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Old 03-04-2013, 09:20 PM   #1
redadair
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E46 Loose Steering - premature bushing failures

I purchased a 2004 330i ZHP with 52,000 miles last month and was very disappointed by the drive of this new to me car. The car was Tramlining and wandering so badly that to me the car was Very Scary to drive on uneven roads. After much research I have learned that this is a somewhat common issue with E46's including the ZHP options. Here is what I have learned and changed out on my car, and she now drives 98.5% better.

Changing the Steering Column Rubber mounted Coupling (Guibo) is the best $120 I have spent on my ZHP. $57 for the Coupling and $59 for Labor at my local dealer. It's been 15 degrees and snowy outside so paying the dealer to do the work was a no brainier. The Alignment, new Tires (Michelin PSS's) and now the Coupling have dramatically improved the once Scary drive of my car. IMO the Steering Coupling should be the First place to start, next the Alignment and Please do yourself a Huge favor and Don't put Cheap Tires on your BMW!

I must say, and please no nasty comments here okay. The E46 chassis and steering feels a bit dated when compared to my new 1M or my E90 335i. 80 MPH in the ZHP feels fast where as 80 in my 1M and or E90 feels like the car is just getting going.

Thanks again to all who have figured out this little (Guibo) fix. I have Never seen a car wear out a rubber mounted Steering Coupling in my lifetime of owning and working on cars. This is truly a first for me and one that offers no explanation. Why should the E46 need this replaced at 53000 miles?

Let me state my best guess from my limited time studying the E46 since this is my first, but certainly not my first BMW, not by a long shot. Feel free to correct me if I have missed something along the way:

2001 E46's had an Over boosted Steering rack - Pump system. Owners complained about the steering being too easy to turn and not BMWish enough. BMW responds by re-designing the Steering rack - Pump system giving the E46 a Very Heavy IMO steering feel. The Problem is, and this is me surmising a bit here, that BMW didn't re-engineer the rest of the components in the Steering including the Rubber mounted Steering Column Coupling. This thing works a bit like a Rubber Band in effect allowing some wind up from both the Steering Wheel and the Wheels before making an actual adjustment to the steering angle. Over time this effect caused the Rubber to loose it's original strength and get sloppy. This then results in looseness in the steering and allows the car to wonder down the road.

The ZHP package while adding Small but Meaningful changes from front to back of the E46 also added Large and Wide 18" Staggerd wheels with a fair amount of Positive Offset. BMW did make changes to the Suspension Components, however it appears the Bushings were Under Engineered to handle the extra load of these wide, low profile wheels and tires causing premature wear of the suspension bushings. I added an Additional Small amount of Positive Toe In to help keep the front wheels under control and avoid wandering with the wide wheel - tire combo on the ZHP.

A quick Google Search about loose steering in the E46 returns more than a bit of light reading from owners reporting this issue and a host of owners who usually start by changing the CAB's and or TAB's etc. and then the Steering Bushing. These issues seem small and manageable if an owner is educated enough and this is the important part, A CAR PERSON. The non car person just blissfully drives the car around and doesn't know better. To me I just say BMW screwed the pooch a bit here with some poor engineering. It's too bad BMW didn't take one more page from the M group "how to build a better BMW" hand book when building the ZHP.

Again these are my views, you needed agree with me if you don't, that's okay I'm not trying to trash talk your cars nor try to change what you might believe in.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:38 PM   #2
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Wow, the dealer only charged $59 for labor for it? That's a pretty sweet deal considering the scenario.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:56 PM   #3
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Funny timing, I've been wondering if my guibo might be ripe for replacement too. 60k mile ZHP in my case. Last year when I bought it at 52k, I had new Sachs OEM-equivalent shocks/struts installed, and replaced all the bushings & shock mounts. Michelin PSS's were added around the same time. The car rides, steers and handles fantastically now. But just in the past few weeks, it has seemed to wander or tramline, kinda like runflats on grooved pavement behave - though not THAT bad!). Getting ready to take her in soon for a cooling system refresh, I'll probably have the guibo done too, since it's so cheap and certainly can't hurt.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:32 PM   #4
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Funny timing, I've been wondering if my guibo might be ripe for replacement too. 60k mile ZHP in my case. Last year when I bought it at 52k, I had new Sachs OEM-equivalent shocks/struts installed, and replaced all the bushings & shock mounts. Michelin PSS's were added around the same time. The car rides, steers and handles fantastically now. But just in the past few weeks, it has seemed to wander or tramline, kinda like runflats on grooved pavement behave - though not THAT bad!). Getting ready to take her in soon for a cooling system refresh, I'll probably have the guibo done too, since it's so cheap and certainly can't hurt.
That's how I look at it as well it's so inexpensive and most report feeling huge improvements, it sure did on mine. Good luck with yours.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:40 PM   #5
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So many poor opinions there. The other day I wrote a super long "stop complaining" thread and clicked on cancel. I should have posted it.

Other than that, welcome to the forum. Do some reading before coming to outrageous conclusions. Above all, see the links in my sig and especially the signature.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:54 PM   #6
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So many poor opinions there. The other day I wrote a super long "stop complaining" thread and clicked on cancel. I should have posted it.

Other than that, welcome to the forum. Do some reading before coming to outrageous conclusions. Above all, see the links in my sig and especially the signature.
O I see your one of these replace everything kind of people. Sorry that isn't necessary. Fix what is broken maintain the rest. Sounds like your the one complaining. While I may be new to this Forum I'm certainly not new to BMW's and Forms in general. Thanks for your comments and parts list.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:12 PM   #7
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O I see your one of these replace everything kind of people. Sorry that isn't necessary. Fix what is broken maintain the rest. Sounds like your the one complaining. While I may be new to this Forum I'm certainly not new to BMW's and Forms in general. Thanks for your comments and parts list.
huh?

So much to say. where to begin.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:19 PM   #8
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huh?

So much to say. where to begin.
How about not begin, we will both be happy.

Try to re-read my post again. Especially the part about me not trying to change what you believe in. I have met many people who like you feel like you must change entire systems based on years of service. Kind of like Jiffy Lube 3 months or 3000 miles.

Please don't try and change what I believe in. Thanks
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:27 PM   #9
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How about not begin, we will both be happy.

Try to re-read my post again. Especially the part about me not trying to change what you believe in. I have met many people who like you feel like you must change entire systems based on years of service. Kind of like Jiffy Lube 3 months or 3000 miles.

Please don't try and change what I believe in. Thanks
You're new here so I'll cut you some slack on your maintenance regimen. Read the links in my sig. I likely have more experience with these cars as well as virtually the entire BMW lineup than you do, so I speak from experience.

Did you know my car was recently in a BMW USA commercial? Yeah. Ask around. Super Snake, Grand Kodiak, Ultimate Python, Rising Beagle, --they'll all vouch for me. I don't speak lies.

I have many happy E46s under my belt and yours could be one of them too if you'll just let me. From the looks of it, she's not that happy!
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:36 PM   #10
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You're new here so I'll cut you some slack on your maintenance regimen. Read the links in my sig. I likely have more experience with these cars as well as virtually the entire BMW lineup than you do, so I speak from experience.

Did you know my car was recently in a BMW USA commercial? Yeah. Ask around. Super Snake, Grand Kodiak, Ultimate Python, Rising Beagle, --they'll all vouch for me. I don't speak lies.

I have many happy E46s under my belt and yours could be one of them too if you'll just let me. From the looks of it, she's not that happy!
Sorry but if you feel the need to hear yourself talk please do it in the shower. I have owned BMW's since 1975 been around the block more than once when it comes to maintenance. Please you are wasting your time trying to impress me. I have read several of your posts here and I see how you do things. It's not the way I do things and mostly you are just pissing money away.

Please I have asked you nicely to not force your knowledge on me. If I see something in your posts that I find useful I will use it. My E46 will never be under your belt. I can work around issues as well. My car is Now a Very Clean and Very nice car to drive since I fixed the Tramlining issues, without changing CAB's or TAB that don't need to be replaced unless they are loose.

Thanks
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:46 PM   #11
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You know what Mango, I want to take a second and say I'm sorry. I just had Knee surgery and am feeling a bit like Sh*t. I don't normally talk this way to most people. I appreciate what you are doing. I'll re-read your stuff.

Thanks
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:47 PM   #12
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If I see something in your posts that I find useful I will use it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by redadair View Post
My E46 will never be under your belt.
Looks like it's already well on its way.

Don't bite the hand that feeds you, my friend. Don't come on this board all hostile against good information. Not cool.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:53 PM   #13
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Looks like it's already well on its way.

Don't bite the hand that feeds you, my friend. Don't come on this board all hostile against good information. Not cool.
Then don't introduce yourself to me by saying this crap:

"So many poor opinions there. The other day I wrote a super long "stop complaining" thread and clicked on cancel. I should have posted it.

Other than that, welcome to the forum. Do some reading before coming to outrageous conclusions. Above all, see the links in my sig and especially the signature"

Makes it sound like only your Opinions are good. Okay.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:58 PM   #14
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Then don't introduce yourself to me by saying this crap:

"So many poor opinions there. The other day I wrote a super long "stop complaining" thread and clicked on cancel. I should have posted it.

Other than that, welcome to the forum. Do some reading before coming to outrageous conclusions. Above all, see the links in my sig and especially the signature"

Makes it sound like only your Opinions are good. Okay.
You are complaining about the E46 being poor quality. why did you buy it then? What did you expect that being your first post on an E46 enthusiast's site?
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:15 AM   #15
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You are complaining about the E46 being poor quality. why did you buy it then? What did you expect that being your first post on an E46 enthusiast's site?
I didn't say anything about poor quality of the E46. I said this:

The E46 chassis and steering feels a bit dated when compared to my new 1M or my E90 335i. 80 MPH in the ZHP feels fast where as 80 in my 1M and or E90 feels like the car is just getting going. Which is true.

It's widely known that the front steering, bushings wear prematurely on the E46, this is what I was writing about. Many possible causes for this.

I bought this car because in every way it looks like a new car, and now drives that way too. It was garaged and not driven since Sept of 09. Maintenance records go back to day one However the previous owner wouldn't know what Tramlining was if he got ran over by it. I bought it as a year round Daily Driver since I don't drive my 2011 1M in bad weather at all.

It's easy to find that first person responding to everyone new as if they have just entered school and they are the teacher. Happens all the time.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:21 AM   #16
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:33 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by redadair View Post
I purchased a 2004 330i ZHP with 52,000 miles last month and was very disappointed by the drive of this new to me car. The car was Tramlining and wandering so badly that to me the car was Very Scary to drive on uneven roads. After much research I have learned that this is a somewhat common issue with E46's including the ZHP options. Here is what I have learned and changed out on my car, and she now drives 98.5% better.

Changing the Steering Column Rubber mounted Coupling (Guibo) is the best $120 I have spent on my ZHP. $57 for the Coupling and $59 for Labor at my local dealer. It's been 15 degrees and snowy outside so paying the dealer to do the work was a no brainier. The Alignment, new Tires (Michelin PSS's) and now the Coupling have dramatically improved the once Scary drive of my car. IMO the Steering Coupling should be the First place to start, next the Alignment and Please do yourself a Huge favor and Don't put Cheap Tires on your BMW!

I must say, and please no nasty comments here okay. The E46 chassis and steering feels a bit dated when compared to my new 1M or my E90 335i. 80 MPH in the ZHP feels fast where as 80 in my 1M and or E90 feels like the car is just getting going.

Thanks again to all who have figured out this little (Guibo) fix. I have Never seen a car wear out a rubber mounted Steering Coupling in my lifetime of owning and working on cars. This is truly a first for me and one that offers no explanation. Why should the E46 need this replaced at 53000 miles?

Let me state my best guess from my limited time studying the E46 since this is my first, but certainly not my first BMW, not by a long shot. Feel free to correct me if I have missed something along the way:

2001 E46's had an Over boosted Steering rack - Pump system. Owners complained about the steering being too easy to turn and not BMWish enough. BMW responds by re-designing the Steering rack - Pump system giving the E46 a Very Heavy IMO steering feel. The Problem is, and this is me surmising a bit here, that BMW didn't re-engineer the rest of the components in the Steering including the Rubber mounted Steering Column Coupling. This thing works a bit like a Rubber Band in effect allowing some wind up from both the Steering Wheel and the Wheels before making an actual adjustment to the steering angle. Over time this effect caused the Rubber to loose it's original strength and get sloppy. This then results in looseness in the steering and allows the car to wonder down the road.

The ZHP package while adding Small but Meaningful changes from front to back of the E46 also added Large and Wide 18" Staggerd wheels with a fair amount of Positive Offset. BMW did make changes to the Suspension Components, however it appears the Bushings were Under Engineered to handle the extra load of these wide, low profile wheels and tires causing premature wear of the suspension bushings. I added an Additional Small amount of Positive Toe In to help keep the front wheels under control and avoid wandering with the wide wheel - tire combo on the ZHP.

A quick Google Search about loose steering in the E46 returns more than a bit of light reading from owners reporting this issue and a host of owners who usually start by changing the CAB's and or TAB's etc. and then the Steering Bushing. These issues seem small and manageable if an owner is educated enough and this is the important part, A CAR PERSON. The non car person just blissfully drives the car around and doesn't know better. To me I just say BMW screwed the pooch a bit here with some poor engineering. It's too bad BMW didn't take one more page from the M group "how to build a better BMW" hand book when building the ZHP.

Again these are my views, you needed agree with me if you don't, that's okay I'm not trying to trash talk your cars nor try to change what you might believe in.
Your post needs addressing line by line but you already seem stubborn in your ways.

You are upset because these items that need addressing are being addressed by your dealership at a very high cost versus DIYing it.

BMWs (your E82 and E90 are of no exception) are high-performance machines with elastic suspensions (see elasto-kinematics--a term which I've recently brought to the forum on a consistent basis). These parts because of their high-performance nature tend to be subjected to constant multi-directional forces, heat, and age, and since there are a lot of them, they tend to be common wear items. One day your E82 and E90 will need thrust arm replacements. Just wait a while.

entropy, my friend!
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:50 AM   #18
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Your post needs addressing line by line but you already seem stubborn in your ways.

You are upset because these items that need addressing are being addressed by your dealership at a very high cost versus DIYing it.

BMWs (your E82 and E90 are of no exception) are high-performance machines with elastic suspensions (see elasto-kinematics--a term which I've recently brought to the forum on a consistent basis). These parts because of their high-performance nature tend to be subjected to constant multi-directional forces, heat, and age, and since there are a lot of them, they tend to be common wear items. One day your E82 and E90 will need thrust arm replacements. Just wait a while.

entropy, my friend!
You are correct all car parts get old along with the car. Some require changing everyone knows that. The key piece here is regular maintenance along the way and replace parts as they wear out. Nothing new here.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:55 AM   #19
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You are correct all car parts get old along with the car. Some require changing everyone knows that. The key piece here is regular maintenance along the way and replace parts as they wear out. Nothing new here.
Yes you replace parts such as brakes, tires, shocks/struts, etc. as they wear out. Common stuff there
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:29 AM   #20
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