E46 Fanatics Forum banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of September's Ride of the Month Challenge!
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
326 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Back on the ever-vibrating saga of my e46, I'm now wondering if my vibration isn't driveline at all, but in fact is related to the front suspension. I feel the vibration strongest at 59-60mph, and can feel it / hear it both in the steering wheel, and my feet / legs / seat. When placing my hand on the rear center tunnel, or rear seat, the vibration isn't as noticeable.

I've had a shop go over my driveline to inspect it, had a lot replaced at this point and I'm at a loss so I'm looking elsewhere than the driveline to fix this 60mph vibration. I also have a 20-30mph vibration under hard acceleration that I'm a bit worried about too, but don't think this is the same issue.

The steering wheel doesn't shimmy left/right, and I've had the wheels rebalanced (more than once) now.

When jacking the car up one side at a time, and placing my hands at 9 and 3 to wiggle back and forth, I can definitely see that front control arm bushing move. I can't tell if the movement is excessive, if there's supposed to be NO movement or if it's normal though. I'll try and get a video later today.

From the rear of the bushing, the arm doesn't quite seem to be totally centered, so im wondering if the rubber is old and worn.

When stepping on the brakes sharply, the steering wheel jerks & I hear a clunk. the car begins tracking left. I had thought this was a result of replacing one frozen caliper and not the other, and the other being lazy, but I may be wrong.

From the records I have, the previous owner had them replaced by BMW at about 65k miles, 10 years ago. I'm currently at 94k miles. Could they have begun to go bad already? Can anyone show me a video that demonstrates proper movement?

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
E46 '04 330Ci convertible 780 K km
Joined
·
1,549 Posts
When stepping on the brakes sharply, the steering wheel jerks & I hear a clunk.
Bushes. First clear symptom, when you slow moving and apply sharp break, steering wheel shakes. Right one usually goes first, as it is passenger side and more prone to holes/ bumps impact, and also because it is close to exhaust, and dies faster.
So not wait till it tears. As you feel some movement there, replace them.
For vibration - balancing might not be a solution, as neither bend on rim nor play on tire can be eliminated by balancing. Close attention to rims and tires.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,636 Posts
How many miles on the car and the front suspension parts? The bushings can be replaced if you can get the car in the air. Basically, unbolt the front control arm bushings from the body. Rotate the front suspension so that the bushings isn’t against the body. Place the open end of a large open end wrench (I used a 32mm wrench) against the bushings. Use a mallet to force the old bushing off the control arm. Then put some dish washing liquid on the control arm shaft and force the new bushing onto the shaft. Swing that suspension back into position and bolt the bushing to the body. Note that there are sleeves on the body. The bushing holder needs to slide over these sleeves to be properly positioned. As I remember you torque the NEW bolts to 44ft lbs and then tighten them an additional 90 degrees. I may be wrong so wait to see if someone else chimes in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
326 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
How many miles on the car and the front suspension parts? The bushings can be replaced if you can get the car in the air. Basically, unbolt the front control arm bushings from the body. Rotate the front suspension so that the bushings isn’t against the body. Place the open end of a large open end wrench (I used a 32mm wrench) against the bushings. Use a mallet to force the old bushing off the control arm. Then put some dish washing liquid on the control arm shaft and force the new bushing onto the shaft. Swing that suspension back into position and bolt the bushing to the body. Note that there are sleeves on the body. The bushing holder needs to slide over these sleeves to be properly positioned. As I remember you torque the NEW bolts to 44ft lbs and then tighten them an additional 90 degrees. I may be wrong so wait to see if someone else chimes in.
From the service records I have, the only non-original parts are the FCAB’s (30k miles, 10 years old), and the end links which I just did this summer. The car has 94k on them. Doesn’t look too tough to replace!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,267 Posts
How many miles on the car and the front suspension parts? The bushings can be replaced if you can get the car in the air. Basically, unbolt the front control arm bushings from the body. Rotate the front suspension so that the bushings isn’t against the body. Place the open end of a large open end wrench (I used a 32mm wrench) against the bushings. Use a mallet to force the old bushing off the control arm. Then put some dish washing liquid on the control arm shaft and force the new bushing onto the shaft. Swing that suspension back into position and bolt the bushing to the body. Note that there are sleeves on the body. The bushing holder needs to slide over these sleeves to be properly positioned. As I remember you torque the NEW bolts to 44ft lbs and then tighten them an additional 90 degrees. I may be wrong so wait to see if someone else chimes in.
44 ft lbs is correct, additional 90° is wrong
 
  • Like
Reactions: brewerkz

·
Registered
2003 BMW 325CI convertible, Oct '02 prod. date, 111K miles
Joined
·
180 Posts
I am the process of replacing my front control arm bushings at 110,000 miles - previous owner replaced them around 75,000 miles at BMW, and I an confirm they used BMW parts, so your experience isn't much different from mine. I am also replacing oil pan gasket, engine mounts, trans mounts, front brake rotors and pads at the same time. (also recently replaced the original rear training arm bushings last month).

the front control arm bushings are not too bad to replace. I ended using a Harbor freight puller tool to remove them off the control arm. But, many are able to remove them by hand.
 

·
Super Moderator
2004 325i automagic
Joined
·
3,489 Posts
As I remember you torque the NEW bolts to 44ft lbs and then tighten them an additional 90 degrees. I may be wrong so wait to see if someone else chimes in.
You are thinking of the aluminum reinforcement plate (stretch) bolts which are 44 ft-lbs and the extra up to 90* turn.

The fcab bushing bolts only get 44 ft-lbs and nothing more.
 

·
Super Moderator
'03 325iT Mystic Blau
Joined
·
5,145 Posts
the front control arm bushings are not too bad to replace. I ended using a Harbor freight puller tool to remove them off the control arm. But, many are able to remove them by hand.
I used a ratchet strap. Wrapped one end around the FCA shaft ahead of the bushing and hooked it on itself so that it was choker, then hooked the other end on the rear lower control arm.

New bolts are only called for because of encapsulated thread locker. Use a little blue Loctite on there and no reason not to reuse them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
326 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am the process of replacing my front control arm bushings at 110,000 miles - previous owner replaced them around 75,000 miles at BMW, and I an confirm they used BMW parts, so your experience isn't much different from mine. I am also replacing oil pan gasket, engine mounts, trans mounts, front brake rotors and pads at the same time. (also recently replaced the original rear training arm bushings last month).

the front control arm bushings are not too bad to replace. I ended using a Harbor freight puller tool to remove them off the control arm. But, many are able to remove them by hand.
What does the play on yours look like?
 

·
Registered
2003 BMW 325CI convertible, Oct '02 prod. date, 111K miles
Joined
·
180 Posts
What does the play on yours look like?
with the car on jacks, grabbing the wheel at 3 and 9 o/c and wiggling it, I can see a lot of movement of the control arm in the bushing. Also, my car would drift around when trying to keep it driving straight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
326 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
with the car on jacks, grabbing the wheel at 3 and 9 o/c and wiggling it, I can see a lot of movement of the control arm in the bushing. Also, my car would drift around when trying to keep it driving straight.
Hmm gotcha - maybe worth just doing mine this weekend to be safe. Still on the fence if my issue is driveline, or suspension. Sometimes it feels to be coming from the front, sometimes from the rear.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top