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50 mph shimmy/wobble/vibration/frustration/shaking

BMW forum 5 series car: E12, E28, E34, E39, E60, E61, F07, F10, F11

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50 mph shimmy/wobble/vibration/frustration/shaking

Postby neverin » Mon, 21 Jul 2008 11:38:49 UTC

Hello all,

after reading the threads about shimmy/wobble/vibration etc would it be possible to create a sticky for this problem where a plan of attack could be priortised for anyone with this problem, based on our forum members experiences of what worked and in what order etc?
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Postby machinehead525 » Mon, 21 Jul 2008 13:13:32 UTC

It would be great if someone could come up with one. From reading the threads there does not seem to be a definitive list of the order to change things and it does seem to come down to the individual car. I’ve read some that have simply been tyre pressures and some that have rebuilt the whole front suspension only to find a rear-end bush problem.

It seems a very complicated area to diagnose and there isn’t a common start point other then the symptom, shimmying.......
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Postby Clavurion » Mon, 21 Jul 2008 13:42:21 UTC

Well balanced (also radial) tyres, clean hubs and correct size (tight) center bores are a good starting point. After that diagnosing gets tricky. If we are talking about a touring it wouldn't hurt starting with the rear wheel carrier bushes.
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Postby Richteo » Mon, 21 Jul 2008 17:32:15 UTC

I've been trying to kill the annoying shimmy for a month or two now. So annoying and making me want to ditch the car!

I had a 55-65 steering wheel vibration plus an intermittant vibration from what felt like the rear end.

-I've had the wheels fine balanced (not on Hunter Road force machine, yet!)

-Changed front control arm bushes - got rid of 60mph shimmy, vibration at 75 feels worse and now a slight shimmy of the steering wheel around those speeds. I know the tracking is now out as it wasn't checked after bush replacement and I'd previously had it adjusted.

-Did not want to pay for alignment to find the vibration was still there so checked all bushes wheel bearings and joints, front and back. there is no play in anything at the front, and in the rear the OS drop link and bottom ball joint had play. (Previously skidded into kerb and whacked this wheel.) These are being changed on Wednesday and I'll get a Hunter alignment at the weekend.

If the vibration persists I'll find somewhere that does a "Road Force Balence" and if that fails the car will be for sale! Pity as the engine, despite only being a 523, is an absolute peach and in terms of ride and handling and low speeds it is superb. I also love ther interior having climate, cream leather and the DSP audio system. The vibration is too annoying as my commute is nearly all motorway.

I may consider an older E36, hopefully a cheaper to maintain and simpler car, but retaining the great front-rear balance and engines. I'd rather solve the shimmy though!
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Postby Richteo » Mon, 21 Jul 2008 17:36:22 UTC

One more thing, a bit of research on the net reveals that the shimmy has been going on most of BMW's larger cars since the 5 in 1982, the E28! The only common solution seems to be replace everything that rotates or moves on the car! even BMW do not have a common cause or solution.
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Postby andypink » Mon, 21 Jul 2008 21:43:26 UTC

Glad it's not just me losing faith in the 5 series.
It really winds me up when stealers and Indies alike say "It's a common problem"
Why haven't BMW soughted it out :evil: . They have been building cars long enough
so they should be able to design out these common faults.
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Postby bruno8621 » Tue, 22 Jul 2008 19:39:34 UTC

If the aswer aint in wheels or tyres, neither in the front suspension then it on the rear:

swing_arm_ball_joints_procedure
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Postby neverin » Wed, 23 Jul 2008 12:14:41 UTC

Thanks for the info. In your experience could these bushes contribute to the steering wheel shimmy?
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Postby Richteo » Wed, 23 Jul 2008 12:29:36 UTC

I am having the offside balljoint as shown on that link changed today. I will report back later if there is any improvement. Play was only found on the offside, nearside seemed fine.

I'm not sure why the steering wheel would shimmy if the wear was in the rear suspension though.
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Postby neverin » Wed, 23 Jul 2008 19:57:20 UTC

I definately have steering wheel shimmy and the vibration through the seats/car. so it looks like at least 2 problems for me.........................
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Postby Richteo » Wed, 23 Jul 2008 20:21:17 UTC

After a very short drive at speed (2 miles) it seems a lot beter. I will report back tomorrow after my commute along the motorway. The back end doesn't step out now when cornering and you hit a bump.
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Postby NS Dev » Wed, 23 Jul 2008 21:31:36 UTC

Interesting one this is for me.

I am new on here, and fairly new to BMW full stop.

My road car tends to be pretty used and abused (though properly maintained by me! ) as my time and money goes on various racing car builds, spannering and driving.

What I would say is that so far, nothing has seemed magical to me on the E32 740 and now E34 525 TDS that I have owned over the last 18 months.

My E32 had the 50 to 60mph shimmy, and it was certainly worn tie rod ends, track arm bushes, and whatever you call those little rear steer links on the rear trailing arms.

The tie rod ends and front bushes sorted 90% of it, and I couldn't be bothered with the rear links as the play was extemely minimal)
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