My car has now done 112,000 miles (MY2000 330D Touring E46 SE,
I don't think it handles like it used to, especially at the rear. I've
taken the car twice to be looked at (once at BMW dealership and another time
at an independent) and they have both said that the car is fine. Now it
may seem like everything is solid when inspection is made with car on the
ramps, but in reality I know different because I can feel it on a daily
Has anyone any experience in how to tighten up the handling on an older
BMW and how to get the dealers to locate the cause of the problems. I'd
like my car to feel like a much newer car on the road as far as the handling
and ride is concerned. Are they any common failure items on these cars or
any items that should really be replaced at over 100,000 miles to keep the
car feeling its best on the road.
Thanks for the advice!
Well, everyone says that the bushings in the front control arms last only
around 100K miles. I know that when I replaced them in my '91 E34
it did tighten things up.
However, the first thing to look at is your tires. I have the same size
wheels and tires (Michelin Pilot MXM) on my '01 330xi, and am very aware
that tire wear makes a significant difference for this car. I would try
rotating your tires front to rear (both sides) and see if that feels better.
If they are worn much beyond 1/2 tread depth, I would consider replacing
I note what you say about the tyres. I tend to be a bit stingy with my
tyres and if theres tread on them I'll keep them till they're illegal.
Recently I did swap the rear tyres which were almost illegal for new ones
(identical type Good Year F1 GSD3) and the handling became far worse! I now
have the new tyres on the front and half worn ones (from the front) on the
rear. This stopped the unpredictable handling and now it's reasonable
again, but I still get the feeling that something is not right at the back.
It would be expensive for me to change all the tyres at the same time, and
would be silly if I still had no improvement. The way the car feels is that
the rear is a bit jumpy / fidgety when the road surface is rough, seems to
side step slightly. I'd expect it to be smoother, but maybe it is the
tyres. The front seems mostly OK and I did have some bushes replaced at
about 80,000 miles, may have been the control arm bushings.
Floyd, do you always swap all 4 tyres at the same time on your 330 ? Have
you had any of the problems that I explained here ? What are your opinions
on the MXM's ? Maybe I'll try a tyre like that next time round instead of
I'm also wondering how difficult it may be for me to inspect the suspension
myself. Can someone advise what I should be doing when looking at
suspension for problems and what to look out for.
Not sure what the rear suspension set-up is on the E46 but certainly on the
E36 (my 325 Coupe) the trailing link bushes caused a weird sort of step out
at the rear end, especially when cornering hard. If the E46 has then, they
may not have gone completely yet (evident by a load knocking at the back
when turning tight corners) but they may be on the brink and would benefit
from being changed.
If I have a tire that gets some sort of separation or other failure while
the set is relatively new (25% wear or less), I will usually replace it
(or use the spare). However, I have had better results, especially wrt.
handling/twitchiness issues when replacing all 4. IME, letting the
tires wear to the markers is almost impossible (unless we're talking
a Dodge Caravan, Isuzu Trooper or other mush-handling vehicle.)
For instance, I hit a pothole and trashed a Pilot Alpine with about 15%
wear and replaced it with a new one; no problems.
The MXM's have worn well, but are expensive. I will probably get
PS2's when I replace the (which probably won't wear as well ;-> )
because for my summer set I'm only interested in performance.
I've definitely decided that rotating tires on BMWs is a waste -
the handling deteriorates and you save only a few thousands
of miles before replacing the remaining front or rear set anyway.
My opinion on Goodyear is that they make good SUV tires that
last forever. I had a set of original NCT's on my '77 Porsche 924
and they were great - back then. But I haven't been impressed
with their build quality and high performance tires for over 15 years.
Michelin IMO builds much better tires, especially snow and high
performance tires. I've had Michelins on our '91 525i since replacing
the OEM Contis (MXV4 and now HGT-V4) and they work great,
as long as they have at least 25% tread left and aren't rotated.
IMO, it's very hard for *anyone* to really "look" or "inspect" a suspension
and tell that it's bad. This is one of the most shot-gunned areas
of car maintenance. About the only component that's easy to figure
out if it's worn is shocks (the rock test.)
Thanks for the replies, and what you included is useful. I used to always
like Michelins myself but noticed that the GoodYears get good reviews on
TireRack and were cheaper, so I tried them. I jacked the car up this
evening on the suspect corner (rear drivers side) and there doesn't appear
to be any play in the wheel and I cannot see any obvious bush wear. What
Rick mentioned sounds plausable though and I'll get them checked out because
my symptoms are just like what he suggested. Under hard cornering it kinda
feels like there's some abnormal movement.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.