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  1. #1
    AdaM3
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    Yes | No

    Steering problem or suspension problem?

    A few thousand miles ago I had new coilovers installed on my 98. They're pretty stiff. Recently, and especially when it's cold, I'm hearing a very noticeable sound when I turn the wheels (almost a pinging, popping sound). This does not happen over any kind of bumps (smooth speed bumps, pot holes, etc) but ONLY when turning.

    My first thought was something in the rack or CV joints or something along those lines. I've had it looked at by an independent mechanic and the only wear he could see that could be causing the noise is the sway bar end links. He said the bushings on both top and bottom were basically shot and the stress that turning puts on them was making the popping, pinging sound.

    Thoughts? Everything I've seen about sway bar links seems directly related to suspension travel (hitting bumps, holes) but not steering. Because driving in a straight line is still crisp and clean, no matter what the condition of the road. There's no vibration, no braking issues, no alignment issues - just the ugly sound from turning the wheels.

    Replacing the end links is fairly straightforward and if they need it, that's a pretty cheap/easy job. But is that the cause of the noise?


  2. #2
    HSV-DAN
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    Stock links or aftermarket?

    The ball joints at the ends of the stock link could dry out if the seals fail. You should be able to reach around and move them if they are not frozen and determine if they are failing. Depending on the coil-over install, they could have been installed in some binding condition.

  3. #3
    TLK
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    Sway bar end links cheap and easy to replace

    The links on the front have a ball joint at both ends. When the grease runs out or they are horribly worn, the no longer move smoothly. The remain stuck until you turn far enough and they suddenly pop and snap into a new position. This is the source of many suspension clicking or popping sounds.

    These parts are extremely inexpensive, and quite easy to replace at home with simple hand tools. A 16mm (I believe) bicycle cone wrench will help to remove to the nut off the sway bar links because you need to counter hold it and you need the very flat cone wrench to get in there. Neither end of the end link needs self locking nuts, so you just reuse the ones that are on there.

  4. #4
    AdaM3
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    Stock links with 108k miles

    Well this is all very good news. I'm very comfortable replacing the links, which look like about $70 for the pair including tax, shipping, etc. I'll do that and see how it sounds!

  5. #5
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    Member No: 41265 DerekBarnes is an unknown quantity at this point DerekBarnes's Avatar
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    Yes | No

    What coilovers? My GC camber plates ping and pop.


    '99 M3 Estoril/Black
    Moton Club Sports
    Powerflex f/r bushings
    Strongstrut strut bar
    UUC tranny mounts/enforcers
    JTD underpanel
    Cold air intake
    '99 M3 Silver/Black RIP




  6. #6
    ADS
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    Yes, links are likely the noise

    I did almost everything on the front end of my 325 except those. With everything tightened up (except the end links) it took less than 100 miles for them to start popping!
    So that's the rule on front ends, especially with a lot of miles, if you tighten up some/most things, those worn parts you didn't do are now taking what I'll call "flex stress" that other loose things used to help take, so they wear out even faster.
    ADS

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