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      06-25-2014, 06:28 PM   #1
mimarcos
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Clanging after Adjustment (Strut Tower Pin Pulled)

Hi all,

About a week ago, I had an alignment done at a BMW dealer on my '06 Z4MR. I spoke with the mechanic that was doing the work on my car and brought in specific camber/toe-in requirements. He talked me down from some of the more aggressive settings (he seemed pretty knowledgeable on the topic) due to increased tire wear. In essence, I wound up agreeing to basically letting him go for the standard ranges. It wasn't important enough for me to have the stamp of "we won't cover the work done if we don't do it our way" badge on the work order.

Anyway, it appears that he pulled the strut tower pin on the front left. Right after the alignment, I noticed a clanging sound coming from the front of the car when the left tire goes over bumps. It sounds like I'm riding over a loose manhole, or like if someone left a wrench in there and it's bouncing around, every time I go over a decent sized road imperfection. It's been getting better and worse, but it definitely sounds like it's coming from the left.

My question is: would pulling the strut pin lead to this noise? I've seen a lot of references to the strut tower pins, but the vast majority of what I've seen is that you need to pull it to adjust the camber (?) in the front. I'm going to call the dealer tomorrow one way or another, but I'd just like to know how hard I should press that this doesn't sound right. As of right now, I feel like there is something wrong, not normal, even with the pin pulled.

Thanks in advance for any info!

EDIT: Just realized I posted this in Engine, Exhaust, and Drivetrain instead of Suspension. Sorry about that!
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Last edited by mimarcos; 06-25-2014 at 06:49 PM. Reason: Wrong subforum
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      06-25-2014, 11:15 PM   #2
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Pulling the pin would have not direct effect on the noise. I move mine in the full range of motion out/in/middle, whatever. No change in sound.

The torque on the three bolts is really low, about 22 foot lbs IIRC. Unlikely it's not torqued to spec, but if you don't have a torque wrench, you could very lightly see if any are loose. Basically friction/gravity holds things in place.

Did you have them install camber bolts (loose)? Other than that I'd look for tears in the rubber on the hat. Other odd possibilities might include them leaving something else, or a coincidence and it's a strut bar bolt that's loose (common problem).
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      06-26-2014, 04:02 PM   #3
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I actually had a loose strut bar, and it was more of a "thunk" - I guess a little more dull. I tightened the bolts up to the required torque.

I could check the torque on the 3 bolts on the left to see if they're loose today, as I couldn't get ahold of the dealer.

Thanks for the response!
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      07-09-2014, 02:56 PM   #4
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Follow up: took it into the dealer that Saturday, and the noise disappeared for the day. The tech looked over the the car, and in the notes was "could not reproduce, tightened sway bar firewall bolts." I suspected this wouldn't solve anything, as I dealt with the same "clunking" noise a few weeks prior.

I just took the car back to the dealer again today, and fortunately, I was able to reproduce it for both the service manager and same tech from before. They just finished looking at it and here's what happened.

They called me back, saying the problem came from having aftermarket brakes installed (Cool Carbon brakes). From the service advisor, I was given the usual "only way to fix this is to install genuine BMW parts and have it serviced at a..." response. I told them I'd like to see the problem. The tech (knowledgeable guy, definitely) showed me the problem, and I had a more candid conversation with him. He wasn't a big fan of the Cool Carbons, but thought there was no reason that the problem arose from "aftermarket brakes."

I asked him to crack open one of the calipers, we looked at the inside brake pad, the clips holding it in were snapped. Guess that settles that. Dealer didn't charge me, which was nice, but now I need to spend another $75 because of a defective brake pad. Meh. Not the end of the world.
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      07-09-2014, 08:02 PM   #5
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I ran through several sets of CoolCarbons, on and off the track (before I went to PFC08's for track work) and I never had an issue with them. Maybe you just had the 'one in a thousand' defective items?

Who knows.
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      07-10-2014, 05:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimarcos View Post
Follow up: took it into the dealer that Saturday, and the noise disappeared for the day. The tech looked over the the car, and in the notes was "could not reproduce, tightened sway bar firewall bolts." I suspected this wouldn't solve anything, as I dealt with the same "clunking" noise a few weeks prior.

I just took the car back to the dealer again today, and fortunately, I was able to reproduce it for both the service manager and same tech from before. They just finished looking at it and here's what happened.

They called me back, saying the problem came from having aftermarket brakes installed (Cool Carbon brakes). From the service advisor, I was given the usual "only way to fix this is to install genuine BMW parts and have it serviced at a..." response. I told them I'd like to see the problem. The tech (knowledgeable guy, definitely) showed me the problem, and I had a more candid conversation with him. He wasn't a big fan of the Cool Carbons, but thought there was no reason that the problem arose from "aftermarket brakes."

I asked him to crack open one of the calipers, we looked at the inside brake pad, the clips holding it in were snapped. Guess that settles that. Dealer didn't charge me, which was nice, but now I need to spend another $75 because of a defective brake pad. Meh. Not the end of the world.
That's an installation problem - not a defect...
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      07-10-2014, 06:42 PM   #7
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Interesting cause (and proposed $$$$ fix by dealer). IIRC the anti-rattle springs are supposed to be replaced with pads. No one does that though. More likely the spring wasn't installed correctly (as Caddy noted), but it could have broken too. I messed up my spring clip on an install, but the brake pad kick and rattle was a bit obnoxious and notable with the track pads.
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      07-10-2014, 07:12 PM   #8
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I think i know whats wrong. Mine did the same. You know how yhere is two pads per caliper? And based on the OEM pads, one of the pads has a clip that goes into the piston. Either cool carbon does have the clips or they (or one) broke off. What happens is the pads is rattling (in other words when griping the rotors theyre ramming the calipers making that sound.

I was also thinking wtf? But then I realized the side that was making that sound was the side where the pad clips broke off. Replaced them (Porterfield R4) with Carbotech xp12s and no problems since.

Id give that a look at first before going the OEM route.
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      07-14-2014, 09:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
That's an installation problem - not a defect...
Possibly, but that didn't exactly make sense to me. I had driven with those brakes for a few hundred miles and I hadn't heard the noise before. As soon as I started hearing it, it was pretty persistent. Based on the picture attached, I'd almost be forced to agree with you - someone jammed it in the wrong way and snapped the large clip. But from the circumstances - the noise starting a few hundred miles in with no real change in driving style - points me to it failing at some point.

Quote:
I think i know whats wrong. Mine did the same. You know how yhere is two pads per caliper? And based on the OEM pads, one of the pads has a clip that goes into the piston. Either cool carbon does have the clips or they (or one) broke off. What happens is the pads is rattling (in other words when griping the rotors theyre ramming the calipers making that sound.
Yup - this is what happened. The large clip wasn't pressing the pad against the piston to hold it in (springy) place when the brakes weren't applied.

From what I was told, there were no problems driving it around until I got replacements. In the meantime, I called BavAuto to request replacement, and they sent me a new set. I'll have the same shop replace them and see if I have any more luck. I'm sure they'll be fine and that this was just a fluke - whether it be an install problem or a defective pad.

Funny thing - my shop charges $50 per axle to install brakes (and they're a pretty good place despite this potential muck-up) whereas the dealer will charge $230. Just a little bit of markup there.
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      07-14-2014, 09:52 AM   #10
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I would bet that the person who installed the pads did not make sure all three tabs were aligned correctly before they pushed the pad into the caliper, then bent the now broken tab flat, saw what happened, then straightened the bent tab (thus weakening it) and it broke under load…

I would not bitch too much on Dealer labor prices… Have some HVAC work performed…. Labor costs there are over $300/hr… I know… I just had some of that work done and they were the cheapest guys around….

For some reason we do not complain all that loudly about those prices.....????
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      07-14-2014, 10:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shipkiller View Post
I would bet that the person who installed the pads did not make sure all three tabs were aligned correctly before they pushed the pad into the caliper, then bent the now broken tab flat, saw what happened, then straightened the bent tab (thus weakening it) and it broke under load…

I would not bitch too much on Dealer labor prices… Have some HVAC work performed…. Labor costs there are over $300/hr… I know… I just had some of that work done and they were the cheapest guys around….

For some reason we do not complain all that loudly about those prices.....????
Forgot to mention - the bracket on the back, between the clip and pad, had shifted across the back of the pad. It's possible that in shifting it pulled and broke the tab while it shifted.

But really, it's very possible, maybe even likely they you're right, and I never argued that it absolutely was a defect. I never said that it was definitely one of the other. In fact, from what it looks like, I'd say it was an install issue. The fact that it only happened after a few hundred miles made me think defect.

Regarding "bitching" about labor prices... when one shop charges X and the other charged 4X, I think there's certainly a reason to joke about the cost of the 4X dealer, regardless of how much your HVAC labor costed (HVAC work around where I live is closer to $75-150/hour, I'm guessing due to regional differences).
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