steering/stability problem on E36 at speed

hello, I am new to this NG, hope someone might be able to shed some light on a steering problem i have on a newly aquired 1992 E36 BMW 316i. at speeds over 60mph ( approx) the car feels very unsteady and appears to
jump about at the front end if i hit a small bump etc on the road. the steering wheel shakes ( it is not a wheel balancing problem, this has been done on all 4 wheels) on smooth roads it seems to behave better, but on a poor road surface it can be quite scary! i have replaced both front lower ball joints ( these are the semi-floating type) and also the rear wishbone bushes on both sides of the front wishbones. The shock absorbers appear to dampen the spring movement, but of course bouncing the car while stood still is about the only check i can make here. I have not had the wheel alignment checked as of yet, however the wheels do not look excessively far from parallel to the eye and i am reluctant to think that wheel alignment slightly out will cause such a harsh symptom ? there is a tiny bit of play in the steering rack on the inner ball joints (inner track rods) which of course will be rectified with either new track rod joints or a new rack, however again i am wondering if such a small amount of free play here will cause such drastic issues? if anyone has any other suggestions as to what might cause this i would appreciate any comments. P.S. the wheels are all true with no problems on the tyres, i have swapped front to back on both sides to elliminate this.
Regards. Steve.
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Our E36 318iS had a mild rear ender. Afterwards it behaved like yours. The impact had knocked of the rear suspension alignment. a KDS alignment at the dealer solved it.
What size of wheels/tyres are you running?
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John G.Burns B.Eng, Bonny Scotland

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i have the same problem on my 95 325 is... i have replaced all shocks, bushings etc... and it wont go away... i am using the standard 205/65 tires and at 69k i am running out of thoughts here.
might replace all springs to see what happens.
it is something about the driver's rear suspenstion that i hate.
steve wrote:

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Are you using the solid subframe bushings? - - Rex Burkheimer Fort Worth TX
Pedro wrote:

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One thing i have noticed, and its probably because for the last 10 years or so i've been running front wheel drive cars, is that if i accelerate into a bend there seems to be a lot of lateral movement on the back end. almost as if the back end is drifting, but with no tyre slip, the car appears to slide through the bend on the back yet the tyres are holding the road... possibly the bushes on the panhard rod on the rear axle? or is this characteristic of the E36. (btw i suggested 195 tyres on mine, in fact they are 205's) Steve.

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steve wrote:

What you are describing is "oversteer". It is a desireable (in the right doses) phenomenon that is not possible on a FWD car.
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Fred W wrote:

Not if the rear tyres aren't losing traction. Could well be worn trailing arms or something else back there, including stress fractures in the chassis. ...or could just be normal weight transfer of a RWD car.
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thanks for the advice... i am pretty shure i have never replaced those bushings, so today, i called BAVAUTO and ordered them but i do not have a clue to where they are conected to.
The thing is, i live in brazil and the dealer charged 400 bucks for labour. I have mantained my car for the past 10 years doing the maintenance myself. That being said, does anybody know of a do it yourself site or place where i can find info on that. Are special tools required?
Pedro snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

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Check out this site, there will be links to help you with various sorts of jobs for your car...
    http://www.bimmerdiy.com/e36
Cheers, Bob
Pedro wrote:

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There isn't a Panhard rod. But it sounds VERY like dead subframe bushings.
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John G.Burns B.Eng, Bonny Scotland

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Pedro wrote on 31 May 2006 09:26:30 -0700:

You might also want to check the driveshaft - last year with my '93 320 I had a problem with what felt like the front wheels trying to lift off the road and nasty shake through the steering when going over 60ish, and I had all the shocks checked, wheels balanced, and alignment checked, still no joy. After some test drives from my local BMW specialist he found that the drive shaft coupling was split and it was vibration being passed back to the front end that was the problem. Quick replacement and cheap, and it hasn't had the same problem since.
Dan
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