper and lower control arm bushings and joints? The tie rods seem fine, the car drives straight forever.

E34 1991 BMW 535i

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  #2  
Old 03-04-2014, 05:08 PM
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Three things come to mind:

1. An improper fit between the damper cartridge and the strut housing.

2. An improper fit or assembly of the strut mount.

3. Coil binding of the spring.
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2014, 05:08 PM
imae34driver imae34driver is offline
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Your strut mounts good? Ball joints ok?
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  #4  
Old 03-04-2014, 05:25 PM
kylepilot747 kylepilot747 is offline
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my mounts seemed to be ok. The clunking only happens on the right side (passenger side) the left side sounds good no problems. when taking a look under the car the ball joints look good no rips or tears never removed them though, I'm pretty sure they are original parts though. I'm the 2nd owner on the car and so far everything I replaced has been the original part. When I try to push the car up an down on the right side NO clunks but when driving over bumps or uneven roads, Clunk. But not a loose kind of clunk if that makes sense. How can I tell if my strut mount is bad?

thanks for the help guys!
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  #5  
Old 03-04-2014, 05:51 PM
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Did you use new mounts when you reassembled the strut?

Could also be a thrust arm bushing on its way out now that everything is really tight.

With Bilstein Sports as firm as they are, they (and even the HDs) are very hard on the OE bushings.

If the damper, springs, and tires are nearly solid, then the next deformable objects in the path are the joints that use rubber.
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  #6  
Old 03-04-2014, 06:08 PM
kylepilot747 kylepilot747 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radian View Post
Did you use new mounts when you reassembled the strut?

Could also be a thrust arm bushing on its way out now that everything is really tight.

With Bilstein Sports as firm as they are, they (and even the HDs) are very hard on the OE bushings.

If the damper, springs, and tires are nearly solid, then the next deformable objects in the path are the joints that use rubber.
I didn't use new mounts I re-used the old ones. I've been really think the lower control arm and thrust arm needs new joints and bushings since they are original and I also been told a few mechanics that my bushings are pretty bad. To me they dont look horrible but I didn't inspect them thoroughly like they do. you think I should replace the lower control arm and upper since they are original? The rest of the car seems solid besides the annoying clunk on bumps. My car has about 184,000 miles on it.
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  #7  
Old 03-04-2014, 06:39 PM
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As long as the strut assembly is mechanically sound, more often than not the real noise maker ends up being the thrust arm bushing. If it's indeed an original part, then it's easily beyond its service life.

Ideally the mount is inspected when the strut is disassembled.

However, with the strut installed inspecting the mount can be a bit of a pain. At this point, about all you can do is jack or lift the car until the suspension is at full droop. Install a spring compressor to unload the damper, then jounce the wheel up and down through its entire range of motion while looking at the mount from both the inner fender well area and up top through the engine bay.

At full droop, coil rub or binding is a quick inspection. Just look for spots in-between the coils where any new paint is worn off.
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  #8  
Old 03-04-2014, 07:12 PM
south26 south26 is offline
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Did the car clunk before you replace the end links? If not I had replaced a end link and I thought it was tight, but I had not cranked down enough and when it was going over bumps it would shift a little causing a horrid noise.


Andy
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  #9  
Old 03-04-2014, 08:06 PM
kylepilot747 kylepilot747 is offline
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I'll have to try what Radian said when it not pouring down rain. Since the thrust arms and control arms are so old and most likely worn out, I'll get the parts and replace them if they need to be once I remove them to get a good look at the originals.

South26
It has always clunked because the struts were completely shot. The struts were just bouncing sticks basically and was just riding on springs. I think I got the links pretty tight but I can double check when it's not raining, I don't have a garage to work in this time.


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  #10  
Old 03-04-2014, 09:13 PM
MySatinDoll MySatinDoll is offline
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What radian said. Another way is to grab the rim with both hands one at 3:00, the other at 9:00 and attempt to shake it side to side.
If there is any play you have a suspension issue.

Quick question.
This clunking sound. Is it a more tin-like sound or a ringing like a bag of washers sound.

Tin-like: dust shield
ringing like a bag of washers: suspension component

Also are all the lines and hoses fitted to the proper location?
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  #11  
Old 03-04-2014, 10:36 PM
kylepilot747 kylepilot747 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MySatinDoll View Post
What radian said. Another way is to grab the rim with both hands one at 3:00, the other at 9:00 and attempt to shake it side to side.
If there is any play you have a suspension issue.

Quick question.
This clunking sound. Is it a more tin-like sound or a ringing like a bag of washers sound.

Tin-like: dust shield
ringing like a bag of washers: suspension component

Also are all the lines and hoses fitted to the proper location?
earlier today I did jack the front right side up and shook the wheel side to side holding at 3:00 and 9:00. There was some play by doing that ,not a whole lot. to answer your question it sounds more like a broken or worn out sway bar link. but I have replaced those probably a few days after installing the new struts an shocks. I replaced the struts and shock last sunday. Here is a youtube video I found of what it kinda sounds like when hitting bumps in the road or pulling into a drive way.
at this point I'm starting to think its the upper or lower control arm bushing and joints. Also all the brake lines and ABS sensor are in the right places.

Last edited by kylepilot747; 03-04-2014 at 10:38 PM.
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  #12  
Old 03-05-2014, 04:06 AM
Mamij Mamij is offline
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If you are changing your upper and lower control arms, only use lemforder or Meyle, and only use polyurethane bushings, at least for the upper arms. Don't bother with HD bushings.

This will be more expensive but the bushings are reusable if the ball joints go and these are the last bushings the car will ever need. And non OEM suspension components last about 1 year.

You might as well change out your tie rod ends. Meyle sells HD versions. The price is about the same as normal ones.

Finally, your clunk is spookily identical to what a close friend if mine has in his ride now, just a clunk on the right side most times when hitting a bump, with a slight wheel wobble at some of those times. His issue is the right upper control arm bushing. Shock mounts, spring pads everything is in good shape.

So your diagnosis is spot on. Look up YT and execute the vertical compression test on your ball joints even though you're changing the whole set anyway. In fact do this test on your centre link/centre tied rod as well. It is pretty old too.

Btw the vertical compression test works even when the tyre shake test fails. See :

http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=y...&v=_VfMZ0g31J8

You'll need to realign the wheels if you change the tie rods.

If you use polyurethane bushings, there will be no need to preload your suspension. The bushings rotate in the arm and find their sweet spot, unlike rubber bushings embedded in a metal sleeve which can't rotate. And if you don't preload with normal bushings, they will rupture within 18 months.

Good luck.

Last edited by Mamij; 03-05-2014 at 04:53 AM.
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  #13  
Old 03-05-2014, 11:05 AM
Barf Bag Barf Bag is offline
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My E34 recently developed a nasty rattle in the right front. I thought it had to be a suspension problem. Put it on the lift and checked everything out, couldn't find the problem there. Did some more digging and it turned out to be a couple fender bolts had loosened allowing the fender to rattle when I hit small bumps.
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  #14  
Old 03-05-2014, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamij
and only use polyurethane bushings,
I would strongly advise against this.

For many good reasons to include this one:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamij
The bushings rotate in the arm and find their sweet spot, unlike rubber bushings embedded in a metal sleeve which can't rotate.
Sorry in advance if I'm stepping on anyone's toes here, but every poly suspension bushing I've seen (especially for the E34) has been a hack..sold with little, if any consideration to formal kinematic analysis.

I personally cannot find fault with the stock M5 bushings (which are damn stiff already) but if, for whatever reason, any deflection in the suspension geometry simply cannot be tolerated, I'd recommend instead going with spherical thrust arm joints and E31 control arms at the explicit risk of significantly reducing the service life of the subframe(s) and introducing a ton of road noise.
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Last edited by Radian; 03-05-2014 at 07:22 PM.
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  #15  
Old 03-05-2014, 08:50 PM
MySatinDoll MySatinDoll is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamij View Post
If you are changing your upper and lower control arms, only use lemforder or Meyle, and only use polyurethane bushings, at least for the upper arms. Don't bother with HD bushings.

This will be more expensive but the bushings are reusable if the ball joints go and these are the last bushings the car will ever need. And non OEM suspension components last about 1 year.

If you use polyurethane bushings, preload your suspension. The bushings rotate in the arm and find their sweet spot. And if you don't preload they will rupture within 18 months.Good luck.
I sold Powerflex bushings a few years ago and I always recommended to preload them as if they were OEM to prevent premature wear. So I fixed that for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radian View Post
Sorry in advance if I'm stepping on anyone's toes here, but every poly suspension bushing I've seen (especially for the E34) has been a hack..sold with little, if any consideration to formal kinematic analysis.

I personally cannot find fault with the stock M5 bushings (which are damn stiff already) but if, for whatever reason, any deflection in the suspension geometry simply cannot be tolerated, I'd recommend instead going with spherical thrust arm joints and E31 control arms at the explicit risk of significantly reducing the service life of the subframe(s) and introducing a ton of road noise.
Outside the sale pitch I ran PFs in my subframe. It was night and day difference compared to OEM. Actually going to try and remove them from my old car to the new one for that fact.

Now CAs and LCAs I've heard both sides of the story. Niko has them in his m5 and it lasted 25k. Then you have Pat (shapeshifter) who has owned a set of PF blacks and they lasted for years until he sold his touring.

It seems going with the hardest compound would suffice ie: PF black comp.

I haven't tried AKG compounds but what is attractive is they offer RTAB.
DesertPir8 did a Diy on his car and even suggested some tricks (grease zerks ftw)

I looked into spherical bushings from Moosehead Engineering. I'd recommend them.
But your 100% spot on. Putting in spherical bushings will wear everything else out.
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Last edited by MySatinDoll; 03-05-2014 at 08:52 PM.
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  #16  
Old 03-06-2014, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
It was night and day difference compared to OEM.
The bushings cleaned up power on/off transitions no doubt, but it'd be insightful to look particularly at differences in slalom times so that the forum can openly compare between the two types.

With the lack of change in thrust angle afforded by solid bushings, I wager that slower speeds (from reduced yaw) would be great topic for discussion.

For Example

Thrust angle during a cornering maneuver...an extreme case of improved yaw:

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  #17  
Old 03-06-2014, 08:17 AM
Ken@BavAuto Ken@BavAuto is offline
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Sounds like you either the strut isn't tight in the housing, the sway bar link is shot, or you may have left out a washer somewhere in the stack of the parts that make up the upper mount. Could be control arms but if it didn't make this noise before I wouldn't automatically go there. But in reference to control arm bushings GOOD urethane (like Powerflex) is perfect for thrust arm bushings. I'm actually in the process of replacing every bushing in my suspension with Powerflex on my E30.
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  #18  
Old 03-06-2014, 08:34 AM
imae34driver imae34driver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken@BavAuto View Post
Sounds like you either the strut isn't tight in the housing, the sway bar link is shot, or you may have left out a washer somewhere in the stack of the parts that make up the upper mount. Could be control arms but if it didn't make this noise before I wouldn't automatically go there. But in reference to control arm bushings GOOD urethane (like Powerflex) is perfect for thrust arm bushings. I'm actually in the process of replacing every bushing in my suspension with Powerflex on my E30.
+1


I've done my rear sub frame bushes with powerflex. Love them.
I will replace every bush with PU, powerflex if i can.
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  #19  
Old 03-06-2014, 01:38 PM
MySatinDoll MySatinDoll is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radian View Post
The bushings cleaned up power on/off transitions no doubt, but it'd be insightful to look particularly at differences in slalom times so that the forum can openly compare between the two types.

With the lack of change in thrust angle afforded by solid bushings, I wager that slower speeds (from reduced yaw) would be great topic for discussion.

For Example

Thrust angle during a cornering maneuver...an extreme case of improved yaw:

True it would be interesting to see the slalom times comparison between OEM and poly.
But that's rough to do.
For most, but not all who've gone poly have upgraded their suspension in some shape form or fashion.
My comparison is Tracy, my first e34 535 verse Zaraki (my previous, and now stripped 535) before the suspension upgrades.

Being both were exactly the same at some point of ownership. (except zaraki had rust)
I can say the poly made a big difference in stiffness of the rear over the OEM rubber bushings.

Now Radian as you know there are Poly filled OEM bushings.
I personally haven't had the opportunity to check in to them.
I've heard of some being hack jobs.
However I have a feeling if done correctly it's the best of both worlds.
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  #20  
Old 03-06-2014, 05:49 PM
kylepilot747 kylepilot747 is offline
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Hey guys I just looked at my bushings and picked it with my finger nail and the rubber scrapped off like if it were particles of dirt and exposed the metal part. Once I get to replacing the upper an lower control arm, I will let you know if that fixes the problem.
Thanks for you thoughts and ideas!


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  #21  
Old 03-07-2014, 06:42 AM
Ken@BavAuto Ken@BavAuto is offline
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Before you get to that point I would strongly suggest checking the strut assembly on the side that's making noise. If you're missing a washer or the collar isn't tight it will make a noise like that and it can damage the shock. Although Bilstein's have a lifetime warranty for the original purchaser it is void if they are installed improperly. I dealt with a guy not long ago on an E32 that didn't tighten the collar down enough on the housing and it destroyed the shock.
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  #22  
Old 03-07-2014, 06:59 AM
kylepilot747 kylepilot747 is offline
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Il double check that. I'm pretty sure I got it in there pretty tight though. I installed the collar with a impact hammer. All the washers and stuff is there but I'll double check and compare to the other side. It has always made this noise even before I installed new struts and shocks. I thought it was just going to be the struts. When I pulled those off it was just leaking oil all over the place.

I'll let you guys know hopefully by Saturday PST.


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  #23  
Old 08-10-2014, 09:33 PM
kylepilot747 kylepilot747 is offline
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Hey guys it's been a long time. I wanted to let you all know I figures out my problem. The real main cause was my strut housing tower collar nut got loose enough to let the strut to flex up an down a little. I overlooked it way too many times. So I tightened it down with a monkey wrench. I also replaced my strut mount, upper and lower control arms, and wheel bearing/hub. Next will be sway bar bushings since they are all dry rotted.

I appreciate all your ideas and help.


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