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I have read several threads on creaking noises when turning (possible rack or fluid issue), slack in the steering wheel requiring replacement of a flexible coupling connector. My scenario with my 03 325xi wagon is a popping noise when turning or driving on uneven surfaces.

The dealer has a difficult time reparing the noise because the car has to be driven 30+ miles or more to be able to reproduce the noise in cooler climates (i.e. SF area). I live inland so the noise occurs with driving around town on hot days (90+ degrees). If the car has sat around the noise goes away.

I can hear the popping noise and I can feel it through the steering wheel/floor board.

The dealer has made 2 separate attempts (shop foreman heard/felt the noise on a drive together):
1. Left-front sway bar link replaced.
2. Left-front ball joint and control arm.

Noise is still there. Any suggestions? Thank you.
 

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At 40k miles my wifes 2001 325i wagon was making a thud when turning and a hollow sound when riding over rough pavement. - Front driver and passenger side control arms (actually just the bushings were bad but its all one piece). Replaced with aftermarket control arms with replaceible bushings - no more noises.
 

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hmm

Do you feel slight pressure loading up in the steering wheel and then a popping sound and the pressure releases? I had this issue on my 2001 325xi. Would only happen on warm days.
 

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I have the same problem. I can hear it at slow speeds or stopped and is exactly what you said. When I turn the wheel left, it's like a pressure buildup then a pop almost like a spring. My control arm bushings I think are bad because I have another problem with a shaking when I brake. Control arms or any ideas?
 

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I am just throwing this out, but perhaps it could be due to the all-wheel drive system. I don't know how it works on our XI's, but I know on some 4-wheel drives turning sharp at slow speeds causes noises as the outside and inside tires are rotating at different rates and the tires need to slip to compensate, which could feel like a popping sensation in the wheel.
 

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Since you can make the noise happen,are you able to isolate where the noise was coming from? Since they were able to duplicate the concern,have they ever driven the vehicle with chassis ear to locate the source.If the noise is coming from the rear I suggest looking into the springs.I have seen them break and yet you would not feel any driveability or handling problems.The noise would be the only thing apparent.On the older vehicles,believe it or not we were applying "talcum powder" to the mount and the spring in the contact area.The determined cause as per BMW is :

When the rear suspension compresses the coil spring can stick to the rubber upper mount, and when the suspension extends the spring and mount separate rapidly, causing a popping noise that is amplified by the body.

What dealership looked at this? where did you go for service?
 

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I also experience this popping sound and it only started when i had my control arm bushings replaced by bmw. I took it back and the cannot trace the problem. Further i experience it daily and feel it through my steering wheel. No shaking or vibration when braking though.
 

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I wouldn't wish it on you since they're not cheap, but another possibility is front CV-joints. They pop when they wear out. I don't know what the normal torque split on the X-Drive system is, but if it's front-biased, it'd tend to make the front axles wear out faster. Automatic Subarus use a 90F/10R split under non-slip conditions, so the front axles wear out much more often than the rears. Could be the same thing going on here.
 

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i would guess control arm or bushings, but a friend of mine had a serious loud pop when making turns and found out it was his axel. you should get it checked out
 

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coming from the front

Since you can make the noise happen,are you able to isolate where the noise was coming from? Since they were able to duplicate the concern,have they ever driven the vehicle with chassis ear to locate the source.If the noise is coming from the rear I suggest looking into the springs.I have seen them break and yet you would not feel any driveability or handling problems.The noise would be the only thing apparent.On the older vehicles,believe it or not we were applying "talcum powder" to the mount and the spring in the contact area.The determined cause as per BMW is :

When the rear suspension compresses the coil spring can stick to the rubber upper mount, and when the suspension extends the spring and mount separate rapidly, causing a popping noise that is amplified by the body.

What dealership looked at this? where did you go for service?
Yes that's all good and well, but what if it is definitely coming from the FRONT?:confused:
 
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