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Driveline Vibration 75-80 mph

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I have a 2000 528i with 86,000 miles. I purchased the car with 63,000 miles. It has a slight vibration at 75-80 mph. I have been told that it could be a driveshaft problem, center bearing. My first question is, does the 528i e39 have any problems with the driveshafts, and secondly, if not the driveshaft, what else could it be. I have replaced the tires...had a road force variation test at the bmw dealership. I have also had the tires rotated and balanced. The vibration is still there in the same spot.

dste0713
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Is this a very mild, but annoying vibration? As well, is your vehicle equipped with the Sport Package? This is a VERY common annoyance on the E39's, known as "the infamous shimmy"!

Since brand new, I have gone through tons of channels within the dealership, and BMWNA to get this resolved. My car was delivered with the 17" Dunlop SP2000 sport tires. The problem was fixed with perfectly balanced Michelin Pilot Sports (thanks BMWNA, and NorthWest BMW in Owings Mills, Md). As well, these things must be properly torqued when put on as well.

Given all you've stated, I don't think you have any mechanical problems. What kind of tires did you originally have, and replace those with?
dste0713 said:
I have a 2000 528i with 86,000 miles. I purchased the car with 63,000 miles. It has a slight vibration at 75-80 mph. I have been told that it could be a driveshaft problem, center bearing. My first question is, does the 528i e39 have any problems with the driveshafts, and secondly, if not the driveshaft, what else could it be. I have replaced the tires...had a road force variation test at the bmw dealership. I have also had the tires rotated and balanced. The vibration is still there in the same spot.

dste0713
I have the continental conti's original equipment tires.
this is a slight annoying vibration at 75-80 mph only. I don't think that I have the sport package, as there are no buttons to push to change suspension stiffness etc. How else would I tell if I have the sport suspension?
There was vibration in the models with the Conti's as well. I don't know if it's so much the tires, or the possibility that they simply don't work well with the vehicle.

A way to know if you have the sport package is to look at the wheels. If you have 17" cross-spoke styled wheels with a deep dish, and your car has the ///M logo on your shifter, your steering wheel is more round than square (almost a triangle shape, rather than a sideways rectangle), etc., then you have the sport package.

Perhaps you should do a search on "shimmy" in the archives. Many people had parts replaced on their vehicle, but it didn't work. My problem ended with what I mentioned above, and they'd been working on it for 50,000 miles before it was resolved!
dste0713 said:
this is a slight annoying vibration at 75-80 mph only. I don't think that I have the sport package, as there are no buttons to push to change suspension stiffness etc. How else would I tell if I have the sport suspension?
mmmm...

I got the same shimmy since day one. Going between 90-105 km you feel shimmy coming both from rear end and steering wheel. I got over it by either driving lower or higher. I got the 17" with SP 2000E as well which is my only way to know that my car has the SP (ya and 14.1" ride hieght).. I am in the process of replacing my tires still didn't decide but they definitely are going to be summer.
If replacing your tires and only want summer tires, I HIGHLY recommend Michelin Pilot Sport summer tires. They're great in dry and wet weather, but awful in snow. If all season, either the Michelin Pilot Sport all seasons (among the best), and Yokohama AVS dB S2's, which are a great competitor with a more attractive price.
bim530mer said:
I got the same shimmy since day one. Going between 90-105 km you feel shimmy coming both from rear end and steering wheel. I got over it by either driving lower or higher. I got the 17" with SP 2000E as well which is my only way to know that my car has the SP (ya and 14.1" ride hieght).. I am in the process of replacing my tires still didn't decide but they definitely are going to be summer.
Are Continental Conti's not considered good tires for this vehicle even though they were original equipment?
They are original equipment, but not a favorite. Original Equipment on the vehicle were the Dunlops, Conti's, and Michelins; whichever one happened to get. However, the Conti's and the Dunlops were well-known to be on vehicles that experienced vibration.

Perhaps you should give your Conti's a chance by having them balanced on the Hunter 9700 balance machine. This is an extremely precise balancing machine that works well for our vehicles. As well, make sure they are torqued to spec. (can't remember the exact number...somewhere in the 80's range). Actually, trying the torque thing before paying for more balancing may be worth a shot.
dste0713 said:
Are Continental Conti's not considered good tires for this vehicle even though they were original equipment?
has the 2000 528i had any driveshaft problems that you know of? Also, I have found that I have to use OEM rotors and pads. Has that been your experience as well?
I don't know of any driveshaft issues, and I'm very familiar with these vehicles. As well, who told you to use OEM rotors and pads? I definitely recommend against both. The rotors don't seem to last long. While the OEM combination stops the vehicle very well, the stock pads make the wheels dirty within a very short distance. There are very low dust solutions. Contact Dave Zeckhausen on this board for that if you'd like.

I think I have the Axxis Deluxe pads? They're almost never dusty.
dste0713 said:
has the 2000 528i had any driveshaft problems that you know of? Also, I have found that I have to use OEM rotors and pads. Has that been your experience as well?
I tried the Axxis pads and Brembo rotors. Warped within 30-60 days. Several of the BMW dealership technicians advised me that I would be better off to use the OEM parts. I have had the car for 10 months. I have replaced the front rotors 3 times and the rear once. Other than Axxis pads what are some other recommendations?
Fixing road vibrations on these cars can be a hassle. Here's a basic checklist of things to look for, generally in order of increasing cost. I realize you have already considered some of these points:

- Incorrect tire pressures
- Wheels out of balance
- Need new tires
- Uneven/warped rotors
- Worn suspension bushings, particularly in the front suspension.
- Other things that I'm not aware of

If I were you, and the first four things on the list all checked out, I'd probably consider replacing some of the front suspension components. This can be relatively inexpensive if you DIY (I did mine last October). On your 2000 528i, each side of the front of your car has what BMW calls a tension strut (part 31-12-1-141-717 left and 31-12-1-141-718 right), with separate rubber bushings that must be pressed into place with a machine press (31-12-9-068-753, one for each side), as well as a wishbone a.k.a. control arm with integrated bushings (31-12-1-094-233 left and 31-12-1-094-234 right). The tension strut bushing is probably the most likely to fail, and you could replace only the bushings without replacing any other parts.

A thorough visual inspection underneath the car may point to a particular problem in one of these areas.

- DDB
Thanks DDB. Your response was very helpful. I am in the process of selling the car. I have had it with my first BMW. Even though it was used with 63k miles when I purchased it, I cannot aford this car's repair after the CPO expires.
dste0713:

Yes, these cars can be VERY frustrating at times. Many of us are willing to deal with the inconveniences because we love the other aspects of the cars so much, but I certainly can't blame a person for wanting to ditch an aging E39.

Hopefully you won't take too much of a hit when selling the car.

~ DDB
Absolutely. I'm probably going to take a bath. I owe 25,500. I figure if I lucky, I might be able to unload it for 20,000 with 86K miles. Do you have any suggestions for trying to sell such a beast?
Sorry, no suggestions for you. The market is flooded with E39 528s. Frankly, I'd be surprised to see you get $20K for the car.
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