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///M3 Forum
The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 12-18-2009, 08:56 PM   #1
GoSlow2GoFast
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Hard steering in cold weather?

I have a 2004 E46 M3, and the last couple of winters it has developed an annoying habit. Living in the Northeast, it gets down below freezing in the winter. Not the hard core below zero much, but into the teens and 20s.

Anyway, when my car sits outside during the day in the cold weather, and I come out at night to head home, the steering is VERY hard for a very short period of time. By the time I'm out of the lot and down the street a couple of blocks its back to a reasonable amount of effort.

Just wondering if anyone else has experienced something like this and what the cause might have been. Other than this short amount of time when the car has been sitting in the cold everything else is fine.

~gs2gf
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Old 01-10-2010, 02:51 PM   #2
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I have the same issue.

Maybe someone knows: Is the power steering fluid (which, I believe, is just ATF) hygroscopic like the brake fluid? Might moisture absorbed over time make the fluid stiff when cold?
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:02 PM   #3
Eric W
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same issue here....02 e46 m3 any idea's anyone?
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:33 PM   #4
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It's physics dear watson! I know this isn't what you're looking for exactly but this is how I think of it:

On a molecular level the hotter the temperature the more excited the molecules become and the faster they move around. The direct opposite is also true. The colder the temperature the slower then molecules move. Hence, when your car is cold it's harder to move the steering wheel because it's harder to move every molecule associated with the steering system. But, as the car warms up, so do the molecules and everything becomes much easier to move. That's why it's wise to warm an engine up (any engine) in cold weather. Things are more pliable, flexible, movable etc... when warmer and not stiff, brittle, and unflexible like when they are colder.

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Old 01-11-2010, 03:13 PM   #5
GoSlow2GoFast
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Yes, but this did NOT happen with this car until this winter, in similar temperatures in prior years the problem did not exist. So it's more than just the cold temperature.

~gs2gf

Quote:
Originally Posted by CAN HAZ M3 View Post
It's physics dear watson! I know this isn't what you're looking for exactly but this is how I think of it:

On a molecular level the hotter the temperature the more excited the molecules become and the faster they move around. The direct opposite is also true. The colder the temperature the slower then molecules move. Hence, when your car is cold it's harder to move the steering wheel because it's harder to move every molecule associated with the steering system. But, as the car warms up, so do the molecules and everything becomes much easier to move. That's why it's wise to warm an engine up (any engine) in cold weather. Things are more pliable, flexible, movable etc... when warmer and not stiff, brittle, and unflexible like when they are colder.

My mom would be so proud of me for this!
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:37 PM   #6
CAN HAZ M3
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Originally Posted by GoSlow2GoFast View Post
I have a 2004 E46 M3, and the last couple of winters it has developed an annoying habit. Living in the Northeast, it gets down below freezing in the winter. Not the hard core below zero much, but into the teens and 20s.

~gs2gf
Sorry, I guess I misunderstood. Perhaps a slight leak or tear somewhere in the hoses? I had the same problem in my audi and it was a leak in the hose connecting to the power steering resevoir. Check your levels too I suppose if you haven't already.
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:40 PM   #7
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Low or corrupted power steering fluid. Check that first and we'll go from there.
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:47 PM   #8
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I have an 03, and it sits outside in similar temps (Ohio, so it has been 15-20 the past month or so) while I am at work. I have not noticed any difference in steering. The only difference I have noticed since the cold weather is that the idle RPM fluctuates for about a minute after starting.
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:01 PM   #9
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I def. have whining noises comming from my car.. still searching for solid solid answers but we've narrowed it down to steering reservoir/pump or wheel bearing.
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:58 PM   #10
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i have no issue, and my car sits outside. it was in the single digits this AM, and was similar feel to 60s in phx yeaterday. i would check the PS connections and fluid, as has been said.
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:27 PM   #11
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What the hell 60s...Whats cold? well I certainly had issues soon as it got cold. Such things as;Final stage resistor, stabilizer links, bearings/Power steering I hope you get it sorted out though. Stay in touch with us please.
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:15 PM   #12
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What the hell 60s...Whats cold? well I certainly had issues soon as it got cold. Such things as;Final stage resistor, stabilizer links, bearings/Power steering I hope you get it sorted out though. Stay in touch with us please.
hehe. one of the bonuses of living in AZ. we got 4.5' (thats feet) of snow last week, but you drive a bit south, and its nice and warm.
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