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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have been having an issue as of late with a steering wheel vibration. The vibration occurs between 45 - 60 mph with the worse around 50mph mark. The vibration was present with my old tires and is still presnt with my new tires. So I know it's not the tires. The steering wheel shifts left and right and consistent pace. It is more noticeable in the mornings when I first drive the car for about 10 miles. I had the car checked out and shop could not find anything.

On a side note I had all 4 tires changed because the front right tire had uneven wear. This leads me to believe maybe something is wrong with the front right suspension. Any ideas or things to check out would be great. My rear sway bar brackets were also broken but I had those changed to the beast power brackets.
 

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I have a similar issue at the same speed.
Figuring it was an improperly balanced wheel, I went and had all of them rebalanced and I still have the same feeling.

I also recently had the front thrust bushing replaced, and the tech said he did not see anything else wrong up front.


Interested to hear what others have to say.
 

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I have a similar issue at the same speed.
Figuring it was an improperly balanced wheel, I went and had all of them rebalanced and I still have the same feeling.

I also recently had the front thrust bushing replaced, and the tech said he did not see anything else wrong up front.


Interested to hear what others have to say.
Temporarily swap front and rears. Rears should fit on fronts well enough to test for vibration. If your shop has an on car wheel balancer, you can spin one at a time and see if the steering wheel moves at speed, doing one side at a time.

If not wheels and/or tires, then look for suspension in the front. Tie rods, or I beleive the center tie rod link (correct name?) is a suspect on my list.

Regards,
Jerry
 

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After searching my *** off regarding the same issue as you, most all posts pointed to the thrust arm bushings. Since they didn't "look" bad, I decided to change both thrust arm bushings(the entire arm with ball joint) and both of the front lower control arms. Although once off the car, the thrust arms still didn't look bad, there was definitely some "sag" to the rubber inards and the control arms showed just the slightest separation around the bushing at 78k mi. This 100% solved any vibration from the steering wheel I was getting before the swap. So, even though the thrust arms bushings don't look bad, my understanding is that they can still be worn and cause this exact vibration at 45-60mph. If you want to get longer life out of the thrust arm bushings, and more direct response from the steering, search for X5 replacement bushings as so many members have done.
 

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After searching my *** off regarding the same issue as you, most all posts pointed to the thrust arm bushings. Since they didn't "look" bad, I decided to change both thrust arm bushings(the entire arm with ball joint) and both of the front lower control arms. Although once off the car, the thrust arms still didn't look bad, there was definitely some "sag" to the rubber inards and the control arms showed just the slightest separation around the bushing at 78k mi. This 100% solved any vibration from the steering wheel I was getting before the swap. So, even though the thrust arms bushings don't look bad, my understanding is that they can still be worn and cause this exact vibration at 45-60mph. If you want to get longer life out of the thrust arm bushings, and more direct response from the steering, search for X5 replacement bushings as so many members have done.
You may be right. I only got the wheel shimmy under light braking when mine went bad so I didn't consider it otherwise. Thanks for pointing that out.

Use X5 bushings, more robust.
Regards,
Jerry
 

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+1 thrust arm bushings only last about 60-70k miles. Usually most noticable when braking hard.

Also check for bent wheels and/or other loose suspension bushings.

The thing is these cars without rack and pinion steering mask many of the subtle vibrations that show up on the E46 and the E39 with rack and pinion.

As for the X5 bushings, be careful about the installation of these as they are marked differently than standard bushings.

I have a set I need to install once the weather gets warmer.
 

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Almost 100% sure that you need new thrust arm bushings. Had the same problem for the last couple of months and just did them last week. What a difference it made. Don't forget to tight the bushing bolt after the car is lowered on the ground or ramps. Good Luck!
 

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thrust arms.


Also, make sure when you have tires balanced, that they're road-force balanced!!!!!!
 

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I had the exact same problem.

I tried changing only the bushings (to X5) and the problem didn't go away. I finally bit the bullet and replaced both thrust arms, the problem is now gone. The ball joint seemed OK while it was on the car, but once off there was definitely a little bit of play in one of them.
 

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thrust arms.


Also, make sure when you have tires balanced, that they're road-force balanced!!!!!!

+1

As I was reading this same thought came to mind. Tires may be new, and balance out on a normal balancer, but could still have excessive road force. (I know because years ago I used to have to mount tires at the dealer I worked at, we had no "tire guy")
 

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+1 for replacing the entire thrust arm. I had the lingering, annoying freeway vibration in my 540i6. Followed the same path as the OP, but after balancing and new tires failed to solve the problem, I replaced the thrust arms, control arms and tie rod ends. (Car had 95K miles on it at the time). The difference was amazing and I had yet another "why did I wait this long to do this" moment. Good luck with the fix!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks everyone. I will be taking the car to the shop this weekend and get the work done.

Could be thrust arms cause uneven wear one side of the car? As mentioned in my original post the right front tire had uneven wear compared to the other 3. Alignment was on point and could not have been a major factor.
 

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In my experience, uneven wear (like inner shoulder of tire wearing more than outer) is due to toe-in settings and/or camber. If you are describing scalloping, then it's likely due to something loose (ie worn ball joints or bushings) allowing an oscillating motion. I had scalloping on both fronts of the 540 - the front end overhaul cured it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update:

It was infact the thrust arm bushings. Had both thrust arms replaced under my extended warranty. Still a little bit of virbation but that is probably due to needing the tires rebalanced. Thanks everyone
 

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I've just had my front tyres changed to Michelin Pilot Super Sports and now I'm getting quite bad vibration through the steering wheel and pedal when I'm braking. Its worst at around 50mph but is in the 45-60mph range. There are no problems with normal driving, its totally smooth.

The old tyres were badly worn but there was no problem with them. Thrust arms were changed fairly recently along with all the tie rods.

Has anyone got any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've just had my front tyres changed to Michelin Pilot Super Sports and now I'm getting quite bad vibration through the steering wheel and pedal when I'm braking. Its worst at around 50mph but is in the 45-60mph range. There are no problems with normal driving, its totally smooth.

The old tyres were badly worn but there was no problem with them. Thrust arms were changed fairly recently along with all the tie rods.

Has anyone got any ideas?

Sounds like a tire balancing issue
 

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I concur that maybe the shop didn't balance the tires properly or a weight fell off.

Also don't forget brakes. Pad deposits or a warped rotor could cause problems.

I had vibration issues on my very first E39 ('99 528) and I think these cars are just very sensitive to the slightest problem.

Dan, how long has it been since you had all those front-end components replaced? Were the lower control arm bushings replaced as well?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just a heads up that I had my bushings replaced about 1.5 years ago and they wore out between then and now. It seems like for some us the bushings don't last that long. Also keep in mind the type of roads you drive on. My daily commute was through pot-hole fixed roads with a lot of bumps and sinks. I think that took a toll on the bushings.
 
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