323 vibration problem

I have a 1999 323 with under 60,000 miles, and I seem to have developed a vibration problem. It started to develop vibration during braking at about 55,000 mi, and I decided I must have a warped rotor. I had a new
set of brakes on the shelf, and was planning a 2000 mile drive on mostly (95%+ interstate), so I changed them out although the pads were still probably 80+%. The vibration seemed to be reduced, but not eliminated. By the time I completed the trip, the vibration had become excessive when I brake, but the vibration seems limited to the steering. Should I be looking for a bad bushing, a ball joint, or what? How do I check? I really don't feel very comfortable with taking it to a dealer. Any input will be greatly appreciated.
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If all you did was replace brake pads, then you still have warped brake rotors. You _could_ be feeling worn bushings on the lower control arms, but with only 55k miles, I would not suspect that.

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I meant that I DID replace the rotors. I did not replace the sensors since the pads were 80+%. I just had a full set of everything, and expected that to correct my problem. My vehicles usually run 200 to 300K miles, and I've never had one act like this.
Jeff Strickland wrote:

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Okay. The sensors don't have to ever be replaced, unless you get the Replace Brakes warning. If you could manage to always replace brake pads before the sensor alerted you that you had reaced end-life, then you could (in theory) use the same sensor for as long as you owned the car. Whether or not this works in practice depends on factors that have nothing to do with the brakes, unless you count heat as being related to brakes.
I had a '94 E36 that had 215,000 miles and didn't behave that way. I had rotors that simply wore to be too thin, so I replaced them. In the 120k miles that I owned the car, I replaced the front rotors once, the front brake pads twice, and the rear brake pads once. I don't recall if I had the new rotors machined before I installed them, or if I took them out of the box and stood back while they jumped onto the car. I have had rotors machined since I owned my BMWs (I'm on the second one now), but I don't recall that they were BMW rotors.
I don't recall that you gave us any indication of what part of the country you live in, but stuff like road salt can play a role in you having a completely different experience than I am having. I NEVER bounce my car off the curb, and our roads are not filled with pot holes, so my suspension parts tend to last a very long time. But, if your car visits the curbing on occasion, or you have to navigate through fields of pot holes, then you could have issues with the bushings that manifest themselves as suspension shaking under braking.
My current car probably needs the bushings, I get some shaking on certain kinds of roads that I never noticed shaking on in my old car. My new car is a convertable -- same year as the other car -- and I am willing to chalk some of the shakes up to the chassis. I'll be checking closer when I get around to replacing the brakes -- pads and rotors are worn.

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slobuilder wrote:

I had a similar problem a few months ago. I had a slight vibration that was intermittent during normal driving, and more pronounced vibration during braking. I took it to the dealer (since the car was still under warranty). They replaced the front pads and rotors and recommended a wheel balance and an alignment. I declined the latter two because the car tracked straight and I had bought the tires elsewhere. The problem seemed much better after replacing the rotors/pads, but I was still getting intermittent vibration during normal driving. I took the car in for a wheel balancing and the tire shop told me they balanced out just fine. So, after a few weeks more of still having the problem I took it back to the dealer. They again replaced the pads and rotors and recommended an alignment and balance. The tech at the dealer also showed me there was some cupping in the tires. I went ahead and had the balance and alignment done. It cost $280 but by then I figured I had to do what they recommended if only to get them to resolve whatever the problem was. The weights on the wheels changed after they did the rebalance and, at least according to them, the alignment was off. Anyway, since then the problem seems to have gone away. Why the tire shop (America's Tire Co.) couldn't balance the tires properly is beyond me.
My car is a 2003 325i with, at the time, a little less than 50K miles.
The dealer did check the bushings and said they were OK. The tech also told me that rotors are especially susceptible to warpage if there's not enough grease and the grease tends to get removed by high-pressure washing of the wheels.
Anoop
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I don't know the exact specs, but BMW's are very particular about having the alignment right on. I seem to recall something about having weight in the driver seat while its being done. Your average tech at a national chain probably read a pamphlet or training book in his orientation class on how to run the machine. That barely qualifies him to do the alignment and certainly does not teach him the skills to be as precise as BMW's require.
Kyle. 98 740iL 97 M3
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