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Old 08-26-2013, 06:43 PM   #1
Tangent_
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Any benefit to power steering cooler?

In the next few weeks I'm going to be replacing pretty much all of my power steering system short of the rack and I'm considering replacing that loop of hose that BMW calls a cooler with an actual cooler. My PS pump was injured several years ago due to my own fault. I wasn't familiar with the E46's habit of seeping fluid from the hoses and every previous car I'd had the PS fluid was essentially zero maintenance. So I ended up running it too low. Since then it's made a bit of that typical moan when turning the wheel at low rpm. In the years since then I've been good about maintaining the system with flushing the fluid and making sure it's at the proper level.

This last week at Oktoberfest I believe I finally murdered the pump. After the autocross it was okay, but after the HPDE at Laguna Seca it was definitely not happy. The moan is almost always present, and it's much worse at low rpm. I know in other cars an actual radiator style cooler is useful and almost required for any kind of track events. Even the E90 comes with one stock. I just don't know if it's of any use for an E46 with a healthy PS system. Should I get one or is it pointless? I'll definitely be attending more track days and autocross events...

Stock E46 "cooler"



Actual cooler as installed on an E90



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Old 08-27-2013, 09:30 PM   #2
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Looks like a fairly plug and play upgrade? Although I have never had any power steering issues, I would go for it. I have never run on any of the tracks out west, but I assume it gets pretty hot. And if they are tight and twisty like Summit Point Shenandoah, then the power steering is getting a workout.

How much more is the e90 piece compared to the e46 piece? What does the e46 M3 get?
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:01 PM   #3
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Re: Any benefit to power steering cooler?

The E90 one is about $60 or so. Aftermarket ones with more cooling capacity are even less expensive. The E46 M3 gets the same sad cooler add the non-Ms.

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Old 09-05-2013, 04:17 AM   #4
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what exactly is getting hot that needs cooling? the fluid? from too much steering?
i don't get it
if that's the case, city driving should destroy it. not racing.
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Old 09-06-2013, 01:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by peytonracer4 View Post
what exactly is getting hot that needs cooling? the fluid? from too much steering?
i don't get it
if that's the case, city driving should destroy it. not racing.
The extended high rpm while turning at speed with its increased pressure/load can heat up the fluid beyond safe temps. Even the much faster and harder cranking of the wheel back and forth when autocrossing can heat the fluid up surprisingly fast, although probably not enough to be lethal to an otherwise healthy pump. The higher temps will wear the pump and seals much faster, and it can get hot enough to boil and puke some out of the reservoir even.

After doing more research I'm definitely going to be installing a cooler when I overhaul the system.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:09 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Tangent_ View Post
The extended high rpm while turning at speed with its increased pressure/load can heat up the fluid beyond safe temps. Even the much faster and harder cranking of the wheel back and forth when autocrossing can heat the fluid up surprisingly fast, although probably not enough to be lethal to an otherwise healthy pump. The higher temps will wear the pump and seals much faster, and it can get hot enough to boil and puke some out of the reservoir even.

After doing more research I'm definitely going to be installing a cooler when I overhaul the system.
You should try mounting the e90 cooler. Looks like it would be possible. This would allow you to use the original bmw hoses.
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