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Wandering E46 2002 325IS

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2002 325is

Joined: 13 Nov 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 2:27 pm    Post subject: Wandering E46 2002 325IS Reply with quote

Group. This is a serious question about steering wandering on E46's.
My car was in an accident and was repaired very professionally. It is now a salvage car from the amount of lower engine damage and the front portion of the collapsible frame. Remarkably they reused the original hood.

We have had this car racked and looked over by several mechanics and pro body shop owners. Nothing is out of line and the repair to the front frame is extremely solid. No damage to the frame from right in front of the suspension to the back end of the car. The steering is tight, the lower control arm bushings were bad so I replaced them with heavy duty Mahle's. This has a sport shock/spring arrangement so it is rather tight.

But still, I can not seem to get the car to stop tracking grooves and ruts. Sometimes it will track the grooves in concrete for water runoff.
I have heard it described like this.. The car will steer itself without moving the steering wheel. Yep, this is mine.. It is very minor now in comparison to bad lower control arm bushings, but damn.. It looks bad if you were behind the car.. Like an officer would see.

2002 325IS
57,000 miles, 14,000 after the accident.
Kumho ECTSA Asx All Season grooved tires for water.
235/45 R17 front and rear.

My question is.. Could it be the Camber? Caster?
Is it possible that rear bushings are to blame?
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Joined: 19 Jan 2007
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there,

I've heard of this problem lots of times before, and my own car (2000 328ci) is a big culprit as well. Seems the general consensus is that it's generally down to the use of large wide tyres (17" & above) which don't go down too well with E46's. I've heard of people modifying their suspension and bushes etc, but never completely eradicated it. Some tyre brands also seem to worsen the effect rather than others. If I can find thread I saw which mentioned the better tyres I'll repost.

Did you notice if your car did this pre-accident?

Hope this helps.
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2002 325is

Joined: 13 Nov 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 4:02 pm    Post subject: Steering Issues Reply with quote

Thank you for the reply.

I just got the car post accident. Since this original post I have installed:
Front strut brace
Transmission frame connector (aluminum mount)

The mount was fractured in three places and no longer was structural. Replacing this gave the car a better feel of control, but within a month it felt a bit loose again. I drive in Bakersfield, Ca and the roads here are horrific. It pulls badly here, but up in San Francisco where the roads are far better it really doesn't pull much at all.

So, this leads me to believe that you are right, the E46 just doesn't like big tires. Since mine qualifies as an IS model with the sport suspension and transmission it came from the factory with the larger tires but I do have Falken multi grooved tires.

If anyone ever finds an answer to this let us know as it is a VERY SERIOUS issue and could easily leads to a collision with the vehicle in the lane next to us..

Imagine the car suddenly moving to the left or right One Foot instantly...
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Joined: 07 May 2004
Posts: 219
Location: Evansville, Indiana

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My 325i started wandering when my OEM Continental tires had about 26,000 miles. The dealer told me the tires were the problem. The tires still had tread left, but it was getting hard to drive. I bought some Falken tires and the problem went away. The Falken's handled better and the wandering reappeared when the tires were worn out at 30,000 miles.

I bought wider tires this last time with a longer treadlife tire. The issue is worse and began earlier. I suggest using the stock tire width and buy tires that you plan on replacing at 30,000 miles. The Falkens are a good tire for the money. I will likely go back to them.
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Joined: 29 Sep 2002
Posts: 69
Location: texas

PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:31 am    Post subject: tires Reply with quote

I had the same issue on e38 740il.
Even w new suspension, it wandered over crown in road.
Turns out it is the wider the tire, more wander also tires that have aggressive tread 45degrees to direction of travel will make it wander more. I switched to continentals w regular tread and problem was gone.
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