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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 05-21-2013, 12:11 PM   #1
zorb
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: BC, Canada
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My Ride: 2004 325 Ci
Hard Steering Suddenly

I was driving my car yesterday and parked in a parkade. When I went in, I thought I felt the steering wheel vibrate a bit. I thought it was the bumps. I went shopping. Came back. Steering is very hard. There are no leaks. I think it is the power steering pump. I topped up the fluid, as it was low.

The mechanic is quoting me around $400 including labor, for a USED pump. (LF-20 I think).

Questions: Is it safe to drive around now until I get it fixed? Should I get a LF-20 or LF-30? The LF-30 will cost more since I will have to replace the hoses, (assuming I have the LF-20 in there now)
Should I get a used pump? The new one will cost around $600 including labor ($420 just for the pump)

Thanks for your feedback.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:20 PM   #2
ryannel2003
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Are you sure your car has an LF-20? Most of the later E46's had the LF-30 and they have proven to be more reliable because of the LF-20's problem with the internal shaft breaking off causing no steering assist. Also for a used pump that is a lot of money; you can buy a reman pump on the internet for as low as $200 shipped but don't quote me on that. I believe it won't hurt the car to drive around but I wouldn't want to do it for long.

Also, did the mechanic show you the problem or did he just tell you? The lines all checked out ok?
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:30 PM   #3
zorb
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I haven't showed it to anyone yet. It's my own diagnoses. There are no leaks. Steering is hard in both directions, especially when parking.

It's a 2004. Not sure if that would likely have a LF-20 or 30.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:34 PM   #4
ryannel2003
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It's most likely the pump if the fluid level is normal and nothing is leaking. Also if you can DIY this isn't a difficult part to remove and replace. I'm sure there are some tutorials on this site that can help guide you.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:40 PM   #5
pic3
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With those pumps they wont leak the belt holds it in place everything will look normal except the hard steering. A pump from napa will run about 60 bucks takes only a couple hours its an easy job to do.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:41 PM   #6
zorb
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I would but I live in an apartment building, (underground parking). Not sure if they'll let me open her up there. Plus I don't have the tools/jack/etc.

If I could DIY I would also do the VCG and new spark plugs. Those will have to wait I suppose.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:44 PM   #7
zorb
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Speaking of NAPA, should I get the LUK OEM part? Or another one (supposedly there are parts that are "improved" but still the same size)
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:57 PM   #8
ryannel2003
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Understandable. But as a person who never worked on a car before owning my E46 the VCG and spark plugs are two of the easiest things to replace on this car. It took me 2 hours the first time I did it and I was going very slowly. If you do decide to replace the VCG make sure and go with the BMW gasket as the Victor Reinz will leak again.
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