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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 01-09-2013, 01:26 PM   #1
lovemy330ci
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Unhappy 2001 330ci feels like a 89 buick lesabre compared to 00 323i

whats going on fanatics, hope everyones doing good in the new year.
it has come to my attention that my 01 330ci, rides like crap compared to my girlfriends 00 323i.

engine wise, my car has 114k on it but the engine is still smooth and has good power, big difference compared to my girls 323i.

now power isnt everything, my car just does not feel nearly as tight and stable as the 323, i drove her car for a few hours and damn what a huge difference. what i love most about her car is the steering. its very stiff and tight, you can notice a huge difference when driving at high speeds, or even just taking a decent turn. My 330ci on the other hand handles like SH*T. iv replaced the control arms and bushings, and did a few things in the rear as well. its very overwhelming to drive my car on the highway i feel like my steering wheel is very lose and that there is alot of play in the steering. i have to constantly try and keep the car from swaying from left to right. it doesnt feel as if i am fighting the car to stay in lane but it does feel like its way to lose. on the other hand, her rear end also feels alot more tight and stable, while mine feels well. buick-ish.

any one else experience this in their cars? i dont know whether it be the steering coupler, or if i need an entire new steering rack, or something else..

any help is greatly appreciated. thanks
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by lovemy330ci View Post
whats going on fanatics, hope everyones doing good in the new year.
it has come to my attention that my 01 330ci, rides like crap compared to my girlfriends 00 323i.

engine wise, my car has 114k on it but the engine is still smooth and has good power, big difference compared to my girls 323i.

now power isnt everything, my car just does not feel nearly as tight and stable as the 323, i drove her car for a few hours and damn what a huge difference. what i love most about her car is the steering. its very stiff and tight, you can notice a huge difference when driving at high speeds, or even just taking a decent turn. My 330ci on the other hand handles like SH*T. iv replaced the control arms and bushings, and did a few things in the rear as well. its very overwhelming to drive my car on the highway i feel like my steering wheel is very lose and that there is alot of play in the steering. i have to constantly try and keep the car from swaying from left to right. it doesnt feel as if i am fighting the car to stay in lane but it does feel like its way to lose. on the other hand, her rear end also feels alot more tight and stable, while mine feels well. buick-ish.

any one else experience this in their cars? i dont know whether it be the steering coupler, or if i need an entire new steering rack, or something else..

any help is greatly appreciated. thanks
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:33 PM   #3
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You still have original (and most likely broken) springs and dampers. She probably listened to her dealership and replaced those already.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:40 PM   #4
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First, if there is alot of play in steering, there is steering guibo (steering coupler, steering Knuckle all same thing), you might want to check into that.
Second, cannot remember 100% but there was something about over-boosted steering rack for 01 330.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:01 PM   #5
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First, if there is alot of play in steering, there is steering guibo (steering coupler, steering Knuckle all same thing), you might want to check into that.
Second, cannot remember 100% but there was something about over-boosted steering rack for 01 330.
+1

You should replace your steer guibo. Don't even inspect it because it will look fine, but trust me, it's not.

Also, the 2001 rack apparently sucked, so that's another thing.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:04 PM   #6
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swaybar end links can make your car feel like garbage up front too as they are the piece that connects the strut to the sway bar. Or it could just be the steering guibo as noted.

if it just feels sort of "buick-ish" then perhaps you just have the "over boosted" 2001 steering rack. Somehow I got lucky with my 01, it is not overboosted, but my wife's is. Go figure.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:21 PM   #7
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It could be a combination of things (worn parts, etc.), but as others have mentioned, the steering on 2001 models was different from 2000. Many complained it being too loose and sloppy at the time, and BMW subsequently offered a retrofit for 2001 models, but that was a looooong time ago. In 2002, they corrected it.

I had a 2001 325i, and I now drive a 2005 330i - big difference in the steering for sure.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:30 PM   #8
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thanks to everyone for the input, but yes i do beleive i have a crappy steering rack, i was just shocked when i drove her car to see how nice and tight the ride was.
so on my list of things to do

steering coupler
possibly steering rack
definitely need front and rear shocks/struts
rtabs maybe.

i never thought a bmw could handle this badly. i maintain my car, i just never compared it to other e46s. gonna be driving the girlfriends car from now on till my car is on point again.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:30 PM   #9
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Worn suspension. Get in on a lift. Assess everything that needs to be replaced. I guarantee you the FCAB's, RTAB's, steering guibo, and shocks are all worthless. You need to have your ball joints checked, too. Replace it. Align it. Drive it.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by lovemy330ci View Post
thanks to everyone for the input, but yes i do beleive i have a crappy steering rack, i was just shocked when i drove her car to see how nice and tight the ride was.
so on my list of things to do

steering coupler
possibly steering rack
definitely need front and rear shocks/struts
rtabs maybe.

i never thought a bmw could handle this badly. i maintain my car, i just never compared it to other e46s. gonna be driving the girlfriends car from now on till my car is on point again.
RTABs definitely. Get OEM RTABs and then buy some limiters. Your car will feel so much better after this. Mine did.

Last edited by WDE46; 01-09-2013 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:10 PM   #11
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CABS are definitely done on your car by now. Do those with your struts and springs while the car is on the lift.

Secondly. What tires do you have? People often forget that "economy" tires ride awful.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:35 PM   #12
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CABS are definitely done on your car by now. Do those with your struts and springs while the car is on the lift.

Secondly. What tires do you have? People often forget that "economy" tires ride awful.
i have brand new control arms and bushings.

and im riding on new Continental Extreme Contact tires.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:36 PM   #13
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As others have said already....
FCABs
Sway links
FCAs including balljoints
Tie rods including tie rod ends
RTABs (will make a huge difference to rear end stability)
Rear lower control arm bushings
Steering coupling

Definitely worth checking out your shocks / springs / struts.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:57 PM   #14
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I have an 01 BMW325 CI and im suffering from the same problems: lit play and some pushing to the left I believe its a common problem on those models. I got sophisticated arm controls and bushing cuz suspension was a nightmare in my car ( changed 3 times on 4 years) but the play is still in there. not sure whats going on. I took it to my ex shop and they said my steering rack, tie rods inner and outer are bad and the estimation was more than 1200$ so Im just dealing with it right now some people in here suggested problems in the steering coupler but not pretty sure.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovemy330ci View Post
it has come to my attention that my 01 330ci, rides like crap compared to my girlfriends 00 323i.
..my car just does not feel nearly as tight and stable as the 323, i drove her car for a few hours and damn what a huge difference. what i love most about her car is the steering. its very stiff and tight, you can notice a huge difference when driving at high speeds, or even just taking a decent turn. My 330ci on the other hand handles like SH*T. iv replaced the control arms and bushings, and did a few things in the rear as well. its very overwhelming to drive my car on the highway i feel like my steering wheel is very lose and that there is alot of play in the steering. i have to constantly try and keep the car from swaying from left to right. it doesnt feel as if i am fighting the car to stay in lane but it does feel like its way to lose. on the other hand, her rear end also feels alot more tight and stable, while mine feels well. buick-ish.
im sure she appreciates you feel that way

back to car. sounds very much like the 2001 over-boosted steering feel that owners complained about compared to the 2000 models. you can find more details of this in the FAQ tab on the top of the forum's menu.

before doing that you can replace the "steering guibo/coupler". this may help, if it doesn't you don't have to worry as you should replace it anyways with a steering rack/tie rod replacement.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:41 PM   #16
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I have an 01 BMW325 CI and im suffering from the same problems: lit play and some pushing to the left I believe its a common problem on those models. I got sophisticated arm controls and bushing cuz suspension was a nightmare in my car ( changed 3 times on 4 years) but the play is still in there. not sure whats going on. I took it to my ex shop and they said my steering rack, tie rods inner and outer are bad and the estimation was more than 1200$ so Im just dealing with it right now some people in here suggested problems in the steering coupler but not pretty sure.
sounds like your shop diagnosed correct. but you can buy a replacement rack from rebuilders for about $250. The tie rods, shop around. labor and alignment gonna cost a few hundred if you have done. so you're probably around $800-$950 total if you have done.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:59 AM   #17
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Well I think ur right It might be a problem on the steering rack but I just checked inner and outer tie rods look fine I just hate the guessing game if I'm going to spend money I want my car to get fixed and I already replaced arm controls and bushings rotors so I'm lit concerned by the failures lately only car
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:36 PM   #18
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Well I think ur right It might be a problem on the steering rack but I just checked inner and outer tie rods look fine I just hate the guessing game if I'm going to spend money I want my car to get fixed and I already replaced arm controls and bushings rotors so I'm lit concerned by the failures lately only car
Well if you really think the inner ballpoint of the tie rods are also fine along with the outer tie rods you can swap over to rebuilt rack.
but you risk the chance of them going out soon after and needing to replace and alignment again.
but that will cut costs some.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:25 PM   #19
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If you are doing this, you should parts in order from the least expensive to the most expensive.

1. Steering guibo
2. FCABs
3. RTABs
4. Tierods
5. Control arms
6. Steering rack (this is a last resort item)

You need to inspect your strut mount bearings for play as well. On top of the strut, under the hood, you can remove the black cap covering the center of the mount. The bearing is in there. Jerk the strut around from below and watch for play in the bearing. Play = get new mounts.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:33 PM   #20
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don't forget the basics. Tire pressure and alignment.
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