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Discussion Starter #1
Situation - On Friday the steering on the 2003 325i worked great. On Saturday it didn't. I've searched here and elsewhere online...

The symptoms indicate to me a power steering pump failure. Alternator, water pump, a/c all work fine. Power steering fluid reservoir is full.

Friday afternoon I pressure washed the underside of the car at the base auto craft shop. I made several short trips after that - all was fine.

I don't see anything in any tutorial or DIY that indicates there might be an electrical connection/etc. that pressure washing may have dislodged/damaged.

So, could I have trashed my power steering pump simply by cleaning the bottom of the engine? It's just a coincidence? "Feces transpires?"

The whole pressure washing thing came about because I'm trying to find the source of leaking oil. It looks like the symptoms of the "usual suspect" oil filter housing gasket.

Question 1 - any thoughts on the above info?

Question 2 - since the power steering pump is coming out (?), and I'm going to replace the oil filter housing gasket, is there anything that I should reasonably consider at the same time? (Besides new belts)

Thanks!

Terry

PS I was aghast at the amount of oil, grease, dirt, and brake dust that came off the bottom of the car.
 

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I was wondering the same thing... need to get all the oil and yuck of mine to find those notorious leaks here too. Mine also did a weird thing yesterday after running mine through an automatic one that washes the undercarriage. Loss of power (like 2/3's of it coming home) but today ran fine. Crazy...

Good question asked, i think.
 

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With the engine on remove the power steering fluid reservoir cap. Is the fluid moving?

I bet the pump died. It's a LUK 20 pump. People think this is a crappy pump, but in reality it fails because owners don't change the fluid. As a result the fluid gets dirty and the pump shaft breaks internally. You can check the pump by removing the main serpentine belt and pulling the pump's pulley to check for play. I bet it's kaput.

Replacing the pump isn't a tough job, but it is subject to scope creep. At that mileage the 4 hoses should be replaced. Also, the fluid reservoir should be replaced as it has a filter at the bottom. Buy a ZF reservoir as it's quite cheap. Also, the pump pulley is plastic so it too should be replaced along with the bolts. That way you don't have to mess with removing the bolts from the old pump. While you've got the pump out you might as well replace the oil filter housing gasket. It's about $6 from the dealer. Oh, the main VANOS hose should be replaced along with its 4 crush washers. While you're at it, you should replace the alternator's voltage regulator. You'll need to identify which alternative brand is in your car as BMW sourced alternators from Bosch and Valeo, a French company. They are not interchangeable!

I warned you about scope creep!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
what are the "symptoms"?
A good biceps workout trying to steer. Almost impossible at low speed, stiff but easier at road speeds.

With the engine on remove the power steering fluid reservoir cap. Is the fluid moving?
I did try that. I would describe the fluid surface as "looks like it's vibrating due to general vibration rather than any pumping action." I don't have any ready way of just pulling fluid out to see if there's truly a pump return or not. I guess I could go buy a turkey baster...

Terry
 

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Is there a moaning/groaning sound when you turn the wheel while not moving? If there is, its definitely your ps pump.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is there a moaning/groaning sound when you turn the wheel while not moving? If there is, its definitely your ps pump.
Literally? No. There is no sound at all. I essentially cannot turn the wheel if the car isn't moving. It's the same as if you've turned the key but not yet started the car.

When stopped the steering wheel only moves through great hand-over-hand effort, just like in the old days with no power steering.

However, there was no moaning/groaning sound before this problem cropped up.

Terry
 

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It's a fairly easy DIY, mine went out suddenly back in April at 135K miles. I replaced the reservoir two years ago but it's time was up. Put it up on ramps, pull the belly pan, loosen the pump bolts while the serpentine belt is on, replace the pulley if it's nicked and check if the hoses are leaking.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Power steering pump is kaput!!!!
The above statement is correct.

I started this thread on August 22. Today I replaced the power steering pump. What a difference it makes having power steering again!

I'm fortunate to have access to a really super, award-winning base auto craft shop. Over the weekend I replaced the oil level sensor, the oil filter housing gasket, and the power steering pump.

None of this would have been possible without the DIYs here ( OK, lots of YouTube videos, too).

Thanks to all who make this such a great, useful repository of information. It has made a difference.

Terry
 
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