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E85 / E86 Z4 (2003-2008)
E85 Z4 convertible and E86 Z4 coupe talk with our BMW gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 03-18-2014, 03:14 PM
Liamket Liamket is offline
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Z4 3.0si Alignment off? pulling all over the road

i have an '06 3.0si with about 115,xxx miles on it. Recently it has been pulling me all over the road. It's not as though it always pulls left and the alignment is off. But rather, if everything is perfectly flat it will drive straight and true. If there is a bump or a grade, or I am switching lanes, it suddenly pulls hard that direction. i would say it's to the point now where the top center of the steering wheel is at either 11 or 1 when it's pulling. This is making it hard to drive, especially on windy roads, because i never know what to expect.

the front tires are somewhat cupped on the inside edge, though i find it hard to believe that tires alone could do this. Also, I had an alignment done 6 months ago.

There has always been a hint of this problem since I bought the car, but only in the last 1,000 miles has it become something serious enough to worry me.

Any thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 03-18-2014, 03:49 PM
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LarkHouston LarkHouston is online now
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What is the build date? Pre July 2006 builds have a known steering issue. Google "Z4 sticky steering"

BMW split the cost with me to replace the steering on my June 2006 build Z4 about 2 years ago. But I only had 45K or so miles at the time.
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  #3  
Old 03-18-2014, 03:51 PM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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If you have excessive toe out you can get what they call "tramlining" where the car will try to follow grooves, creases, road stripes, etc. As the tires wear and get some cupping it amplifies the effect. For auto cross or track we usually adjust to zero toe to get a better turn in response, but the side effect is noticeable tramlining during street driving. When you go back to get another alignment, make certain they actually adjust to the nominal specs, not just check to see if it's in tolerance.
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:22 PM
kalali kalali is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarkHouston View Post
What is the build date? Pre July 2006 builds have a known steering issue. Google "Z4 sticky steering"
Sorry but totally irrelevant to the symptoms described. Sounds like you need new front tires. You also need to find out why the tires are cupped.
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  #5  
Old 03-18-2014, 05:11 PM
Pierce Pierce is offline
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Do you have run flat tires on the car?


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  #6  
Old 03-18-2014, 09:23 PM
Liamket Liamket is offline
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Z4 3.0si Alignment off? pulling all over the road

I believe it is a Feb build.

Yes I do have run flats.

As to why they are cupping, I know the camber is a little negative.

I've also noticed, especially when cold, that turning the wheel all the way to the right and backing up (as in backing out of a parking space) causes the front suspension to feel as though it is binding. Maybe this is a part of it?


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  #7  
Old 03-19-2014, 07:14 AM
SC2003Z4 SC2003Z4 is offline
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Get rid of the run flats. You'll be wishing you did it the day you bought the car.
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  #8  
Old 03-19-2014, 07:44 AM
coolvt coolvt is offline
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The run flat tires could contribute to handling problems, but before making changes I suggest that you verify that you have a perfect allignment and that you have a front end (steering snd suspension) that has no wear. Loose and/or worn parts like wheel bearings, tie rods, shocks, bushings, etc. can all contribute to bad handling. In other words you have to get the car back to nearly new specs before you begin making changes. The factory would not have let cars out the door that ran all over the road because of run flat tires.
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  #9  
Old 03-19-2014, 12:02 PM
keeton keeton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolvt View Post
The run flat tires could contribute to handling problems, but before making changes I suggest that you verify that you have a perfect allignment and that you have a front end (steering snd suspension) that has no wear. Loose and/or worn parts like wheel bearings, tie rods, shocks, bushings, etc. can all contribute to bad handling. In other words you have to get the car back to nearly new specs before you begin making changes. The factory would not have let cars out the door that ran all over the road because of run flat tires.
+1

When I have had cars that started to wander or shift direction on its own is was usually a worn suspension part (bushings in particular) that would allow the suspension components to shift, thereby changing the geometry of the steering system while you were driving it.
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  #10  
Old 03-19-2014, 04:16 PM
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shipkiller shipkiller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liamket View Post
I believe it is a Feb build.

Yes I do have run flats.

As to why they are cupping, I know the camber is a little negative.

I've also noticed, especially when cold, that turning the wheel all the way to the right and backing up (as in backing out of a parking space) causes the front suspension to feel as though it is binding. Maybe this is a part of it?
"Cupping' is not caused by negative camber. The camber is always negative on a street or road track car...

Cupping is normally caused by worn dampers (shocks), bushings, tie-rod ends and/or an unbalanced wheel.

My car is set up with -3.0' of front camber and -2.0 of rear camber, and it is a daily driver (when it is not raining) and I have never experienced any cupping.
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  #11  
Old 03-19-2014, 07:46 PM
Pierce Pierce is offline
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By all means check the alignment. But having wrestled my 07 Si from Phoenix to Seattle with run flats and nearly changing lanes into another car, I got rid of those things and reduced my tramlining by 50%. I put Conti DW's on it. It's still twitchy, but not near as bad. I consider it the nature of the Si sport option beast!! That car just is not going to drive as nice as my 330Xi. Even with H&R springs and Koni shocks.(on the 330xi)


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  #12  
Old 03-20-2014, 07:24 AM
coolvt coolvt is offline
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Guess that's a question that hasn't been addressed........are most of the handling complaints on cars with the "sports" option?
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  #13  
Old 03-21-2014, 07:09 AM
STIHLBOLTS STIHLBOLTS is offline
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My 04 3.0i ran all over the road when I had run flats and truck ruts to fall into, once I got rid of the run flats that was cut down considerably. I have never had a handling issue with my M.

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