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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve had this issue for years and I think it’s about time to tackle it.
Basically right before I come to a complete stop the steering wheel vibrates a little. I think it might have something to do with alternator or voltage regulator.
My DRL also have a slight flicker, very faint and can hardly notice it.
It seems that right before a stop the car needs more voltage and there is some surge in voltage which causes the very short steering wheel Vibration.
Can this be plotted with obd2 scanner using the voltages to confirm?
Or should I just replace voltage regular because it’s most likely faulty?
Can it be replaced without removing alternator?
 

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2016 340i xD 6-spd
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26,774 Posts
Your drop in voltage could be due to something like a dirty icv. Are you noticing the revs dropping below 700, maybe surging a little?

The PS system isn't electric on the e46 that I know of. The shaft of the pump gets loose inside the impeller so it doesn't pump as well. You could pull out on the pulley and see if it is loose, and check your other pulleys...one might be hanging up--you'd probably be complaining of a screal, though.

...and I'd only replace the alt if your voltages when running are below 13.6 or so. Should be around 14. If the voltage is okay, then I'd start looking at the connections to make sure they're all clean and tight from the battery forward.
 

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2002 330 Ci
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You don't need to replace your alternator. Just the regulator. Unless the bearings in the alternator is going. But, you'd hear that. Regulator is around 80 bucks and you don't need to remove the alternator to swap it.

Check your battery, connections and grounds as well.
 

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E30M3 Race F10 535 R1150Rt M Coupe
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Instrument cluster test #9 to view voltage. See if there's a voltage drop and shake at the same time.
Unless the engine is just about to stall and the steering assist goes wonky (very unlikely) the voltage issue you suspect should have nothing to do wit your steering issue.

Your shake; Brakes applied or not? Is there a difference?
DRL flicker, usually an aftermarket lamp issue and bulb monitoring.

Electric assisted steering.... Not until the Z4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes the brakes are applied and the moment before the car completely stops there is a steering wheel shake.

I noticed this same shake happens when I turn the steering wheel while the car is stationary?

Could this be the belt drive? There are no chirps or anything when the steering shake happens.
 

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2016 340i xD 6-spd
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I'm guessing control arm bushings, perhaps control arms.

Maybe have a friend watch you stop and start...see if your wheels hop forward or back.

...although you should check your brake components. I've heard of many things loose like wheels and caliper holders. Check things out.
 

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Replace your engine and transmission mounts and just check double your subframe bolts to ensure see that they're good n tight. There are a number of things that can cause steering and suspension issues, but it seems like mounts or front subframe being loose is that’s what your dealing with.
 

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Out of curiosity, how would voltage fluctuations cause the steering wheel to shake? I'd be looking at brakes and suspension bushings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I’ll try and make a video and it’ll explain what is happening. It’s hard to describe.

I don’t think it’s any suspension parts because it does it when the car is stationary and would have more suspension shakes and issues while car is going over bumps.About 10 years ago I replaced most of the suspension with Meyle HD so I am pretty sure it is still good.
 

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E30M3 Race F10 535 R1150Rt M Coupe
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I'll ask again, but in a different way. (Trying to divide and conquer) If you slow down to where the condition happens, but NOT using the brakes, does the issue still happen?
 

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I only saw mention of coming to a stop in #1. If it dies it when car is stationary, that makes a big difference. Can you clarify. Also try MrMcar suggestion.
 

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Sounds like motor mounts because of stationary issue. Also, how does your steering oil smell? If it doesn’t smell like safe sex then it might be burnt up. Which would eventually cause aeration, and you would feel like steering oil is champagne as it chops through the pump.
 
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