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Old 03-30-2006, 12:52 PM   #1
SpeedDemon
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Question Symptoms of Worn Tie Rods

The front end of my car has felt sloppy ever since I got it a month ago now. I have replaced the front control arms with Meyle ones and use PowerFlex polyurethane bushings. I also had the UUC sway bars installed.

Although things feel tighter I still feel like the steering is loose. Whenever I hit anything on the road whether it's a bump or some groove in the road my car gets bumped off of going in a straight line. I don't know if you would call this bump steer or tramlining, or neither at all. Considering what I've replaced though is it possible that I could have worn tie rods as well?

How do you diagnose worn tie rods and what are the symptoms? Anyone know how much it costs to have these replaced, is it a DIY job? Do you have to get any kind of alignment after replacing these?

Is it possible that my Kumho Ecsta MX tires that I have on the stock 17" wheels could cause this? Thanks.

One more thing... I know that it's not in my head that the car is jumping around a lot on the road since I regularly drive my girlfriends 2002 325i which exhibits none of these characteristics.
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Old 03-30-2006, 01:34 PM   #2
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From edge motorworks:
"Tie Rod Wear
Symtoms include: steering shimmy, clunking during steering input and inability to hold proper alignment. If any of the ball joint boots is cracked (you'll see grease coming out) then expect that component to need replacement. All components should also be checked for excessive play, and replaced if out of BMW spec."
http://www.edgemotorworks.com/
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Old 03-30-2006, 01:39 PM   #3
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Could be the tires. I have the same kind and experience the same problem.
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:30 PM   #4
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2000's built between june and december are known to have overboosted/ crappy steering...
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Old 03-30-2006, 06:25 PM   #5
Hrvat
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drummersam, mine is 2001 but built in Dec 2000.
could you elaborated on this overboosted steering?
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:13 PM   #6
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I Think you have worn shocks or struts. I've gone through the same thing with my car replacing all those things that you did and none that solves the the problem including 3 alignments with 3 different shops and until 2 weeks ago I went all out replaced Rear Trail Arm Bushings, rear shocks and front struts and both outer tie rod ends. I did this myself in my garage and by the way I went with cheap replacement TOKICO shocks and struts and have it aligned at NTB (which did a really good job) and boys my car now drives like new again with tight steering very firm on the curve or straight road....I love my car again.
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by croat
drummersam, mine is 2001 but built in Dec 2000.
could you elaborated on this overboosted steering?
"BMW marketing had feedback that said that their cars took too much effort to turn the wheel in slow speed situations, i.e. parking. BMW modified the steering rack and system to decrease the steering effort. Those owners who have had extensive experience with E36's (previous generation 3 series) or pre June 2000 cars have stated that there was also a resulting loss of road feel through the steering wheel. Many of these board members have dubbed the "new" steering feel equipped cars as the "Ultimate Parking Machine". " --e46fanatics.com FAQ
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Old 03-30-2006, 09:07 PM   #8
SpeedDemon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by croat
Could be the tires. I have the same kind and experience the same problem.
Did tires fix it for you?
Quote:
Originally Posted by elo
I Think you have worn shocks or struts. I've gone through the same thing with my car replacing all those things that you did and none that solves the the problem including 3 alignments with 3 different shops and until 2 weeks ago I went all out replaced Rear Trail Arm Bushings, rear shocks and front struts and both outer tie rod ends. I did this myself in my garage and by the way I went with cheap replacement TOKICO shocks and struts and have it aligned at NTB (which did a really good job) and boys my car now drives like new again with tight steering very firm on the curve or straight road....I love my car again.
What makes you think that it was the shocks and not the tie rods? I had a local bmw shop tell me that shocks and springs are in great shape. I also don't see how the RTAB's could affect steering, but I'd love for someone to correct me if I'm wrong.
Quote:
Originally Posted by drummersam65
"BMW marketing had feedback that said that their cars took too much effort to turn the wheel in slow speed situations, i.e. parking. BMW modified the steering rack and system to decrease the steering effort. Those owners who have had extensive experience with E36's (previous generation 3 series) or pre June 2000 cars have stated that there was also a resulting loss of road feel through the steering wheel. Many of these board members have dubbed the "new" steering feel equipped cars as the "Ultimate Parking Machine". " --e46fanatics.com FAQ
My 328i has an 08/2000 build date so would that mean that it's an "ultimate parking machine"? Is there anything that I can do to tone down the overboosted steering if this is the case? I have a friend with a 323Ci and his feels like it's way easier to steer than mine (not in a good way either).
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Old 03-30-2006, 11:10 PM   #9
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Still curious why my steering is sloppy and tends to grab things in the road and get bumped off course. Is it my tie rods? Is it my tires? What is the likely hood of either and how do you diagnose the worn tie rods; are there any specific tests?

I brought over my father's OEM E36 M3 wheels with Michelin Pilot Sports. I'm going to throw these on my car tomorrow and see if it still has the same tracking problems.
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Old 03-31-2006, 07:27 AM   #10
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i am still running on those chitty kumhos. couple more months and I'll be getting new tires

elo, how much did those parts cost you?
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedDemon
I also don't see how the RTAB's could affect steering, but I'd love for someone to correct me if I'm wrong.
Not steering per se, but directional stability.
Rear toe is adjusted by moving the housing which holds the RTAB's. If the RTAB's are worn, it would have the affect of allowing the end of the trailing arm to wiggle, which is essentially the same thing as your rear toe setting fluctuating as you drive. This in turn results a your rear wheels "steering" erratically as you drive, which obviously makes the whole car feel loose with poor directional stability.
One difficulty I've noticed with trying to troubleshoot handling problems on this car are that since it is really pretty stiff, it is hard to isolate an issue to a particular location just by feel. Also, as you may have notice from the Edge Motorworks checklist, many of the problem areas have about the same, or at least very similar symptoms. On the plus side though, the list of potential problem areas is relatively short. It's just a matter of checking them out one at a time and systematically elliminating them.
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Old 03-31-2006, 10:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedDemon
Still curious why my steering is sloppy and tends to grab things in the road and get bumped off course. Is it my tie rods? Is it my tires? What is the likely hood of either and how do you diagnose the worn tie rods; are there any specific tests?

I brought over my father's OEM E36 M3 wheels with Michelin Pilot Sports. I'm going to throw these on my car tomorrow and see if it still has the same tracking problems.
Jack the front up and shake the wheel. If a tie rod is that bad you'll feel it easily. Like others have said this could be a lot of things, tires, control arms/bushings front or rear, shocks/struts, tires or wheel bearings. Start eliminating the possibilities. How many miles on the car??
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by croat
i am still running on those chitty kumhos. couple more months and I'll be getting new tires

elo, how much did those parts cost you?
$459 for shocks and struts (free shipping from shox.com); about $70 for both tie rod ends and $39 for a pair of RTAB. And that is cheap repair for me.
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Old 03-31-2006, 09:23 PM   #14
Erick Sermon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drummersam65
2000's built between june and december are known to have overboosted/ crappy steering...


Double edged sword when buying a 2000 - you want a later build date for the prettier steering wheel and the ability to reset service indicator from the dash, but you get stuck with non-existant feel through your steering.

I thought of underdriving the pullies but it won't help i don't think - the ratio is just wrong. You need to turn the wheel too many times to even turn the wheel a little
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Old 03-31-2006, 11:03 PM   #15
hawkeye00021
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I also have those tires and am having the same problems... control arms and bushings are new as well as shocks/springs. Mine is a 99 so I don't think I have overboosted steering.
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Old 04-01-2006, 12:22 AM   #16
e4t6
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Worn control arm bushings. . .
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Old 04-01-2006, 01:29 AM   #17
SpeedDemon
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Well I put the E36 M3 wheels on today with the Michelin Pilot Sports and it solved all of my problems. That is just unbelievable. I can't believe how terrilbe those Kumho Ecsta MX's were... Although it could have been a wierd wear pattern on them.
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Old 04-01-2006, 06:32 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedDemon
Well I put the E36 M3 wheels on today with the Michelin Pilot Sports and it solved all of my problems. That is just unbelievable. I can't believe how terrilbe those Kumho Ecsta MX's were... Although it could have been a wierd wear pattern on them.

i lot of tires performer differently once they wear down a certain extent. i have a set of T1S that are very quiet and stable when new, but now that they're more then 1/2 worn, they are tramlining horrendously, much like your kumho's. i don't know how worn the pilot sports are, but i wouldn't be surprised after certain amount of wear, those tires will also tramline quite a bit, considering they're performance summer tires with a v-shaped tread design. but yeah, kuhmo ecsta mx's are cheapo tires. consider it as you get what you paid for...
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Old 04-01-2006, 11:33 AM   #19
SpeedDemon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EDawg
i lot of tires performer differently once they wear down a certain extent. i have a set of T1S that are very quiet and stable when new, but now that they're more then 1/2 worn, they are tramlining horrendously, much like your kumho's. i don't know how worn the pilot sports are, but i wouldn't be surprised after certain amount of wear, those tires will also tramline quite a bit, considering they're performance summer tires with a v-shaped tread design. but yeah, kuhmo ecsta mx's are cheapo tires. consider it as you get what you paid for...
For sure, I totally agree with you. The Michelin Pilot Sports are actually worn down way more than the Kumho's. The Kumho's have maybe 3000 miles on them but came off my Acura Legend and the Pilot Sports are down past the wear bars and came off an E36 M3.
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