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      08-16-2010, 02:02 PM   #1
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Steering wheel vibrates at speeds (play, shake) - causes?

Hi,
Just noticed my steering wheel at speeds from 60mph and up is ever so slightly vibrating (turning 0.5mm left right). It's very very small, but I'm always good at detecting slight change in car behaviour and now feeling things aren't as they used to be. I've had a stabilizer arm replaced few months ago, otherwise all stock. Car has done around 40k miles. any ideas how serious the problem is? I hope it's not the steering rack and just some bushes that need fixing...
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      08-16-2010, 03:02 PM   #2
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start off by having wheels balancing done.
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      08-16-2010, 03:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmer_335 View Post
start off by having wheels balancing done.
wheels were balanced, new front brakes fitted and alignement done about 500 km ago. Before had rotors warped, hence the replaced rotors-pads, and did alignment and wheel balancing while car was there too. Figured worth extra 50 bucks.
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Last edited by Tallest; 08-16-2010 at 05:20 PM.
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      08-16-2010, 03:15 PM   #4
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Check the tires as well. I noticed some vibrations as well and when I checked my tires, the rears were pretty bald.
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      08-16-2010, 03:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPI View Post
Check the tires as well. I noticed some vibrations as well and when I checked my tires, the rears were pretty bald.
my front right tyre i worn a lot on the shoulder. It was a used tire replacement with similar wear but not from same set. Same model though. Thread may be 0.5mm difference. Doubt it's that, but shoulder is worn outside. I heard once tire starts getting eaten up, it will keep on going regardless of alignment changes.
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      08-16-2010, 03:38 PM   #6
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Some causes of wheel vibration:

Tire pressure
Out of alignment
Tire out of balance
Tires not wearing evenly
Bent wheel
Bad belt in tire
bad tie rod ends
bad wheel bearing
warped rotors

It is kinda endless, just need to narrow it down.
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      08-16-2010, 05:17 PM   #7
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Tire pressure - iäm running 2.4 bar fronts.. higher than recommended 2.1 but that's for much stiffer run flat... i assume it must be higher for non RFT.

Out of alignment
Tire out of balance
- done 500km ago.. should be ok still

Tires not wearing evenly - true. but been there before. only right front.

Bent wheel - wheels were balanced, no big potholes thus far...

Bad belt in tire
bad tie rod ends
bad wheel bearing
- all possible
warped rotors - new rotors for last 500km.


Bold is correct, Italic is tested and OK.
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      08-18-2010, 02:50 PM   #8
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This was also a common problem with the E39 model 5-series. Since the E90/92 model 3-series uses an advance design of the type of suspension employed on the E39 5-series, my guess is that your control arms are going bad or that the bushings in the control arms need to be replaced. these tended to go bad on the E39 anywhere between 20K-60K miles depending on the type of driving being done.
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      08-18-2010, 11:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by research View Post
Tire pressure - iäm running 2.4 bar fronts.. higher than recommended 2.1 but that's for much stiffer run flat... i assume it must be higher for non RFT.

Out of alignment
Tire out of balance
- done 500km ago.. should be ok still

You probably lost some of the lead weights on the rim. I would have it checked where you had your tires balanced. It should still be under warranty.
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      08-19-2010, 11:45 AM   #10
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Ive got a similar problem. My tires are worn unevenly on the front from having them on an E46 with warped rotors. Now that the rims are on my E90 the wheel shakes from the previous wear. Ill probably just get new tires.
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      08-19-2010, 11:51 AM   #11
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My car's doing the same thing, new tires, different wheels, tie rod ends checked out ok. Its down to either the alignment or a wheel bearing I suppose...
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      03-26-2011, 12:05 PM   #12
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i have the same problem everyone says it must be the control arm bushings but they are not under warranty!! and whats worse they sold me a certified pre owned car like that it was my mistake but i didnt feel any vibrations during the test drive!!
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      03-26-2011, 12:39 PM   #13
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Rebalance the wheels.

I had a shop test 4 wheels for me, all were straight. A few miles later, I felt vibration. Went back, 2 were suddenly bent.
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      03-27-2011, 12:39 AM   #14
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Yeah I've got a small dent in one of my fronts I've realized. They're just winter wheels and I don't even notice it anymore so it's whatever at this point.
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      10-12-2011, 06:11 PM   #15
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control arm bushings
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      10-12-2011, 07:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by research View Post
Hi,
Just noticed my steering wheel at speeds from 60mph and up is ever so slightly vibrating (turning 0.5mm left right). It's very very small, but I'm always good at detecting slight change in car behaviour and now feeling things aren't as they used to be. I've had a stabilizer arm replaced few months ago, otherwise all stock. Car has done around 40k miles. any ideas how serious the problem is? I hope it's not the steering rack and just some bushes that need fixing...
If the problem had recently started, always go to the last item changed in the system as first item to diagnose for said issue.

For example, if my computer app all of a sudden started crashing after I added a new drive, the first thing I would suspect is the drive.

Just a thought.
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      10-12-2011, 07:53 PM   #17
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Bad bushings can cause vibration. Did you get them checked?
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      10-20-2011, 03:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by research View Post
Hi,
Just noticed my steering wheel at speeds from 60mph and up is ever so slightly vibrating (turning 0.5mm left right). It's very very small, but I'm always good at detecting slight change in car behaviour and now feeling things aren't as they used to be. I've had a stabilizer arm replaced few months ago, otherwise all stock. Car has done around 40k miles. any ideas how serious the problem is? I hope it's not the steering rack and just some bushes that need fixing...
I was experiencing the same things (slight vibration in steering wheel at highway speeds) . Resolved after the control arm bushings were replaced (covered under my third party extended warranty) and an alignment (also covered). I had my tires balanced about 1000 mi ago during which I was told that I have 2 slightly bent rims. All is well now. I hope that the OP figured out what was wrong.
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