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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 12-20-2012, 08:37 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1
My Ride: 2001 325i BMW
Tie Rod Help!

Hey so I have a little problem, wondering if anyone can help. So I put in new shocks, struts, springs, bushings, control arms, and tie rods, and I go for a little test drive and I'm noticing a lot of play in the steering wheel. I can turn the steering wheel a solid 90 degrees before it catches anything so I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas as to what went wrong. Or if that will get fixed when I get the car aligned?
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:14 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Fl
Posts: 26
My Ride: '02 BMW 325ci
My question to you is, "Did you have to adjust ANY of the components on top of the steering rack (rack & pinion), that connect to the steering shaft and column?"

Below is a link showing those components, such as the steering "guibo" and intermediate coupler.


Do any of those parts look familiar to you?

If not, and all you installed was new struts/springs, bushings, control arms, and tie rods -- did you torque everything down to the specs called for?

Regarding the tie rods, did you install "inner" , "outer" or both? Was there any "play" on the inner tie rod shaft when you pushed and pulled on it?

In my experience, there's many reasons for steering wheel play. I work on my car by myself so never have an assistant to help but if you do, here's what you should do.

Have someone sit in the vehicle while you look underneath. Have them turn the steering wheel slowly back and forth while you visually examine the components for anything that appears to be loose. I'd start by first looking up the steering column shaft. If nothing appears loose there, I'd work my way down to the inner tie rod. Simply squeeze the rubber boot and push/pull the shaft and see if there's ANY movement. There shouldnt be. I'd then check the outer tie rod ends & ball studs and verify they are torqued down to specs and are not loose.

I'd suggest more, but based upon the items you recently replaced, chances are its something thats just not tightened up the way it should have been - otherwise suggestions would involve adjustments in the steering gearbox and linkages.

Did you have the front end aligned yet? You definitely need that done after replacing the tie rod ends, and maybe the mechanic can identify the fix for your excess steering wheel play
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:50 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Cyprus
Posts: 6,577
My Ride: ESS TS2 320ci
put car on ramps and re-check everything. 90 degree play means you forgot to install a bolt or something an alignment will not fix it for sure
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:54 AM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 12
My Ride: 330i
Steering coupler

OP must have found the problem. I'd say it's the steering coupler. His was probably deteriated (it's rubber after all) and broke when changing the tie rod due to the excess force.

I'd just replaced my guibo and steering felt much better.
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