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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Suspension | Brakes | Chassis > pulls to the right slightly loose steering



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      07-04-2013, 02:50 PM   #1
xxxjecxxx
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pulls to the right slightly loose steering

I have been dealing with car pulling to right side and intermittent steering wheel shakes (very slight) for the past few months. Here is what I have changed in the last 3 months

325i with 120K. 19" wheels lowered on Tein springs for the past 3 years.

1)2 new front tires
2) balanced all tires (2 times, two different shops) also checked for bent wheels
3)replaced upper and lower control arms, they came with new bushings
4)replaced tie rods with meyle tie rods
5)Had car aligned all values are in green for 06-08 e90 with 19" wheels
6)Replaced caliper on left side (was sticking)
7)Rebuilt caliper on right side (was not sticking)
8)Lubricated sliding pins on both front calipers
9)Checked bearings are good on both sides (right wheel spins less than the right side)

Steering wheel feels loose. Especially if I floor it, I can feel the car sway slightly. I am going to bring car back to alignment shop and complain to see if they can figure it out.

At this point I haven't changed everything except for rotors and brake hoses. Suggestions?

This is really frustrating especially on long drives. I am almost to the point of selling

Here is the most recent alignment
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      07-04-2013, 04:40 PM   #2
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Check your struts and shocks.
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      07-05-2013, 03:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 91Octane View Post
Check your struts and shocks.
Thanks. I will check them
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      07-05-2013, 03:57 PM   #4
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I agree with 91Octane about shocks, because of the sway when flooring it, and your complaint of loose steering.

Is the sway you feel when flooring it, consistent with the engine crank direction?

Could the sticky caliper have caused uneven tire wear, and have you tried moving tires around?

I was going to suggest going over the rear suspension looking for bent pieces, but I can't see how that would cause a consistent pull, and besides your alignment shop should've told you by now if there was a bent arm.
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      07-06-2013, 10:21 AM   #5
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Steering rack bushings?
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      07-06-2013, 02:19 PM   #6
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There are no bushings in the racks of these cars.

I would check the shocks/struts along with the subframe bushings in the rear. Do you feel a loose feeling when going over rail road tracks or bumps?

Tony
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      07-06-2013, 08:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn In Concepts View Post
There are no bushings in the racks of these cars.

I would check the shocks/struts along with the subframe bushings in the rear. Do you feel a loose feeling when going over rail road tracks or bumps?

Tony
Yes I do.

Had tire shop check all the tires for uneven wear or damages and tires checked out OK. They advised that the car may have been aligned with the steering wheel slightly tilted. Tomorrow will be back at alignment shop and will check shocks for leaks while the car is lifted.

Thanks for the advise. Can't wait to get it fixed.
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      07-08-2013, 10:14 AM   #8
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      07-08-2013, 03:05 PM   #9
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Rotors
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      07-08-2013, 03:31 PM   #10
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The looseness you speak of (including over railroad tracks and such) points to control arm bushings (very common in these cars)
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      07-08-2013, 05:43 PM   #11
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Finally got car aligned again today. The car does not pull the left as bad as it did before but the steering still feels a bit off. The car still seems to sway. Have not heard any sounds since then.

I checked for any leaks in the shocks but was not able to see them. Anyone know of a way of testing them out? I know I will have to remove them.

Rotors have not been changed so I am starting to think that this is the issue ( I hope it's that easy)
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      07-08-2013, 07:28 PM   #12
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Do you experience the loose steering going 75+ on the highway? My steering wheel feels so loose its scary. I am trying to figure out what the problem is too.
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      07-08-2013, 08:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeef View Post
Do you experience the loose steering going 75+ on the highway? My steering wheel feels so loose its scary. I am trying to figure out what the problem is too.
Yes. At lower speeds also. It's like i'm holding the steering wheel straight (it does not shake violently) but the car sways to the right or left then straightens out.
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      07-10-2013, 02:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxxjecxxx View Post
Finally got car aligned again today. The car does not pull the left as bad as it did before but the steering still feels a bit off. The car still seems to sway. Have not heard any sounds since then.

I checked for any leaks in the shocks but was not able to see them. Anyone know of a way of testing them out? I know I will have to remove them.

Rotors have not been changed so I am starting to think that this is the issue ( I hope it's that easy)
I said it before and I'll say it again...check the control arm bushings! They're SO common in nearly all BMWs and will cause exactly what you're describing. This will not be caused by rotors. It is a steering/suspension issue
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      07-10-2013, 03:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhmax16 View Post
I said it before and I'll say it again...check the control arm bushings! They're SO common in nearly all BMWs and will cause exactly what you're describing. This will not be caused by rotors. It is a steering/suspension issue
Understandable... How long should they last once replaced? I just changed mine October 13th 2012. That's about 8 months.

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      07-10-2013, 03:56 PM   #16
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Hmm, obviously if you changed 8 months ago then it is not likely. Did you change just the bushings or did you do the entire assembly (control arm + bushing)?
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      07-10-2013, 03:59 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhmax16 View Post
Hmm, obviously if you changed 8 months ago then it is not likely. Did you change just the bushings or did you do the entire assembly (control arm + bushing)?
Entire assembly. It's possible they are bad, at least that would make sense.
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      07-11-2013, 11:40 AM   #18
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Not likely after only 8 months, but anything is possible. I was going to say if you didn't do entire assemblies maybe the bushings weren't fitting as snuggly in the arms as they should, but considering you did the whole thing that possiblity is out. Perhaps you did get some bad ones. Who did the install? It's important to tighten the bolts with the load of the vehicle down on the arms. If the bolts are tightened for the control arms with the wheels dangling in the air it will place additional stresses on the bushings and could easily cause them to fail prematurely

Last edited by bhmax16; 07-11-2013 at 11:41 AM. Reason: typo
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      07-11-2013, 12:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhmax16 View Post
Not likely after only 8 months, but anything is possible. I was going to say if you didn't do entire assemblies maybe the bushings weren't fitting as snuggly in the arms as they should, but considering you did the whole thing that possiblity is out. Perhaps you did get some bad ones. Who did the install? It's important to tighten the bolts with the load of the vehicle down on the arms. If the bolts are tightened for the control arms with the wheels dangling in the air it will place additional stresses on the bushings and could easily cause them to fail prematurely
^ What he said^ The front has to be pre-loaded before you tighten the bolts or you will get strange results and pre-mature failure of bushings. If they were pre-loaded take to to the dealer and pay the $200 for a alignment and that should solve your issues. I learned the hard way after three alignments in one week the dealer made it drive like a BMW again. If you are still on original Strut's they most likely need to be replaced mine were shot at 70-80K miles.
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      07-12-2013, 07:08 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhmax16 View Post
Not likely after only 8 months, but anything is possible. I was going to say if you didn't do entire assemblies maybe the bushings weren't fitting as snuggly in the arms as they should, but considering you did the whole thing that possiblity is out. Perhaps you did get some bad ones. Who did the install? It's important to tighten the bolts with the load of the vehicle down on the arms. If the bolts are tightened for the control arms with the wheels dangling in the air it will place additional stresses on the bushings and could easily cause them to fail prematurely
I did the install. I did tighten the bolts while the wheels were up in the air. I think I will order a new set of bushings, try again and have dealership perform alignment.

Anyway to test the bushings?
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      07-12-2013, 07:09 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richwm View Post
^ What he said^ The front has to be pre-loaded before you tighten the bolts or you will get strange results and pre-mature failure of bushings. If they were pre-loaded take to to the dealer and pay the $200 for a alignment and that should solve your issues. I learned the hard way after three alignments in one week the dealer made it drive like a BMW again. If you are still on original Strut's they most likely need to be replaced mine were shot at 70-80K miles.
I have an extra pair of used struts if that's the case. Will rule out bushing first. Thanks.
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      07-12-2013, 03:28 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxxjecxxx View Post
I did the install. I did tighten the bolts while the wheels were up in the air. I think I will order a new set of bushings, try again and have dealership perform alignment.

Anyway to test the bushings?
Sounds like that is likely your problem since you tightened with the spindles unloaded. The bushings on this particular chassis don't always exibit a lot of play compared to older generations, but generally they can be checked the same way you'd check for a loose tie rod or ball joint. Jack the car up, grab the wheel at 3:00 and 9:00 and also 11:00 and 5:00, checking for play. Some guys also check them with the wheels on the ground, having a buddy shake the steering wheel back and forward as they look for movement in the bushings. I'd do one of these two things, confirm the bushings have excessive play, then order your replacements and reinstall being sure to not tighten down the control arms/tension struts until the front end is loaded.
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