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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Wheels and Tires Forum Sponsored by The Tire Rack > Tire wooble with non run-flats



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      11-16-2008, 07:59 AM   #1
mariodr
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Unhappy Tire wooble with non run-flats

Good day everyone.

I have had an issue trying to use regular tires on my 335i. I originally tried the Dunlop Winter Sport 3D's with aftermarket rims, but continuously experienced wobble or slight vibrations at speeds in excess of 60mph. Had the tires balanced three times at three different shops, even using the Hunter road force balancer. Had the two front tires replaced under warranty, still no change. Had the rims replaced with OEM ones, still no change. As soon as I put run flats back on, everything worked great. Had to sell the Dunlop's just due to despair.

In round two (just like the punishment I guess), I tried the Michelin Primacy Alpin PA3's. Now the wobble feel extends to every speed range in excess of 35 mph, coming and going at different times. Pretty much repeated the same song and dance, balanced three times at three different shops, no change. Shops tell me everything from the tires are fine, there is a just a bit of winter tire runout?, to it's expected to feel wobble until the tires warm up? The only problem with the later theory is that the wobble does not disappear when the tires warm up. However, with run-flats, everything works great. I'm thinking of going back to run-flats, and may try the Michelin Primacy Alpin PA3's ZP.

I guess my question is if anyone else has experienced these types of problems with regular tires, and whether the Michelin ZP's are better or equally harsh as the Bridgestone's. My only issue with run-flats has been their punishing ride, probably exaggerated by the sports suspension I have. Thanks.
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      11-16-2008, 06:39 PM   #2
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Wobble?

Winter tires, RFT or not, are going to have softer and larger treads, which squirm. Also, did you downsize your rims and now have a larger and less stiff sidewall? I don't know if this is what you are experiencing.

I just put on my Goodyear Ultra-Grip Performance (winter tires) today and noticed the much softer sidewall/squirm effect immediately. I haven't gotten up to speed above 45 yet, but can come back and report when I do.

BTW, I bought my wheels/tires/TPMS ready-to-go from our sponsor Tirerack. Great price and great service, thanks!
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      11-16-2008, 08:03 PM   #3
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Winter Tires Size.

Yes, I did downsize my tires, from the sport setup of 18" staggered to 17", with 225/45R17 all around. The sidewall height would be slightly greater than the 18's. It very may be what you're saying, a squirmy feeling I'm not used to. However, my friend has LM-22 run-flats, and the steering wheel feel is totally normal, even though they are winter tires as well.

I did try to compensate for the sidewall stiffness, and increased the tire pressures to simulate run-flats, but found no noticeable improvement. It just seemed to handle better.

Please let me know what you find on your set.
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      11-18-2008, 02:00 PM   #4
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Update:

Ran the car up to 80 or so. I did not notice a wobble, but there is a little less directional stability compared to my sport package OEM summer set-up.
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      11-18-2008, 02:37 PM   #5
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"Have you considered re-balancing your wheels?" Would have been my original response, but since you tried that 2x3 times I don't know what to say... Wierd, are you exagerating the wobble? Winter tires have a rougher surface for grip in snow/ice so this will cause more vibrations then sport/summer tires.
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      11-18-2008, 02:48 PM   #6
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In short: If you change your tires and wheels, you need to balance the wheels with the tires AND then perform an allignment, even if you didn't install new suspension system.



Run-flats have super-stiff sidewalls so they don't completely collapse when there's a flat. Unless you bought high performance tires that advertise stiff sidewalls your ride will be cushy and loose. However, your car shouldn't vibrate, "wobble" or pull to the side at high speeds. If it does any of this and you've already balanced your wheels, it most likely needs aligning. If after alignment it still vibrates and/or pulls, you'll have to have a mechanic actually look at the suspension.

I went from 17" RFT to 19" non-RFTs and the ride was noticeably softer on the 19" (I had the newer Continental RFTs not he old Bridgestone). That should help you gauge how hard RFTs actually are. Some individuals "claim" that RFTs are bad for performance but there's a reason tire imdustry spend millions developing and selling non-RFT with stiff sidewalls in the first place. I chose soft sidewalls for comfort, not performance. Sorry, a little off topic towards the end there.
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      11-18-2008, 03:06 PM   #7
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I suppose I'm trying to separate two issues:

1. Is the difference in feel at the steering wheel just due to winter tires, where different brands of tires feel different. For example, the LM-22's feel solid behind the wheel at all times, whereas the Michelins I have now vary and feel "rough" at certain times.

2. Is the difference in feel due to running run-flats versus non run-flats. Do non run-flats in general create unwanted interactions with the suspension, creating a rough feel in the process.

I'm not really clear on which one of the two above is creating the problem. Has anyone else experienced a roughness in the feel of their steering wheel using non run-flats.

Will look at an alignment as per recommendation.

All the feedback is much appreciated.
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      11-18-2008, 05:08 PM   #8
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1. Going from RFTs to non-RFTs will defiantly result in lighter steering wheel response. If you want to go from RFT to non-RFTs and still keep the steering wheel response, then you will need tires that advertise stiff or reinforced sidewalls. That however, would defeat the purpose of going from RFTs to non-RFTs since road comfort and noise would be the same as RFTs, unless your new non-RFT tires were also lighter in weight, which would slightly improve acceleration and breaking.

2. Not sure if you’re referring to the feel of the steering wheel or the feel of your ride but... Top Gear's Hammann said BMW suspensions are now designed for RFT, whereas before they weren't. I'm not sure how "factual" that statement is, but I would think BMW would have learned from the complaints of previous drivers and actually designed their second generation RFT 3-series cars to actually WORK with RFTs this time around.

Overall, changing your tires to or from RFTs should not induce steering wheel vibrations, or make your car harder to drive in a straight line at any speed. These symptoms are usually attributed to improper wheel balance, or improper suspension alignment.

Note: An alignment should cost around $100. If you have active steering it will be almost triple the average price since it is best that you bring it to a certified BMW service center. Either way the mechanic should be able to print out a sheet outlining your suspension settings before and after the allignment. The record should also outline your car make and model and specifaclly state weither it is an allignment for active steering or non-active steering. Weither you have active steering or not, before you go through with your allignment, you should ask if it matters if you have active steering or not. If he says "no" then go somewhere else, since he probably doesn't know enough about your car to avoid any complications that might come up.

Last edited by ptx1; 11-18-2008 at 05:25 PM.
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      11-18-2008, 05:10 PM   #9
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strange...
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      11-18-2008, 05:35 PM   #10
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The only thing about an alignment is that I'm not really sure if I need one. When I put my run-flat summer tire set on, the car runs true, smooth and straight as an arrow. Wouldn't an alignment problem show up no matter what type of tires you had on?
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      11-18-2008, 05:41 PM   #11
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Do both tire/rim sets have exactly the same offset, tread width, and wheel diameter? You'll have to actually measure the diameter and width since they vary by brand, i.e.225/45R17 tires made by Falken might be a different size from the 225/45R17 tires made my General.

I hear that some places don't charge for alignment if they didn't have to do any actual aligning, see if the place(s) you go to offer that deal. Besides, it looks like you already eliminated the chance of it being a balancing issue; what are the chances that all three places didn't know how to balance a wheel? And if it's not an allignment issue, then any other fix or suggestion anybody will have on this forum will be a stab in the dark, wherein the best thing to do would be to have a mechanic actually look at the problem.
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      11-18-2008, 09:05 PM   #12
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My summer run-flat tire set is staggered and 18", whereas my winter set is 17" 225/45R17 all around. So, there is a difference between the two sets in terms of size. I suppose I was just looking to see if anyone else has experienced similar problems and possible remedies. Thanks.
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      11-19-2008, 06:19 PM   #13
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I don't understand why switching road force balanced wheels will cause any issue unless there is something wrong with the wheel set, once on the car. Sure the spigot diameter is the correct fitment, not a loose fit, no precision on mounting to the hub. (The old concentric ring issue on other models).

I run RFT and normal tyres on different wheel sets and there are NO issues swapping. If anything the car is just much smoother and settled on the non-RFT set.

HighlandPete
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      11-19-2008, 07:04 PM   #14
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2007 e90 335i  [4.00]
There's something wrong.
2 things:

Alignement is off/something is loose
Balancing is off/wheel warped or bent
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      11-20-2008, 04:32 PM   #15
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Hi Chap

I'm in the UK with an E90 330d M Sport and I have exactly the same problem. I hate the run flats. I changed to genuine Italian Racing Dynamics 18" RD2 wheels with Falken FK-452 tires.
ride is soooo much smoother....but acceleration on the freeway/motorway(UK) is pretty crap from 60mph upwards. I get a rumble and vibration which is worse on the normal tires than the run flats. BMW have tested it and said it is down to balance weights missing on the diff and exhaust which I think is crap with a capital C. They would only test it with the original tyres and run flats on. I still get the same vibration with original 18" wheels and run flats (mich pilot Sport ZSP) only less pronounced as normal tires. Car is now on 60,ooo miles but this only showed up when I changed to standard tyres 10k ago, but interestingly it is now apparent with the run flats also.Interested to find out if you have any joy in fixing this problem. Are we now seeing a new big issue with e E90 and normal tires ???
Steve
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      11-20-2008, 06:29 PM   #16
mariodr
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Hello Steve. I don't really have a fix for normal tires on an E90, I simply think it does not work well. What is probably required is a suspension change to compensate for the softness that works with run-flats. Or better yet the install of an adjustable suspension system where the firmness can be dialed in.

I've read a few posts where guys run both regular tires and run-flats, and they use an adjustable damper. They dial in a firmer setting for regular tires, and a softer setting for run-flats.

Having said all that, I don't really want to spend that kind of money. With the stock suspension, I think you really need run-flats to get the proper look and feel.

By the way, how do you find the Michelin ZP's. Are they too firm for everyday use.

Thanks.

Last edited by mariodr; 11-21-2008 at 02:53 PM.
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