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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
:cry::cry::cry::cry:

Hello and Thank you for reading. I have an '03 330xi with 102k miles.
I recently did an entire Suspension Refresh: Struts (Koni Sport), Springs (Eibach), Inner Ball Joints, Upper Strut Tower Bearings, Tie Rods, Control Arms, Spring Pads, Front Sway Bar Bushings (PowerFlex), Strut Tower Reinforcement Plates, Sway Bar Links.

While completing this job, we had one HECK of a time getting one of the Springs to seat correctly on the Strut. We finally got it as good as we could and hoped that it would seat itself while driving...it did not...so, off to the Stealership I went. They attempted to get the Spring to seat and could not. They determined that it was defective so I ordered a new one and this was installed. When I got the car back, it felt better but not as good as I hoped. I then took it to be Aligned and have the wheels rotated and balanced. However, the problem persisted. So, to date I have had the car Aligned three times and had the tires RoadForce tested (Continentals). Two failed this test and are now on the rear.

So, here is the description of the issue. The Front Drivers wheel feels like it is "bouncing/Vibrating". This is the side that had the bad Strut and the primary side that the Stealership worked on. I have an appointment to take it back in on the 16th but the problem is getting progressively worse daily. If I didn't know that the Struts and Springs were brand new, I would say I needed new Struts! It is a very strange feeling as it's not a true vibration like an unbalanced tire or worn bushings, it's more of a "loose" up/down movement that I feel in the floor and the steering wheel but it is definitely coming from the Drivers front wheel. Yes, I have put the car on jacks and made sure every bolt and nut are tight. Could it be a wheel bearing?? Just thinking through this more as I type. :dunno: This issue is not speed specific, while it does increase and is more noticeable at highway speeds, I feel it at 20 mph as well.

I have spent some money on this car since I bought it last year and I plan on keeping it for at least another two years. At this point I don't care what the problem is, I just want someone to figure it out for me as I have exhausted my limited knowledge.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Are there any E46 Forum people in the Columbus Ohio area?

Thanks!!
 

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:cry::cry::cry::cry:

Hello and Thank you for reading. I have an '03 330xi with 102k miles.
I recently did an entire Suspension Refresh: Struts (Koni Sport), Springs (Eibach), Inner Ball Joints, Upper Strut Tower Bearings, Tie Rods, Control Arms, Spring Pads, Front Sway Bar Bushings (PowerFlex), Strut Tower Reinforcement Plates, Sway Bar Links.

While completing this job, we had one HECK of a time getting one of the Springs to seat correctly on the Strut. We finally got it as good as we could and hoped that it would seat itself with driving...it did not...so, off to the Stealership I went. They attempted to get the Spring to seat and could not. They determined that it was defective so I ordered a new one and this was installed. When I got the car back, it felt better but not as good as I hoped. I then took it to be Aligned and have the wheels rotated and balanced. However, the problem persisted. So, to date I have had the car Aligned three times and had the tires RoadForce tested (Continentals). Two failed this test and are now on the rear.

So, here is the description of the issue. The Front Drivers wheel feels like it is "bouncing/Vibrating". This is the side that had the bad Strut and the primary side that the Stealership worked on. I have an appointment to take it back in on the 16th but the problem is getting progressively worse daily. If I didn't know that the Struts and Springs were brand new, I would say I needed new Struts! It is a very strange feeling as it's not a true vibration like an unbalanced tire or work bushings, it's more of a "loose" up/down movement that I feel in the floor and the steering wheel but it is definitely coming from the Drivers front wheel. Yes, I have put the car on jacks and made sure every bolt and nut are tight. Could it be a wheel bearing?? Just thinking through this more as I type. :dunno: This issue is not speed specific, while it does increase and is more noticeable at highway speeds, I feel it at 20 mph as well.

I have spent some money on this car since I bought it last year and I plan on keeping it for at least another two years. At this point I don't care what the problem is, I just want someone to figure it out for me as I have exhausted my limited knowledge.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Are there any E46 Forum people in the Columbus Ohio area?

Thanks!!
Steering coupler (giubo)? My son's 04 had something similar to what you are describing and we thought front suspension too. Turned out to be giubo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Steering coupler...thank you! I was considering ordering one and now I will. They are relatively cheap and after 102k could probably need replaced even if it's not the issue. I will install and report back. Thanks for the info!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
all wheel drive, have your CV joint checked while you're in there, especially after suspension work...
Thank you. I do know that both sides have a pin hole in the boots and are squirting out oil. They are on my list to replace and quite honestly about the only thing in there that hasn't been replaced. I just didn't think that they would cause a "suspension" issue. I do know that the drivers side axle does have some play in it but wasn't sure if that was a differential movement or an axle movement (basically I can twist it and there is slop).

Any input/advice on Manufacturer for the Axle's? ECS has the "Genuine BMW" for $568.09, GKN for $262.35 and OPparts for $89.03!! Of course to do this the right way, I should replace all 4 (WHY did I buy an xi???? :dunno::dunno::dunno:) so if I can go with the GKN, that would save a significant amount.

Thanks!!!

Joel

I second that inner cvs cause vibrations.

Good luck.
Thank you...any input on the question above?
 

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Have a look at GSP they are a German company but I think they may have a factory in China. (dont quote me on that)
But I have used their drive shafts and CV joints and they are good quality.

Maybe some of the other members may have an opinion on different brands, would be interesting to know.

Rear shaft rarely cause problems I would start with the front.
You can pull the drive shaft out, disassemble the cv joints, clean all the grease in the joint, if they are faulty you can usually see marks where the bearings rub against the cage.

Drivers side axle does have some play in it but wasn't sure if that was a differential movement or an axle movement (basically I can twist it and there is slop). Where is the slop?? between inner CV joint and diff? between CV joint and shaft? between cv joint and hub? or back lash in front diff?
Need to diagnose this.

There is no free play at the wheel bearings right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Have a look at GSP they are a German company but I think they may have a factory in China. (dont quote me on that)
But I have used their drive shafts and CV joints and they are good quality.

Maybe some of the other members may have an opinion on different brands, would be interesting to know.

Rear shaft rarely cause problems I would start with the front.
You can pull the drive shaft out, disassemble the cv joints, clean all the grease in the joint, if they are faulty you can usually see marks where the bearings rub against the cage.

Drivers side axle does have some play in it but wasn't sure if that was a differential movement or an axle movement (basically I can twist it and there is slop). Where is the slop?? between inner CV joint and diff? between CV joint and shaft? between cv joint and hub? or back lash in front diff?
Need to diagnose this.

There is no free play at the wheel bearings right?
I believe the correct answer for the location of the slop is between the "Inner CV Joint and the Diff". I grabbed the axle at the largest part and twisted and the whole thing moved an inch or more both ways. Does that help?
 

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It could be back lash in the diff between the pinion gear and the crown wheel, which seem a lot but don't usually cause vibrations.

If both sides have the same free play then probably back lash.

I have seen the inner splines wear and cause free play as well.
Although not on a BMW, usually on VW transporters worth to check though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It could be back lash in the diff between the pinion gear and the crown wheel, which seem a lot but don't usually cause vibrations.

If both sides have the same free play then probably back lash.

I have seen the inner splines wear and cause free play as well.
Although not on a BMW, usually on VW transporters worth to check though.
Thanks AActive, would this be something that would be corrected by replacing the Axle assembly or would this be damage inside the Diff?

I do plan on changing the Axle's on both sides but only after I do a Cooling System refresh...darn Expansion tank has a small leak.

Thanks!

Joel
 

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On the VW the diff gets damaged also but this is a VW and I only see this on transporters so fingers crossed.

if you are doing an expansion tank and its auto trans, get a thermostat that sits inside the tank, 90% of the time when you pull the tank out it breaks.

From memory the bleed screw is on the top hose, get one of those as well if not replacing the top hose.

hope this helps.
 
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