Yet another steering wheel wobble issue

Discuss the problems with your X5 (E53).
mr angry
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Yet another steering wheel wobble issue

Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:53 pm

I have searched many previous posts relating to this but most others have an issue under braking.

My 2003 e53 3.0d has developed a steering wheel shake which only seems to manifest after a while of driving...say 15-20 mins and not generally at lower speeds, more motorway driving at 50 - 70mph. It does not occur during braking, just driving and does not go away as you slow down. It feels to be coming from the nsf area and can get quite violent.

My first suspect was the clicking n/s/f CV joint which has been worn for some time, so I changed it but the shake still exists.

I next suspected the front caliper as it did seems very hot compared to the osf one, so replaced the seals and piston and all seems to be fine there now, yet the shake still exists.

My next thoughts were the front thrust arm bushes, but dont want to just chase this around throwing money at it as its an old car with little value now. Am I right in saying the best way to check these is whilst the car is on all four wheels by levering and twisting the arm? Am I better buying the arms or just the bush and pressing it in.

I have ruled out wheels and tyres as it would surely do it all the time and not just after a period of driving.

Any further thoughts on what may cause this?
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X5Sport
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Re: Yet another steering wheel wobble issue

Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:41 am

If you have had a very hot calliper then it is highly likely that the disc on that wheel is distorted too. I had a randomly seizing calliper on the X6 in the Summer and at certain speeds it generated a very noticeable ‘shake’ which braking did not clear, but hard braking to ease the calliper did until the disc heated up again due to pad drag causing excess friction.

I also found that the affected wheel was getting hot - which gave me the clue as to it being a calliper & disc problem.

Checking with a dial gauge showed a warp and I replaced both front discs, O/S/F calliper, pads and wear sensor.

End of problem.
:ant: Never anthropomorphise computers. They hate that.
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Alan Gunn
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Re: Yet another steering wheel wobble issue

Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:27 am

I had a wobble but it was a lot worse going round a long bend but did get it in a straight line.
Put it on the MOT ramp with the shaker going and nothing amiss but when on a jack the bottom ball joint was hanging off.
New joint problem gone
mr angry
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Re: Yet another steering wheel wobble issue

Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:49 am

X5Sport wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:41 am
If you have had a very hot calliper then it is highly likely that the disc on that wheel is distorted too. I had a randomly seizing calliper on the X6 in the Summer and at certain speeds it generated a very noticeable ‘shake’ which braking did not clear, but hard braking to ease the calliper did until the disc heated up again due to pad drag causing excess friction.

I also found that the affected wheel was getting hot - which gave me the clue as to it being a calliper & disc problem.

Checking with a dial gauge showed a warp and I replaced both front discs, O/S/F calliper, pads and wear sensor.

End of problem.
I will check the discs out with a dial gauge, but there is no sensation through the pedal suggesting a distorted disc but best to eliminate this I suppose
mr angry
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Re: Yet another steering wheel wobble issue

Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:53 am

Alan Gunn wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:27 am
I had a wobble but it was a lot worse going round a long bend but did get it in a straight line.
Put it on the MOT ramp with the shaker going and nothing amiss but when on a jack the bottom ball joint was hanging off.
New joint problem gone
I did try and move the arm at the ball joint when it was last jacked up and couldn't see or feel any movement. That said, none of the front arm arms/bushes and links look recent and are probably quite old. I have seen a number of complete kits on eBay but unsure of the quality of some of them.
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Alan Gunn
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Re: Yet another steering wheel wobble issue

Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:34 am

mr angry wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:53 am
Alan Gunn wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:27 am
I had a wobble but it was a lot worse going round a long bend but did get it in a straight line.
Put it on the MOT ramp with the shaker going and nothing amiss but when on a jack the bottom ball joint was hanging off.
New joint problem gone
I did try and move the arm at the ball joint when it was last jacked up and couldn't see or feel any movement. That said, none of the front arm arms/bushes and links look recent and are probably quite old. I have seen a number of complete kits on eBay but unsure of the quality of some of them.
It was the joint with the 2 bolts if you know the one i mean not on the arm.
Mine was hanging almost apart but other than the wobble no sigh when driving no knocking or banging.
You have to have the car jacked up with all weight off the suspension.
My friend who has the garage said he would have missed it on the mot test.
mr angry
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Re: Yet another steering wheel wobble issue

Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:46 am

Alan Gunn wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:34 am
mr angry wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:53 am
Alan Gunn wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:27 am
I had a wobble but it was a lot worse going round a long bend but did get it in a straight line.
Put it on the MOT ramp with the shaker going and nothing amiss but when on a jack the bottom ball joint was hanging off.
New joint problem gone
I did try and move the arm at the ball joint when it was last jacked up and couldn't see or feel any movement. That said, none of the front arm arms/bushes and links look recent and are probably quite old. I have seen a number of complete kits on eBay but unsure of the quality of some of them.
It was the joint with the 2 bolts if you know the one i mean not on the arm.
Mine was hanging almost apart but other than the wobble no sigh when driving no knocking or banging.
You have to have the car jacked up with all weight off the suspension.
My friend who has the garage said he would have missed it on the mot test.
This one?
download/file.php?mode=view&id=303
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Alan Gunn
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Re: Yet another steering wheel wobble issue

Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:00 pm

mr angry wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:46 am
Alan Gunn wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:34 am
mr angry wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:53 am


I did try and move the arm at the ball joint when it was last jacked up and couldn't see or feel any movement. That said, none of the front arm arms/bushes and links look recent and are probably quite old. I have seen a number of complete kits on eBay but unsure of the quality of some of them.
It was the joint with the 2 bolts if you know the one i mean not on the arm.
Mine was hanging almost apart but other than the wobble no sigh when driving no knocking or banging.
You have to have the car jacked up with all weight off the suspension.
My friend who has the garage said he would have missed it on the mot test.
This one?
download/file.php?mode=view&id=303
Yes that's the one.
mr angry
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Re: Yet another steering wheel wobble issue

Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:22 pm

A quick update....I checked the front discs for distortion and both are running true. There is however some play on the ball joints on both sides, I just dont see how this would cause these symptoms after driving for 15 mins or so and not straight away?

I am now looking at the front suspension arm and bush kits as individual items seem pricey, but the price seems to vary considerably with many known and unknown branded kits. It is an old car that I dont want to spend fortunes on, but then again I dont want to buy rubbish that will need replacing soon after. Can I ask if anyone has experience of buying any of these kits and which to avoid.

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