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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Tue, Jan-14-2020, 08:09:03 PM   #1
JamesSJ1
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Default Steering catching/clicking noise after suspension refresh

Replaced the front struts and all mounting hardware/rubber a few weeks ago with Bilstein B6 on my 2006 'vert, 90k miles. Afterwards, I have a clicking noise/feel when steering, 95% sure it's coming from the front-right. I definitely didn't have this before the refresh, and there is no visible binding. Didn't replace tie-rod ends, but they appeared fine.

I'd like to put it up on jack stands and raise the hubs up to about ride-height, and moving the steering around to see if I can locate exactly where it's coming from. Might potentially still not find it since there is no actual load on the hubs, but one step at a time.

Any knowledge on where best to support the LCAs to do this, of course allowing for the hubs to freely turn as well?
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Old Tue, Jan-14-2020, 08:37:00 PM   #2
uberchris
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Default Re: Steering catching/clicking noise after suspension refresh

I have this exact same problem, and have seen several threads with no good answer. I have tried all kinds of things to diagnose it. My current theory is that Corteco upper strut mount bearings do not have enough clearance between both halves of the plastic body. When the suspension is loaded, the bearing is compressed and causes light binding.
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Old Thu, Jan-16-2020, 04:56:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steering catching/clicking noise after suspension refresh

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Originally Posted by uberchris View Post
I have this exact same problem, and have seen several threads with no good answer. I have tried all kinds of things to diagnose it. My current theory is that Corteco upper strut mount bearings do not have enough clearance between both halves of the plastic body. When the suspension is loaded, the bearing is compressed and causes light binding.
Good theory, considering of course I bought Corteco mounts/bearings and not original BMW. Easy and reasonably cheap enough to buy OEM mount bearings...might have to do that. Interestingly, I compared them to my OEM mounts/bearings when I removed them, and they looked near identical, but that doesn't mean there isn't a 0.1mm difference or something that is all it takes to get some light binding.
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Old Thu, Jan-16-2020, 10:04:28 PM   #4
RedM3/4
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Default Re: Steering catching/clicking noise after suspension refresh

check end link height; you did replace the endlinks right? they will often click if you tighten everthing else up on a really worn suspension.

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Old Thu, Jan-16-2020, 10:16:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steering catching/clicking noise after suspension refresh

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Originally Posted by RedM3/4 View Post
check end link height; you did replace the endlinks right? they will often click if you tighten everthing else up on a really worn suspension.

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Didn't replace end links (i assume you're talking about sway bar endlinks). Looked really good and ~90k miles, but I'll take a look there when I'm diagnosing.

Anybody have feedback on raising up wheels by LCAs, and where to put jacks or stands accordingly to raise fronts closer to travel height? (whole car will be up on jack stands already).
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Old Thu, Jan-16-2020, 10:34:54 PM   #6
RedM3/4
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Default Re: Steering catching/clicking noise after suspension refresh

yes, strut end links. If you lowered the car they may also be binding against the lca by the way.

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Old Tue, Jan-21-2020, 05:04:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steering catching/clicking noise after suspension refresh

Well, sometimes the solution is more obvious. Right before my car went into the body shop (neighbor backed into back fender) I replaced the struts, since it was also going into the mechanic during that visit for a couple rear-end parts, requiring a fresh alignment, from the accident. Mechanic noticed one of the struts wasn't fully dropped into the cup, so they took care of that for me. Well, looks like they did more than just that. The top bolts on the struts weren't tightened down anywhere near spec. Fixed that up and I had none of the clicking noise/feel on my test drive nor my drive to work this morning. I fully expected them to be overtightened or something causing drag on the Corteco bearing like Uberchris mentioned, but it was just the opposite.
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Old Thu, Jan-23-2020, 11:46:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steering catching/clicking noise after suspension refresh

Nevermind...spoke too soon. The sound comes and goes, but it's definitely still there. I reached out to FCPEuro and ordered a replacement, and they're taking back this one as defective and even covering the shipping cost.
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Old Mon, Feb-10-2020, 07:50:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steering catching/clicking noise after suspension refresh

Replaced the front-right strut bearing and all is smooth and good again. The replaced (new in December) bearing looked almost compressed, with blue grease smashed out of it. Didn't take a picture before I threw it in the box to return or I'd post it. Immediate difference in turning the wheels was apparent, and none of the binding noise/feel I had before.

uberchris - It might be a 1/4-1/2 a millimeter difference, who knows, but given how the grease looked like it was pushed out of the bearing halves, I would say you're on to something with the Corteco bearings. I may suck it up and order original BMW replacements if I ever have issues again and just suck it up rather than worrying about warranty replacement or anything. Only $40 IIRC for a pair.
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Discussing Steering catching/clicking noise after suspension refresh in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)