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BMW and MINI Front Suspension Noise, Popping, Cracking When Turning

February 3, 2011

This answer is applicable for many BMWs in addition to the one listed below.

Q

Year:1995
Model: BMW E34 525i

Otto!  First and foremost just want to thank you guys for the great service you have given the BMW community in the past years. I have always purchased all my parts from Bavarian. My name is Alex I own a 95 525i my only question is. I’ve noticed lately that when I am turning at tight corners or doing a U-turn I hear a cracking sound…as I am turning. Would you be able to assist me on this. I would like to get this repaired.

A
The sound that you’re hearing when you turn may be due to one, or more, of the following issues:

*  Wear in any of the front suspension joints, such as:
        *  Control arm ball joints
        *  Tie-rod end joints
        *  Center track rod joints
        *  Swaybar end links
        *  Upper strut mounts

You could also have a less common issue such as cracked (or loose) steering gearbox mounting points, or other chassis issues.  We would suggest that you have a helper operate the steering while you stand outside the car and work on localising where the sound is coming from.  This would be a great help is narrowing things down.

Click  on the following images/links below and specify your year and model to see the parts that are applicable to your BMW.

* Control arms & ball joints:

bmw

* Tie-rods:

bmw

* Center track rods:

bmw

* Sway bar end links:

bmw

Upper strut/shock mounts:

bmw

We can consider either a full overhaul of the front suspension or you will need to do some inspection of the above noted items. See the  Winter 08-09, Spring 2009 and Summer 2009  issues of our Fast Times newsletter for a series of articles on vehicle inspection, as well as control arms and bushings replacement (on a 3-series chassis). Once we have a better idea of what may be at fault, we can get to ordering and replacing the required items. We do keep all of this in-stock.

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