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Old 10-13-2013, 09:38 AM   #1
ixguy
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Suspension problem has stumped me

Hi guys. I've got a bad issue going on with my suspension that I can't figure out. Biggest symptom is that when I hit bumps the back seems to shift around laterally before it settles. It feels random in it's movements. At highway speed it's very disconcerting.

I took it to a shop for diagnosis and they said trailing arm bushings - which were indeed shot on both sides. We replaced those (leading bushing) as well as one of the lower bushings that looked like it was deteriorating but was intact. Everything else down there looked really good and the replacement process was smooth.

Buttoning it back up, camber was off, so I took it in for an alignment. Best they could do fully adjusted is 1.5 degrees positive when it calls for 1.4-1.8 degrees negative. The unsettled behavior is still there but the terrible knocking (trailing arm against it's mount where the bushing had let go) is gone. The rear wheels spin/hop any time I put power down in a corner and generally handles poorly.

All bushings I can see (trailing arm, upper control arm, lower control arm, sway bar) all look great. It feels a little bouncy at the rear especially loaded so I suspect my shocks are worn but I can't conceive of that causing all this.

Anybody with more experience than me got some thoughts to share? I'm really stumped as to what to do next.

BTW this is a bone-stock 1999 E46 323i non-sport.

Thanks in advance
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:08 AM   #2
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Quite possible blown shocks will cause this.
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Old 10-14-2013, 01:29 AM   #3
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You probably do have blown shocks with a car that old.

However, not being able to get the camber on your rear wheels is bad. Maybe something is bent?
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Old 10-15-2013, 04:35 AM   #4
TFK
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Have you checked the rear subframe mount points? 99-02 have issues with frame tearing.
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:47 AM   #5
ixguy
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Ok first off, new shocks/mounts/bumpers/gaskets in and the wierd unsettled suspension behavior is gone! Wuhoo, thanks guys.

Second, camber issue is still there. I looked at the subframe mounts as best i could and saw nothing out of the ordinary but I understand it is hard to tell. Maybe I should let Raven have a look, to bad they are so far away from here. :-( Any special tips on diagnosing that?
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Old 10-27-2013, 05:55 PM   #6
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Where are you located? Altech Alignment is a good shop in south Etobicoke.
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:58 AM   #7
ixguy
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Etobicoke is a long haul for me.

I had it aligned, the adjustment screws are all the way out and we're still at 1.5degrees positive. What else can I do to induce camber? Everything else is OEM. I'm looking maybe at adjustable rear swing arms?
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:06 PM   #8
jabela
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You're subframe or suspension arms must have been bent from a big hit.
You'll need something like this to get more camber.
http://www.turnermotorsport.com/p-35...reettrack.aspx

However, maybe you just need a new stock camber arm. Or maybe a crash camber bolt with more adjustability.
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Last edited by jabela; 10-28-2013 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:30 PM   #9
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As others have mentioned something is bent if that is all the adjustment you can get out of it. The rear wheels hopping/skipping is most likely blown shocks. So you probably have atleast two issues. Bent control arm or trailing arm, which caused damage to your shocks.

Take it to someone who knows what to look for, not some generic Joe Blow. Check out our sponsors if you are in the GTA. Your profile just says Ontario....
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:57 PM   #10
ixguy
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I'm about an hour from each of London, Cambridge and Burlington. Suggestion as to where I can go?

Is there anywhere good in Brantford for example?
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:16 PM   #11
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You can check the shocks yourself, but I'm guessing RTAB's are shot. That gives the sideways shift, after a bump, that leaves you nervous!

Not sure who's out there for service....
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:04 AM   #12
ixguy
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We did the rtabs to try to fix the sideways problem, didn't help. Shocks did fix though.

What is left is my camber is too positive even at full adjustment. Not sure what to look at for that, nothing seems bent.
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:25 PM   #13
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Seen this problem before and it was replacing the rear trailing arm completely because, it was bent from a heavy hit to the curb. A bent rear trailing arm can throw off camber alignment. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:12 AM   #14
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look closely at your camber arms, from factory in all honesty are CRAPPY built pressed steel.... i took a 90' corner at like 70km and bent mine actually all i could do was cut it and measure to the passenger side to get proper length and rebuild it boxing it all with 1/8th inch steel, it should be flat top and bottom, they buckle in the middle if they bent usually. and if you have a chance or access to a welder i recommend at least tack welding the bottom gap or fish plate it, in the spring i'm doing aftermarket adjustables just for a piece of mind oh and there is a piece of plastic acts as a cover you will have to take off if it's still in place
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Old 12-04-2013, 05:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iroczu View Post
look closely at your camber arms, from factory in all honesty are CRAPPY built pressed steel.... i took a 90' corner at like 70km and bent mine actually all i could do was cut it and measure to the passenger side to get proper length and rebuild it boxing it all with 1/8th inch steel, it should be flat top and bottom, they buckle in the middle if they bent usually. and if you have a chance or access to a welder i recommend at least tack welding the bottom gap or fish plate it, in the spring i'm doing aftermarket adjustables just for a piece of mind oh and there is a piece of plastic acts as a cover you will have to take off if it's still in place
There's no way you bent it just cornering. Unless it was already damaged, or you hit something like a curb or massive pothole while cornering.
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