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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Greetings,

I had my control arm bushings changed on my 2001 325ci after experiencing vibration/shaking at highway speeds, usually after 70 mph.

Now the shaking has slightly went down and now appears around 75-80 mph.

What can be the cause? Do I need to get my wheel balanced or aligned? Can it be the tires or do I need to change the control arms itself?

Thanks in advance.


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Sky's the limit. Chances are your car is old and falling apart. Start with a good balance because you need to anyway regardless of what parts are on your car. If you have to ask if your wheels need to be balanced, chances are they haven't been in a while or it's way off. Also make sure you start out with high end expensive tires. You go generic used, mixmatched, or otherwise poor chinese tires--you get what you pay for. Same goes for wheels. Go full quality--always!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mango,

Hopefully this weekend I will get my wheels balanced and keep you all posted on the results.


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Alignment has little to do with vibration unless you wear the tires to the point they are out of balance again.

Balancing and bent wheels are the biggest problems. Most tire techs overlook or miss bent wheels when they should find them.

You can look for bent wheels, very easy, jack up car, spin wheel look for tread movement and rim bead variations. Most rims bend more in the inside bead area.

FYI, you cannot balance out bends regardless of what anyone tells you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Definitely will make sure my cars are checked for bents and get my wheel balanced.


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Greetings,

I had my control arm bushings changed on my 2001 325ci after experiencing vibration/shaking at highway speeds, usually after 70 mph.

Now the shaking has slightly went down and now appears around 75-80 mph.

What can be the cause? Do I need to get my wheel balanced or aligned? Can it be the tires or do I need to change the control arms itself?

Thanks in advance.


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Shaking at speed is almost always a tire/wheel issue. The tire has a defect in the casting or is out of balance, the wheel is bent. You are spending money on stuff that should not be considered until you have ruled out the tires/wheels.
 

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My car is having occasional steering wheel jigger. New steering rods, control arms are in good condition, and new poly control arm bushings. Wheels were re-balanced and checked during last alignment.
Last thing I can think of is steering coupler. It was a bit flimsy last time I checked it, so I might replace it with poly one.

Edit: I am running semi-cheap-ish tires, but mechanic said they shouldn't cause any vibrations.
 

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My car is having occasional steering wheel jigger. New steering rods, control arms are in good condition, and new poly control arm bushings. Wheels were re-balanced and checked during last alignment.
Last thing I can think of is steering coupler. It was a bit flimsy last time I checked it, so I might replace it with poly one.

Edit: I am running semi-cheap-ish tires, but mechanic said they shouldn't cause any vibrations.
Shaking at speed is almost always caused by tire/wheel issues. The steering couple should not cause a shake or vibration, but it could lead to a car that wanders and constantly needs corrective steering, and the wheel moves but the car does not.

Shaking and vibrations come at certain harmonic ranges. You might feel a poorly balanced tire at 50, but not at 40 or 60.
 

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Alignment has little to do with vibration unless you wear the tires to the point they are out of balance again.

Balancing and bent wheels are the biggest problems. Most tire techs overlook or miss bent wheels when they should find them.

You can look for bent wheels, very easy, jack up car, spin wheel look for tread movement and rim bead variations. Most rims bend more in the inside bead area.

FYI, you cannot balance out bends regardless of what anyone tells you.
If a wheel is bent it can often be repaired for less than the cost of a used wheel.

Also, and this is easily overlooked, while the tech is checking your wheels for bends, have them check the tire for out-of-roundness.

I had a strange case last year where a front wheel was bent but was not causing any vibration at any speed. I discovered the flat spot in the wheel when doing the brakes. So I had the wheel fixed at a shop that specializes in that and it came out great. However, after they mounted the tire on the repaired wheel and I test drove it there was some vibration. I was like WTF? It turns out that the tire was out of round just right to compensate for the bent spot on the wheel. I bought a new tire and the vibration was gone. So maybe the previous owner hit a curb and bent the wheel, then took it to a tire shop who "trued" the tire such that the overall tire/wheel rolled round. A side effect of all this was that it wore out the wheel bearing on that side, which I then replaced.
 

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warped brake discs
That usually only causes vibration (and a pulsing brake pedal) when you apply the brakes. If the rotors are really friggin' warped then yeah maybe you'll get some vibration without applying brakes. But typically not unless you're braking.
 

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Warped brake rotors rarely cause any vibrations, however, a stuck brake caliper can sometimes cause vibrations as the brakes heat up and grab on warped rotors.

Also wheels that are not OE or have center hub bore diameters too large can cause issues sometimes requiring hub centric spacers.

Bent wheels can be repaired, however, there are varying levels of wheel repair facilities around the world. Many of the mobile repair vans just use a cross bar with a hydraulic ram to attempt to straighten the wheel, other better shops have large machines like big wheel balancers with large rollers that really true the wheel, but sometimes wheels need heat which may damage the finish then require a full refinishing job.

Few shops have the "real" wheel straightening capability.

Also note that Road Force balancing does not find bent wheels, they can actually show a bent wheel as fully balanced even under load while the wheel/tire assembly is sending vibrations through the machine due to a bent wheel. I have personally been demonstrated with a wheel from my E46. I was a bit surprised when I saw/felt what was going on, but the balance display indicated the wheel was fully balanced and required no additional weight.

It takes a very good and detailed tire tech to specifically identify bent wheels. Do not assume when you go to get your wheels balanced that the tire tech will actually look for bent wheels, most won't!
 

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Although a dial indicator is useful, most wheel/tire variations that you cannot see by eye will not cause too much in the way of obvious vibrations.

Every problem car I have dealt with typically had 1/8"-1/4" or more variations in the wheel/tire or both.

If you can see it with your eye, you need to address the problem.

I wish I had some of my bad wheels still as it would be SO easy to do a stupid simple video that would show how OBVIOUS most bent wheels are.

Just floors me how so many tire techs just blindly mount the wheels on a balancer and slap weights on a wheel until the display show 0.00 oz/grams and they think their job is done. They never look at the wheel for cracks, bends or other defects. When if fact if they just paid a small amount of attention to detail they would easily find a few or even more bent/damaged wheels a week.

They can still balance them, but it is wise to advise the customer if they have a vibration problem that the "X" front or rear wheel was bent and may need to be repaired or replaced.

But in addition to just watching the wheel while it is mounted on the balancer, the wheel needs to be spun while on the car and checked as well. This is easy to do as you just get a focal point beyond the wheel and focus and watch the wheel/tire for variations. If needed they can bring over a pole jack or some other item to use as a general reference from the edge of the rim, sidewall or the bottom of the tread.

So much for expecting too much these days!
 

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A dial indicator could also mislead you because there is a certain amount of tolerance allowed in the runout of the wheel. I'd use it to compare all 4 wheels to see if any had noticeably more than the rest. But as you say, you can just do that by eye quite accurately with a reference object.


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A dial indicator could also mislead you because there is a certain amount of tolerance allowed in the runout of the wheel.
Good point. And as jfoj said most wheel issues can be detected visually, but I like me some cheapo dial indicator action!
http://t.harborfreight.com/1-inch-travel-machinists-dial-indicator-623.html

One other thing that can cause wheel vibration is various problems with the tire, such as seperating tread, a flat spot from brake lock-up (though rare these days with ABS), severe cupping tire wear from bad shocks or out of alignment, completely blown out shocks (spring bounce with no damping), and bumpy roads. ;)
 
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