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Thanks and will do. we have some European junk yards around the St. Louis area. I do have one of the sports packages but not sure exactly which steering rack I have. Is there a mark on the rack that will identify it? Are different racks interchangeable for my 330Ci (produced 7/2003)?
Update: It was a bent tie rod that was causing my play. During replacement, when the old tie rods were off, I grabbed and shook that steering rack shaft for play and it didn't move one bit. The play seems to be gone now. :D
 

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2003 330i ZHP
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I replaced the steering guibo about 5k miles ago and although it was worn, it didn't completely remove my steering play. Play was noticeable while cruising on the highway and small adjustments were needed. It would also click when wiggling the wheel back and forth. Just a few days ago, I replaced the lower joint (u-joint assembly) and it fixed it completely. You can put the car on ramps and get under and wiggle the wheel back and forth. I just recorded it with my phone and sure enough, I saw some play in the joint.
 

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I replaced the steering guibo about 5k miles ago and although it was worn, it didn't completely remove my steering play. Play was noticeable while cruising on the highway and small adjustments were needed. It would also click when wiggling the wheel back and forth. Just a few days ago, I replaced the lower joint (u-joint assembly) and it fixed it completely. You can put the car on ramps and get under and wiggle the wheel back and forth. I just recorded it with my phone and sure enough, I saw some play in the joint.
This thread is now 12 years old, and not relevant anymore.
By now if the steering has a noticeable play on-center-only, particularly if it's there under all circumstances (regardless of speed, road inclination, acceleration/deceleration, etc.), the problem is that the steering rack gear is worn.
 
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