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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:13 AM   #21
Liam.attwood
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no prob mate an thanks ill report back if i get mine sorted
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:58 AM   #22
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Do you actually hear a knock, or it's more like feedback/rattle through the steering every time you ride a curb or go over a steep bump?

Also, did you say you or your garage checked the upper steering coupler and track rods/ends?
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:01 AM   #23
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No, it means your random parts throwing isn't working, and you should get a diagnose from a shop.
You're NUTS!
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Old 11-05-2011, 07:44 PM   #24
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nuts are tight.. im nuts more like

erm yea i sort of feel the play.. and i can hear/feel the knock, it does seem to be like feedback, its hard to explain, i still havnt checked the top uj closely, im going to definitly inspect it tomorrow, im off work tomorrow so theres no excuse

you had any problems with play in the steering lestat?
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Old 11-05-2011, 08:20 PM   #25
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nuts are tight.. im nuts more like

erm yea i sort of feel the play.. and i can hear/feel the knock, it does seem to be like feedback, its hard to explain, i still havnt checked the top uj closely, im going to definitly inspect it tomorrow, im off work tomorrow so theres no excuse

you had any problems with play in the steering lestat?
I had an issue with it, it was most evident when driving on cobblestones but also when riding a curb. It was the steering column. Very common rattle and also very easy to miss. A lot of folk will replace everything before they get to that.

Anyway, good news is it's fixable, bad news is it's involved.

Column has to be of the car and dismantled, it's a silly plastic bushing that gets loose (for your reference, steering angle sensor rests on it). Also, any play in that bush will become amplified by the telescopic design of the column.
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:09 AM   #26
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ahh i see, well i thought it was that myself but obviously you go for the easier (cheaper) options first, thanks for the help, i will investigate it today hopefully
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Old 11-20-2011, 01:20 PM   #27
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finally got round to inspecting upper uj and column, i found that if i bang the column with my fist from underneath (removing plastic trim to reveal column) i hear a vibration noise, the same noise i heared when banging the bottom of my steering wheel, and also the same noise i get going over rough roads (noise + play)

so i managed to find a column with the top uj connected in my local breakers yard, i did my ''bang'' theory test on it and it seemed ok, so i took it out (20 min as there was no engine in the way or plastic trim..good times) only cost 20 GBP

managed to undo the top uj from the coupling by undoing the 1 male torque bolt, then removed steering wheel + all the connections, wires, stalk, plastic trim, revealing just the 3 17mm nuts + 1 secure nut + 2 10mm nuts located at the bluk head, undone them all and pulled the column out..

then fitted the new one in reverse order... now i have solid steering

also done the tracking once again (alignment) so she drives straight
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:42 PM   #28
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I have the same issue. I've replaced steering tie rods and rod ends, lower arms and bushes. Noise still there
Will play with column and u joins now. Will post results.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:03 PM   #29
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I have had the clunk and replaced my guilbo and that helped but not cured. Recently took out the column to replace the steering angle sensor and decided to pull the ujoint out too. The ujoint was not as loose as it should be.. almost like there were some flat spots. Greased the hell out of it instead of replacing it (for the time being), reinstalled and no clunk at all. So it could be that but really... who knows without dismantling and inspection. If you pull the coulmn apart you will need an alignment afterwards. Good luck.
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Old 02-18-2012, 06:30 PM   #30
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My noise the same as Liam described. When you bang column or bottom of the steering wheel the clunk the same as on the road. It doesn't have any free play when you turn the steering wheel.
I had resently wheel alignment after replacing tie rods and guys haven't done it properly. The steering wheel not straight and they use old specification from E21 body. So they ove me alignment again
Just wondering what will I need if take column apart. Would be sad to disassemble it and won't have correct part to replace.. I'm jeep mechanic btw, our columns are not serviceable. We just replace them. Even if you can take it apart there will be no spares..
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:18 PM   #31
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Found that input steering shaft reeling if you shake it just where it sticks from steering rack. I found some Poole try to adjust gear set but it was to eliminate free play in steering. Well I don't have any free play but clunking noise. Don't really want to replace rack..
If someone knows how to adjust steering rack input shaft bearing preload pls share
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:51 PM   #32
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the excessive wheel play sound like FCAB, or ball joints. i know i need to replace mine, there's slight play in the wheel and when i go over bumps i hear noise. but a knocking sound? i'm not sure, i know my brother messed up his steering column by trying unlock the steering wheel when it locked up on him; he turned it too hard and messed it up, i think he had a slight knocking sound to.

best idea would to be to get a good indy shop to check it out
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:06 AM   #33
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What's the easiest way to check if I have an issue with the steering column itself?

I still have some vagueness in my steering, and have already replaced steering column, FCABs, alignment, etc. I *think* the vagueness when I adjust and pull the steering wheel out farther.
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:28 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Lestat_ View Post

Column has to be of the car and dismantled, it's a silly plastic bushing that gets loose (for your reference, steering angle sensor rests on it). Also, any play in that bush will become amplified by the telescopic design of the column.
does anyone have a DIY or pictorial for this, mine is knock when either turning side to side vigorously or when hitting some bumps on the road, rest of the car drives great and this rattle / knock is killing the driving experience.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:21 AM   #35
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DIY Steering rack free play

I've done some job on mine and improved a lot!
Despote of rattling still left when I drive gravel/unpaved road I fixed free-play and knocking in steering when lightly turn side to side.
I took my car to steering rack man and he gave me an idea ho they fix aged steering racks:
They take off input steering shaft from rack, spin it 180 degree and put it back.
Hes explanation was that gears working in the centre position and worn there most after around 200000 km.

Job I've done myself. Unfortunately I didn't take any picks (was in rush) but I can describe step by step.
I did it on the wheel-alignment 4 post hoist, so wheels fixed in straight position.

1. disconnect sheering shaft coupling from the rack
2. there will be a plastic thing (1) on the shaft which aligning joint when slide to shaft and it also dust rower for input shaft bearing. Use black marker to mark original position of it on the edge of shaft and slide plastic off. Mark position of the input shaft against rack body as well.
3. unbolt adjustment nut(3) completely and remove (I'll describe how to adjust it at the end)
4. unbolt cover plug(2). there will be end nut of the input shaft, undo it as well.
5. slide carefully input shaft backwards rotating it counterclockwise, notice position when gears lost their contact!!
6. spin shaft 180 degree and slide it back in to the rack rotating clockwise now.
7. check that shaft position when it fully installed 180 degree opposite of original one! if not slide it off and adjust starting position ( possible miss one tooth)
8. tighten input shaft end nut and close cover plug back as it was
9. slide plastic aligner back to input shaft but 180 degree of original position
10. slide steering coupling and check that steering wheel still straight
now need to lift front wheels off the surface
11. tighten adjustment nut(3) to the maximum and loose 60-90 degree till you fill no resistance in steering
spin steering end to end and check if there any hard points if so need to loose adjustment nut(3) a bit more
You will need to top up steering liquid before start the engine.
Check for resistance and hard points again with running engine
If you did everything as I described, steering wheel will be in correct position and you won't need wheel alignment.
I spent a bit extra time as my mark on edge of input shaft was unclear and I had to play with black plastic aligner to find it's proper position.

Sorry for my language, I'm still learning
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:41 PM   #36
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I've done some job on mine and improved a lot!
Despote of rattling still left when I drive gravel/unpaved road I fixed free-play and knocking in steering when lightly turn side to side.
Awesome info. This is exactly what I was looking for and for some reason the information on the E46 is rare. Seems everybody is happy to replace perfectly fine steering racks for such a simple problem and at serious expense too.

I just wish Megus was still around to ask questions.
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:53 PM   #37
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Awesome info. This is exactly what I was looking for and for some reason the information on the E46 is rare. Seems everybody is happy to replace perfectly fine steering racks for such a simple problem and at serious expense too.

I just wish Megus was still around to ask questions.
A rebuilt rack from rackdoctor is only a few hundred bucks. Of course I don't know if they check the gear interface to see if that is worn or not.

This fix he proposed sounds legit. I may have to try it.

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Old 01-29-2013, 03:47 PM   #38
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A rebuilt rack from rackdoctor is only a few hundred bucks.
I know but that's a few hun I'd rather have in my pocket not to mention all the labor it takes to do the swap. This DIY is done (if I uderstand correctly) with the rack in the car but my question is how do you get to those things when access is very restricted?
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:56 PM   #39
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I just wish Megus was still around to ask questions.

I'm here what did you want to ask?

My baby just turned 200000 but still do drive me well. Can't imagine a car to replace. Can only look at bimmers but can't afford upgrade. They pricy here in down under..
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:26 AM   #40
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Hi Megus,

Thanks for responding. In the mean time I figured out what I wanted to know. My steering has a small amount of play which I have isolated to the rack itself. My question was about the preload adjustment and how to do it with what tools. I found out that I only need to put a pliers on the outer ring and turn it slightly as it was not really that tight. I have not yet road tested it so I don't know if the play has completely been eliminated. From what I can tell with the car on jackstands, the play has been reduced but not eliminated completely. I may end up needing a rebuilt rack.
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