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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hear that it is common for the steering wheel on E39 BMW to have a shimmy between 50 and 60 mph. i tried testing a different set of new OEM BMW E39 rims with new tires from my friends E39 530i also (a swap out trade) and that didn't fix it. also have had the rims and tires balanced about 5 times with no luck. do you think i might need to get new control arms with 44K miles?
 

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E39 ****
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My '02 530i is in the shop right now for a similar problem, third try at fixing it after the purchase (CPO).

The dealer has thus far:

"straightened" 3 of the 4 wheels
replaced all 4 tires with new
road-force rebalanced all 4

Today, they called to say that with true-running, perfectly balanced tires & wheels, it still has a noticeable vibration at highway speeds. They are now replacing the front thrust arm bushings.

What's nice is that my salesman is now test driving it after every "fix". After the 2nd time it was sent back to me still having the shake, I drove it back to the showroom, insisted the salesman get into the driver's seat and drive it up to 80-85mph. He felt it, and has assured me he is now the "final inspector" because he KNOWS what I expect.

I got a free new BMW battery out of it too, because THAT died when they got it to their shop. ;)
 

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Well my car has the same thing, going between 50 and 55mph... It is weird the shimmy is only at those speeds... My shimmy was worse but last week I replaced all my tires with brand new Toyo tires (235/40R18 front and 265/35R18 rear). Should I try road force balancing? What exactly is that all about? By the way mine is a 2001 BMW 530i w/ 72K.

Thanks,

Santiago.
 

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E39 ****
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I should have mine back late this afternoon, so I'll post about the improvement after my 63-mile highway drive to work in the morning. My 2002 530i has 76,000 on it now, so for the bushings to be gone on mine at this mileage, my guess is yours at 72K might be suspect too.

Just the same, with tires that size it would be a good idea to have them road-force balanced. Do you have a shop nearby with the Hunter GSP9700? If not sure, the Hunter website has a search function for shops that have bought from them.

I'll let you know how things are with my car tomorrow.
 

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My car is a 97 528i with 160,000 km. when I drive at 110 - 120km/h my car also have this shimmy problem. Just wondering is the Rack & Pinion Boot the same thing as the front thrust arm bushings?

PixMan, I hope your car is all fixed :)
 

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E39 ****
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BimmerGuyFL said:
hey PixMan any updates with your shimmy problem?
Today's update: No car back from the shop yet. :thumbdwn:

Mofuggas took all day to get the bushings changed, too late to deliver the car back yesterday, so I "had to" ride my bike to work. Not that it's a bad thing....;)

I had better get it back today, or tomorrow I will be at the dealership ranting. :mad:
 

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i've had the same shimmy problem for more than 6 months...
it comes and goes at about 60kph and 110 kph (sometimes worse than others).
i have replaced brake pads and rotors, new wheels and tires, cleaned the hubs for the wheel mounting, had the suspension checked, adjusted tire pressures, alignments and road force balance, etc, etc. nothing has worked for longer than a couple days of driving.

i'm going to be taking the car back in when i get back from vacation to maybe have the control arms and bushings replaced as it seems this is the last option i have left! it does seem that having the car lifted on the hoist in the shop does change something on the car because after its been lifted (even if nothing is done) the shimmy disappears for a day or two and then reappears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
this seems to be a very commen problem for all E39 BMW 5 series models no matter if it is a 528i, 525i, 530i, 540i etc etc etc. I believe this is a suspension design flaw. my mom had a 2002 525i and at about 22,000 miles it started to have this shimmy problem. it got progresivly worst. by the time we traded it in for a 2005 E60 530i it felt as if it was going to fall apart at high way speeds. everyone who has had a E39 that i know ( 98 528i, 00 M5, 02 525i ) has had this steering wheel shimmy and now with my 2001 530i. I think BMW should take action on this and help us out and put out a technical service buliten on this.
 

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E39 ****
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Got my car back today, while I was at work. I took it for a short drive after I got home and parked the bike.

Well, good & not bad. Good is it's now as smooth as glass anything over 70mph. Not bad is there is a low-frequency rumble at 60-65. Fortunately, I rarely drive at that speed.

I'm seriously thinking of taking to back to the dealer and swapping it for this:
http://www.fmwestbmw.com/details.html?VID=1-83l1147284894

I'd just have to get past that mo'fuggin' KNOB on the console.

But...spouse may have issues with that. We'll see. What they did do with my E39 was those upper thrust arm bushings, realignment, re-balance all 4 with road-force balancer, and throw in a new battery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you PixMan for your quick reply, but what is a low-frequency rumble at 60-65. is it as sound or still a slight shimmy?
 

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E39 ****
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Not a shimmy, not a sound, but a seat-of-the-pants feeling. Weird.
 

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Thrust arm bushings fixed this annoying problem for me.
 

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My '97 had old and totally worn out shocks and springs. Busted bushings in thrust/control arms. And pretty worn down brake discs. But it has never had 'the shimmy'.

This week i replaced shocks, springs, brakes and steering arms all trust/control arms. And i had a mech spend almost 2 hours aligning it perfectly. And guess what.. NOW it has the shimmy at about 55-60 mph! How annoying is that?
 

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E39 ****
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Report redux:

I took mine up on the Massachusetts Turnpike and the newly paved I-290 westbound. It's as bad as it ever was. Thrust arm bushings did nothing significant, I really think the wheels and new tires are CRAP.

Since I bought it on July 6th, it's been into the dealer's shop for servicing this problem 3 times. It was there for 3, 7, then 5 days.

Today I drove those highways to the dealership (& back) to try and work a deal to trade up for another, lower mileage/newer 545i. I test drove the E60 545i, and liked it a LOT (though learning the knob on the console would take some serious seat time.)

Would you belive this dealer offered to take the E39 they sold me 5 weeks ago...for $8,000 LESS than I paid for it? Theives! I would have been willing to take a very SMALL hit, but to give me just 2/3rds of what I paid in good faith for a car that has not met my expectations, well let's just say that BMW NA is going to be getting one hell of a nastygram. :mad:
 

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So how much would it cost to replace the thrust arm bushings on a 2001 BMW 530i? I wanna try that maybe...
 

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BimmerGuyFL said:
I hear that it is common for the steering wheel on E39 BMW to have a shimmy between 50 and 60 mph. i tried testing a different set of new OEM BMW E39 rims with new tires from my friends E39 530i also (a swap out trade) and that didn't fix it. also have had the rims and tires balanced about 5 times with no luck. do you think i might need to get new control arms with 44K miles?
-There is no shimmy by design. Neither of our E39s have ever had a shimmy at that speed or any other...except when the thrust strut bushings are cracked or worn. This is easy to do under hard braking. Do a search on m5board.com for x5 bushings and you'll see some options if that is indeed your problem. If so, it's a cheap fix.
 

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ok, so i've read all of your posts, what do you guys exactaly mean by shimmy??
do you mean vibration through the steering wheel??
 

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Palantirion said:
-There is no shimmy by design. Neither of our E39s have ever had a shimmy at that speed or any other...except when the thrust strut bushings are cracked or worn. This is easy to do under hard braking. Do a search on m5board.com for x5 bushings and you'll see some options if that is indeed your problem. If so, it's a cheap fix.
correct, if you have a shimmy felt through the wheel only i would try inspecting the front wheels for being bent/out of balance/etc. if its felt through the brake pedal then inspect the thrust arm bushings, check to see if rotors are warped etc.
 
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