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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Suspension | Brakes | Chassis > Need help diagnosing low speed Clunk sound



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      05-31-2018, 11:11 PM   #1
2011335xi6MTMsportE90
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Need help diagnosing low speed Clunk sound

I need help diagnosing a clunking sound I get at low speed traveling over rough or bumpy pavement. I thought it was my thrust arm bushings, but I just had those replaced with poly powerflex bushings (steering feel and tightness is so much better now, great mod). But the clunking sound is still there. It's kind of like a low pitched clunking or rattling sound. It does not happen when I turn, so I don't think it's an axle, CV joint, or wheel bearing. From what I inspected there are no obvious loose suspension components. The ball joints on the thrust arm seem good. It sounds like it's coming under the left front floorboard and it's not something I feel in the steering wheel. I feel it under my feet. Maybe the driveshaft? I just had that out when my clutch was replaced and my mechanic didn't say anything about obvious wear on the U joints or guibo, though I didn't specifically ask them to check it. This noise occurred before the driveshaft was out, so it's not repair related.

Also, this sound goes away at higher speeds and on smooth roads. It's only noticeable say when pulling up to a stop sign on a rough/bumpy street or driving at 10-20 mph, (so it's not brake related). It is not in rhythm with the suspension or motion or speed of the wheel, so again I don't think it's a wheel bearing. From the sound descriptions it matches the CV or steering rack issues others have had, but they all mentioned it happened during turns and this noise only occurs when going straight at low speeds.

My leading culprits are the endlinks, followed by control arms, and strut mounts.

I am replacing the strut mounts this weekend when I put on my new H&R coilovers and will looks at the other parts I listed. I doubt it's control arms since those are spherical bearings in there, but could be. Hoping it's not CV's. Could also be tie rods, but steering is tight and not loose.

Car is 2011 335i xdrive 6MT (see my sn)

Has anyone chased down a similar issue? Thanks
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      05-31-2018, 11:33 PM   #2
weehe126
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Sway bar links. I had a clunk, mine looked fine. Replaced them anyways and no more clunk.
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      06-01-2018, 03:19 AM   #3
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you didnt mention front or rear?
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      06-01-2018, 03:29 PM   #4
2011335xi6MTMsportE90
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Sorry, it is the front. Left front from what i can tell, but i havent sat in the passenger seat yet to see if i still feel it there.

Also, this occurs even if I'm in neutral or in gear so it's likely not driveteain related.
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      06-01-2018, 03:32 PM   #5
2011335xi6MTMsportE90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weehe126 View Post
Sway bar links. I had a clunk, mine looked fine. Replaced them anyways and no more clunk.
Thanks that is encouraging to hear. I plan to get adjustable links after getting my coilovers but I need to measure after install to get the proper length. Guess I could stick some cheap oem ones on just to see if the noise goes away.

I think endlinks makes sense with the symptoms I have considering the noise occurs only at slow speeds and not while turning, meaning that it only occurs when the sway bar wouldn't be under much load.

I'll follow up after installing coilovers this weekend.
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      06-01-2018, 04:17 PM   #6
2011335xi6MTMsportE90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weehe126 View Post
Sway bar links. I had a clunk, mine looked fine. Replaced them anyways and no more clunk.
Thanks that is encouraging to hear. I plan to get adjustable links after getting my coilovers but I need to measure after install to get the proper length. Guess I could stick some cheap oem ones on just to see if the noise goes away.

I think endlinks makes sense with the symptoms I have considering the noise occurs only at slow speeds and not while turning, meaning that it only occurs when the sway bar wouldn't be under much load.

I'll follow up after installing coilovers this weekend.
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      06-01-2018, 07:46 PM   #7
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it could be endlinks like others have mentioned, but it may not be that they are bad, they may just be slight loose where they attach to the front strut. this happened to me a few months after I had new ones installed, i tightened up myself with a pneumatic wrench and the sound went away.
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      07-05-2018, 09:37 PM   #8
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I had a similar issue this week, 2011 335D, and it turned out to be the aluminum flex disc/guibo. It separated; all rivets broke off, almost left me stranded. Take a close look at it, especially rivets, but you might not notice. On hoist there was play between wheels and driveshaft. Ironically, my flex disc was inspected at dealer last year and "passed inspection". FYI, there is a recall on the flex disc. It was replaced with a rubber one and the car shifts are much smoother and firmer.
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      07-10-2018, 10:40 PM   #9
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Iím having the exact same issue. Slow speed loud clunk from the front driver side wheel. I put on new lemforder end links but no change

Any other suggestions? Sway bar bushings themselves? Possibly the strut? The car takes bumps just fine though.

Car has new thrust arms, end links, tie rods

This clunk is maddening .. it only happens when the driver front wheel hits a bump.

Car is a 2011 e90 328xi
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      07-11-2018, 12:25 AM   #10
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I have a similar issue in my e87. After running through every suspension part on that side of the car I have determined that my strut top bearing has about 1/8 of an inch up and down play in the bearing that causes the sound. I was able to verify by lifting that side of the car, remove the strut top nut cover (place a finger on the nut) and jerk the wheel upward. you can actually feel the play and distinctive clunk when you do it. If there is no play it will not move (as is should be).
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      09-11-2018, 04:01 PM   #11
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Hey guys I am actually on the same boat too. The clunk sounds like it would be the end links, but those were replaced, all control arms are replaced, my top strut bearing was clunking a bit due to the plastic cap somehow coming off and dirt coming in. Replaced the bearing thought that was it but no the clunking is still there. What else could it be? Everything is new in the front except the struts and tie rods. they both have about 37k on them. Could engine mounts cause such clunking? Those were also replaced about 66k miles ago. Any help would be appreciated. I figured the struts started to go but they only have 37k / 1.5 year of use.
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      06-13-2019, 12:41 PM   #12
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I have this same problem in a 2009 335xi manual transmission. When I am slowing down there are one or more clunks. To me is seems like its coming from the drivetrain.

Interestingly it seemed to start happening when I replaced a tire. The new tire had about 4/32 more tread than the old tires. Could this be causing issues with the x-drive?
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      06-13-2019, 01:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stackedacc View Post
I have this same problem in a 2009 335xi manual transmission. When I am slowing down there are one or more clunks. To me is seems like its coming from the drivetrain.

Interestingly it seemed to start happening when I replaced a tire. The new tire had about 4/32 more tread than the old tires. Could this be causing issues with the x-drive?
Did you just replace 1 tire or both sides?
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      06-13-2019, 09:25 PM   #14
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I second the end link. My passenger side top nut was loose causing the brake hose bracket to rattle.The end link goes though the strut tap and the brake hose bracket.
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      07-22-2019, 01:09 PM   #15
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Bumping for updates. Iím having the same issue on my F80. A heavy clunk when hitting sharp ďupwardĒ bumps (compressing the suspension first). Typically happens at lower speeds when only the driverís side wheel hits something. Felt mostly through the floor.

Everything is tight and thereís no obvious play on any of the ballpoints. Has anyone successfully gotten rid of this clunk?
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      07-23-2019, 11:11 PM   #16
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Hey, I am also experiencing loud rotational clunking noises from the front but mine is constant as long as the vehicle is moving. The noise gets a tiny bit quieter when making left turns but is louder as the vehicle is towards the right. Straight line also produces a very loud clunk that doesn't go away.

Anyone have any idea as to what may be causing this? I drive a 2007 335i.
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      07-24-2019, 09:11 AM   #17
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Last poster, disconnect front sway bar end links and repeat noise test. Iím betting the left end link is the culprit. By disconnecting, the sway bar wonít load up during turn and you can listen to see if noise stops. Good luck.
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      07-24-2019, 03:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2007e90335i View Post
Hey, I am also experiencing loud rotational clunking noises from the front but mine is constant as long as the vehicle is moving. The noise gets a tiny bit quieter when making left turns but is louder as the vehicle is towards the right. Straight line also produces a very loud clunk that doesn't go away.

Anyone have any idea as to what may be causing this? I drive a 2007 335i.
I would first check that all your lug bolts are tight. I had a weird noise that changed with speed and direction that didn't care if the clutch was engaged or not, so I pulled into a shop and had them put it up on a lift. I had told them I thought I had a bad half shaft, but turned out it was a loose wheel. If that isn't it, then check what BB_cuda said.
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