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Richard
Richard, ASE Certified Technician
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 15392
Experience:  BMW Tech ASE Certified Technician
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My steering wheel shakes pretty badly sometimes when I ...

Customer Question

My steering wheel shakes pretty badly sometimes when I enter a highway. It lasts for a few minutes and gradually subsides as I reach 60mph or so. Car is 98 328i. Just had the car in for remedy of situation. Bushings fixed, alignment done and still had the problem (although less frequently). Any thoughts? Thanks, Dave
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: BMW
Expert:  Richard replied 8 years ago.

Hello and welcome to justanswer.com

Sounds like your tires have a flat spot. Some of those vehicles had soft tires so when the car sits overnight or a couple of days the tires develop a flat spot. Once you drive the car and get it up to speed the tires start to heat up eventually and the shimmy will subside.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
So, are you saying that I could, conceivably, drive a half-hour in the city with no problem and then, as soon as I get on the highway the flat spot on the tire will still be there and cause the steering wheel to shake?
Expert:  Richard replied 8 years ago.

Usually if you tires have a flat spot you will have the shimmy for the first few miles of driving and will not go away until the tires get hot and up to speed.

Expert:  Richard replied 8 years ago.

Here is a bulletin that may be your concern. Let me know if this is what you are feeling.

Group 32
Steering and
Wheel Alignment

 

Bulletin Number
32 O3 97

 

Woodcliff Lake, NJ
May 1998
Product Engineering

 

This Service Information bulletin supersedes S.I. 32 03 97 dated October 1997 which should be removed and discarded from your S. I. binder.

The models affected have been expanded to include the 323i

SUBJECT:
Vibration or Buzz Felt in Steering Wheel

 

MODEL:
328i, 323i

 

Situation:
Some 328 and 323 owners may complain of a high frequency "buzz" felt in the steering wheel at a particular engine speed, and in some cases a vibration resembling a tire balance problem felt only in a two to five mile per hour window, usually in the 50 to 60 mph range.

 

This can be caused by hydraulic pulses set up by the power steering pump used with the M52 engine that are transmitted to the steering column through the steering rack.

A kit to stiffen the steering pump mount and to dampen hydraulic pulses in the system has been developed for cars that exhibit this condition.

In case of customer complaint, determine if what the customer describes as a "wheel shimmy" is actually being caused by the hydraulic system, by driving the car to isolate the speed at which the vibration occurs. Drive at a speed higher than the critical speed, drop the transmission into neutral, and allow the car to coast through the critical speed with the engine at idle. If the vibration is now gone, the kit should be installed.

Note :This repair does not apply to the 552 B32 engine used in the M3, or to the Z3.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Unfortunately, the answere you gave does not explain the situation I've described. Like I said, I can drive all day in the city with no problem. The steering wheel only shakes when I enter a highway for the first few minutes. Sometimes, it will shake again for awhile on the highway, and then stop. When the steering wheel shakes, it can be so rapid that I have to pull over. It feels like I will lose control of the car. Any other ideas on the situation? Thanks.
Expert:  Richard replied 8 years ago.

Here is a bulletin that may be your concern. Let me know if this is what you are feeling.

Group 32
Steering and
Wheel Alignment

 

Bulletin Number
32 O3 97

 

Woodcliff Lake, NJ
May 1998
Product Engineering

 

This Service Information bulletin supersedes S.I. 32 03 97 dated October 1997 which should be removed and discarded from your S. I. binder.

The models affected have been expanded to include the 323i

SUBJECT:
Vibration or Buzz Felt in Steering Wheel

 

MODEL:
328i, 323i

 

Situation:
Some 328 and 323 owners may complain of a high frequency "buzz" felt in the steering wheel at a particular engine speed, and in some cases a vibration resembling a tire balance problem felt only in a two to five mile per hour window, usually in the 50 to 60 mph range.

 

This can be caused by hydraulic pulses set up by the power steering pump used with the M52 engine that are transmitted to the steering column through the steering rack.

A kit to stiffen the steering pump mount and to dampen hydraulic pulses in the system has been developed for cars that exhibit this condition.

In case of customer complaint, determine if what the customer describes as a "wheel shimmy" is actually being caused by the hydraulic system, by driving the car to isolate the speed at which the vibration occurs. Drive at a speed higher than the critical speed, drop the transmission into neutral, and allow the car to coast through the critical speed with the engine at idle. If the vibration is now gone, the kit should be installed.

Note :This repair does not apply to the 552 B32 engine used in the M3, or to the Z3.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Where can I obtain this 'kit' to have my mechanic install it? Thanks, Dave