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DIY: Do It Yourself
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:41 PM   #1
wildirish317
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 3,355
My Ride: 2004 325Ci vert
DIY Steering Rack Replacement

In addition to this thread, I suggest you see flashmeow's thread here: https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpos...30&postcount=1

Tools req'd:
  • Floor jack
  • 2 jack stands
  • 1/2" drive ratchet, 4" extension, u-joint, breaker bar, and torque wrench
  • 3/8" drive ratchet, (2) 6" extensions
  • 1/2" drive sockets: 15, 16, 17, 19, and 22 mm.
  • 3/8 drive sockets: 10mm and e12 torx
  • ball joint removal tool (you can use a pickle fork, but this is the cat's ass!)
  • drain pan
Parts req'd:
  • Steering rack
  • Outer steering arms
  • Steering flex disc (optional)
  • Crush washers for the hose connections to the steering rack
Procedure:
    1. Place the car in neutral and engage the parking brake.
    2. Loosen the lug nuts on both front wheels.
    3. Use the floor jack to lift one side using the rear lift pad. Place a jack stand under the front lif pad. Slowly let the car back down and move the floor jack to the other side.
    4. Lift the other side of the car with the floor jack. The one thing I don't like about this method is that you reach a point where the car is only supported by the jack stand and the floor jack, and it will rock a bit. Place a jack stand under the front lift pad and release the jack slowly.
    5. Remove both front wheels and place them under the sides of the car behind the jack stands. (You can tell I'm paranoid about having a car fall on me.)
    6. Open the hood and remove the air filter housing. (10mm bolts plus a screw driver for the hose clamp fitting.)
    7. Remove the power steering reservoir cap.
    8. Remove the splash pan underneath the car. (There are (7) 1/2 turn phillips screws and (3) plastic push rivets.)
    9. Put the steering wheel at 0 degrees (straight ahead), lock it, and measure from some point on the car to the rotor, level with the rotor centerline.
    10. Remove the outer steering ball joint bolts (19mm). This setup works well for this and the banjo bolts for the hoses.
    11. Use the ball joint removal tool to break the ball joints loose. Get it pretty tight and then tap the bottom of the joint with a hammer. Make sure to leave the nuts on the top of the threads of the joint. These things come apart with a lot of force.
    12. Disconnect the steering flex disc. I recommend removing the top bolt (E12 torx socket) and removing the flex disc with the steering rack. I had trouble (about five hours worth) getting the flex disc onto the new rack due to damaged splines on the new rack. Access to the flex disc bolt is from the top, which is why you removed the air filter housing. You will need to turn the steering column to access this bolt. Make sure you place it back to 0 degrees and lock it afterwards.
    13. At this point, you need to determine whether you need to remove the reinforcement plate in order to remove the steering rack. Check to see if you have clearance to remove the two steering rack bolts with the plate in place. I didnít, so I had to remove the plate. Removing the plate at this point reduces the mess when removing the hoses. The plate is held with (8) 16mm bolts.
    14. Place a drain pan under the car and remove the power steering hoses from the rack. Remove the smaller one (19 mm) first, then the larger one (22 mm).
    15. Remove the bracket that holds the hose to the rack (10 mm). Note in the photo that I did not do this, which made the rack removal more difficult.
    16. Remove the two bolts that hold the rack to the sub frame. Each bolt (15 mm) has a nut on top (17 mm). Use an open end 17 mm wrench to secure the top nut.
    17. Remove the rack. You are now at this point.
    18. This is a good time to clean up some parts, if you're so inclined. My reinforcement plate was very caked with oil and sludge.
    19. If you left the flex disc on the old rack, remove it and set it aside.
    20. You now have to take this dust cover/alignment tab off of the old rack and install it on the new rack. Flashmeow states to use penetrating oil and wiggle it until it comes off. Itís plastic, so you donít want to use a lot of force. I jacked around with it for about an hour before I lost patience and used a small screw driver to pry it off.
    21. There are alignment tabs on the dust cover and steering rack. Note these before you remove the dust cover. It will help you get it on the new rack in the correct orientation.
    22. You can see a ridge on the bottom side of the dust cover. You have to get the screwdriver over the edge of the rack housing and under this ridge to pry it off. Gently is the key word here. Once you get it off, clean it up and pack the underside with grease. The grease keeps the dust and grit away from the shaft.
    23. Put the dust cover on the new rack (in the proper position) and turn it clockwise until it stops. Then turn it counterclockwise until it stops, counting the number of turns (mine was 3-ľ). Then turn it back Ĺ the number of turns. This should be the center position of the rack and the dust cover alignment marks should line up with the rack alignment marks. If itís very far off, repeat the process. If itís still far off, remove and reposition the dust cover.
    24. Put the flex disc on steering arm shaft and torque to 16 ft-lbs.
    25. Install the new outer steering arms. Measure from the steering shaft housing to the ball joint on the old rack and the ball joint. You can also count the number of threads showing between the inner and outer steering arms, but there are a nut and collar in the way that make counting difficult.
    26. Place the rack into the car and install the two bolts to the sub frame. Donít torque them yet, just get them snug.
    27. Install the steering column into the top of the rack. If you lined this up as you installed the rack, this should be an easy fit. Otherwise, you will have to wrestle with the steering column (which has a compressible telescoping feature) to get it in place.
    28. Once the steering column is in place you can torque the flex disc (16 ft-lbs) and the steering rack bolts (32 ft-lbs).
    29. Connect the hose with the smaller banjo bolt first, using new crush washers. Clean everything using clean lint-free rags first. Torque is 26 ft-lbs.
    30. Connect the other hose. Torque is 30 ft-lbs.
    31. Connect the hose bracket to the steering rack. Torque is 16 ft-lbs.
    32. Connect the outer steering arms to the rotor assemblies. Torque is 48 ft-lbs. You will probably need to push up on the bottom of the ball joint with the floor jack to keep the ball spindle from turning as you tighten the nut.
    33. We are now at this point.
    34. Make sure your steering wheel is at 0 degrees and locked, then repeat the measurements to your rotors like you did in step 8. Adjust the steering arms by using a 13mm wrench to turn the inner steering arms. Adjust the arms to obtain the same measurements. Check the thread rotation to determine which way makes the arm longer. It will be the opposite for the other wheel.
    35. Fill your power steering reservoir (to the full level, not to the top).
    36. Do not start the car yet (you can, but I donít like to have the engine running while the car is on jack stands). Turn the steering wheel one turn left, back to center, one turn right, then back to center.
    37. Refill the power steering reservoir.
    38. If you removed the reinforcement pan, now is the time to reinstall it. Torque is 44 ft-lbs, plus ľ turn.
    39. Put the wheels back on and take the car off the jack stands. Wheel nut torque is 90 +/- 7 ft-lbs.
    40. Start the car. Turn the steering wheel one turn left, back to center, one turn right, then back to center.
    41. Stop the car and refill the power steering reservoir.
    42. Take the car for a low speed test drive. Make sure you make one turn each left/right where you turn the steering wheel a full turn.
    43. Refill the power steering reservoir.
    44. Get an alignment.
__________________

ďThe test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.Ē

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Miller - BIMMER
I just don't know what I'd do with 560 hp that doesn't involve getting arrested.
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Old 08-15-2013, 07:53 PM   #2
wildirish317
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 3,355
My Ride: 2004 325Ci vert
Okay, I learned (after the fact) that, when you remove the reinforcement plate, you must replace the bolts. They are a one-time use bolt.

Reinforcement plate bolts:
Part number 31106772199 x8 (Thanks to Mango for the p/n reference.)

Since you torque them down and then turn them an extra 1/4 turn, they are torque-to-yield bolts. Any time you have a bolt that is first torqued, and then turned another 1/4 or 1/2 turn, it's a torque to yield bolt, and must be replaced.
__________________

ďThe test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.Ē

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Miller - BIMMER
I just don't know what I'd do with 560 hp that doesn't involve getting arrested.
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Old 10-04-2013, 04:59 PM   #3
///M Protocol
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Posts: 349
My Ride: i3
nice. save for later. what fluid do you recommend for our ps?
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Old 10-04-2013, 05:11 PM   #4
Serega91
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Moscow, Russia and U.S.
Posts: 612
My Ride: 03' WRX, 07' S2K
Many thanks....
Will be doing a steering system overhaul next summer (rack/tierods/hoses/reservoir/pump), and upgrading to a 712 rack in the process.

To answer M protocol, I use valvoline dexron 3 (ATF) (comes in blue botles), although dexron 4 can be used as well

Last edited by Serega91; 10-04-2013 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 10-04-2013, 05:43 PM   #5
wildirish317
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 3,355
My Ride: 2004 325Ci vert
DIY Steering Rack Replacement

I used Redline D4 ATF, but any dexron 4 equivalent will do. Not sure about dexron 3.


Sent from BimmerApp mobile app
__________________

ďThe test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.Ē

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Miller - BIMMER
I just don't know what I'd do with 560 hp that doesn't involve getting arrested.

Last edited by wildirish317; 10-04-2013 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:19 PM   #6
soedesh
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2
My Ride: '04 325xi
Year: 2004
Model: 325xi
Transmission: Automatic
Lowering subframe to replace steering rack on 325xi

Great post! Thanks for taking the time to post these great instructions. I have a 325xi so I needed to lower the subframe to replace the rack, please see my post on this thread for a summary of doing that.
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Old 09-23-2019, 07:29 PM   #7
Archbid
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Location: Marin, California
Posts: 2,697
My Ride: 330ci Convertible
Year: 03
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
Just finished this project this weekend. The blurry photobucket images are infuriating, but such is life. This is a fantastic DIY (I love when the torque settings are thorough!). A few notes:

1. You can get equivalent bolts and washers for the reinforcement plate for cheaper at Bolt Depot. Same specs (8x each):
https://www.boltdepot.com/Product-De...?product=17511
https://www.boltdepot.com/Product-De...x?product=7743

2. Pay attention to the sequence on the flex disc/giubo. It should be on the rack and aligned before the rack is re-installed. It is very hard to put the flex disc onto the rack once installed (not impossible).

3. The plastic alignment cap is crucial to this being easy. Take the time to center the rack and get the little triangle on the cap to point at the finger on the rack. It makes everything so much easier

4. Take your steering wheel airbag off (don't disconnect it) and make sure the little dot on the steering column is aligned with the notch on the steering wheel. Everything that is off-center will reflect all the way to the tie rods. Center the wheel, center the alignment cap, center the rack, and everything just connects. My tierods are basically even on left and right and the steering is locked in.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:03 PM   #8
DEADF15H
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Location: Boca Raton, FL or Salisbury, NC
Posts: 2,186
My Ride: 2001 325i Auto
Model: 325i
Transmission: Auto
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archbid View Post
Just finished this project this weekend. The blurry photobucket images are infuriating, but such is life. This is a fantastic DIY (I love when the torque settings are thorough!). A few notes:



1. You can get equivalent bolts and washers for the reinforcement plate for cheaper at Bolt Depot. Same specs (8x each):

https://www.boltdepot.com/Product-De...?product=17511

https://www.boltdepot.com/Product-De...x?product=7743



2. Pay attention to the sequence on the flex disc/giubo. It should be on the rack and aligned before the rack is re-installed. It is very hard to put the flex disc onto the rack once installed (not impossible).



3. The plastic alignment cap is crucial to this being easy. Take the time to center the rack and get the little triangle on the cap to point at the finger on the rack. It makes everything so much easier



4. Take your steering wheel airbag off (don't disconnect it) and make sure the little dot on the steering column is aligned with the notch on the steering wheel. Everything that is off-center will reflect all the way to the tie rods. Center the wheel, center the alignment cap, center the rack, and everything just connects. My tierods are basically even on left and right and the steering is locked in.
Thanks for the extra information

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