Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: Updates on my 325xi and a steering issue question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    West Warwick, RI
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 325xi

    Updates on my 325xi and a steering issue question

    Just a quick back story to bring those who don't remember, up to speed on my car.
    I had purchased a 2002 325xi that has some crappy coilovers installed, and I was taking steps to overhaul the suspension back to OEM for that buttery smooth ride I like so much.

    IMG_20180426_153742.jpg
    The above picture is most of what I have ordered for the rear suspenion from FCP Euro and ECS Tuning. I'm waiting on package #3 from carid.com with my bump stops and the upper and lower spring rubbers. The rear suspension came out to roughly $310 total. I'm ordering the front end suspension either tomorrow or Monday when I have the money. It's basically the shocks themselves (Bilstein B4's), the springs (Bilstein B3's), the upper and lower rubbers, dust covers, bump stops, and the other hardware involved. Estimated cost for the entire front suspension is about $420 from carid.com, ECS Tuning, and RockAuto.

    As a side note, I'm getting the car serviced for the THREE recalls available to it (stupid previous owner(s)...)! Driver side air bag, passenger side airbag, and the taillights. And while I was at the dealership to schedule the service date, the sales rep was kind enough to print out a sheet of the original sale of my car. Below is the pic.
    IMG_20180426_153642.jpg

    And now for the question about an issue I'm encountering in my car. The steering gets stiff at the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions. It's normal between all other clock positions, however. Even while turning all the way to the right and all the way to the left, it's only stiff at those two specific clock positions. This makes taking tighter turns pretty annoying because the wheel is easy, then gets stiff for a moment to go through the 9 and 2 clock positions, then easy again. This is the case even when unwinding the wheel back to start position. I don't think this is a power steering pump issue. Maybe steering rack? Anyone have this weird problem? Any recommended troubleshooting I can do to help diagnose the issue would be appreciated.
    Last edited by legobumb; 04-26-2018 at 04:44 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    West Warwick, RI
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 325xi
    Just another update on the steering issue. It started heavy raining and the stiff steering went away. This leads me to believe that there has to be something, somewhere, that's sort of blocking the steering in some manner.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Lawrence Kansas
    Posts
    1,115
    My Cars
    2004 325XI/2008 GL320
    Check your front strut mounts.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    West Warwick, RI
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 325xi
    What am i checking for?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Lawrence Kansas
    Posts
    1,115
    My Cars
    2004 325XI/2008 GL320
    The front struts are bolted at the top to a bearing that sits inside it. See if they are seized.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    West Warwick, RI
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 325xi
    That's the information i was seeking. Much appreciated. I'll report back with what i find.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    557
    My Cars
    E30, E9, E36, E32
    I've had the same problem (twice) on my '73 3.0CS. Both times it was because the u-joint in the steering column had rusted a bit and developed a "sticky spot". The key diagnostic element was that the stiffness was present when the wheels were on or off the ground. The second time I took out that u-joint, I boiled it in ATF and it has been well behaved since. So: boiling ATF or even simple penetrating oil, will cure the problem, as will spending the dough and getting a new u-joint.

    It's also possible as noted above that your upper strut bearings have partially seized. Lubrication in the bearings might work, as it did for me.
    Charlie

    Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to add value to these threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same or similar problem stands on your shoulders.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    West Warwick, RI
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 325xi
    Is the u-joint in the steering column relatively easy to access at all? If i can get to it, I can hit it with some WD-40 and try and clean it off. This is assuming my front strut mount bearings aren't seized like dhurley suggested.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    5,774
    My Cars
    2018 BMW M240i
    The u-joint isn’t really a u-joint. It’s cliser to the guibo at the output if the transmission.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    West Warwick, RI
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 325xi
    So I sprayed some WD-40 into the top of the front struts (in that little space around the locking nut), and it got better for a little while and then reverted back to what I described in my original post. I sprayed it again, this time being more generous with the WD-040, and it didn't help at all. If anything, I feel like it got a little worse, and now the whole steering is slightly stiff, but the 9 and 3 clock positions still being the stiffest spots. Driving in this most recent heavy rainfall didn't help this time around either.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    557
    My Cars
    E30, E9, E36, E32
    MarcoZandrini, you got me wondering so unlike the other posts in this thread, I dug into the E46 fiche and found this:http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=32_0942

    The joint I was referring to, (and you probably as well) is item 5 on the fiche. It has characteristics of both the guibo and a steel u-joint. While the flex disc won't produce what trouble the OP is having, the steel u-joint will if it becomes rusty/partially frozen.

    Is this a difficult part to access in an E46? I haven't had to, though I did replace the left halfshaft on my 2002 325xi. For that I jacked up the left front and removed the wheel; access isn't easy with the extra differential in there, but it can be done. Safety first, all who travel here!
    Charlie

    Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to add value to these threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same or similar problem stands on your shoulders.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    West Warwick, RI
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 325xi
    I just received my new front strut mounts in from FedEx a little while ago, and I can see now where the bearings are located on the strut. I'm not sure if coilovers are different than OEM for this car in terms of where the bearings are located on the struts, though. I have noticed that whenever I take a tight right turn, and the wheel is turned at least to the 3 o'clock position, that strut creaks a bit (kind of like an old door I guess). Pretty sure that just means that strut is on its way out, but I am not positive on that diagnosis. I'm more-so inclined to wait until I receive 100% of my new suspension system and then see if the stuff steering still persists. If it does, then I'll have to look into attempting to get to the steering rack/guibo and see what's up. However, if there's anything quick and painless I can do to help alleviate some or all of this stiff steering (even temporarily), then I'm all ears (eyes?).

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Lawrence Kansas
    Posts
    1,115
    My Cars
    2004 325XI/2008 GL320
    I would postpone a diagnosis until the struts and mounts are replaced. Otherwise you may not find a smoking gun.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    West Warwick, RI
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 325xi
    Quote Originally Posted by dhurley34 View Post
    Otherwise you may not find a smoking gun.
    Is this some kind of reference towards my ability to pinpoint the problem? Or just a riff on how hard a problem like this is to diagnose? ;P

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Lawrence Kansas
    Posts
    1,115
    My Cars
    2004 325XI/2008 GL320
    Its a reference to the issue possibly being in one of the strut assemblies and thus you wont find the issue until they are replaced.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    West Warwick, RI
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 325xi
    Quote Originally Posted by dhurley34 View Post
    Its a reference to the issue possibly being in one of the strut assemblies and thus you wont find the issue until they are replaced.
    Gotcha. Don't worry; parts are coming in. I certainly hope it fixes the issue. I'm pretty excited to have a smooth ride on my BMW!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    West Warwick, RI
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 325xi
    Just out of curiosity, should I do a video of myself replacing all the shocks/struts/springs on my car for everyone? I have no idea what the demand of something like that would be. I know a few videos already exist for e46's for replacing a singleton or set of front or rear shocks/struts. And I know I'm not a mechanic or a youtuber or anything, but I figured documenting something like this might come in handy for a few people anyways. I'd be recording it with my cell Google Pixel 2, which has a very decent camera. Let me know whay you all think! I wish I could insert a poll here haha.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    West Warwick, RI
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 325xi
    OKAY! I'm finally back after getting all four corners of the car done with new suspension (shocks, struts, springs). Yay! The whole experience was quite frustrating since I do not own a low profile jack and had to utilize a combination of my $30 Autozone jack and the jack the car comes with, to life the car off the ground, pry open the lower suspension arms in the rear, AND lift the axles in the front to help the strut go into to place. I felt like I had to do more work than what most more mechanically inclined folk would have done. A couple things went wrong, like me stripping the hex screw that holds the rotor on the knuckle (in the future, I'll have to cut the damn thing out when I want to replace the rotor).

    I also found a ton of grease all over everything when I took the wheel off the front driver side (front left, to clarify for those who use right hand drive vehicles). Which is weird, because that CV axle is brand new. I didn't notice any tears in the rubber boots of the CV axle (I only gave it a quick glance since I was kind of strapped for time on putting my car back together), but the grease was all over the backside of the caliper (where the slider pins are), the knuckle itself, the brake line going into the caliper, etc. It wasn't on the rotor or brake pads thankfully. Since I know brake fluid is far more watery than this stuff, I believe it to be grease from... something. I've no idea from where. I thought the only thing that was lubed up was the grease inside the CV axle rubber boots? I did notice the rubber of the sway bar end link (that connects to the strut) was practically useless. I'll have to get a new one at some point. But the amount of grease I found could NOT have possibly come from the sway bar end link alone.

    Also, can someone explain to me the proper way to extend the sway bar end link? Do you just unscrew it to lengthen it, and screw it to shorten it and it's that simple? I feel like there's a more proper way to go about it.

    And to readdress the stiff steering issue - it's still a bit stiff after replacing the front struts, but less than it was before, and I think the reason is because I may have over-tightened the locking nut at the top of each strut. There's no way to use my torque wrench on that locking nut since I have to hold the piston in place with a vice grip (at the top of the piston where the locking nut screws onto, there's a small bit that's designed to be held with a vice grip). So as a result, I've no idea exactly how tight I squished the strut mounts to the struts, but I believe it to be tight enough to slightly inhibit steering.

    Apart from all of that, since no one expressed interest in me recording my little adventure overhauling my car's suspension, I have no footage to show you all. I should have taken pictures of all the grease I found, and I regret not doing so. But once again, any help or advice would be much appreciated!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Lawrence Kansas
    Posts
    1,115
    My Cars
    2004 325XI/2008 GL320
    No such thing as overtightening the strut top nut by hand. Especially with bilsteins. The strut pivots on a ball bearing.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    West Warwick, RI
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 325xi
    Quote Originally Posted by dhurley34 View Post
    No such thing as overtightening the strut top nut by hand. Especially with bilsteins. The strut pivots on a ball bearing.
    According to the below link, the lock nut should be torqued down to 47 ft/lbs. I've no idea how that feels, but I tightened it enough to where a couple threads of the piston were visible through the lock nut so I know it's doing its job as a lock nut. The issue, I think, is that with these struts, the lock nut directly sandwiches the bearings of the strut mounts. I fear it may be applying unnecessary pressure to the bearings of the strut mounts is all.

    http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1054309

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Lawrence Kansas
    Posts
    1,115
    My Cars
    2004 325XI/2008 GL320
    You're talking to a guy who's done several of these. Trust me. Thats not it. If it were, they would be popping when turned.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    West Warwick, RI
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 325xi
    Alright, then what else would make my steering stiffer than it should be? It's all around feeling slightly stiff, but it's still stiffer at the 9 and 3 clock positions. However, the newer front struts definitely helped make it less stiff than it was before. Just not by much.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Lawrence Kansas
    Posts
    1,115
    My Cars
    2004 325XI/2008 GL320
    The rack or the pump.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    West Warwick, RI
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    2002 BMW 325xi
    Is there any definitive ways to test if it's either one causing the issue?

Similar Threads

  1. Fluid on my struts...and power steering reservoir?
    By ewrjontan in forum 1992 - 1999 M3 (E36)
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 02-22-2014, 10:33 AM
  2. Update on my wife... and a new undertaking!
    By spdu4ia in forum Louisiana
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-12-2009, 09:37 AM
  3. Update on my 320i and some Qs
    By darkmann in forum 1999 - 2006 (E46)
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-07-2007, 03:55 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •