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Discussion Starter #21
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
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........
 

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does any one know....how much would it be to get the job done at bmw dealership with parts of course?? great thread by the way!
 

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Thanks for the info from Dubai.

I just ordered the part (the flex joint) and noticed that the ETK says the part was re-designed in April 2001, so cars built before this date may have a problem-part.

My car is Nov. 2000 build date. After 112,000 miles, and all new suspension parts in the front, I still have a vague feeling in the steering, where the steering sometimes centers a little left and sometimes a little right, like what burj 323 described.
 

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For the tools junkies out there, the TORX bolts (#5 in the RealOEM diagram) are size E10 (external TORX). Apparently a lot of other car manufacturers use the same size for their steering columns.



 

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Discussion Starter #29
so can anyone confirm that this fixes the knock/click sound when the steering wheel is wiggled?
I can confirm that, at least in my case. As I said I work at a construction site and have to dirve on a pitted road everyday. If there are anything losse, I will definately hear it. Now the ride is tight and quiet. Awesome.
 

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CONFIRMED! The "lower steering column flexible coupling (guibo)" is the culprit in my case!

It's held together by 4 rivets. They were already loose in the rubber thus making the knocking noise when the steering wheel is wiggled. Checked the other parts (steering column u-joint, steering rack connector) and they were all solid.

Here's some steps and pics I took in addition to croat's diy. All work is done under the car:

1) Remove the thick metal plate in the underbody. Some photos I've seen do not have this. It's very heavy (maybe 25 lbs) so be careful and get out of the way when it's ready to fall out:



2) Remove the plastic cover plate:



3) Remove the "front suspension carrier reinforcement plate". I got the term from Mike Miller's "Winter Warrior" article in p.115, Bimmer Mag #66, May 2007.



4) Remove the coupling by removing the 2 external torx bolts as per croat's instructions in this same thread. Here's the pic:



Took me more than 1 hour to take it out mostly because I was unfamiliar with the underbody plates. But putting it back shouldn't take more than 25 min.

burj 323 and croat, THANKS AGAIN!!
 

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OEM ///PLUS
2003 M3 6MT Slicktop
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CONFIRMED! The "lower steering column flexible coupling (guibo)" is the culprit in my case!

It's held together by 4 rivets. They were already loose in the rubber thus making the knocking noise when the steering wheel is wiggled. Checked the other parts (steering column u-joint, steering rack connector) and they were all solid.

Here's some steps and pics I took in addition to croat's diy. All work is done under the car:

1) Remove the thick metal plate in the underbody. Some photos I've seen do not have this. It's very heavy (maybe 25 lbs) so be careful and get out of the way when it's ready to fall out:



2) Remove the plastic cover plate:


3) Remove the "front suspension carrier reinforcement plate". I got the term from Mike Miller's "Winter Warrior" article in p.115, Bimmer Mag #66, May 2007.



4) Remove the coupling by removing the 2 external torx bolts as per croat's instructions in this same thread. Here's the pic:



Took me more than 1 hour to take it out mostly because I was unfamiliar with the underbody plates. But putting it back shouldn't take more than 25 min.

burj 323 and croat, THANKS AGAIN!!
:thumbsup: Nice, you might want to just repost this last part with the pix and put it in the DIY Forum. Make sure to make the Title good so people doing a search can find it easy.
 

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CONFIRMED! The "lower steering column flexible coupling (guibo)" is the culprit in my case!

It's held together by 4 rivets. They were already loose in the rubber thus making the knocking noise when the steering wheel is wiggled. Checked the other parts (steering column u-joint, steering rack connector) and they were all solid.

Here's some steps and pics I took in addition to croat's diy. All work is done under the car:

1) Remove the thick metal plate in the underbody. Some photos I've seen do not have this. It's very heavy (maybe 25 lbs) so be careful and get out of the way when it's ready to fall out:

2) Remove the plastic cover plate:
3) Remove the "front suspension carrier reinforcement plate". I got the term from Mike Miller's "Winter Warrior" article in p.115, Bimmer Mag #66, May 2007.
4) Remove the coupling by removing the 2 external torx bolts as per croat's instructions in this same thread. Here's the pic:

Took me more than 1 hour to take it out mostly because I was unfamiliar with the underbody plates. But putting it back shouldn't take more than 25 min.

burj 323 and croat, THANKS AGAIN!!
Not 100% positive but I am pretty sure you don't need to take off metal plate and front suspension carrier reinforcement plate. I know I didn't need to take them off. As I said, I accessed it thru left wheel well area. It's little bit tight but it's definitely doable.

And yes, I do agree this should be 'ported' over to DIY section
 

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so can anyone confirm that this fixes the knock/click sound when the steering wheel is wiggled?
Do you hear that sound from inside the car? If so, your noise issue could also potentially be due to your steering column slip-ring.

EDIT: To OP, thanks for the heads-up...I just replaced my steering coupling two days ago. Steering reaction has sharpened up only slightly. Next on my list to resolve my slightly sloppy steering are my tie-rods...(I went with the less expensive $30 fix first). :rofl:
 

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Not 100% positive but I am pretty sure you don't need to take off metal plate and front suspension carrier reinforcement plate.
Yes it's possible, I was just a lot more comfortable accessing it from the rear side using an socket extension and a ratchet. Your 8mm socket suggestion instead of getting an E10 socket is a lifesaver by the way.
 

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Do you hear that sound from inside the car? If so, your noise issue could also potentially be due to your steering column slip-ring.

EDIT: To OP, thanks for the heads-up...I just replaced my steering coupling two days ago. Steering reaction has sharpened up only slightly. Next on my list to resolve my slightly sloppy steering are my tie-rods...(I went with the less expensive $30 fix first). :rofl:
Can you point to the Steering column slip - ring on RealOEM?
Thanks
 

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Do you hear that sound from inside the car? If so, your noise issue could also potentially be due to your steering column slip-ring.

EDIT: To OP, thanks for the heads-up...I just replaced my steering coupling two days ago. Steering reaction has sharpened up only slightly. Next on my list to resolve my slightly sloppy steering are my tie-rods...(I went with the less expensive $30 fix first). :rofl:
yup, i hear the sound from inside the car, near the steering wheel area. it also "knocks" sometimes on speed bumps so it can't be the slip ring. and the knock disappears when you lock the steering wheel while adjusting (either up or down, forward or back). however the knock is always present in my preferred steering wheel setting so i really have to do this DIY :)

ssm1991,

thanks for the pics and instructions! good job! will try to fix mine next week :excited:
 

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... ssm1991, thanks for the pics and instructions! good job! will try to fix mine next week :excited:
No problem! I ordered the part earlier but it was too late for the dealer to get it today. Will have to do this next weekend too. Should've ordered it yesterday, just didn't want to spend on something I wasn't sure.

And I'll just do it together with the "lifetime" ATF change -- ordered the parts for those too (filter and gasket). Might as well do it while I'm down there. :)
 

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Finally someone got the answer. Great!!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Did you compare the new and old part? What's wrong with it?

Mine has exactly the same problem. Free play, clunking noise when I wiggle the steering wheel, and sometimes even rattle from somewhere in the steering column at a certain speed. People kept telling me it's the LCA or steering rack, but I never stopped doubting. This "play" is there whether the engine is running or not. If it's from something below the rack, it should feel different when the steering pump isn't running.
 

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Finally someone got the answer. Great!!!

Did you compare the new and old part? What's wrong with it?

Mine has exactly the same problem. Free play, clunking noise when I wiggle the steering wheel, and sometimes even rattle from somewhere in the steering column at a certain speed. People kept telling me it's the LCA or steering rack, but I never stopped doubting. This "play" is there whether the engine is running or not. If it's from something below the rack, it should feel different when the steering pump isn't running.
Just so you know, I think in most cases it can still be the Control Arm bushings and/or tie rods. The play you describe is still somewhere between the steering wheel and the wheels on the ground.
 
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