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Old 05-15-2012, 11:18 PM   #1
wc123wc
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E39 vibration at high speed [PLEASE HELP]

Hi guys,

So my 2002 530i vibrates (shakes) at around 120km/h. The passengers don't feel it much but it is very noticeable to me especially the shake in the gas pedal. So here is the complete story:

When I bought the car 2 months ago I felt the shake in the steering wheel and in the gas pedal at high/highway speeds. After putting on new rotors, brake pads, tires, balance and alignment the shake in the steering wheel went away.

But right after getting the new rotors/tires, etc, the car starting shaking like crazy for a day or two then it went away. I mean, the shake was so bad I was scared to drive it! And it shook at all speeds even at idle, and it felt like it was coming from the centre of the car!

So now, about a month later after the above upgrades/changes, the car does not shake like crazy any more. But at around 120km/h the shake is noticeable to me and it annoys me. So I took it to the mechanic and he hoisted it up and inspected the guibo gear (disc) and said the guibo disc is actually in a good shape. So he ran the car while it was hoisted it up and inspected the drive shaft and noticed the left drive shaft moves in and out at various speeds, and said that's his best guess as of the source of the shake.

So today I took it to him and he changed the left drive shaft, but guess what? After $400 in repairs it still shakes at 120km/h!!!

I am taking it back to him tomorrow, but I really need your help guys in hopefully identifying the source of the shake at around 120km/h, and now it feels it is more coming from the front (or at least from the gas pedal)--I really don't know what's going on.

A while back the mechanic even inspected the rubber engine mounts but said they were cracked but not split, so he didn't advice me to change them. Could they be the source of shake?

PS: Please don't bash the mechanic. He is a very nice guy and he does all inspection in front of me. He is also very knowledgeable and experienced. But this seems to be a problem we haven't figured out yet, and he is trying his best.
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:59 PM   #2
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Honestly i would start with the mechanic! I know some problems are harder to find then others, but you dont just replace parts to see if it would go away! It is the easy and more profitable way, but not the best for the customer! The problem can be caused by many things, but you have to check one by one, and not rule out things you have checked or done (like bad tire balance, seen it before, and one pothole can make it bad again!).

What kind of rims do you have? Aftermarket rims can cause a lot of problems. Tires with flat spots can do the same. Driveshaft U joints cause the exact same thing, pretty easy to check.

My best advise is get a second oppinion, even the best mechanic can be wrong sometimes!
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:25 AM   #3
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Thank you for the reply. I am thinking of seeking a second opinion. May be take it to RMP Motors. I've heard some good news about them. But I am also taking it back to the mechanic to see what he says, but I am upset that I spent over $400 to fix something that might not have needed to be fixed. My problem was not the drive shaft but the shake. So I wanted the shake to go away and not the drive shaft!
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by wc123wc View Post
Thank you for the reply. I am thinking of seeking a second opinion. May be take it to RMP Motors. I've heard some good news about them. But I am also taking it back to the mechanic to see what he says, but I am upset that I spent over $400 to fix something that might not have needed to be fixed. My problem was not the drive shaft but the shake. So I wanted the shake to go away and not the drive shaft!
What he changed was the CV axle, not the driveshaft. A driveshaft CAN cause a LOT of vibration at high speed.
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:57 AM   #5
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What he changed was the CV axle, not the driveshaft. A driveshaft CAN cause a LOT of vibration at high speed.
Yes, thank you for the correction. It seems different people call it different things. Some people even call it the output shaft. But thanks for clearing this up, as not to cause confusion.
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:58 AM   #6
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the output shaft is between the engine and trans. a driveshaft is a driveshaft
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:02 AM   #7
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the output shaft is between the engine and trans. a driveshaft is a driveshaft
Thanks. What was replaced is the shaft between the axil and the left wheel.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:42 AM   #8
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Pump. I really need help with identifying this problem. I am sure many E39 owners had a similar vibration problem at highway speeds.
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:25 PM   #9
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Check the thrust arm bushings.


#4:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/att...1&d=1283067251

Last edited by zarbat007; 05-16-2012 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:41 PM   #10
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Combination of thrust arm bushings and one seized caliper were the culprits for me.
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Old 05-18-2012, 12:48 AM   #11
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Combination of thrust arm bushings and one seized caliper were the culprits for me.
What were the symptoms of your car's shake? Can you describe at what speed did it shake and where did you feel it was coming from?

My car shakes when I drive at 120km/h and keep my foot on the gas. So I don't feel it if it was just cruising at 120km/h. I feel the shake more when I keep my foot on the gas and drive at 120km/h.

Thanks.
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by wc123wc View Post
What were the symptoms of your car's shake? Can you describe at what speed did it shake and where did you feel it was coming from?

My car shakes when I drive at 120km/h and keep my foot on the gas. So I don't feel it if it was just cruising at 120km/h. I feel the shake more when I keep my foot on the gas and drive at 120km/h.

Thanks.
Vibration under load is typical for U-joint/driveshaft problems, its more obvious with the gas on...
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:59 PM   #13
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Vibration under load is typical for U-joint/driveshaft problems, its more obvious with the gas on...
Eurostyle, you have been the best of help. I really, really appreciate it! Are you a business? I would definitely love doing business with you.
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:42 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by wc123wc View Post
What were the symptoms of your car's shake? Can you describe at what speed did it shake and where did you feel it was coming from?

My car shakes when I drive at 120km/h and keep my foot on the gas. So I don't feel it if it was just cruising at 120km/h. I feel the shake more when I keep my foot on the gas and drive at 120km/h.

Thanks.
For my specific situation, the shakes would come during some drives, and would be non existent during others.

When they did happen, it was at 120 kmh and above. The higher I went, the worse it got.

Replaced the thrust arms, it lessened but was still there. Then one seized caliper was found and replaced, and the shakes went away.
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Old 05-20-2012, 02:17 AM   #15
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Eurostyle, you have been the best of help. I really, really appreciate it! Are you a business? I would definitely love doing business with you.
Glad i can help! Yes we are a business, but only for sales of parts, several other sponsors can help you out with diagnostics!
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