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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 04-24-2012, 09:49 PM   #1
andymilonkis453
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Virginia
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My Ride: 2001 BMW m3
DIY: E46 M3 Steering Coupler AKA Steering Guibo WITH PICS

NOTE: THESE ARE ONLY GUIDELINES BASED ON MY INSTALLS, USE AT YOUR OWN RISK! I assume no responsibility for users following this DIY.



Hey guys I just finished replacing my steering coupler on my e46 m3 and thought I'd make a nice little DIY to help anyone out there wanting to also tackle the project themselves. First, I must say that I felt a huge difference right away after replacing the coupler. My m3 has about 115k on it and so I assumed it was time for a new one. Play in the steering wheel, bump steer, and loose steering wheel were all the signs that pointed me towards getting the dam part replaced.

Now for the DIY :thumbsup2::thumbsup2:

Estimated time it will take: 45 minutes to 1 hour


Tools you'll need:
Jack
Jackstands or Ramps
13 and 16mm sockets or wrenches whichever you prefer
PB Blaster if bolts are hard to loosen
Loctite thread locker for your bolts
An extension if using sockets(I used 4inch extension)
Breaker Bar
Hammer




Step One:
Park car somewhere flat and pull up parking brake and put car into gear. Before getting out of car straighten steering wheel then remove keys from car and give your steering wheel a little wiggle until you here it lock into place.




Step Two (Skip step if you drove your car up on ramps):
Jack car up and put jack stands on each side of your car where the jack points are. Then get under car and locate the metal shield as shown in the pic below:




Once removed:





Remove all the screws (16mm) holding the metal shield into place and put metal shield aside.


Step Three:
Locate your steering coupler as shown in the picture below:



If you lay on your back directly in the middle under your car and look up about 3-4 back, you'll see the coupler.



There are two bolts (13mm) that you must remove that hold the coupler in place. See my finger....yeaaa right there that's what you have to remove.


That picture is the bolt that connects the coupler to the shaft.





This picture shows both bolts(the bottom one connected to the steering rack and the top one connected to the shaft)






Step Four:
Once the two bolts are removed now you break out the breaker bar and your handy hammer. Be careful not to hit the spindle threads when knocking out the old coupler. The best way to explain how the coupler should be hit out and removed is to hit the sucker upwards towards the interior of the vehicle. You will start to see the coupler slowly slide up towards your steering wheel and away from the steering rack. Once the coupler is free from the steering rack take one hand and grab the shaft while the other hand slowly wiggles free.


Place breaker bar between red circle and slowly tap end with hammer



Step Five:
Install in the reverse order while also including loctite thread locker to the bolts. Insert the coupler into the shaft then align to steering rack connecter where you gently align threads and push down towards rack connecter until just about flush. Before reinserting the bolts double check the steering coupler is properly seating and aligned with the hole where the steering rack connecter is and the upper part of the shaft. I believe torque specs are:

Torque spec for the coupling bolts = 19Nm
Torque spec for rack to sub frame M10 bolts = 42Nm

Step Six:
Once the steering coupler is bolted to its torque specs, put the metal shield back on and lower your car. When I installed my coupler, I didn't need an alignment but it really depends on how much you twist the shaft when you're under the car when trying to get the coupler into place. I have heard of people needing alignments after replacing the steering coupler if not using ramps but like I said for me, I had no problems at all.



Here is a video of my old coupler. You can see how much play it had and how worn it was.

IMG_0896.mp4 video by m3lover453 - Photobucket
Finally, take the car for a test drive and make sure the steering wheel isn't loose and drives well.

Enjoy!
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:05 PM   #2
slugg
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Tampa, FL
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My Ride: 330i
I know this is an old thread, but I just wanted to thank you for it. Very useful post for me.

EDIT:
For those of you who stumbled upon this thread in a search, the part numbers for the joint are:

For cars made before July 2001: 32306752957
For cars made on or after July 2001: 32301094703

Source: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...42&hg=32&fg=30

Last edited by slugg; 04-10-2013 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:43 AM   #3
Cpconst
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My Ride: 2004 e46 m3
Thanks for the DIY. Doing the replacement on my sons 2004 330ci with 135,000 miles which has a little play in the steering wheel.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:11 PM   #4
Cpconst
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Holy ape crap batman, it feels as crisp as my M3! Note to self though, completely remove bolts before trying to take off coupler because it won't come off with them still in. There are notches in each side of the steering shafts that the bolts go next to.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:36 PM   #5
slugg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpconst View Post
Holy ape crap batman, it feels as crisp as my M3! Note to self though, completely remove bolts before trying to take off coupler because it won't come off with them still in. There are notches in each side of the steering shafts that the bolts go next to.
Ah, the glory of this forum. Thanks for the heads up. My part just came in and I'll be installing it this upcoming weekend.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:30 PM   #6
TerraPhantm
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just for the record, those bolts are actually external torx. I think E-8, but I could be off.

I just used a 12-point 12mm (or maybe 13 like the OP said) and it worked fine. Didn't strip at all
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:44 PM   #7
Cpconst
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I was surprised my new coupler didn't come with new bolts so I got some grade 8 30mmx8.125 Allen head replacements. Oh yea, the reason why the coupler comes off so hard is because there is actually a plastic retainer clip on the top side you can't see.
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Old 09-26-2015, 06:06 PM   #8
clay451
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Houston
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Excellent post, incredibly helpful. And now my steering feels factory tight. Thanks!
By the way, the Torx bolts are 8mm. A 12 point 8mm socket or closed end wrench works well.
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