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Old 04-21-2020, 05:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: VA
Posts: 46
franccesco30 is on a distinguished road
Angry Shakes so Bad when Braking - Giving up

Hello Guys,

I really need some help here. I have done everything possible to get rid of this shaking while braking around 60mph.

All the front end parts have been practically replaced, I have replaced so far:
Brake pads
Brake Calipers
Brake Lines
Ball joints
Lower and Upper Control Arms
Inner and Outer Tie Rods
Wheel Alignment

One of the draft axle shafts was replaced about 3 years ago along with the wheel bearings.

At this point I'm giving up on my beloved E53. I can't seem to fixed the issue even after replacing all these parts.

Any help will be much appreciated.


Cisco with a 5 Speed 2001 E53 160k miles
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Old 04-21-2020, 06:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Finland
Posts: 403
Clavurion is on a distinguished road
Have you checked the discs and if needed the hubs with a dial gauge just to make sure?

Does it feel on the steering wheel so it's definitely coming from the front?
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Old 04-21-2020, 07:40 PM
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Sheesh, sounds like a real nightmare... Id check the hubs too, but you can probably just check the runout on the rotor before you go ahead & disassemble the entire front brake system...
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Old 04-21-2020, 08:24 PM
Join Date: May 2019
Location: florida
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tmat1977 is on a distinguished road
try the bushings willing to bet thats it
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Old 04-21-2020, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by tmat1977 View Post
try the bushings willing to bet thats it
What bushings... OP replaced his front suspension AND his calipers... as written out in the original post...
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Old 04-21-2020, 09:34 PM
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Did you tighten up the control arms with the car on the ground and the weight of the car on the suspension or did you tighten up the control arm with the car still in the air?
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Old 04-21-2020, 10:24 PM
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Canada
Posts: 59
Perrier is on a distinguished road
I "rotated" my tires RR --> FL and RL --> FR. I have staggered setup so ended up with the 10" wheels on front. Tire size is same on all 4, just the rims are staggered.
Had some terrible vibration on braking. Just terrible. Moved the 10" rims back to the rear end and all became good again.
Try rotating your tires and see if anything changes.
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Old 04-21-2020, 11:16 PM
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You have a lot of good comments above.

I am assuming the shaking is in the front suspension? My thoughts center around the following: Brake disks can go bad, even if not worn. Tires can be less than perfectly round, especially off-brand ones, causing vibration or shaking when on the brakes.

The DMV area is pothole central, during the winter months it is worse! One or two of your alloy wheels maybe bent. (One winter we had both right side wheels get bent in a severe pothole moment....)

The e53 does not have upper control arms on the front suspension, so not sure what you mean. Did you change the tension struts and the ball joints that hold them to the wheel hub?

Was the axle an BMW original? Did the shaking begin before or after that?
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Old 04-22-2020, 08:45 AM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Virigina, USA
Posts: 2,259
StephenVA is on a distinguished road
Lets start with the simple things:

Front tires/Wheels removed, check for run out w/ dial indicator (See any competent tire shop) and Balanced. Tire issue? Wheel Bent? Have them check for any looseness in front suspension... (The car is in the air and it take only few moments.)

While the wheels are off, check hubs and rotors for run out (see above). You did clean the hub areas where the rotor mounts and the wheel mounts, especially around the studs? - 3M makes this job easy with a tool that just chuck up to any drill. (See image below) VERY common issue that drives many a tech nuts.

Take a rotor cleaning pad to BOTH faces of the front rotors to remove built up pad material that was transferred when the pads were over heated.
Drive vehicle for 20 mins, read temps of both front rotors. One hotter than the other? May indicate sticking caliper, hanging pads (you did clean, file flat the bracket where the pads wear and properly lube the calipers and pads, RIGHT?) The caliper bracket is torqued down correctly AFTER cleaning the mounting areas, so it is not sitting at at an angle? See where this is going?....

Throwing a bunch of parts at an issue is not a good path. Testing and confirming good is the only way to go. Many a bad assembly has caused what you are posting. So has bent wheels, cheap and failed tires. Cheap parts, etc, etc, etc.

Next up Vibrations: First big question...ONLY happens under braking? Gets worse when hot?
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Last edited by StephenVA; 04-22-2020 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 04-22-2020, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: VA
Posts: 46
franccesco30 is on a distinguished road
Thanks all for your inputs/comments.

The vibration issue started about a year ago. And it only happens when I hard brake at a high speed usually around 60-80 mph. It shakes violently, not your usual steering wheel vibration.

I don't think it's a wheel or tire issue related, I currently run my stagger set "20" and have swapped to my Winter Set up to see, but the issue persists even with a different set of wheels.

The axle that was replaced was not BMW original, I can't remember if the shaking was there before. It was replaced by a well know shop specialized in German Cars here in Springfield VA (German Auto Group). That's where I usually take it for things that I can't repair and to get an alignment.

They have offered to perform a complete complimentary 25 point inspection and will to let me know any recommendations needed for the X5. Hopefully they can determine the issue and will tackle it from there.

Will keep you post it.
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