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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, I'm in need of some advice.
I've just bought a 320d and all is perfect until earlier today when I noticed that the drivers side rear wheel arch is sitting about 20mm lower than the passenger side rear. I've been through multiple forums and people have said it could be a broken spring (no noises though) or a defective shock, handbrake shoes not grabbing enough on one side, tyre pressures (tp are fine as I check daily) but then a lot of people are saying that it is normal because of the location of the battery, the saddle type fuel tank being half full and/or to cater for the weight of the driver. Thank you in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Stupid I know but surely I'd be able to feel if the shock or spring was broken? I only ask as the ride is still smooth whenever I hit a bump in the road
 

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Not always the case mine had a spring snap and i never noticed until the MOT.
Never looked at my car but if it is lower on the driver side then i might need W/Watchers well i do lol.
Stupid I know but surely I'd be able to feel if the shock or spring was broken? I only ask as the ride is still smooth whenever I hit a bump in the road
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Right so I've jacked the car up and checked the spring but it's not broken, would there be any other reason why it's sagged down by 20mm?
 

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Did you feel the very end of each spring top and bottom a broken spring will have a sharp edge.
As when i had one broken the last half a turn of the spring had gone fell off but the spring looked ok and to be in the correct position.
Seen it many times when i was mot testing but not in that game now.
Can't get down that low any more to check mine now.
 

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This is a well know problem as the original poster has discovered, I queried this myself on here a few years ago. The only known sollution I found after much research is to put in a thicker rubber bass at the bottom of the seat of the spring which surprisingly, BMW sell... I've seen posts where people say they spent countless money replacing all sorts of bits and they still have the same problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've purchased 2 new rear standard springs and will be fitting them this weekend, hopefully I will be able to see properly. Thank you people
 

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I wouldn't say it's 'normal' at all .. it happens and people accepting it isn't normal, I seriously doubt any cars come from the factory with a 20mm dropped corner. Something isn't right you just need to check everything to find what it is!

Is it bodywork or chassis? I'd measure from the boot to the centre of the arch on both sides to compare. I'd measure from arch to flat floor both sides and compare. I'd measure distance between front and rear wheel arches are they equal? (Front to front, front to back and between the two comparing each time) I'd also measure distances between linkages at rear each side and compare, distances between bodywork at the same points and linkages and compare.

Check springs and damper and all location bolts/bushes/mounting for them. Check bodywork at the same time for rust, subframe bushes for tears/any lost, cracks in arms etc. Could it be something wrong with the front diagonally opposite suspension? Tight spring, bent shock shaft? sticking bushes/pivot points?

If or when you find a disparity between two points you then need to work out what it is and how to correct it, that's the 'awkward' bit sometimes. ;)

I had it with one of my Landrovers, everyone says drivers side leans 'cos most get driven with a driver only in them and that side wears, which might be right to an extent, but a change of springs and shocks all round solved it. I reckon one side springs get tired and compress whilst the other stretches, so neither are right and when only drivers side is replaced people say it's 'normal' 'cos it's still leaning, if a bit less. It isn't normal.
 

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Greasy above gives a great checklist to go through above. However, whilst the tilt is not 'normal' it is so frequently occurring as to not be particularly worthy of note unless really egregious. They all do it so to speak.

The ride height specifications actually state acceptable margins of difference which are wide enough to give a noticeable tilt. There's literally pages and pages on this on the internet and as iamthewalrus say above, the only way to knock it on the head seems to be to fit a spring pad which will level it up. You can try replacing springs and all sorts of other parts but it is expensive and may not ultimately solve it.

See here for another post elsewhere which includes a page from the Bentley manual with specs for ride height. I recall seeing other specs elsewhere that allow even greater variances however.


So, short answer: check for anything serious using Greasy's check list, but reckon you're probably going to end up needing/using a spring pad.
 

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I seriously doubt any cars come from the factory with a 20mm dropped corner
They are not coming out of the factory like it, it takes years. I bought my car at 13 years and then I had my car some time before it happened to mine and I wasn't doing any dodgy driving. Passed MOTs ok however this year it said about a leak in dampener.
 

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Yeah. no worries, it's usually just age of components or an unknown bang on bodywork, supermarket car parks .... ;)
 

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I must admit I see e46s all day long, there 10 a penny, and I have never seen one dropped lower in one corner..

Sent from my SM-G975F using Tapatalk
 

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I see my old 2004 e46 nearly every day and that's not dropped at all.
Me i am a big boy but the present owner is an even bigger girl and drives it like she stole it makes me cringe to see her it was a good car.
 

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My vert was the same, with original and new (Eibach) springs. I upgraded to a thinner spring pad on the passenger side and a thicker one on the driver's side to even it out. Steering gear, dashboard bit and battery all on the right hand side on RHD cars, which might cause a bit of a weight imbalance. Some cars seem to suffer more than others. I know we like to think of the Germans as perfect engineers, but perhaps these things happen sometimes, and relocating things to even out the weight just for RHD cars might not have made sense economically.

It always seems to be the driver's side rear that people report is lower, so I think it might be a weight distribution things that affects some individual cars more than others, rather than just a 50:50 chance of something failing on one side of the car and making it sit lower one one side randomly.
 
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