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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 Sun, Jun-11-2017, 06:25:49 PM   #1
Kdubski
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Default Increasing clunking rear/front (long description)

So my new to me 89K 6MT M3 is started to make some new noises. To begin, struts, mounts, sway bar end links in front, and RTABS have all been replaced in the last 2k miles. Also, RCAP/Subframe has no cracks.

I first noticed a loud bang/clunk/pop when I launched from ~3,5k rpm. Keep in mind, I drive like a grandma with this car, only really laying on it in 3rd gear.

A few days later, I backed out of a parking spot and then rolled forward. I literally put my car into first and was rolling with the momentum of the car forward in gear turning the wheel slightly and heard a clunk/thump from the rear.


Last night, I pulled out of a gas station with a steep ramp leading to the street (think road work where the asphalt is much lower than the surrounding curbs) and heard what sounded and felt like a structural knock/clunk from the rear. I felt it under my seat.

Minutes after, I accelerated hard from 1st and the car did the same bang/clunk/pop as mentioned previously with the launch, except much more subtle.

Today, after starting the car and reversing, while the car was rolling heard a clunk. Finally, pulling into another parking lot over uneven pavement where the chasis undoubtedly flexed, I heard a series of popping/clunking from the front and felt it under my seat again.

I was alarmed the first time I heard the noise, lost sleep last night, and today I am really concerned.

The frequency of the noises is increasing. The car has 89k miles, overhauled suspension (struts, mounts, front endlinks, & rtabs) in the last 2k miles. RCAP is fine, no cracks but vincebar is underway in the coming months.

Anyone have anything similar? I searched for the past few days on what it could be but most of what is mentioned has been replaced/repaired. The noise doesn't sound healthy and I am afraid to drive the car as it might be something serious. Any and all advice is appreciated.






0:06 front clunk
0:08 rear clunk

...can best be heard if wearing headphones

Last edited by Kdubski; Mon, Jun-12-2017 at 02:33:36 PM.
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Old Sun, Jun-11-2017, 06:47:42 PM   #2
jbla
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Default Re: Increasing clunking rear/front (long description)

I just spent a few days dealing with this on my vert and it turned out to be rear shock mounts which are a common culprit. Get a couple of beefy dudes to push the car up and down when it's parked on the target wheel, and you should be able to reproduce it
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Old Sun, Jun-11-2017, 07:59:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Increasing clunking rear/front (long description)

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Originally Posted by jbla View Post
I just spent a few days dealing with this on my vert and it turned out to be rear shock mounts which are a common culprit. Get a couple of beefy dudes to push the car up and down when it's parked on the target wheel, and you should be able to reproduce it
Would they really cause you to feel the vibration of the clunk in the car? And you mean just push up and down? Thanks for the advice, going to try it later this evening.
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Old Sun, Jun-11-2017, 08:43:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Increasing clunking rear/front (long description)

If your not 100% positive that your rear subframe has been enforced, your car is on borrowed time. I have learned from experience. My car had the same exact symptoms as yours. I didnt see any cracks as well but when I dropped the subframe this is what I found.
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Old Sun, Jun-11-2017, 09:21:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Increasing clunking rear/front (long description)

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Originally Posted by Ekarbs44 View Post
If your not 100% positive that your rear subframe has been enforced, your car is on borrowed time. I have learned from experience. My car had the same exact symptoms as yours. I didnt see any cracks as well but when I dropped the subframe this is what I found.
How did you address the issue and what happened to the noise?
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Old Mon, Jun-12-2017, 02:08:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: Increasing clunking rear/front (long description)

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Originally Posted by Kdubski View Post
Would they really cause you to feel the vibration of the clunk in the car? And you mean just push up and down? Thanks for the advice, going to try it later this evening.


You'll be able to reproduce the clunking sound without driving, which will help you isolate the cause. The top of the rear shock tower is accessible on verts thru the exposed area under where top is stored; for coupes I think it's under the trunk lining but others can advise better.

As others have noted - check the subframe too. Mine had already been reinforced when I bought it at 55k and it's a vert so reduced risk, so I was pretty sure that wasn't it, but I checked that first anyway.
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Old Mon, Jun-12-2017, 02:10:52 AM   #7
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Default Re: Increasing clunking rear/front (long description)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ekarbs44 View Post
If your not 100% positive that your rear subframe has been enforced, your car is on borrowed time. I have learned from experience. My car had the same exact symptoms as yours. I didnt see any cracks as well but when I dropped the subframe this is what I found.


To also emphasize his point: if you have not reinforced your subframe do it now--your car may be warning you to pay attention.

It's cheap insurance compared with cost of repair and everyone has to get this done.
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Old Mon, Jun-12-2017, 03:28:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: Increasing clunking rear/front (long description)

As serious as the carrier panel failure can be, what you described doesn't lead to believe it would be the carrier panel at all.

Given you say it sounds as if it's beneath your seat, and I suspect to your side coming from the middle of the car?

given the symptoms and location I would guess it's the rubber in the centre bearing support. You'll need to get the car in the air and remove the exhaust and heat shield to inspect it.

If it is, it's not an expensive fix, not overly time consuming either. Just be sure to mark the two pieces of the shaft to keep them aligned so not to undo the balance.
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Old Mon, Jun-12-2017, 04:18:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: Increasing clunking rear/front (long description)

rear control arm bushings? mine are bad and it's a fairly intense bang. I ordered everything and will be taking care of it as soon as I get some free time, until then the car is parked
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Old Mon, Jun-12-2017, 04:53:19 AM   #10
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Default Re: Increasing clunking rear/front (long description)

I realized descriptions are useless. Here is a video, you can hear the noises perfectly if you wear headphones. Also, you can see what type of road surface onsets the noise. I can't recreate any noises aside from the ones you hear at this specific location.

0:06 front clunks
0:08 rear clunks


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Discussing Getting Gas with the Engine Running 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)