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-   -   2004 325XI Power Steering Pump Noise Advice Please (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=963883)

325XIin303 01-04-2013 11:18 AM

2004 325XI Power Steering Pump Noise Advice Please
Hi all, new member/poster here, thanks in advance for your help!

I have a 2004 325XI Sedan with just over 100K miles on it. The other morning, my power steering pump starting screaming at me like a grizzly bear whenever I turned the wheel (not just lock to lock, but anytime the wheel is moved). The sounds change in loudness and pitch the more you turn the wheel. Here's what is weird... I STILL HAVE POWER STEERING. IT IS NOT HARD TO TURN THE WHEEL. So I believe that my pump is working. Maybe on it's last leg?

I then:
checked fluid - it had enough but it was dark brown, not red (reservoir exterior is dirty, like some of the brown fluid was pushed out of the hole in the cap. Maybe back pressure from a clogged hose?) I added new fluid, ran the car, and siphoned/added fluid 3 times. Didn't seem to help the loud noise or color of fluid.
Checked hoses - noticed no leaks
Pulled airbox - moved the pully on the PSP to see if it slid in and out. Seems to be secure.

My questions are:
Does my car have the LUK 20 or 30?
Is it possible that I have a blockage in a hose and my pump is just starving for fluid?
If the above question is answered yes, would it be a good idea to pull the system, clear the hoses, pump, and reservoir filter, then re-assemble?
If I do end up changing the pump, is there anything "special" about doing it on the XI with steptronic transmission?

Thanks again, any advice will be much appreciated!


VizslaDriver 01-04-2013 10:49 PM

I can't answer your question specifically but let me share a recent experience and give you a first step recommendation.

This past weekend I changed all the PS hoses and reservoir on my son's 2002 325XI. This included a full fluid flush.
- Working on the XI is a tight fit - I had to get at all the hose connections topside except for the lower suction line into the pump. A hose clamp replaced the factory BMW clamp.
- The LUK30 is a standard pump on all XI models I believe. You can look it up with your VIN on REALOEM
- I can't imagine the extra work to get the pump out on the XI. It was a tight fit just for the hoses and you may have to remove a sway bar, subframe or other extra parts to get the pump out.

One thing that may be happening to you is the filter in your reservoir is clogged causing starvation/cavitation when you turn the wheel. I recently was at an Indie BMW shop with my 2011 328i getting a "in between" oil change (still to new for me to work on and they only charge $79 for the oil change). Told him about my upcoming PS job on the XI and he told me to make sure to change the reservoir as there is a filter in there and they can get clogged up.

My recommendation to you as a first step is to change the reservoir and fully flush the fluid, don't use the Turkey Baster method. Here is how it worked for me thanks to a guy named STARLESS at BimmerForum - do a search he has some photos.
1. WIth the reservoir out - attach a Hopkins Measu-FUnnel to the suction line. You can buy the Measu Funnel at WalMart for $5. The hose fits right in to the suction line, just take off the little adapter and set it aside
2. Use the adapter to attach to the return line and then get 6-8' of 1/2" id x 5/8" od nylon hose (bought mine at Lowe's for .27/ft). Attach to the adapter and run the hose into a bucket - I use a home depot orange bucket for used oil and put the lid on ...just in case it came out really fast
3. Make sure the car is up on jack stands where you can turn the steering wheel freely.
4. Prime the funnel - make sure that the fluid runs all the way down so you have a solid column of fluid, with no air. This took me about 5 or 10 minutes. There is a little filter on the Measu Funnel and it slows the flow up initially.
5. I used Redline D4 ATF, there are plenty of choices for you to pick from. Overall the system took about ~2QTS plus some I threw away in the funnel and the return line. I started with 4 Qt's. Have about 1.25 QTs left
6. I had son number 1 start the car while son 2 held the funnel - note that I had a QT of fluid in the funnel already. I poured in the additional fluid as the first quart was consumed pretty fast.
7. I told my son to move the wheel from lock to lock - as soon as he moved the wheel the fluid jumped down about a 1/2QT very fast and then steady.
8. I saw the old fluid coming out - was disgusting, looked liked infected blood. There was quite a bit still in there even tho I had all the hoses off.
9. Kept going until the return line was solid bright red.
10. Shut the car off and disconnected the funnel and hose and installed the reservoir, ran a little and topped off again.
11. Overall worked great for me.

You should change your reservoir anyway. This is an affordable first step and may save you hours of time and money. I believe they are ~$50 at the BMW dealers and less online. This would be a good way to start and to flush your system of all the old fluid which is also highly recommended.

You will need some hose clamps to reattach a new reservoir so please get those ahead of time.

Good Luck!!

denvermgb 01-05-2013 12:02 AM

I just changed my reservior as well and bled the system, really quieted things down.

trey30 01-05-2013 01:01 AM

I have a 330ci and recently experienced the same thing. Placed ATF in the power steering reservoir and the problem (whirling) went away immediately. I know I'm not much help since you know it's not a fluid issue. But wanted to say to also check the belt around the ps pump.

There is an aluminum reservoir out there too with greater capacity and higher heat threshold for future use and a nice, simple, low cost upgrade.

VizslaDriver 01-05-2013 09:33 AM

Also..could be an old belt and a weak tensioner. When you turn the wheel it places more load on the pump causing the belt to slip more.

325XIin303 01-21-2013 02:14 PM

Thanks for everyone's replies!!!


Over the weekend I did the following and it did not help:

1. Removed and cleaned the reservoir filter with mineral spirits, then rinsed it several times with ATF once it evaporated.
2. Ran almost a gallon of new ATF through the pump while turning the wheel. A lot of ugly fluid came out. The pump is definitely still working.
3. Lifted the car and visually inspected the hoses, pump, etc. The u shaped hi pressure hose is a bit wet like it is seeping fluid. Everything else looked great.
4. Belts look great and have a ton of tension.
5. Put everything back together and filled it with fluid.

Still makes the same loud growling noise after the filter flush. The pump definitely still works because I'm getting steering assist and fluid is definitely circulating in the reservoir.

My best guess is that the pressure hose is coming apart on the inside and restricting flow to the pump.

Anyone have other ideas before I start throwing expensive parts at it?

Thanks again!

325XIin303 01-21-2013 06:08 PM

Also... after doing the above steps, moving the wheel left to right while the front wheels were off the ground made zero noise. I thought I had fixed it, but when the car was dropped back to the ground, the sounds came back full force.

Think I'm going to buy PS pump and hoses.

Hope it's not the rack!!!

EDWAGON 01-21-2013 08:36 PM

I was having same growling noises, in the end , ended up changing pump Luk 30 and resvior . Noise gone. FYI I had the loud growling but really did not feel any loss in power steering .

In regards to steering rack not sure if that would cause growling, but from my experience , when I first got car i had drove it about 3 k miles and noticed a constant clicking noise when I steered and Indy narrowed it down to a faulty steering rack.

EDWAGON 01-21-2013 08:38 PM

Also change your pulley for ps pump. I put in a aluminum one in over plastic OEM.

325XIin303 01-21-2013 11:46 PM

Thanks for the response Ed!

Did you change anything besides the pump and pulley? What about hoses?

I'm not going to change my reservoir because I just cleaned the hell out of it and it flows really well.

Did you have to pull your fan and fan shroud? Anything you remember having to pull to gain access to the PS pump that isn't covered in the typical tutorial?

thanks again.

EDWAGON 01-22-2013 02:47 PM

Didn't change hoses, only pump, pulley and resvior. Indy did pump,pulley. I did resvior myself.

325XIin303 01-22-2013 09:53 PM

thanks Ed. I'm going to changes hoses, possibly all of the hoses because there was a lot of tiny black pieces in the dirty fluid that was flushed out that seemed to be pieces of hose.

swordsman11868 02-19-2013 12:10 PM


Did a new pump fix the problem?

325XIin303 02-19-2013 01:17 PM

The new pump, high pressure hose, return hose and belt did fix the loud noise, so I believe that the pump was on it's last leg. But... upon further inspection, there were cracks in the boots on the Rack itself and after pulling them apart, I noticed that the teeth on the rack were rusty and in quite a mess. I think that the rack is binding up a little bit, which puts extra strain on the system, which started to make the pump (LUK 30) start to scream for help. I've ordered a rack from the rackdoctor and also ordered new tie rod ends. I'll be replacing the rack and tie rod ends this weekend so I should have a pretty new steering system from pump to rack!

I'll report back on how it goes.

Looking back on my experience, I should have looked at the rack itself more closely to begin with because I believe all of my problems started with cracked boots on the rack, causing it to bind a bit and put extra strain on the pump.

dvsntt 04-09-2013 10:34 AM

How difficult was it to replace on the XI model?

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