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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:25 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Sunland
Posts: 45
My Ride: 2003 330i
feels like my steering is too stiff?

From what I've found people jump to the conclusion that its the pump but there's definitely assisted steering however my 330i is tremendously harder to steer than my mom's 325xi. The belt did snap on one point on my car and I drove without power steering for a few seconds (before i had to shut off car from overheating), and although it's not stiff to that degree it's still very hard to turn when the car is under 10mph (I'm not weak by any means but essentially need both hands to steer at that point).

-Inspecting the car I found power steering fluid on the hose that connects the reservoir to pump however monitoring the fluid level over a month it did not decrease at all ( could this be the cause?)
What else causes stiffer than usual steering besides pump? Could it be the steering rack? Where do you guys recommend I go from here
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Old 01-13-2017, 11:31 PM   #2
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The pump can go bad gradually without going out entirely. That's how mine failed, the pressure valve was sticking and some of the vanes were scored it seems.
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Old 01-14-2017, 07:34 AM   #3
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Location: GTA or Myrtle Beach
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Funny you said that. I was moving a vehicle yesterday that I hadn't driven for a few months and I noticed the steering was considerably stiffer (not an e46 but another BMW)

I've found that a leaking system combined with old fluid makes the wheel stiffer. Time for a PS fluid change and clean connections or new hoses - I've done this in the past on other vehicles with success.

I'm not putting a new rack in a 16 year old car that I might keep another 2-3 years unless it's the absolute last thing I need to do.

Last edited by BMW-North; 01-14-2017 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 01-14-2017, 08:34 AM   #4
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My Ride: 330CiC, M5, X5, E93
Pumps are more likely to loose pressure/volume than rack problems based what I have seen.

My 2006 E46 convertible has stiff steering when not moving, but is fine while moving. Not a function of RPM, just a function of the car not moving.

It has been this way for a while, I have change the PS fluid in the car and this made no difference.

Driving the car without the belt running the pump is not a problem.

My guess is it PS pump time for your car.
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Old 01-15-2017, 04:01 AM   #5
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I have the same issue, i figured it was time for new pump.

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Old 02-20-2017, 07:48 PM   #6
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My Ride: 2001 330cic
Had same problem,replaced pump and was only a little better.I have two of theses cars so know one steered with less effort.I replaced control arm bushings because they were bad.Steered normal after that.
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330i, steering, stiff

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