By 'bottom out' I assume you hear a loud thump and feel a shock through the body and / or steering wheel? If so then good chance your struts are shot. They are generally only good for about 80,000 - 100,000 miles. However there are other things which could cause front end noises: failed thrust arm bushes, upper strut mounts, sway bar links, tie rod ends. If the front seems soft and sloppy on corners, or you can easily bounce the front up and down by pushing on a corner, then you should replace the struts.
Thank you for this info. The car rides great on the open road and around town. It doesn't ride like our fathers Oldsmobile. My 1998 740i still rides very comfortably with no mushy front end or lack of handling tight turns. When I hit a pothole, which we now have thousands of them now in New Jersey with the horrible winter we have had, the car does not at all like. The sound is loud and hard whether I'm going at the speed limit or crawling through the maze of potholes.
So it sounds by your description that I should have all those parts looked at, not just because of your assessment but also because I have 103,000 miles.
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