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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just noticed this in the last few days, since it has started turning pretty cold. Just aware of a creaking type sensation/noise when turning the steering wheel left or right. No noise when driving. No clunking. Car still driving normally and smoothly.
Did a google search. Likely issues: some sort of "lubricant" issue affecting the steering spindle. Actually a Technical Service Bulletin about that.
Or could be a steering rack issue. More worrying.
Or some sort of wheel bearing issue but I gather that would be more noticeable or more noisy or clunky on general driving, not just when turning the wheel.
Car booked in on Friday. Car covered 54,500 miles now.
Any pointers? Have the extended warranty. Will see if it comes in handy. Fingers crossed either way it is a relatively simple fix. (eg- the lubricant issue)
 

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2015 BMW i3 REx 60ah, Solar Orange
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Sounds like it could be suspension top mounts. Straight forward fix. Check the suspension dust covers, they are prone to tearing prematurely too. If torn, get BMW to change them. They need to strip down the suspension anyway.

The top rubber mount has antegral bearing. I found mine was corroded, with damage to bottom bearing race which had split. As it siezes, what you hear is the coil spring which drags as you turn the steering. Jack up both front wheels and rotate steering keeping a hand on the coil spring, you should feel friction.

It's either that or ARB links. When it's cold they can creak, but you would usually hear a clunk on road hump.

If it was the wheel bearing, then you'd hear a constant drone around 50mph on a smooth road. Bad ones, then if you hold road wheel at 10 to 2 position jacked up, you may get slight lateral movement.
 

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I have very similar issue.
Think it's too mounts. Just turned 80k
Lets us know what they say.

Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
 

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I've repaired the top mounts before, and the dust sleeve. This is a very good 'how to video'. My car is outside warranty. Dust sleeves from BMW are a few pounds, expect them to last a couple of years in my experience. The top mount was Febi Bilstein. No doubt BMW genuine part is more expensive, but chances are they are not the original manufacturer anyway.

You need to drop the ARB link to fix, any sloppiness here, then look to replace too. Meyle HD parts come with 4 years warranty. Also check bump stomp on shock absorber while you are there.

Think the only issue I had was the shock absorber not nut. You need a deep inset ring spanner. Think it was 18mm. Sturdy coil spring compressors too, Draper ones are excellent.

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You are all correct. 2 x front suspension top mounts changed. All done quickly. Dropped off in evening just before they closed and ready by noon next day.BMW (Extended) Comprehensive Warranty covered it. All sorted
However have owned a few cars over the years. My last Daihatsu for 100,00 miles and even my ICE VW Up, now on 75,000 miles as well as other makes and never had such components wear down and need replacing previously. The i3 is under 4 years old and done almost 55,000 miles.
Hardly a premium car if such components wear out so soon. This is a commuter car and the odd motorway trip car (and the latter type of trip -never in the last 12 months for obvious reasons)
 

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These tpp mounts are susceptible to water and salt ingress, that's what corrodes the bearing race. I added marine grease for good measure.

Glad you got it fixed anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just out of curiosity, how much would the parts have cost? The BMW charge including the £50 diagnosis fee would have been over £400 (if I did not have the warranty) but most of that would have been labour costs I am sure. If the area is prone to salt and water ingress what else is likely to corrode over time? As the i3 has literally saved me thousands of pounds in petrol costs over the past, almost 4 years, I was not that concerned if there is the odd maintenance cost to keep things tip top but still concerning if there things are going to wear out in the next few months -especially if one of them is not covered by the warranty- and there are plenty of exclusions when you read the small print. (reading other posts on this forum)
 

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BMW labour rates are frankly ridiculous. The top bearing is probably circa £60-£70. Their diagnosis fee is also exorbitant. You have to love BMW, normally it's a minimum of £90 to hook up to their software to scan it, but because it's mechanical, then any technician worth their salt should be able to identify with a bit of technical intuition.

Yes you might have saved money under warranty, but the i3 is quirky none the less. I'm just away to fix the charging lock solenoid. This part is £80 shipped from Germany. BMW will charge at least £500+ for the repair and if that doesn't sort it they will literally throw your money at parts until it does, that's how they work. In the meantime the car won't charge, so you are potentially stranded.

I started working on cars years ago, more to save money, but when you see the incompetence from main dealers you will understand.

If it's a BEV then costs should be limited. I've got a REx, so oil and filter changes are annual, plus the petrol generator is prone to issues with fuel pump relay, and fuel pressure sensor. Air conditioning and brake fluid change are due every 2 years.

Once car is above 50k miles you can expect to see a full brake refurbishment on the horizon, new discs and pads all round, but a lot of that is how the car is driven and of course your climate. There are a few electrical gremlins, air quality sensors, NOx sensor (again REx) and moisture/corrosion in high voltage cables connections.

Keep it longer than that, then once you get 75-100k+ miles, ARB bushes, suspension links, shock absorbers, renew 12v battery, wheel bearings. Obviously range is dropping all the time. Battery is under warranty for 8 years.

My advice, if you're not mechanically minded, then get out of Dodge. Buy an extended warranty or change the car before it expires. Hyundai or Kia are producing cars with 300+ range, full warranty with 5-7 years from new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the reply. The i3 is a beautiful car to drive. All EVs drive nicely but its punchy rear wheel drive format and great steering feel due to those front narrow tyres means I just really ENJOY driving it! Lovely cabin also.
However, due to increased potential costs fixing this car if things go wrong, I am already looking around to change when the extended warranty runs out. BMW have just extended the warranty by 3 months also due to the pandemic so instead of running out mid March when the car turns 4 years old, it will run until mid June. Gives me a bit more time, but also more time for something else expensive to break or go wrong. Long waits for just about every EV available. Tesla too big for my needs. Looking at the Koreans- Kona-new model soon?, Soul and e-Niro but all a bit conventional and they all charge a lot for bizarre ANNUAL services which is money down the drain for an EV. And front wheel drive (torque steer) and not rear wile drive unlike the Tesla/i3.
Checked my discs and pads when I got the tyres changed at my local tyre fitter. All looked ok. And as part of their health check when they did the warranty repair, BMW stated I had 8mm pads remaining on the rears (so almost brand new) and 6mm remaining on the fronts. Should be fine for another 60,000 miles! Don't you just love strong regen breaking on the i3!? They did advise an aircon re-gas at £160 but will leave it until the service due in March. But as I plan to change cars I plan on getting the MOT done locally and then sell it as spending a few hundred £ with BMW for a service will be my money down the drain,as plan to move it on so soon after, and I am fearful they will find things that "need doing".
 

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If you like the i3 why not trade it in for a two year old i3 with sub 20k mileage and have some more warranty cover. Since a BMW dealer will service the car anyway at cost and put a fresh MOT on it for resale, then a trade-in could work well for you.

IMHO If you like the i3 then there is nothing else that comes close and another EV might result in your wishing that you had kept the i3.

Just had the biannual service with my own i3 at the 4 year old point and it worked out cheaper than an annual service for the previous LEAF.
 

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But as I plan to change cars I plan on getting the MOT done locally and then sell it as spending a few hundred £ with BMW for a service will be my money down the drain,as plan to move it on so soon after, and I am fearful they will find things that "need doing".
They are poor for that. When it's under warranty - they seem to give it a clean bill of health. As soon as it's out of warranty then it shows up on their obligatory health check, when it's in for getting the air-condition re-gassed for example.

A 2 year old i3 just gives you the remainder of the new car warranty unless you opt for the extended warranty to give you peace of mind, that would be my preference if I was paying £25k.

Regards your point on the brakes, its worth a complete strip-down. Visually they may look fine, but brakes including pads and discs on a 4 year old car will have developed a lip on this disc rotor. Not an MOT fail, but an indication they are getting worn. You can end up with sticky caliper pins too, so the inner pad braking surface is in constant contact with the piston pushing it on the rotor and end up with heat spots. Only way is proper visual inspection. BMW service desk will tell you the pads will outlive the car which is nonsense.

I'm not trying to get you to do something that doesn't need done, but in my experience a brake strip-down, de-dust, re-grease caliper slider pins and a little anti-seize on the backs of the pads helps enormously. Sometimes the caliper carrier needs a file too if there's any corrosion. The brake pad sensors personally I'd just replace. They are a £20 item, and regardless of whether they haven't been tripped, they tend to fall to bits if you try and remove them as part of the service.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you like the i3 why not trade it in for a two year old i3 with sub 20k mileage and have some more warranty cover. Since a BMW dealer will service the car anyway at cost and put a fresh MOT on it for resale, then a trade-in could work well for you.

IMHO If you like the i3 then there is nothing else that comes close and another EV might result in your wishing that you had kept the i3.

Just had the biannual service with my own i3 at the 4 year old point and it worked out cheaper than an annual service for the previous LEAF.
Funnily enough, that is exactly what they tried doing when the car was in for repair. I had apparently been selected for a "VIP sales offer" offering great discounts on a new i3 or another BMW, and if the cost of repair was going to be expensive/not covered by warranty they would absorb the cost and discount the new BMW accordingly. Was afraid they were going to hold me to ransom by quoting a huge price of repair just to force me in to a new BMW as I am sure sales are sluggish at present- for all car dealers. A new i3 without the complexity of the Rex is very tempting but was really hoping that they had produced a slightly bigger batteried version by now eg-50kWh+ or so.
Never bought the same model of car twice. Variety is the spice of life! But never say never. The i3 design is 7-8 years old but still bang up to date albeit a bit too expensive compared to other EVs now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm not trying to get you to do something that doesn't need done, but in my experience a brake strip-down, de-dust, re-grease caliper slider pins and a little anti-seize on the backs of the pads helps enormously. Sometimes the caliper carrier needs a file too if there's any corrosion. The brake pad sensors personally I'd just replace. They are a £20 item, and regardless of whether they haven't been tripped, they tend to fall to bits if you try and remove them as part of the service.
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My local mechanic let me inspect the discs and pads before it went to BMW. I am hoping they look pretty good. They all looked the same. No obvious lipping, but you may be a better judge than me.
 

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My local mechanic let me inspect the discs and pads before it went to BMW. I am hoping they look pretty good. They all looked the same. No obvious lipping, but you may be a better judge than me.
Your discs look fine.

These are the rear discs off my wife's 2015 (65) i3 REx. I think the council is putting to much salt on the roads! Look at the state of them! :rolleyes:

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Machine Auto part Clutch part Automotive engine timing part Automotive engine part
 
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