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Hi,

I was just wondering if anyone could help me out. Recently bought a 63 plate BMW i3 60ah REX and have noticed quite a loud droning noise which sounds like it’s coming from the front wheels. The car has the 20” Alloy wheels fitted so didn’t know if this noise could be associated with them? It makes a noise at pretty much all speeds. I did have a look at all tyres and can’t see any rubbing or catching, all treads seem to be okay also. I did notice a grey tube hanging down from the passengers side wheel arch and not to sure what this is as it’s not connected to anything. Any help would be much appreciated.

Many thanks,
Sean
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From your photos the gaiters are split. Not serious, and I don't think related to the noise, but you should get those fixed (it's not a massive job, my BMW dealer charged me about £150 to replace both front gaiters).

I'm not sure what you mean by a loud droning noise, but if you get a horrendous screeching noise coming from one wheel don't panic: it simply means a small stone has been kicked up and lodged itself in the brakes. The i3 does that occasionally (I had it happen about three or four times during my fours years I owned an i3). If it is that then try reversing back and forwards a few feet until it drops out or just live with it as you drive (I did that once and it took about ten miles driving to pop out). Doing a couple of emergency stops might help too.

The grey pipe is a drain from something I think, I'm sure someone else asked about it recently. So yes it is supposed to be just hanging there.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Duncan,

Thanks so much for your reply. Yes I noticed the gaitors once the car had been delivered and was surprised these didn’t show as an advisory on the MOT as it had had an MOT a couple of days before delivery, will get them sorted ASAP.

Its hard to explain but it’s like a constant roaring sound on pretty much all road surfaces and at all speeds (kind of a dull resonant droning noise), I didn’t know if this was due to the 20” wheels as I had read on a couple of forums they can cause a resonant sound but mostly at higher speeds. I did have a stone caught in the drivers side and managed to get it out thank goodness.

I have spoken to BMW and they want £99 plus VAT just to diagnose the problem which I may be forced into doing.

Thanks for letting me know about the grey pipe, that’s taken a load off my mind, I think I was getting panicky because of the resonant noise haha.
 

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i3 with Range Extender (EREV) Sept 2014
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Try different tyre pressures to see if noise changes suspect pipe is air con. Think the 20" did have others complaining.
 

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My guess the noise is being produced by them Bridgestone tyres !.
Do you know anybody who has the same car that is fitted with the smaller wheels fitted ?.
Maybe the dealer has a set they could throw on and then test drive the car.
This would be the quickest way to find out if it is indeed the tyres at fault.
I had 18” OEM factory Bridgestone’s fitted to my Golf GTE. Horrible for traction and grip and produced a lot of road noise in the cabin at all speeds.
They became worse in all departments as the tyre wear increased.
I replaced all four with some Good Years and the difference was like night and day !.
My money is on the tyres, good luck with locating the issue.
P.S. - The 20” wheel and tyre combo is a great look, but the bigger wheels will increase the stiffness of the ride and increase the road noise though.
 

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2020 BMW i3S 120Ah BEV
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I don't think the 20" wheels should particularly increase noise. If you're running Ecopia's they're pretty quiet. More noise usually means more rolling resistance and the Ecopias are designed specifically to reduce rolling resistance and IME on the i3S they are very quiet on all but the harshest road surface. They are quite hard, however, and the tyres pressures are quite high.
If your drone noise changes pitch with road speed it's more likely you have a dying wheel bearing. Do the "rocking" test at the top of the wheels when the car is standing. Though tbh bearings will drone WELL before you can detect any rocking at the wheels, in my experience.
 

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There were issues with a batch of 20” Ecopias a few years ago which constantly caused a droning noise, the only cure is new tyres of the later batches.

I suppose it is possible the car had the front tyres replaced (cheaply maybe) by some old stock tyres in the past.
 

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That drain is either from the air conditioning or the 12V battery depending upon where it pops out under the front of the car, although I think they might have discontinued the battery drain tube but as yours is an early model could be either.
 

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There were issues with a batch of 20” Ecopias a few years ago which constantly caused a droning noise, the only cure is new tyres of the later batches.

I suppose it is possible the car had the front tyres replaced (cheaply maybe) by some old stock tyres in the past.
That is a possibility - I've had that on other tyres in the past - and you may be able to see that by looking very closely at the treads. This too would most definitely be a thrumming sound that varied with road speed.
 

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Try and “flip” the wheels with another car with different tyres.
I am sure the dealer can do that ?.
You have your answer straight away, no grey area !.
You have eliminated if the car requires any further investigation in about 20 mins.
I am sure this what the dealer would recommend anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi Guys,

apologies about my late reply. Just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone for all of your help. Going to have a whizz through all of the suggestions. Grey hose was the air con drain tube, I’ve checked the brakes and there are no stones stuck, Have tried altering tyre pressures but doesn’t seem to make too much difference.. going to take my girlfriends dads BMW I3 our for a little spin to see if there’s any difference as he has the 19” wheels fitted and also check for any wheel bearing damage. If all else fails I’ll get it booked in at BMW so they can investigate.
 

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Hi Guys,

apologies about my late reply. Just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone for all of your help. Going to have a whizz through all of the suggestions. Grey hose was the air con drain tube, I’ve checked the brakes and there are no stones stuck, Have tried altering tyre pressures but doesn’t seem to make too much difference.. going to take my girlfriends dads BMW I3 our for a little spin to see if there’s any difference as he has the 19” wheels fitted and also check for any wheel bearing damage. If all else fails I’ll get it booked in at BMW so they can investigate.
If his car is noticeably quieter than your car, then switch the wheels from his car to your car.
If your car is now as silent as his was when you tested it, you have your answer.
Doing this eliminates any mechanical issues on YOUR car straight away !.
If the car is still as noisy with his tyres on your car, then it’s off to the dealers, it’s as simple as that ?.
 

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Try and “flip” the wheels with another car with different tyres.
I am sure the dealer can do that ?.
You have your answer straight away, no grey area !.
You have eliminated if the car requires any further investigation in about 20 mins.
I am sure this what the dealer would recommend anyway.
The dealer won't do any thing without paying them

You don't have go to dealer either.

This is mechanical issue any good mechanic will be able to tell you.



Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
 

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The dealer won't do any thing without paying them

You don't have go to dealer either.

This is mechanical issue any good mechanic will be able to tell you.



Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
He only revelled his Dad had the very same car after he had considered taking it to the dealers.
The answer to his original question was right under his nose, switch the wheels from his Dads car onto his car, to eliminate the prospect of any mechanical issue being present on his own car.
The objective was to try and avoid visiting the dealer for any of there over priced advice.
If he was uncomfortable, or did not have the necessary equipment to carry out the wheel switch, then I am sure his friendly tyre shop would be willing to switch over the wheels for him.
 
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