88 325 - real bumpy ride

You wouldn't expect a new car ride at 160k miles but it really clunks when I hit even a small bump (or "bimp" as Chiff Inspector Clouseau would say).
I can't really wiggle the tires much when they're off the ground and the car doesn't rebound really if you jump on the front bumper and it handles great while whipping in and out of traffic, threading the needle, dicing for the lead etc,... The tires follow the steering wheel instantly as you turn the wheel when it's parked at the curb so it doesn't feel like there's any play in the steering. What do I need to replace to make it a smoother ride? It rattles the whole car. It feels like a torpedoed ship. A manhole cover lip makes you think you've rammed the curb straight on. I have air tools, a car hoist, lot's of time, limitless patience, extra cars. Thanks as always. I'm quite content with my snappy red racer otherwise. Very well, the spellcheck is complete. I had two mistakes.
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Is it on aftermarket wheels, larger than standard? They are the main culprits for ruining the ride. Sports springs too. It's very easy to make a car handle better by the above. It's also easy to ruin the ride in the process.
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On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 07:35:48 +0100, "Dave Plowman (News)"

No, they're normal tires, Hancook radial 866. All 4 the same make and wear (nearly new). Factory wheels. Impossible to clean. The noticeable thing is one of the rear rims has a very slight flat spot about 1 1/2" long on it. After putting the car on the hoist I noticed the undercarriage is scratched up and dented on the front passenger side. Looks like there was supposed to be a spoiler under the front bumper? Gone. My guess is the previous owner slid off the road, damaged the rim and had it swapped to the rear of the car then discarded the valance. Thank you.
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It's me cosmo,.. wrote:

I perfer the Continental tires ... a bit better then Michelin for my money. However if you want aggressive tread in high temperature environment like Phoenix Arizona so your tires work at 140 degree F ... then go Japanese.
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What is the rear end like? Springs and shocks both good? No leaking evident? Both are OEM and not some high-performance short-stroke replacement?
What kind of tires do you have on it? --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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On 17 Aug 2009 10:45:16 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

I don't see any leaks from the rear but it's noisy on our roads. You can hear it rumbling like a bearing on it's way out. The differential has fluid. I don't really know how to test the shocks. If you step up on the rear bumper and jump off it doesn't oscillate. The car handles well and responds happily to spirited driving.

Newer generics with factory rims. Came on the car. Hankook 866. 195/60 R14. I just noticed a flat spot on one of the outer rear rims about an inch and a half long. Not that dramatic but maybe it doesn't take much to mess things up. My old van would hardly steer one day and it turned out to be a golf ball sized soft spot on a front tire. It looked like a perfect tire. Had to buy the front set. Thanks again.

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Well, it _is_ kind of a noisy car. If the springs look good, and it doesn't bounce, I'd say the rear end is probably okay.
If it's just noise you're worried about, I would check the rubber gadget above the differential and also the rubber mounts that hold the plate that holds the shifter (assuming it's a manual). Rubber parts degrade.

I would consider a quieter tire before doing anything else. Sadly, though, quiet and soft-riding tires tend to be poorer handling tires.

Tires are my number one suspicion. And while I would definitely check over the front end and make sure there is no play in the bushings, I don't think worn bushings will cause the kind of problems you describe without also causing some major handling trouble. Certainly won't hurt anything to get under there and start tugging, though. --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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There are at least two things to check. 1) Have the control arm bushings and other front-end bearings ever been replaced? If not, you're well past due for them. 2) There has been a lot written/posted lately on E46 rear suspension subframe mounting points cracking. This problem also existed (but to a lesser degree, I believe) on the E36. You need to carefully check the floor pan/underbody where the subframe mounts to it - probably have to pull some insulation.
FloydR
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On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 08:38:07 -0700, "Floyd Rogers"

For those not aware of it, the US courts granted final approval of the e46 class action lawsuit against BMW. Details here:
http://www.e46subframeclassactionsettlement.com
Basically, you can get a free inspection from BMW to see if your car has the problem, and if it exists they will fix it free. If you previously had the problem and paid to get it fixed, you can get reimbursed.
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On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 08:38:07 -0700, "Floyd Rogers"

I'm going to put my best man on this straight away. We have a crude press made from an inverted car jack. The more I read the more this looks like the place to start. p.s. The Bavarian Autosport website states you have to have the weight of the car on the suspension parts before retightening. Not sure how you would do that as it's about 2 inches of ground clearance. Thanks.

1988 325, that's E30 right?

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Dang, you're right. I was thinking 5-series for some reason.
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On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 13:15:05 -0700, "Floyd Rogers"

Never mind e30s, the e46 is a 3 not a 5. What you been smokin' ?...
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I'm not convinced it would make any difference to the ride comfort. Noise, etc, yes. Have you driven another example of this model - it could be you just expected a better ride. BMWs tend to have a firmer ride than many others.

Easiest way is with a ramp or pit so you can get at things while the weight is on the wheels.
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Floyd is barking up the right car science tree to my reckoning ... you do have suspension wear from the mileage ... if your power steering system is not leaking and you needing high pressure hose replacement ... then that will be happening soon.
With the suspension knuckles down there in the front suspension and the rear with the control arm bushings and the bearings etc ... they are leaking and busting out now. Your rack and pinion steering control arm has to be sorted out as well with those bearings and bushings.
So that is about $1000 for the power steering kit ... and another $1000 for the suspension kit.
For the bumpy ride since everything is OEM or better down below ... then do the shocks ... again think of KYB or the nitrogen gas system. Last longer and work better IMO or course.
sumbuddie hopes this helps
":?

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It's me cosmo,.. wrote:

Hi Cosmo ...
Some people put on KYB nitrogen gas shocks ... made for the particular car or truck for that matter.
They work like regular shocks, just install them and then take off the safety cord holding the thing in the compressed condition ... the ride is a bit stiff for about 400 miles ...
but after that ... the price is well worth the up tick in performance.
That is what I would go for in your situation.
All my best mate ...
sumbuddie wear blind sea
:?
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It's me cosmo,.. wrote:

1 Rear Shock Mounts 2 Engine/ Gearbox mounts. 2 Exhaust moving too much & hitting body= rubber rings broken.
I have a 90 240K (150kMi)325iS = mtech suspension= vv firm but handles like it's on rails. No rattling/ noise clunks. There's sonmething wrong with yours. JM
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I'm confused with the title of this thread. To me a bumpy ride suggests extra firm springs etc. Noisy ride would be something else - unless caused by unsuitable wheels/tyres which could account for both.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

noise and vibration/ thumping. Maybe you're correct and it's just good firm suspension. JM
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I recently had a chance to drive a neighbour's new 535d round the block - so obviously roads I know well. Some not very well surfaced. And the ride was appalling compared to my E39 on standard wheels and suspension. And it is in turn poor compared to a mate's 40 year old Jaguar XJ6. In some ways there's been no progress. Oh - the XJ6 also handles very well. So not just soft suspension designed purely for comfort.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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I believe you hit the nail on the head. E30s are notorious for eating rear shock mounts. I would put a lot of money betting that replacing them will solve the entire problem.
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