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Thread: Steering Rack replacement (528i/no pics)

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    '90 Supra Turbo/E39 528i

    Cool Steering Rack replacement (528i/no pics)

    So I just did this job today, not gona lie, it was a pain in the ass.

    Difficulty level: 8

    Sorry, I didn't have time to take pictures because I needed the car done asap. Here is a step by step processes:

    Tools:
    Socket Set: 13-22mm
    Pickle Fork ( Rent one from autozone for 16$)
    Jack
    Jack Stands
    Block of wood
    Various Extensions
    Open ended Wrench
    Close Ended wrenches(16-19mm)
    Hex key set
    Bucket
    2 Quarts of ATF (DEX III)

    Steps:
    1. Jack the car up from the front jack point or the subframe. Make sure to loosen the Lug bolts before raising the car.

    2. Remove the Splash Sheild.

    3. Now we have to remove the tire rods, first remove the 18mm bolts on the steering knuckle that holds the outer tie rod in place.

    4. Wedge you pickle fork between the tie rod and the steering knuckle and hammer away, don't pull or pry, just wedge and hammer. After a few good blows, the tie rod will separate from the knuckle.

    5. Loosen the locking nut on the inner tie rod and then twist the outer tie rod off. Do no lose the spacer. Do the same for the other side. Remove both left and right outer tie rods.

    6. Remove the two bolts that hold the steering rack to the subframe, these are 16mm heads with a 16mm nut on top, hold the nut and loosen.

    7. Remove the lower engine mounts bolts, one on each side, there are either 16 or 17mm ( I forget which).

    8. Now, get a jack and put the wood piece between the jack and the block, right behind the harmonic balancer. Slowly raise the engine. I had to to remove my fan shroud pins to lift then engine high enough. Raise the engine a good 3-6inches.

    9. Now, unbolt the steering column from the steering rack, its one bolt and its 13mm. No need to worry about the nut, its welded on. Now pry off the column from the rack.

    10. Now, remove the two power steering lines that are connected to the rack, one is a 22mm and the other is a 19mm. Both of them have two crush washers, DO NOT LOSE THESE. I lost mine and they were a pain in the ass to find at any hardware store. When you break the bolts loose, have the bucket read. Almost all the ATF will come out.

    11. Maneuver the rack out of the car. I was able to remove my rack from the passenger side. It took some time, but if your engine is raised high enough, it should come out with ease.

    12. Your new rack should come pre-filled with ATF, mine did. Now maneuver the new rack in. I was able to get the new rack in from the drivers side.

    13. When tightening up the bolt that goes from the steering column to the rack, if it doesn't tights all they way, in other words, if the bolts doesn't sit flush with the metals, its fine. My new rack had a thicker stud compared to my old rack so I had about half an inch of the bolt sticking out. The bolt clears everything so all is well.

    14. Put everything else back together and pour in some ATF. Pour past the full line. Now start the car, with the P/S reservoir CLOSED. and slowly turn, you do not want air bubbles in the system. Make 3-7 good lock-to-lock rotations very slowly. Shut the car off and replenish the system because odds are its probably low.

    And that's about it. My local shop wanted 2200$ to do this job.I did this job for around 350$, that's including the price of a brand new rack with a 2 year warranty. I'm only 18 and I got it done in about 8 hours and that's with a friends help. Good luck and happy DIY'ing.

    PS- Sorry again for no pictures. I tried my best to give as much detail as possible in every step.

  2. #2
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    1997 528i
    2200$! I just got this done at 300+350 for the rack. Good Job Though

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by iDrift View Post
    And that's about it. My local shop wanted 2200$ to do this job.I did this job for around 350$, that's including the price of a brand new rack with a 2 year warranty. I'm only 18 and I got it done in about 8 hours and that's with a friends help. Good luck and happy DIY'ing.

    PS- Sorry again for no pictures. I tried my best to give as much detail as possible in every step.
    Congrats on job well-done.

    How many miles when the Steering Rack leaks?

  4. #4
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    Nice. Thanks for posting this.
    Maybe pics can be added bit by bit. If anyone finds relevant pics that pertain to any of the steps, let me know and we can get them edited in to iDrift's thread.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    97 Euro 528i SC, 78 KE30
    Mine started leaking at around 80k miles. I took it to a shop and they rebuilt it with lifetime warranty.

    Resident Third World Country Advisor

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdc4 View Post
    Nice. Thanks for posting this.
    Maybe pics can be added bit by bit. If anyone finds relevant pics that pertain to any of the steps, let me know and we can get them edited in to iDrift's thread.
    James,

    I have some pictures in my file, not complete but very close to what people need.

    Some tids/bits:

    1. Raise engine as mentioned: Jack with block of wood under oil pan.
    Ratchet with long extension to remove the Engine Mounts...Pics #1, 2, and 3. Proceed to Step 2 below:

    2. Remove the Fan Clutch (REVERSE thread) and set it inside the Fan Shroud, No need to take it out. Pics #4-5
    Now raise engine 3-5", watching to be sure there is no problems with hoses, wiring etc.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by cnn; 09-13-2010 at 03:47 PM.

  7. #7
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    3. Next: undo the bolts holding the Steering Rack to Subframe. Pics labeled "98528i-Chassis-06a" and "98528i-Chassis-07".

    4. Now with white paint (such as white out liquid paper), mark the Steering Rack's input shaft with the Steering Column Collar with paint, this allows alignment when installing the new SR.

    5. The places to disconnect (Banjo connections etc.) are in pic "SteeringRack06".

    --------------

    PS: Procedure on How to disconnect Tierods from Steering Knuckle and from Steering Rack is in this thread:

    1998 BMW 528i COMPLETE FRONT SUSPENSION OVERHAUL
    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1312326
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by cnn; 09-13-2010 at 03:49 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    I sourced a while ago a DIY to rebuild the steering rack for the i6 complete with pics. Here it is. Maybe a good idea to pdf it before it disappears.

    Cheers
    Looking for a DIY? Parts? Check this out, it might be your ticket

    Stable: e92is, e53 N62, e46M54B25, Tribby & e39 M54B30 R.I.P.

  9. #9
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    iDrift,

    Where did you buy the Steering Rack from for $350?
    It is cheap compared with online sources of $950.
    PN 32136751745 for my 1998 528i.

  10. #10
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnn View Post
    iDrift,

    Where did you buy the Steering Rack from for $350?
    It is cheap compared with online sources of $950.
    PN 32136751745 for my 1998 528i.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1998-...item4aa09783d3

    The rack looked very well made so I went ahead and bought it. No complaints on fitting problems,etc.
    Last edited by iDrift; 09-13-2010 at 05:36 PM.

  12. #12
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    Impressive iDrift. Most impressive.
    "I'd smash that (Jennifer Connelly) like a failed coup in sub-Saharan Africa."
    ~Macktheknife in my epic Jennifer Connelly OT Thread

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnn View Post
    Congrats on job well-done.

    How many miles when the Steering Rack leaks?
    The car had 112k. I just bought this car maybe 2 weeks ago. I am not new to BMW though

    Quote Originally Posted by cnn View Post
    James,

    I have some pictures in my file, not complete but very close to what people need.

    Some tids/bits:

    1. Raise engine as mentioned: Jack with block of wood under oil pan.
    Ratchet with long extension to remove the Engine Mounts...Pics #1, 2, and 3. Proceed to Step 2 below:

    2. Remove the Fan Clutch (REVERSE thread) and set it inside the Fan Shroud, No need to take it out. Pics #4-5
    Now raise engine 3-5", watching to be sure there is no problems with hoses, wiring etc.
    I removed the engine mounts from the bottom, removing them from the top is doing way too much work then required.
    Last edited by iDrift; 09-13-2010 at 07:40 PM.

  14. #14
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    2003 530i Sport
    Steering Rack is a pain .. wondering how you did it alone

    the final Rack installation is for 2 people .. good job ... now its time to do alignment
    Last edited by champaign777; 09-15-2010 at 12:58 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by iDrift View Post
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1998-...item4aa09783d3

    The rack looked very well made so I went ahead and bought it. No complaints on fitting problems,etc.
    Thanks,

    From looking at the ebay link, it looks like it is made by APX. I don't know much about APX, so keep us posted with your experience.

    Personally I'd like to stick to ZF brand, because it is from factory.

    Yes, you are right, when undoing engine mount for this job, no need to remove the top nut. Just undo the bottom nut.

    Well-done job though!

  16. #16
    Join Date
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    02 M3
    I swapped rack on my 330i before and it wasn't that hard at all. Maybe things on non-V8 E39 are different

    2002 BMW M3
    IR on IR

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by croat View Post
    I swapped rack on my 330i before and it wasn't that hard at all. Maybe things on non-V8 E39 are different
    Actually to disconnect tierods: it is quick. One hour later, both sides should be off.

    The problem is in:
    - Disconnecting all the hydraulic lines
    - Steering Column collar (tight space)
    - Lifting the engine

  18. #18
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    great diy idrift. one question when raising the engine. How much do you have to worry about hoses, plugs or anything else coming off or breaking when the engine is raised max 6" as you said. This is going to be my first diy and your diy, from what i have searched is the only one on the internet so props for taking it on.
    Quote Originally Posted by iDrift View Post
    8. Now, get a jack and put the wood piece between the jack and the block, right behind the harmonic balancer. Slowly raise the engine. I had to to remove my fan shroud pins to lift then engine high enough. Raise the engine a good 3-6inches.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redion View Post
    great diy idrift. one question when raising the engine. How much do you have to worry about hoses, plugs or anything else coming off or breaking when the engine is raised max 6" as you said. This is going to be my first diy and your diy, from what i have searched is the only one on the internet so props for taking it on.
    Hope these will help you....


    Steering Rack DIY:
    http://euroautoforums.com/forums/ind...showtopic=1773

    Engine Mounts/Trans Mounts I wrote a while back:
    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1650080

  20. #20
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    Hey iDrift,
    Great write-up!

    This is very interesting topic since I might have problem with Steering Rack described here:
    POWER STEERING: Knocking Sound

    Do you think my problem could be caused just by loose nuts?
    What made you do this anyway?

    TIA
    siny528i
    BMW CCA 434493

  21. #21
    Join Date
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    '00 528i Sport Package
    I will be changing my PS Rack in the coming days. I ordered a rebuilt one from Jorgen with a lifetime warranty for about $340 shipped.

    Will try to take some pics. Thanks for the previous tips, hope they will help!

  22. #22
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    1998 BMW 528i
    Thanks to all for the DIY. Did this yesterday..and today.

    Some thoughts:

    1. I jacked the engine from the back of the oil pan with 2x4s to give more room to work on hydro connections. Easy to reach from front with rack lowered from mounts.

    2. Removing the rack is hard. I lifted engine 1 1/2 2x4s. Don't know what that lifts at the front of the engine. A lot I believe. Finally, I realized that if I turned the rack over it easily came out the drivers side. The part that sticks up and connects to the steering column fits up in the space below the intake and flips all the way over. It came out label side to the front and upside down.

    3. If you have a weak or cheap PS pump cross your fingers. I followed all directions on start up, but now have a bad squeak from, I believe the pump. Oh Well.
    Last edited by jmthrtn; 03-02-2012 at 03:29 PM.

  23. #23
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    1+,

    - Remove the nuts holding the rack.

    - Undo engine mounts

    - The part that is circled in blue needs to be turned downward to ease removal.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  24. #24
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    It's been 2 years and the rack has been holding up great!

  25. #25
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    I did this recently. Hardest part for me was separating the steering column from the rack, and re-attaching it to the new one.

    To separate, I ended up putting small sockets into the U joint above the rack, and using a pry bar to push them down (effectively pushing the column up off the rack).

    To re-attach, I used anti-seize on the teeth, and it was hard to get on. I had to use a rubber mallet to mate them fully. You might have more luck if you use regular grease.

    Regarding tie rods: I would simply remove the inner tie rod from the old rack. No need to separate inner and outer tie rods. Do this before you take the rack off the car!

    On the issue of steering-rack-to-subframe bolts: are people re-using theirs? The book says to replace them. But when I look at realoem, only the bolts are listed. Not the nuts:

    http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...76&hg=32&fg=10

    My local BMW dealership couldn't find a part number for the nuts either.

    What say you all?

    Stuart

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