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Thread: E46 ZHP "wanders"

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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    Default E46 ZHP "wanders"

    I recently picked up a ZHP E46 and it exhibits an odd trait. I tends to "wander" a bit on imperfect pavement. When going over rough pavement, it kind of wanders and tugs on the steering wheel in my hands. It behaves like a car with bias-ply tires, if anyone's old enough to remember what that was like.

    I think I know what's causing it, but I wanted to put out a call for some TrackHQ.com crowd wisdom so I don't buy parts I don't need.

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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif Blackbird's Avatar
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    I'm assuming alignment was checked?

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    I'd suspect the front lower control arm 'eyeball' bushings if they haven't been changed recently. Check the RTAB bushings in the rear also.

    Mark
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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    Cheap tires, race tires?

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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    Nothing seems askew with the alignment. I was thinking it was the rear bushings on the front control arms, too. These precise-looking devices.

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    Senior Member Silversprint's Avatar
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    Lots of front negative camber or big front tires?
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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silversprint View Post
    Lots of front negative camber or big front tires?
    Nope. Stock wheels, no significant negative camber. The tires are no-name specials in OK condition, but I doubt they're the cause.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ucfbrett View Post
    Nothing seems askew with the alignment. I was thinking it was the rear bushings on the front control arms, too. These precise-looking devices.

    Attachment 10479

    Attachment 10479
    This
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    Senior Member Johnny_Se7en's Avatar
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    You can do the kick the tire test, if the tire moves excessively then it may be the rear control arm bushings. I seemed to have to replace them every 60k, but by that time I had a click when going into reverse.
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    If nothing happens and there is no one around why did it not happen?

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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    OK, what else could cause the wandering? I replaced the front lower control arm bushings yesterday, which was no picnic, and it's better, but tar strips still seem to move the car around.

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    RaceTape Ninja Force McCocken's Avatar
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    Did you check the condition of the ball joints on the FLCAs? You can usually test simply by raising the front wheels and applying some leverage where the LCA attaches to the subframe with a prybar. Might as well check your tie rod ends too. Any 'bobbling' or clunking over bumps? Also, see if the strut attachments at the knuckle are tight. Check wheel bearings for play.
    Last edited by Force McCocken; 01-15-2017 at 03:45 PM.
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    Steering rack guibo?

    Mark
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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markn View Post
    Steering rack guibo?

    Mark
    What the hell is a guibo?

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    Senior Member robburgoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ucfbrett View Post
    What the hell is a guibo?
    Oh dear, he's bought a bmw and he's never heard of a guido.
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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robburgoon View Post
    Oh dear, he's bought a bmw and he's never heard of a guido.
    I've heard the word uttered among Spec E30 drivers, but it was in reference to a driveshaft.

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    BMW Master bawareca's Avatar
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    There is a similar rubber coupler at the bottom of the steering shaft.
    I have mine E30 OEM parts overloaded with 1/3 less steering ratio and r-comps and it was like new when I removed it.
    I had a similar problem with an old 5 series a few years ago, but it has a completely different suspension design. In your case i recommend you to go to a BMW shop so they can take a good look at the alignment. Not only toe and camber matters, and also an experienced tech can find something odd in the front end which may not be obvious, or showing int the alignment specs. And I will not exclude the tires, especially if they are unknown brand.
    Last edited by bawareca; 01-16-2017 at 10:42 AM.
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    RaceTape Ninja Force McCocken's Avatar
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    I thought of the steering shaft guibo too, but I wasn't sure if the e46 had one. It's like the driveshaft guibo, but is simply a rubber damper between the two halves of the steering shaft in the engine bay. I replaced the one on my e30 when I restored it.

    The best way to check is to raise a front wheel, get in the car and turn the key to "on" to unlock the steering column. Have a friend try hard to shake the front wheel while holding it the 9 and 3 o'clock positions. You should be in the car and watch the steering wheel reply in kind. Follow it up by looking down at the guibo (will probably have to remove the airbox, elbow, MAF), see if the rubber is torn, delaminating, etc. The guibo itself *can* be replaced with an aftermarket PU or solid piece, but the OEM piece costs a little more and will feel more relaxed in DD situations.

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    Yer pal,
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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bawareca View Post
    There is a similar rubber coupler at the bottom of the steering shaft.
    I have mine E30 OEM parts overloaded with 1/3 less steering ratio and r-comps and it was like new when I removed it.
    I had a similar problem with an old 5 series a few years ago, but it has a completely different suspension design. In your case i recommend you to go to a BMW shop so they can take a good look at the alignment. Not only toe and camber matters, and also an experienced tech can find something odd in the front end which may not be obvious, or showing int the alignment specs. And I will not exclude the tires, especially if they are unknown brand.
    I might do that. The tires on it are unknown. I suspect the previous owner shopped based on price alone.

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    RaceTape Ninja Force McCocken's Avatar
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    Simple first: can you rotate the tires to see if the wandering characteristics change? I don't remember if the ZHP is a square setup.
    Yer pal,
    Force

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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Force McCocken View Post
    Simple first: can you rotate the tires to see if the wandering characteristics change? I don't remember if the ZHP is a square setup.
    Nope, not square:

    Front
    225/40/18
    Rear
    255/35/18

    Wheel widths are different, too.

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