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Discussion Starter #1
So in the last 2 months, every week or so I start experiencing extensive vibration in my steering wheel. At speeds above 60 the steeting wheel shakes like a sail bot in a wind storm. By now I have had the multiple wheel balance and alignments done from various stores, got the front rotors replaced, but it keeps coming back and the dealership is out of ideas. They just do another alignment and balance and send me back home. I am not hitting potholes every week - seriously :)

Any ideas on what I can ask them to look at? Bent wheel? Suspension? Steering Wheel assembly?

Thanks.
 

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Have the A-Arm bushings checked. I had a nasty shimmy on my car when I first bought it (used). I thought it was the front rotors, but it was the A-Arm bushing on one of the front wheels.
 
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I installed some RD Sport Swaybars and it reduced the wheel shake significantly.
 

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Could be a wheel bearing... put it on a lift and grab the wheel at 12 and 6 and see if it shakes.
 

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I'm not sure how many miles are on your 08 but I've recently had a similar issue and went ahead and replaced all four of the front control arms and thrust arm. Those bushings wear over time and then provide direct vibration to the steering wheel especially at speed. It is a pretty simple DIY program if you are so inclined. I'd start there and if that doesn't do the trick I would double check the tie rod ends - both inner and outer for play. I think those are more unlikely but good to check to be sure.
 
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Oh Boy...here we go...:dunno:
 

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I See more and more of this issue. I hope someone who fixes this actually updates the threads.

I do not have this issue now but when I did it was due to my spacers not sitting flush.
 

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Question: Have you ever taken this to an
able BMW dealership for this problem?
One who knows of this problem, instead of mechanics that may "guess" at what the problem is???
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I am still under the free 4 year of service, so I only go to the dealership. Now whether they are able or not is questionable. I only have one dealership in my town so cant really compare
 

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If that's the case then point them to the direction of the "Tension Struts" and their bushings. That is the typical failure point - they are fluid filled bushings and when they fail and leak you lose the insular capacity and you get the shimmies. They can change just the bushing, they are press in type; however if the ball joint is bad they should replace the entire arm. The second failure point is the "Wishbone" bushings. They have integral bushings and those also fail over time - not fluid filled but if they are cracked and worn those should also be replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So it turns out since the last balancing I now had water in my tire. The delaership dried it, rebalanced it and sent me home again. I am keeping my fingers crossed that was it, although I am not convinced. They refused to look at anythign else becuase according the them the problem was obvious...didnt matter that there was no reasonable explaination of why the wheels keep going off balance repetitively. Thanks for all your help and tips. If the problem does return I am going to push them to review this list of suggestions.
 

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Hey I had reoccurring vibration that kept warping my rotors. Turned out to be a bad wheel baring! :) I had my front rotors replace 3 times because they could not figure out the issue...
 

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Hey I had reoccurring vibration that kept warping my rotors. Turned out to be a bad wheel baring! :) I had my front rotors replace 3 times because they could not figure out the issue...
Massive throwback, but I'm getting the same issue, i.e. steering wheel shimmy (extremely obvious) despite changing everything. I've changed:

KW V3 coilovers
New pads RS29
Old discs skimmed
New Discs (Stoptech genuine discs)
New fluid Motul RBF600
New OEM arms all round
New OEM Arb bushes
Powerflex bushes on the front lower control arms
New tyres MPS4s
New to me OEM wheels
Wheels rebalanced

All this done within the last 10k, majority of it in the last 5k.

It has cost me a real pretty penny to no avail. Any idea what else i'm missing. I've not changed the wheel bearings nor the steering rack nor the guide pins on the Stoptech bbk yet however keen to not continue throwing money at it.
 

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When is the shimmy? Is it only at speed? Is it there under braking? When does it go away? Have you had the wheels and tires Roadforce balanced (special balancer made by Hunter Engineering)?
 

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Hard to describe but I'll do my best.

Before changing my old stoptech pads to the pagid RS29 pads & before changing my lower control arm bushes from OEM to powerflex, the vibration was only felt when braking from 70mph or higher.

After changing the the pads and bushes, its intermittent but I'm definitely getting shimmy when braking from 70mph or higher and it has also started to vibrate sometimes whilst just driving. Today, it did all of it and nothing. Sometimes it would vibrate when driving at low or high speeds, it would also vibrate when braking from low or high speeds and then all og a sudden be fine without a trace. But majority of the times there was an issue.

When I'm driving at Mexico speeds and I brake, I get less vibration than when I'm braking from say 90mph or so.

I also changed my front and rear top mounts to new OEM ones about 3k back which I forgot to add to my list.

I've had the car aligned using HUNTER machine and not sure of the brand the mechanics used to balance my tyres today but the problem has been there ever since I installed the BBK. They were 2nd hand to me. But now that I've replaced the discs and pads, not sure what else is causing the issue.

At its worst you can feel the vibration driving along at low speeds and its a rotational knocking effect and you can feel the vibration under braking too. If one were to ask me I would say I can feel the vibration in the front only come from the arms or hubs but then again no idea how true that is.....


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I’d recommend finding a place that has a Roadforce balancer. It a more expensive balance, but that will independently validate and imbalance and variation in the sidewalk stiffness of the tire. It’s the only machine that can do that since it has a roller that comes down on the tire and measures the forces and imbalance.

What about an alignment?

BMW’s multilink design is very susceptible to what we used to call wheel nibble, which is minute to severe circular (left to right) vibration. You seem to describe this but as you know these things are hard to describe. it happens more under heavy braking, because the design of the factory bushings is to allow for deflection under toe in and toe out. Solid bushes don’t necessarily help that matter though. One of my cars had the purple bushes from the prior owner, I think they were powerflex. Horrible nibble under aggressive braking, and I deducted 1k during the test drive because of that and other ailments, but I used to do some vehicle dynamics at Ford and these things annoy me to no end.

If your toe settings are asymmetric you can get this dynamic. That’s why I asked about the alignment, but it should have been done when you had your shocks and bushes changed.

This is different from up and down vibration which is caused by a wheel or tire imbalance.

You also could have a bad wheel bearing too. But first have the tire/wheel assembly audited as mentioned and any print outs of your alignments.
 

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I’d recommend finding a place that has a Roadforce balancer. It a more expensive balance, but that will independently validate and imbalance and variation in the sidewalk stiffness of the tire. It’s the only machine that can do that since it has a roller that comes down on the tire and measures the forces and imbalance.

What about an alignment?

BMW’s multilink design is very susceptible to what we used to call wheel nibble, which is minute to severe circular (left to right) vibration. You seem to describe this but as you know these things are hard to describe. it happens more under heavy braking, because the design of the factory bushings is to allow for deflection under toe in and toe out. Solid bushes don’t necessarily help that matter though. One of my cars had the purple bushes from the prior owner, I think they were powerflex. Horrible nibble under aggressive braking, and I deducted 1k during the test drive because of that and other ailments, but I used to do some vehicle dynamics at Ford and these things annoy me to no end.

If your toe settings are asymmetric you can get this dynamic. That’s why I asked about the alignment, but it should have been done when you had your shocks and bushes changed.

This is different from up and down vibration which is caused by a wheel or tire imbalance.

You also could have a bad wheel bearing too. But first have the tire/wheel assembly audited as mentioned and any print outs of your alignments.
Thanks. Again not sure what machine was used though they had the cover come down whilst the wheel was spinning.

Here is a pic of the before and after alignment reading using a HUNTER machine.



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Can you do a close up of the first part of the page? You can block out any of your personal info. The 3rd row is toe, is seems to be out of spec, and total toe is red too. However camber affects toe. And you camber appears to be asymmetrical too, but they may have run out of adjustment limit. That’s what has happened to mine. I have an alignment machine and Roadforce balancer. Did the balancer machine Have a large diameter Roller wheel behind the tire?
 

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Is the attached and better?

Top half is the before measurement.
Bottom half is the new measurement.

I do not remember if the balancing machine had that sadly.


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