Steering wheel play. How I found the cure. - E46Fanatics E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Go Back   E46Fanatics > E46 BMW > General E46 Forum

General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rating: Thread Rating: 87 votes, 4.92 average. Display Modes
Old 05-08-2007, 01:21 PM   #1
burj 323
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 27
Steering wheel play. How I found the cure.

For those who are suffering steering wheel play and could not find the cure, I would like to share my horrendous story with you:

I first discovered a little “looseness” at the steering wheel about 3~4 months ago. The symptom is like when I steer to either right or left, the first inch the car won’t turn. I sent my car to the garage and they fixed a re-built steering rack and OEM control arms. That didn’t help a bit.

Then I visited another BMW workshop to see if they can find out what’s wrong. These geniuses test drove and checked whole day and confirmed the vane pump is to blame. Well, they are not even close. The play did not go and my USD 1000 is gone. I complained and they insisted that unless I am willing to replace with a BRAND NEW BMW steering rack, I’ll have to live with the play. That’s complete rubbish.

The third workshop I visited focused on the chassis. They blame the OEM control arms and replaced with original BMW ones. They also have the tie rod end replaced. Guess what? The play is still there, even they kept saying it has improved and it can only be better unless a new steering rack fixed. Another bull ****.

Then I went back to the first garage and complained about the “re-built” rack they fixed for me. They turned the steering wheel a few times and immediately they found the culprit—a u-joint in the steering column. I waited for 2 weeks to get the part and again, zero improvement. They garage said it (the play) is normal for E46 and asked me to get used to it. What a total nonsense.

I almost gave up until I met our workshop manager who is looking after all the construction equipment on site. I told him the sad stories of my car and he volunteered to check the car. He asked a helper to turn the steering wheel and we checked all the connections/joints looking up from the service trench. Less than one minute we found the problem, a flexible coupling connecting the lower steering column was worn. I ordered the part and have it replaced. Everything is now perfect. The solid and tight handling is back again. Total cost? 30 USD.

If you are having a similar problem of your E46, try to follow my rout, backward.
burj 323 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2007, 03:03 PM   #2
Danbar99
has a nice car
 
Danbar99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: D-town CT
Posts: 639
My Ride: 330xi
got a part number/name?
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Danbar99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2007, 03:35 PM   #3
Hrvat
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Canada, eh
Posts: 2,889
My Ride: 02 Imola Red M3
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...42&hg=32&fg=30

Look at #2
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

PM ME FOR FREE SAMPLES

Quote:
so 2004 bmw's dont come with a diff?

Last edited by Hrvat; 05-08-2007 at 03:45 PM.
Hrvat is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 05-08-2007, 04:32 PM   #4
Alex323Ci
OE ///MEMBER PLUS
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Huntington Beach -Surf City USA
Posts: 22,554
My Ride: M3 & 323Ci (sold)
you wouldn't have the old part around to show what a "worn" one looks like would you? i'm not sure i get how that coupler gets worn. does it not tighten enough?
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
OE CSL WHEELS - OE CSL BRAKES - OE AUTOFLD MIRRORS - CSL RACK - CSL TRUNK - CSL DIFFUSER - AA TUNE - AA PULLEYS - AS 40% SSK - BILSTEIN PSS9s
CF CSL LIP - NAV- BMWP CF STRUT BAR - BMW GROUP N MNTS - GRUPPE M CF INTAKE - SUPERSPRINT - UUC S/S LINES, RTABs - H&R SWAYS - 4.10 M-SPORT DIFF
Alex323Ci is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2007, 04:35 PM   #5
WeaponR
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 149
Would you hear a little knocking noise when you would shake the steering wheel left or right really quickly about 2" each way?
WeaponR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2007, 06:21 PM   #6
Philly 330ci
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Philly
Posts: 261
My Ride: 01 BMW 330ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by WeaponR View Post
Would you hear a little knocking noise when you would shake the steering wheel left or right really quickly about 2" each way?

OMG...Thats EXACTLY what I have now and I cant find the problem...I hope someone can give us some imput on that...
Philly 330ci is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2007, 06:43 PM   #7
abqhudson
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 160
My Ride: 05 325ci, 04 530i
Found the cure.

Now that is a valuable post. Thanks.

Jim
abqhudson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2007, 09:36 PM   #8
ssm1991
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Philippines
Posts: 860
My Ride: 2004 325i
Quote:
Originally Posted by WeaponR View Post
Would you hear a little knocking noise when you would shake the steering wheel left or right really quickly about 2" each way?
+1 on this one for me. Anyone fixed it already? Dealer says it's the steering rack. Some say it's a loose U-joint in the pic of the lower steering column, some say it's the telescoping spline.

Posted it before: https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=448081

I disappears for awhile when I unlock the telescope adjustment lever, then push on the steering wheel while re-locking the lever. I do it at least a couple times a day when it appears. But need to finally fix it one day of course.
ssm1991 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2007, 11:29 PM   #9
bmw_chuzo
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Republic of Panama
Posts: 555
My Ride: HPF M3
Send a message via MSN to bmw_chuzo
Quote:
Originally Posted by WeaponR View Post
Would you hear a little knocking noise when you would shake the steering wheel left or right really quickly about 2" each way?
I have this same problem.. I have replaced everything and the sound is still there..
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bmw_chuzo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2007, 02:39 AM   #10
bigjae1976
Registered User
 
bigjae1976's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Wichita
Posts: 11,520
My Ride: 2011 E90 M3
Send a message via MSN to bigjae1976
Great info...sorry it had to be so painful.
__________________
2013 F30 328i - Melbourne Red
2011 E90 M3 - Monte Carlo Blue
2004 E46 M3 - Imola red
bigjae1976 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2007, 04:04 PM   #11
burj 323
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 27
That's exactly what happened to my car. I work at a construction site and have to drive on a pitted road everyday. Can't tell you how happy I am as the handling is tight and all strange noises are gone after the coupling is replaced.
burj 323 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2007, 04:11 PM   #12
burj 323
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 27
For those who are going to replace the coupler, I strongly recommend you also replcae two torx bolts connecting this coupler.
I also took the photo of the "worn" coupler but dont know how to post it here........
burj 323 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2008, 08:50 AM   #13
arthur 22
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by WeaponR View Post
Would you hear a little knocking noise when you would shake the steering wheel left or right really quickly about 2" each way?
hi i have the same problem. is this the same think??
arthur 22 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2007, 04:37 PM   #14
jbeurotech
Past Site Sponsor
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: New Brighton MN
Posts: 5,018
My Ride: 2000 E46 with 254K
HMM interesting, never seen one do that but hey if that fixed it!!! Was the car in an accident?
jbeurotech is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2007, 05:18 PM   #15
iclimb513
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: SLC, UT
Posts: 378
My Ride: has 1 diff too many
Why did you pay for repairs that don't fix the problem?
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
iclimb513 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2007, 05:50 PM   #16
MysticBlau330Ci
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: 170 to NOVAE
Posts: 1,786
My Ride: 330Ci '04 & M4 2016
They worked you over good on this one.....I hope they used a lot of lubrication

glad you got it sorted out
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
MysticBlau330Ci is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2007, 06:17 PM   #17
Jelly335
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: L.I. NY/ CF FL
Posts: 5,545
My Ride: 2001 bmw 330I
Send a message via AIM to Jelly335
well iam having a problem now with my steering and it might be that. everytime i turn right it makes a weird noise like clunking but not loud i have to turn of the radio and i hear it. i might be that. i had both control arm bushing replace dur to two mini accidents in the rain. so i hope its wat happen to u.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

E46 330i retired
E92 335 current
<3 my one wheel wonder

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

-Jeremy
Jelly335 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2010, 08:54 AM   #18
Nachos23
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Whitby, Ontario
Posts: 670
My Ride: 2009 335Xi Sedan
Send a message via MSN to Nachos23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JELBMW330I View Post
well iam having a problem now with my steering and it might be that. everytime i turn right it makes a weird noise like clunking but not loud i have to turn of the radio and i hear it. i might be that. i had both control arm bushing replace dur to two mini accidents in the rain. so i hope its wat happen to u.
usually a clunking noise is CV joints (especially if it happens when turning. Check for torn or worn CV joints.....
Nachos23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2007, 06:57 PM   #19
shockin330i
Registered User
 
shockin330i's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Tx (RGV)/ College Station
Posts: 6,360
My Ride: '13 AW F10 535i
Send a message via AIM to shockin330i
Quote:
Originally Posted by burj 323 View Post
For those who are suffering steering wheel play and could not find the cure, I would like to share my horrendous story with you:

I first discovered a little “looseness” at the steering wheel about 3~4 months ago. The symptom is like when I steer to either right or left, the first inch the car won’t turn. I sent my car to the garage and they fixed a re-built steering rack and OEM control arms. That didn’t help a bit.

Then I visited another BMW workshop to see if they can find out what’s wrong. These geniuses test drove and checked whole day and confirmed the vane pump is to blame. Well, they are not even close. The play did not go and my USD 1000 is gone. I complained and they insisted that unless I am willing to replace with a BRAND NEW BMW steering rack, I’ll have to live with the play. That’s complete rubbish.

The third workshop I visited focused on the chassis. They blame the OEM control arms and replaced with original BMW ones. They also have the tie rod end replaced. Guess what? The play is still there, even they kept saying it has improved and it can only be better unless a new steering rack fixed. Another bull ****.

Then I went back to the first garage and complained about the “re-built” rack they fixed for me. They turned the steering wheel a few times and immediately they found the culprit—a u-joint in the steering column. I waited for 2 weeks to get the part and again, zero improvement. They garage said it (the play) is normal for E46 and asked me to get used to it. What a total nonsense.

I almost gave up until I met our workshop manager who is looking after all the construction equipment on site. I told him the sad stories of my car and he volunteered to check the car. He asked a helper to turn the steering wheel and we checked all the connections/joints looking up from the service trench. Less than one minute we found the problem, a flexible coupling connecting the lower steering column was worn. I ordered the part and have it replaced. Everything is now perfect. The solid and tight handling is back again. Total cost? 30 USD.

If you are having a similar problem of your E46, try to follow my rout, backward.
Thank you
I noticed this too about a few months ago. It just felt odd. Any idea on how hard the install is? I wouldn't want to take it to the dealer because they'd charge me at least 200 just to look at the damn thing
__________________
ERnie
2001 330i Steel Blue e46 "Vanessa" [retired]
2011 335i AW e90 "Zoey" [retired]
2013 535i AW F10 "Lola" [retired]
2013 5.0 "alessandra" [retired]
2014 5.0 "jessica" [retired]
2011 135i JB E82 "Latoya"

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Quote:
:drool:
i'd cosign loans for that ho
Quote:
Thanks dude. I knew she was a keeper when she blew me during a game of cod. I didn't do too well that game
shockin330i is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-2007, 10:35 PM   #20
Hrvat
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Canada, eh
Posts: 2,889
My Ride: 02 Imola Red M3
Quote:
Originally Posted by shockin330i View Post
Thank you
I noticed this too about a few months ago. It just felt odd. Any idea on how hard the install is? I wouldn't want to take it to the dealer because they'd charge me at least 200 just to look at the damn thing
I know excatly how to install it as I swapped the steering rack last summer.

-> You will need a helper
-> This part is accessed from left wheel well area.
-> Part #2 has two bolts. One end connects to steering column and other end to steering rack
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...42&hg=32&fg=30
-> The bolts are male TX50 so you will need female equivalent of TX 50, however 8mm rachet will work (just don't use open end wrench as you WILL strip the head)

1. Have helper turn the steering wheel until bolt head is pointing toward you. Use 8mm rachet or 'female TX50' to unbolt it
2. Have helper turn the steering wheel more until 2nd bolt head is pointing towards you. Again unbolt it.
3. You see part #1 in the pic? Well the far end slides in.
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...42&hg=32&fg=30
4. Once both bolts are out, slide that far end of part #1 into the steering column.
5. Pull of part #2 from steering rack
6. Reinstall in reverse order.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

PM ME FOR FREE SAMPLES

Quote:
so 2004 bmw's dont come with a diff?

Last edited by Hrvat; 05-08-2007 at 10:38 PM.
Hrvat is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) 1999 - VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.