Don’t Always Trust the “Experts”

Hey there Guys and Gals!

Today’s write-up is short and sweet, but this time isn’t related to the Mare. You may be thinking…
“What?!”
“You’re not talking about the Mare?”
“On the official FJD Performance website?!”

That’s right! We aren’t talking about the Mare this time; instead were talking about the DadCar, Andrew’s 2003 540i.

Recently Andrew has been taking his beloved BMW in to get inspected at his local BMW dealership because he has been chasing down a noise that, quite honestly, has been annoying the hell out of him! Andrew has special ties to this dealership, so he isn’t your typical BMW customer; he’s even more special (picking up what we’re putting down?), thus the reason he feels so comfortable taking the car to them. Why he didn’t ask us to take a look at the car in the first place is beyond us, but we’ll get to that later.

During movements requiring torsion, like pulling in and out of a driveway or turning, he was noticing a pop and clicking noise coming from the front of his suspension; with the car now seeing 15 years of age and seeing 107k+ miles that noise could be anything in the suspension. Typical culprits could be components like ball-joints, control arm bushings, sway bar end-links and bushings, struts, issues caused by the Dinan STB or even some other, more expensive and difficult parts to get access to. Andrew took the car to a few of his trusted techs at the dealership, and they all gave their opinions and thoughts, but none of them could really identify what the issue was. Some suggested replacing old components (like we previously mentioned), others simply came back with the obvious stating that “the car is old… it’s going to make noises”. However that answer wasn’t a sufficient enough answer for Andrew. It wasn’t until a mutual friend, and tech, at the dealer mentioned the sound may have something to do with the sway bar, but still wasn’t able to identify any issues with it.

With Andrew’s patience growing thin, and the urge to fix this problem that nobody seemed to want to fix; Andrew found himself asking FJD Performance to take a quick look at the DadCar, and of course we were game! Upon taking immediate receipt of the 540 we drove around a parking lot for about 10 minutes putting the car in different situations and scenarios trying to first identify the noise Andrew was referring to. Needless to say it didn’t take long to hear the noise, and think of what it could be based off of experience with the Mare. Finally getting the car up on stands we got under the BMW and were pleased to see how neat clean it was under there! Unlike the Mare…

(sorry)

We took a look at the ball joints, control arms, struts, STB, sway bar end links and all other bushings, but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. A couple head scratches later we decided to go through all the nuts and bolts to check if they were loose…
Bingo.
We started with the sway bar end-links and then found that all four of the mounting brackets and bushings for the sway bar were loose. We quickly tightened them all up and continued to look around for anything else, but couldn’t spot any additional problems. We put the rims and tires back on the 540, sat her down, and jumped in the car and immediately could tell the car felt tighter. A quick drive around the block and about 10 up and downs in driveways and; we couldn’t hear the clicking and popping noise; we couldn’t believe how much more responsive the front became!

So what’s the point in all this? Sometimes, professionals just don’t want to waste their time of day, and we aren’t saying that in a negative light, or to make mechanics look bad, but we are saying… If you want your car looked at, and respected the same way you would treat it; you sometimes have to put your trust in someone who is a enthusiast, and flat out enjoys working and tinkering on cars because its a passion, and not just because it keeps the lights on and pays for toys. There have been plenty of times working on the Mare where we get completely frustrated and want nothing to do with the car, but in the end we know how much the car means to us and what it stands for. FJD Performance will always be willing to lend a helping hand to our kinfolk in the car community.

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After we put the car back together we did a complimentary rim detailing and photo shoot for the BMW.

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