View Full Version : Front End Rubbing Noise... HELP! I've tried everything.

04-26-2012, 12:51 PM
I've praised this community for the help I've been able to research here, and my first post is a cry for help. *sad*

I have a 2005 BMW 325i 4 door(premium package?). I purchased this car just before Christmas as a present for myself. I've been having trouble with the front end as there is a "tsk tsk tsk tsk tsk tsk" noise when I drive. It does come and go so it's not necessarily constant. It makes more noise at lower speeds. When I turn the steering wheel to the left I can hear it more sometimes, and not at all when I turn to the right.

At first my mechanic (who is the father of a long time friend of mine, I'm only 22 - and unbias and will not lie towards any issue I have, charges me only parts for the repairs) said it would be the calipers. The noise is heard best from the right side so we replaced the right side caliper. Since it persisted we replaced the left but it still persisted.

His partner (second mechanic, also a friendly guy) said it could be my tires, so I purchased new tires. It didn't correct the issue, though the ride is much smoother now. I put on 205/50/17 Continental Winter ContactPRO (brand new set) and 205/50/17 Toyo Extenza HP purely summer tires.

We then noticed the inside edge of where the tire is, it was leaving a rubbing mark against the strut (right side). So i purchased a pair of 3 mm spacers to stance it away from the strut but the noise is still there and now I have vibration that I can feel in my steering wheel. :(

Has anyone had an issue like this for the front end? My mechanic said it's not the bearings, or the brakes (replaced them all around with Vortex pads as well as new first line rotors right when I bought the car). My mechanic is suggesting replacing both the struts as we already replaced the control arms for a knocking issue last month. This noise started to happen in February. Could it be something caught behind the rotor?

I really need help on this because I am very particular about my cars. I am a perfectionist. What should I do?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.*wiggle*

04-26-2012, 01:04 PM
you sure its not the pads?

04-26-2012, 01:11 PM
When the car was on the hoist and rims were off we took a look at the pads. Pulled them out and didn't see anything that could possibly create that noise. We even checked them when the calipers were being replaced too. Everything is in good condition there. They were replaced December 22, 2011.

04-26-2012, 01:24 PM
First, using a wheel spacer for a BMW is a bit tricky. The vibration is probably from the wheel not centred on the hub any more. You need a proper "Hubcentric wheel spacers". What did you get? H&R?

Do you have stock wheels? If you have after market wheels, the offset could be off.

(It's probably not the tire rubbing. Do you see wear on the inside tire? )

The tsk tsk noise, is it variable with your speed?
I would assume so. Does it get quicker and quicker as you drive faster?

I would have first started with your rotors and pads.
A simple piece of rust on the rotor could cause a noise.

It sounds more like the rotors/pads than a wheel bearing (more of a hummmmm). Before replacing any more parts, take the wheel off and try to identify the noise.

When you brake hard, is there any vibration? <-- Before you put the spacers on.

Do you know if your rotors are not warped?

04-26-2012, 01:44 PM
The spacer is a disc that goes between the rim and the ?rotor?. Basically the lug nuts go right through the holes that are on the spacer.I believe it is an H&R, i just put it on 3 days ago. It's made in Germany... the box was written in German and had a <----GO WIDE----> sticker inside, so maybe you can tell from that.

I do have stock wheels. I have the premium package which consists of the 17 inch 5 spoke alloys. Love the rims and I'm not the type to go for aftermarket rims.

There isn't any wear on the inside of the tire, but you can see the colour difference from the dirt. Right on the strut exactly where the widest part of the tire is you could see a rubbing mark, and the plastic coating from the strut was rubbed off in that exact spot.

The tsk tsk tsk noise is variable with the speed of the car. ***Here's the weird thing though. Sometimes when I am driving at a low speed I hear it, and as I speed up I can still hear it. Then at a split second the tsk tsk sound is just gone. When I begin slowing down the sound isn't there anymore. Then after a couple minutes of driving through all the reds light going say, 50 km/h, the noise can be heard again. It starts making the noise all of a sudden.*** It's not that I am not paying attention to the noise anymore this is just from my observation. The sound the noise makes are different levels meaning it can be very minimal to very loud at different times regardless of speed.

I want to say pads and rotors were ruled out because I had them replaced on December 22, 2011. I keep going back to thinking it could be that but the parts are all first line best quality. My mechanic continously preaches how amazing Vortex pads are. I forget the name of the company that makes the rotors but they have really good standards and actually supply the OEM rotors for cars like Mitsubishi.

Pre-spacers installation there was no vibration when braking hard.

The rotors where the pad hits is looking in pretty good shape.

Hope this helps with the on-going diagnostic. The input is extremely appreciated.

Jim .E.
04-26-2012, 02:23 PM
what MrRWD is saying, is that if your spacer isn't like the one on the left, it is not hubcentric.


04-26-2012, 05:40 PM
OK thanks for the photo, I put on the spacers that are on the right. I didn't know hub centric spacers existed... And I guess neither did the guys whom I consulted before the sale went through.

Still... any input on the front end noise is greatly appreciated.

Jim .E.
04-27-2012, 12:55 AM
If you also compare the two, don't worry about the lip. Look at the center bore, if it is something massive like the one on the right, it's a generic spacer that isn't for your car. If its smaller and a tight fit around the hub then you have the right one.

I doubt it's the spacer though, I have a really strong feeling it is your thrust bushing/arm.

Check this video:
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/83Pw3V8pMeI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

04-27-2012, 03:33 PM
OK, thanks for the input. I will be going to the mechanic next week when he has a bit more time to have a look at the issue. Perhaps someone can explain what the thrust bushing is? I've already replaced the control arms on both sides, they were brand new first line aftermarket parts.


04-27-2012, 05:29 PM
That is scary hearing >_< Hope you haven't been driving like the for a long time. Wouldn't that case other issues?

05-17-2012, 01:08 AM
How about some pictures of your rotors and struts?
Are your rotors slotted or drilled? Do they have a divit to show disc wear?
Have you serviced your caliper guide pins? They should be cleaned and the rubber sleeves are easily replaced if they're old. I also found that coating them with silicone keeps them sliding nice and smooth (petroleum grease with damage the rubber)
The wear on your strut is a big red herring. Are your wheels the type 44? It should say the offset inside the rim to confirm.
What size are your tires?
Your strut, wheel and tire all flex while your driving, so different loads can make them occasionally contact.
Does your rim have stick on wheel weights? Or is there a weight clamped to the inner lip of the rim? A big one could occasionally hit the strut.
The fact that it didn't go away suggests it isn't contacting the strut, but a 3mm spacer may not be enough to clear the strut. However, a true OEM rim should have plenty of clearance.
It's possible you could have a bent suspension component. Have you had an alignment recently?

Dr. Flyview
05-18-2012, 01:16 PM
I had a strange noise like this coming from my front right wheel before. I would only hear it over dips in the road or when swinging the weight of the car onto that wheel by turning right.

You'll never believe what it was. Some of my lug nuts were just barely too long. I noticed when I bought a set of Koseis and the way they bolted up it allowed the lug nuts to actually rub big time inside the hub.