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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I a have '99 328i w/ 112,XXX miles which has been driving me crazy lately. :banghead: :banghead:

Symptoms:
<ul>
<li>I hit a bump with one wheel or the other, and the steering wheel "jerks", meaning it physically turns.<li>Also when hitting bumps with either front wheel the steering wheel feels light and un-planted.<li>If there are any sort of grooves or depressions in the pavement the car will follow these all by itself.
</ul>
I am so frustrated because I have changed literally everything in the front end i can think of short of the steering rack. my changes include new:
<ul>
<li>Front Control Arm bushings - powerflex
<li>control arms - meyle hd
<li>sway bar, bushings and endlinks. OEM bar off of a vert
<li>rotors, calipers OEM 330i setup
<li>springs, oem sport pack springs
<li>Struts - Bilstein Sport
<li>every piece in the top of the strut assembly
<li>wheels m68's
<li>alignment is within spec
<li>tires are new and previous sets have not shown any funny wear patters.
<li>tie rods ends
</ul>

Now I realize putting something like brake rotors, calipers, swaybar etc.. in that list looks dumb, but they were upgrades I made for performance, not to eliminate bump steer.

I was under the impression that quite often bump steer was caused by worn out suspension components or incorrect suspension geometry. Suspension components are new on my car and the geometry is stock.

I have driven other e46's pretty extensively and am sure that they did not do this. Please don't tell me this problem is inherent to my car and cannot be remedied, because whether this is correct or not, this is not the answer I'm looking for...haha i seriously dislike the way it drives right now! Please help if you can!

If i left anything out that would help describe this problem better just say so and I'll do my best to help with more explanations..
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I have also seen some posts that say it could be the steering coupler, but I don't understand those claims enough to justify buying one.
 

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very strange, indeed.
I would check the steering rack; check to see if it's lose or any bushings related to the steering rack.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
very strange, indeed.
I would check the steering rack; check to see if it's lose or any bushings related to the steering rack.
as far as i can tell the steering rack bolts straight to the car, so i dont think there would be any play introduced in the body of the unit, though that says nothing about what is actually going on inside the thing.
 

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after replacing all of that without correction....and if still running the same rubber.....look there.

some tires are just prone to tracking or bump steering.

what is the rubber and what sizes?
 

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Since everything else has been replaced, I would think the steering coupler (rubber disc between column and rack) is the most likely culprit. Roughly $50 and 30 mins to swap out. Replacing mine eliminated the symptoms you have described... felt like a new car again.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
after replacing all of that without correction....and if still running the same rubber.....look there.

some tires are just prone to tracking or bump steering.

what is the rubber and what sizes?
I thought this too...Originally I was running some OEM 16 X 7's (square set up) with 225/50's. I ran hankooks and Conti Sport Contacts...I experienced bump steer with both sets of tires.

Now I am running staggered m68's, 225/45's in the front and 245/40's in the rear. The numbers on those tire sizes may be off as I am going from memory, but i am sure that they are 225, and 245. Oh, and they are Michelin Pilot Sport II's

I experience the exact same bump steer with these 17's and Michelins as I did with cheap tires and the 16's


Do you have a staggered wheel setup?
Yeap, OEM m68's
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Since everything else has been replaced, I would think the steering coupler (rubber disc between column and rack) is the most likely culprit. Roughly $50 and 30 mins to swap out. Replacing mine eliminated the symptoms you have described... felt like a new car again.
I have heard this before as well...Just logically I wonder how the steering coupler can cause bump steer. In my mind I can easily see how loose steering or a steering wheel with ample play in it can be caused by a worn coupler but bump steer? My wheel is still tight and responsive - is it possible my coupler could still be worn? did you have any play in your wheel before replacing yours? On the other hand like you say, its a 50$ part and I would love to cure this problem. I think based on what you have said among others i will order one. Anyone else with similar experiences/ answers to some of my questions!
 

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I used to have that problem.Light weight wheels fixed it for me.In your case M68 are already lightweights.I bought a steering coupler from Tischer but My mech told me that the one the car is good and didn't install it.All i did was changing my heavy ass wheels to some 19lbs wheels and problem disappeared.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
@tiloulou330i

sounds like a nice opportunity for a little mod. :) I was sort of hopeful i would find a cheaper alternative though! keep the ideas rolling!....bc god knows i am out of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I was under the car recently and noticed that a few of my power steering lines were weeping fluid... Could leeks in these lines cause an inconsistency in hydraulic pressure, and somehow influence my bump steer? This is a complete guess I just notice a few of my lines looked leaky and wondered if that could be a potential cause...any other ideas?
responses greatly appreciated!
 

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If your steering pump isn't howling, then no, not related. Even then there would probably be no correlation. You might want to replace those lines before you end up having to replace the pump though. Keep an eye on the power steering fluid level in the mean time.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
..: Update :..

Its been quite a while since I originally posted this thread and I have a few updates.... I installed a new steering coupler back in September and noticed no difference in steering behavior at all. No big deal, its 50$ and the original had 125,000 miles... However, sometime in October I noticed that if I shook(quickly) my steering wheel left and right while the car was stationary, someting under the hood was producing a loud banging sound. Upon hearing that, I decided it was finally time to get under the car and diagnose this thing. I jacked up the car and place some oil change ramps under the front wheels. I then lowered it on the ramps, so the car was elevated but also had weight on the front wheels.

I then got a friend to sit in the passenger seat and shake the wheel while I was laying under the car trying to figure out where the hell this noise was coming from. First, I put my hands on both tirerod ends while the banging noise was present and could not feel the vibration/or sense that the noise was coming from them... I checked the steering coupler(again), and the input shaft in the rack...still nothing.

Next, I pulled the boots off the rack(very carefully) and exposed the inner tirerods. This is when I identified my problem.... As my friend turned the wheels left and right rapidly, I could see the actual rack (the piece with the teeth) moving vertically in the steering rack bore/housing. This vertical movement in the left side of my rack was enough to allow the tirerod to effectively change length. As the rack moved up in the bore, it pulled the tirerod closer to the rack, and as it moved down in the bore it pushed it farther away. This active change in toe has been causing the bump steer that I described when I began this thread...

SO, after seeing this behavior I did some research and ordered a remanufactured rack, from ZF. It came in last week and I installed it today...(super easy)..The rack came with new inner tire rods, and new high pressure hoses. I havent driven the car yet, since I'm lacking the banjo bolt washers needed to reconnect the PS lines. I'll defintely report back when I drive it! I'm so excited! I've dealt with this issue for the last 4 years, though it has been getting progressively worse.
 

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Its been quite a while since I originally posted this thread and I have a few updates.... I installed a new steering coupler back in September and noticed no difference in steering behavior at all. No big deal, its 50$ and the original had 125,000 miles... However, sometime in October I noticed that if I shook(quickly) my steering wheel left and right while the car was stationary, someting under the hood was producing a loud banging sound. Upon hearing that, I decided it was finally time to get under the car and diagnose this thing. I jacked up the car and place some oil change ramps under the front wheels. I then lowered it on the ramps, so the car was elevated but also had weight on the front wheels.

I then got a friend to sit in the passenger seat and shake the wheel while I was laying under the car trying to figure out where the hell this noise was coming from. First, I put my hands on both tirerod ends while the banging noise was present and could not feel the vibration/or sense that the noise was coming from them... I checked the steering coupler(again), and the input shaft in the rack...still nothing.

Next, I pulled the boots off the rack(very carefully) and exposed the inner tirerods. This is when I identified my problem.... As my friend turned the wheels left and right rapidly, I could see the actual rack (the piece with the teeth) moving vertically in the steering rack bore/housing. This vertical movement in the left side of my rack was enough to allow the tirerod to effectively change length. As the rack moved up in the bore, it pulled the tirerod closer to the rack, and as it moved down in the bore it pushed it farther away. This active change in toe has been causing the bump steer that I described when I began this thread...

SO, after seeing this behavior I did some research and ordered a remanufactured rack, from ZF. It came in last week and I installed it today...(super easy)..The rack came with new inner tire rods, and new high pressure hoses. I havent driven the car yet, since I'm lacking the banjo bolt washers needed to reconnect the PS lines. I'll defintely report back when I drive it! I'm so excited! I've dealt with this issue for the last 4 years, though it has been getting progressively worse.
good 4 you! I just read this post today. Again, after checking everything else off the list (to include the steering coupler), all was changed except for the front hubs and rack. When the front hubs wear, they usually start to whine or perhaps feel some slop in the wheel. But, from your desc, it appeared the only other area was the rack. And low and behold, the rack it was. congrats.

may not be a bad idea to change out any bad PS lines at the same time, as you noted several were leaking.

:thumbsup:
 

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How much did the rack set you back? Also, you could have fixed your old rack....I'm going to guess that the rack was moving in the housing on the drivers side but not the passenger side? If so, there is a rack guide directly across from the pinion. The rack guide pushes the rack into the pinion, it rides on a bushing which is backed by a spring. It is installed at the factory to put a specific amount of force into the rack, as the bushing and rack teeth wear, the spring will not supply the required force to keep the rack from having radial lash. Easiest solution, tighten the guide all the way down until you block the spring and then step back 4 notches on the ring (if you look at it you will see what I'm talking about). Each notch represents .01mm (I believe) of radial movement of the guide relative to the rack. You CANNOT block the spring and leave it that way, you will not be able to steer because the rack will bind.
 

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I love how people only update until they fix their problem then they have no reason to come back.. I may or may not have a similar problem.. my wheel seems to float a little going over bumps... I have a few blocks of bumpy road going home and when I go over them the wheel will jerk a little, not very much but I still feel it should be a little more solid.. I did just replace my coupler which was bad so now my wheel is tight, so I know I feel more.. while the steering is tight it just feels a little off to me.
 
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