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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 03-19-2014, 08:24 PM   #1
r111093
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Play in steering

I've recently changed FCABs, Control Arms, Inner ball Joints and both tie rods.
Got the car aligned and still seem to have to play in the steering.

Any ideas?
Seems to me like the car may have been aligned poorly but I don't feel like shelling out the money if its something else.
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:58 PM   #2
MiniXP
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http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...42&hg=32&fg=30

Part 2 is the steering guibo. Many people say this clears up their play in their steering. Unfortunatly it is a lot more expensive for the XI than the RWD e46s. Not saying it is your issue, but it could be if you haven't changed it out.

I haven't done it, so I can really speak to the effectiveness of replacing it.
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Old 03-20-2014, 05:54 PM   #3
r111093
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Hmm.. I'll check it out. Anything I can do to be sure that it's the trouble maker?
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:28 PM   #4
Kubica
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Change the power steering fluid if that hasn't been done. I like Mobile1 ATF in the p/s- it's a bit thicker than the redline d4 ATF.

Tires, tire pressures, tierods, steering guibo should all be checked.
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:41 PM   #5
MiniXP
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You can take the driver's side wheel off and you will be able to see it.

I tried to shake mine and it seemed pretty solid, Idk if that means anything though...
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:21 AM   #6
r111093
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Good call on the P/S Fluid, I'll do that tomorrow morning. Ill check the guibo at the same time.
Tires are good as are the tie rods(just replaced)
Thanks.
Bimmer is almost back to 100% just this last little steering problem left, and a supercharger
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:50 AM   #7
jonnie325xi
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2004 325 XI 165,000 miles.
I had the exact same problem and did all the things you did to try to rectify it, It came down to that double universal joint that connects the rack to the steering column, its easy to change make sure you release the telescopic steering adjuster it make it easy to push it back to give you the room to remove and install it.
There are keyed groves on the shafts so you really cant put it in wrong you may need to turn the steering wheel to get at the bolts that hold it on. I was done in 20 minutes and steering is tight and spot on.

http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-330...54165/ES52464/

This should give you an idea of what to look at

Last edited by jonnie325xi; 03-21-2014 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:17 AM   #8
MiniXP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnie325xi View Post
2004 325 XI 165,000 miles.
I had the exact same problem and did all the things you did to try to rectify it, It came down to that double universal joint that connects the rack to the steering column, its easy to change make sure you release the telescopic steering adjuster it make it easy to push it back to give you the room to remove and install it.
There are keyed groves on the shafts so you really cant put it in wrong you may need to turn the steering wheel to get at the bolts that hold it on. I was done in 20 minutes and steering is tight and spot on.
So you would say you saw a large improvement? I've been thinking about doing this, but from what I've seen the joint costs around $160 and it hasn't really been bad enough for me to justify spending the money.

How much did you pay for the one you got and where did you get it from?
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:52 AM   #9
jonnie325xi
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It was around 165.00 Looked on line and e-bay, as long as its OEM, and it was the best improvement in the steering. took all the play out of the wheel, before I could move top center of the wheel almost an inch either way when driving straight with out to much movement from the car.
Now the car responds to the slightest movement of the steering wheel.
Well worth the money!
The part I changed was a double u joint that one end attaches to the rack the other to the end of the steering column shaft.

Last edited by jonnie325xi; 03-21-2014 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:37 AM   #10
oafmanwpr
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I recently replaced my steering coupler to address some high speed twitchiness. This was after refreshing the entire suspension system, new exteme contact DWS tires and getting a proper BMW alignment. The old coupler guibo was still good and tight (100K miles) but the u-joints were stiff and had slight play. Long story short, the coupler did not make a big difference. I finally decided to increase my toe-in very slightly. This made more difference than the coupler. I only did that after exhausting all possible mechanical sources of the twitchiness, so you may want to remove the coupler and inspect it before ordering a new one.

Last edited by oafmanwpr; 03-21-2014 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:04 PM   #11
r111093
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Sounds like good advice from all. I work for a chain of dealerships so parts are nice and cheap
Changed the P/S Fluid this morning and it maybe made a difference it's hard to say if it really did or I'm just dreaming.
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Old 03-21-2014, 03:24 PM   #12
MiniXP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnie325xi View Post
It was around 165.00 Looked on line and e-bay, as long as its OEM, and it was the best improvement in the steering. took all the play out of the wheel, before I could move top center of the wheel almost an inch either way when driving straight with out to much movement from the car.
Now the car responds to the slightest movement of the steering wheel.
Well worth the money!
The part I changed was a double u joint that one end attaches to the rack the other to the end of the steering column shaft.
When you had the U-Joint out were you able to tell that it was shot?

I feel like for every story about how great of an improvement it is I read one about how it there was no improvement, which is exactly what happened in this topic.

OP after you do this post back and let us know the results.
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Old 03-21-2014, 04:18 PM   #13
jonnie325xi
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When I took it out it seemed loose, not like it was fall apart loose and if you hold it at the angle it normally resides at it did not feel too bad, but the new one fixed my issue of play in the steering wheel. With out a doubt it needed replacement.
You may also have a worn spot in the rack too.

Last edited by jonnie325xi; 03-21-2014 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 03-23-2014, 08:09 PM   #14
r111093
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After 1400miles of higher speed driving I've noticed that this that the looseness only seems to happen at lower speeds (under 60mph) although the car likes to wander quite a bit at high speeds which I assume is due to the super sticky tires and crappy roads.
I'll be checking the guibo next week when I get back home along with changing the power steering res. since it seems to be leaking.
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:55 PM   #15
tomoyer
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Why do you say that the Power Steering Reservoir is leaking? Is it because the sides have a film of ATF on them? The Power Steering Reservoir Cap has a air hole in the top and this hole allows ATF Fluid to leak out and down the sides of the Reservoir. You can fashion a "catch-all" for the fluid by cutting and affixing part of a sock around the Reservoir Cap.
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:48 PM   #16
eso123
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Had this irritating mystery steering play/slop myself--
The problem was this double-universal / guibo thing.
Yes the xi part is unique, the non-xi part is different.
You can test for the worn part by having someone gently jiggle the steering wheel while you observe the part for play, maybe hold onto the bottom with pliers.
I put my hand on the joint itself while an assistant was wiggling the steering, and was able to feel the slop in it.
The new part improved the steering greatly- no more slop. Bought it from ECS Tuning.

That said, for a car with 100k + miles, it may well be a number different worn parts adding up. For the original poster here, I think he had replaced everything else already, like tie rods and ball joints and control arms.

Last edited by eso123; 03-29-2014 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:45 AM   #17
r111093
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Finally got the car back into the garage after 3000miles on the road.
Seems like the guibo is fine, I took it off and wiggled it quite a bit but couldn't find any play at all. Even the rubber doesn't seem worn...
New shocks and spring are hanging out waiting to be put on so I'll have to see if that helps.
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:46 AM   #18
Je357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnie325xi View Post
2004 325 XI 165,000 miles.
I had the exact same problem and did all the things you did to try to rectify it, It came down to that double universal joint that connects the rack to the steering column, its easy to change make sure you release the telescopic steering adjuster it make it easy to push it back to give you the room to remove and install it.
There are keyed groves on the shafts so you really cant put it in wrong you may need to turn the steering wheel to get at the bolts that hold it on. I was done in 20 minutes and steering is tight and spot on.

http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-330...54165/ES52464/

This should give you an idea of what to look at
hey what did you do to get a good look and replace it.....ramps ? jacks stands? i heard driver wheel off? any tips are much appreciated.
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:09 AM   #19
eso123
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You jack the car up and remove the driver side front wheel. (loosen lugs first then jack) I always use jackstands. i don't remember if there's anything else in the way.
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:10 AM   #20
Je357
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Thnx


Sent from BimmerApp mobile app
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