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Noise in Front Wheel Well

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by maxlfoster, Jan 26, 2011.

    maxlfoster guest

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    I've been an owner for all of 10 days--just bought a 2004 M3 with 38,600 miles on it.

    The unfortunate thing is that I think I already have a problem with it. When I got into the car last Thursday night (travel for work, so hadn't driven it since the previous Sunday) I noticed a rythmic rubbing/grinding in the front right wheel well, even when rolling in the driveway. It doesn't change when I turn in either direction. There's no vibration in the steering wheel, and the sound is pretty noticeable up until 30-40 mph, when the noise of the engine and other ambient noise drown it out. I have taken it up to 70-80 mph on the highway and there is no vibration with it either.

    Anyways, I took it back to the dealership where I got the car (Honda dealership, but I at least had a chance of getting the repairs paid for by them) and after talking with them several times over the phone this week, they said they've test driven it a few times and cannot hear the noise. I thought that the noise might have been less pronounced as I was driving to drop it off at the dealership, but I thought it would still be audible to them. I will obviously check to see if I can hear it on Friday when I pick it up, but is there a good chance that there was a minor amount of rust buildup on some parts in/near the wheel assembly over those 4-5 days (drove in rain that Sunday, and left in the garage until Thursday night) that after some driving, friction would take the rust off?

    Thanks for any replies.
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    steven s

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    Rotors rust and come off quickly.
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    MGarrison

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    Have you noticed if the noise changes or goes away when you brake? Does it increase in frequency the faster you go? Have you taken a look in the wheel well and under the car? Fender liner secured? A wheel bearing would make more noise when turning, so that sounds less possible, from your description. If the rotors are rusty, you should be able to see that. Does it come from a corner or generally the front? Are you sure the wheels are a proper fitment for the car? (possible the previous owner put on some different wheels?) Hope you figure it out!
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    steven s

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    And the only other thing I can think of is the dust shield touching the rotor.
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    bcweir

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    Make sure the anti-rattle clips are properly set.

    That's a frequent cause of brake noise.

    M3Driver guest

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    Wheel bearing?

    maxlfoster guest

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    To answer some of these questions:

    The frequency of the noise changes as I speed up...but it does not change at all when I apply the brakes--other than the frequency as I slow down. I took as good a look in the wheel well as I could without getting under the car (getting ramps, etc this weekend for an oil change that I'll need in the next 1,000 miles, so I can take a better look at it then).

    The rotors looked great, with no rust whatsoever on them (at least on the outside of the two surfaces of the rotor; couldn't see the inside one from my vantage point). The wheels are the factory-issued OEM 19" rims, with what I believe are the recommended tires (will check on that this weekend as well). I don't think it's a tire issue at all because it isn't out of balance (no vibration in the steering wheel) and the noise wouldn't intensify that fast from a noise perspective.

    Again, not an issue turning either way--noise is at its greatest going straight and turning left, with maybe a slight decrease in volume turning right (front right wheel is the problem).

    Hope that helps...I also drove it a good 10 miles to commute to work last Friday (after I heard the noise for the first time) and I figured that rust on a rotor would dissipate quickly--so I was thinking of ruling that out as a possibility.

    cwbiii guest

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    dragging brake

    Noise after it sitting for a few days is pretty normal as the rotors rust up very fast if not used and the rust makes a scraping noise... but is should go away with a few applications of the brakes. You could have a dragging brake pad. Easiest way to tell is to give the wheel(s) a spin by hand after you jack it up and listen.
    Warning: the included jack is a joke...and dangerous if you don't use it right.
    Only lift the body by the jacking points... I stick a short 1/2" extension in the hole that is designed to hold the "jack pad" on my floor jack as this locks into the receiver hole in the chassis.
    You will need an ultra low jack (like those used in the pits) for use with an M3 since the ground clearance is so low...ALWAYS use some kind of jack stand as a safety just in case the jack fails.

    I knew a couple of guys that killed themselves by not following that rule and another that was trapped but luckily survived... but was arrested since he was trying to filch something.

    Chuck

    tclark guest

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    I have what I believe to be a similar problem on my front left wheel. I have all of the same symptoms you've listed: a rubbing/grinding sound that seems to correspond with the rotation of the wheels (speeding up & slowing down in frequency as the wheels do) that doesn't change while turning, accelerating, or braking (other than the corresponding change in speed). Brake disks are clear of rust & there's no shaking or vibration felt through the steering wheel or through the body of the car.

    I jacked up that corner to investigate by spinning the wheel manually: there is a distinct area during the wheel's rotation that something is rubbing. I checked & ruled out the wheel well lining, dust shield, & any other foreign object touching the wheel or brake disk.

    The only suspect I'm left with is my inner brake pad. I took the caliper off & examined both pads; the inner pad (the one with the clip to attach to the piston) was beginning to separate from the backing. My only guess now is that that portion of the pad doesn't retract with the caliper & contacts the disk at some specific point in the rotation.

    If you check your pads & notice the same thing, I'd say that's pretty good evidence that that's our culprit. If not . . . back to the drawing board.

    maxlfoster guest

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    Sounds good--I will definitely take a peek. Right now the car is still in the shop...and I won't be home for another week so I can't figure out for sure what it is until then.

    Thanks for the help. I will let you know what I find.
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    MGarrison

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    If it's in the shop, ask 'em to pop off the front wheels and see if the inner front pads aren't separating - should be ez and quick for them to do..........

    maxlfoster guest

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    OK--a few updates:

    Talked to the service rep at the dealer this afternoon; he said that they found the inside of the front-right tire was rubbing against the strut. To me, this means that it must be badly out alignment, in order for the noise to be some sort of rythmic abrasion, which it is.

    The tires that were on the car were the standard Michelin sport PS2's...so I don't understand how this could be an issue without the car being seriously out of alignment. Is the tire particularly close to the strut by design?

    The dealer is replacing the two front tires free of cost--and when I asked for an alignment they said they would try to get it done tomorrow. The rep said that the replacement tires, which are the newer version of the Michelin sport tires, are deeper (from the edge of the rim to the road) but also narrower. Should I be worried that this is a bigger issue? I am hesitant to believe this is limited to the tire.

    Again, when I was driving there was no vibration in the steering wheel, and I didn't notice any drifting to the right or left while on the highway. I didn't hit anything--not even a sizeable pothole.

    I'm going to be in touch with them tomorrow morning--so I'll keep everyone posted, but I continue to be skeptical. I will ask if they checked/can check the inside brake pad on that wheel when I'm on the phone with them.

    Thanks again for all of the suggestions.
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    granthr

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    Alignment will have no effect on the relationship between the wheel and the strut. It is fixed. Alignment changes the distance between the leading (or trailing) edge of the two front tires, this is called toe in or out. It also can change on some cars the angle of the tire when looking at it from head on, this is called camber.

    Sounds like either the wrong size tire was on the car, something is bent, or they did not find the issue. As mentioned already, just push back on the backing plates to make sure they are not touching the rotor. Very easy to do even with the car on the ground. Best.
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    CRKrieger

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    OK; something's too fishy here. Either you've got an oversize wheel or tire on there (and they're telling you they're replacing it with a smaller one) or something's bent. Granthr's correct when he says the tire-strut relationship doesn't change. An alignment will have no effect on this clearance, so don't bother unless it needed it anyway and you're not paying for it. Check your current wheel and tire size against stock. If it's bigger, then putting the correct size on should solve the problem. If it's the stock wheel and tire, then something else is wrong. Very wrong.

    maxlfoster guest

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    Ok,

    So after all that fuss, it turns out that the previous owner had the front right tire replaced at one point and whoever installed it put a 235 mm-wide PS2 on the wheel, rather than 225. The dealership said that it was visibly wider (as it should be) and they replaced both front tires free--this time with the correct PS2s.

    The car runs great and there is no noise coming from the wheel well--I did ask about the brake pads. they said there were no problems with a lack of separation from the rotors and separation from backing plates.

    Thanks for all of the help--hopefully nothing else comes up!
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    John in VA

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    I'm glad you got it squared away, but the tire size is usually obvious on the sidewall.
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    granthr

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    Glad to hear it was as simple as a incorrect tire size and that you got two new tires!! :D:D
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    Zeichen311

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    So is rotation (when it matters) but that gets screwed up even more often. Previous owner apparently was, um ... less than observant. ;) Like Ron White says, "You can't fix stupid."

    OP, glad you got it sorted. Another M3 has now found its way ito someone who will care for it properly! :D

    M3Driver guest

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    I'll be damn.....I guess I've heard it all now. :eek:

    Glad you got it squared away....
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    Wretched

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    Just to get this out there for someone else with a noise issue even though the OP's has been solved...
    I had a noise like that once and nothing was rubbing. The brakes were perfect. Went in with a flashlight all the way around the rotor and found a very small rock wedged in unwilling to get spit out! Picked it out and the noise was gone!

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