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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 05-05-2009, 04:51 PM   #1
john_p
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Steering column - upper part rattles

E46 328i with 120k

There's a rattle coming from the upper part of the steering column, especially over bumps. I can also feel a lot of the bumps on the road. No clunking under braking and the control arms were recently replaced so I don't think it's those.

The top part of the steering column (where it goes into the car) has a small amount of play. If I wiggle the upper part it replicates the noise that I get over bumps. Probably 2mm or about 1/10" .. Is this amount of play normal? There is less play at the bottom of the column (near the rack) than this.

Is it the universal joint mid-column or is it possible that parts 1, 9 or 10 on the diagram below are loose or worn ?

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...50&hg=32&fg=30

If not how do I test for tie rod ends / steering rack problem?
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:59 PM   #2
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http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...42&hg=32&fg=30

Replace #2.
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:01 PM   #3
alibusoul
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Yea i replaced number 2 and it felt like it just brought everything together and stiffened the whole car up. It's only like 50 bux... very worth it.. and it took me like 30 min to replace it. 2 screws and your done
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:06 PM   #4
GDA
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I replaced the steering coupler (part 2) and afterwords still had a knock upon coming to a stop in the steering column. I had to replace the upper u-joint and all is very tight now (part 5). My car is at 141k just for reference.
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by GDA View Post
I replaced the steering coupler (part 2) and afterwords still had a knock upon coming to a stop in the steering column. I had to replace the upper u-joint and all is very tight now (part 5). My car is at 141k just for reference.
#5?, which one?, they are all labeled #5, is it the other rubber coupling?. How much are they.
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:53 PM   #6
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#5?, which one?, they are all labeled #5, is it the other rubber coupling?. How much are they.
Its the one in the upper right hand area of your picture. The part with the U-joint and foot long 3 piece extendable section that extends down to the flex steering coupler. Its not cheap either.
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:16 PM   #7
n2Bimmer
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Its the one in the upper right hand area of your picture. The part with the U-joint and foot long 3 piece extendable section that extends down to the flex steering coupler. Its not cheap either.
So you mean number 1.http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...42&hg=32&fg=30
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:49 PM   #8
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I don't have part 2 (or 1), but I guess part 4 (and 3) are equivalent parts on RHD cars.

You can see the lower part in the left hand pic (this is taken under the car looking up) and the right hand pic has the bulkhead on the left and the steering column going down. You can see the bottom of part #4 and the top of part #3. I think the lower part looks pretty old, but that could just be the 120k of road dirt and UK winters it's had to cope with..

Interesting that the entry to the rack is on the right hand side of the car.. you'd think it'd be on the left..
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:11 PM   #9
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Oops. Yes #1 was the final solution.
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by john_p View Post
I don't have part 2 (or 1), but I guess part 4 (and 3) are equivalent parts on RHD cars.

You can see the lower part in the left hand pic (this is taken under the car looking up) and the right hand pic has the bulkhead on the left and the steering column going down. You can see the bottom of part #4 and the top of part #3. I think the lower part looks pretty old, but that could just be the 120k of road dirt and UK winters it's had to cope with..

Interesting that the entry to the rack is on the right hand side of the car.. you'd think it'd be on the left..


I see, so now you have to find out if Number 3 is bad or number 1.
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:23 PM   #11
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Oops. Yes #1 was the final solution.
Thank you, I have a slight knock when i drive fast over bumps and cracks on the freeway. Might look into it later on. Nothing bad yet
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:32 PM   #12
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have the same problem have replaced lower joints mine seems to be in adjuster mechanism
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Old 05-07-2009, 04:22 PM   #13
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Should the adjustable part of the steering column (connected directly to the steering wheel) be locked securely to the next lower part ? Or is it just pushed in? It seems that there is play right up to where the 'crash disc' is, and is where the rattling noise on my car is.

Or is this just because the adjustable couplers are worn that they permit the column to move about a bit too much?
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Old 05-17-2009, 01:28 PM   #14
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E46 320ci with 60k

I also have some movement in part called "steering shaft" which replicates exactly the noise I hear when inside the car. I replaced the coupling part, control arms and bushes... Any advice guys? Thanks.
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:03 PM   #15
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Hey, I also have this problem. I have replaced all the suspension parts and the flexible coupling. The movement is definitely above that to the next joint. Has anyone been able to replace it themself; any advice?
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:56 AM   #16
NISH
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I also have that problem with my bmw E46 318i 2000 model wen u go over humps it rattles its annoyn.checked everyting all is well.gna remove steering covers this weekend and check if all is tightened at the bottom coupling and were the steering adjusts.will keep u guys informed if I do come right.
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:55 PM   #17
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Keep this one updated for sure, same problem here as well. It just came out of nowhere. Started hearing and feeling a knock at the steering wheel. Over bumps in the road that I hit just right. Very annoying and ugly feeling in wheel. Def not something a BMW should have to experience. Let me know if you find anything out guys. I am currently fixing another issue but feel that this has to do with one of the two joints...no way everything can be good and your hearing a noise from the locations where the joints are.
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:07 PM   #18
NISH
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Hi guys I'm back,yesterday I pulled the underneath steering covers @ tightened everyting jus to make sure its all secured.road tested problem still persists annoyn steering rattle from upper column.joints are secure and no free play at all.even tried greasing them joints,still no joy.I read in a thread it can be a upper column steering bearing,can anyone shed some light on this and hw do I go about ripping thing apart,cause I'm a little afraid wen it comes to the airbag removal.thanks
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:50 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by n2Bimmer View Post
Never mind ...
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Last edited by B33MER; 07-23-2012 at 09:09 AM. Reason: Just realise 1&2 is for LHD only ... silly me
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Old 07-22-2012, 02:43 PM   #20
NISH
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Hi guys I'm new to the forum,so I must change illustration number one which is the steering shaft and ill no 2 which is the steering knuckle or joint,that should sort my problem out,for the rattling in steering column.thanks for all the help guys
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