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Suspension & Braking
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!

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Old 06-10-2013, 07:43 PM   #1
RockLee
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AKG Motorsport 75D Poly Flex shaft coupling Review.

After 167k miles I've noticed that the steering response on my car is...lacking, to say the least. The wheel is very numb if you jiggle it around, I'd have NO road feel when I was performing slight turns AND the car would wander if you kept the wheel straight. (This would feel more prominent on the interstate or highway.)

So I looked up the price of an OEM steering wheel flex coupling and it was around 50 bucks give or take a few.

O.k that's dandy and all but...It'll just gradually get looser and looser after awhile until it needs replacement again. (Especially on cars that are driven hard.)

So I looked for a different solution that could be more permanent so I could have the 'like new' steering response ALL the time, instead of it gradually decreasing over the miles.

Enter the AKG Motorsport Flex shaft coupling. They sell two types. An all aluminum unit and a 75D Polyurethane unit. I chose the Polyurethane piece because the Aluminum piece was out of stock and I was impatient. The price of the Poly unit is $50. The price of the Aluminum unit is $55.

The installation for these pieces is more time consuming then an OEM unit because you have to reuse the Aluminum ends. This involves cutting the old rubber piece out, drilling the rivets out of the Aluminum ends and enlarging the holes slightly to fit the studs that come with the kit. (Note: Make sure to put the ends on the piece in the right direction. On my first try I noticed that everything fit and the steering wheel was straight but...it was upside down.)

On to the pics.

Here is the old unit pulled out from the car. The rubber was very soft and I could bend it myself and even twist it a little bit. I suspect that this unit isn't original to the car because of the numbers stamped on the side, 39/01. (39th week of 2001?)



Uploaded with ImageShack.us


Here is the kit that you receive in the mail. Very nicely packaged IMO.



Uploaded with ImageShack.us



Uploaded with ImageShack.us

And here is the finished rebuilt unit. I couldn't move this AT ALL. Solid as a rock.



Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Now on to the driving. People get nervous about these Poly or Aluminum flex shafts because they think it will cause the wheel to shake uncontrollably whenever you go over a bad piece of road. Well that's BS. Going over bad parts of the road with the poly unit installed is just the same as when I had my old unit installed. HOWEVER you do have more 'feel' for what you just ran over. But it won't cause the wheel to vibrate violently.

Let me just say that the suspension on my car is the original sport suspension from 1999 APART from the Powerflex FCAB's and RTAB's. Everything else including the shocks is original. SO if your car has a fresh suspension in it or you have higher rate springs then I suspect you will notice a bigger difference then I have due you your car being tighter than mine. (Giggity.)

Let's go back to the word 'feel' because now after the installation I have heaps of that. The car no longer wanders and the steering response is instantaneous. I can feel the texture of the road as well but it's NOT uncomfortable because you can barely feel the difference from the old unit. But the difference IS there.

Also the steering effort is largely unchanged APART from turning the wheel slightly from the center position while the car is stopped or moving. The steering effort is slightly heaver then because there is no flex in the new unit.

When I jiggle the steering wheel now I can rock side to side in my seat, before I could not do that. You could feel the car moving slightly but it still went straight.

Would I recommend this? Absolutely. I opted for this even knowing the hassle of the 'extra' installation procedures that I would have to do because I don't want to touch this again for a very long time. Plus it costs about the same to do this, as it is to buy a new OEM Rubber unit. But I chose this and so far I have no complaints.

I will probably post a before and after video later on showing the amount of steering wheel play their was and how much there is now.
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Last edited by RockLee; 06-16-2013 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:46 PM   #2
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Very cool.
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Old 11-25-2013, 04:17 PM   #3
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What the hell. Bump.
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:24 PM   #4
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Awesome write-up. I will add this to my "build-list"
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:29 AM   #5
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Wondering if I can do the same on the RHD u-joint that I have. I think the rubber is the same, except the fact that is also covered by a steel shield to protect it from the exhaust manifold heat
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:39 AM   #6
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It should work. They even have an all aluminum piece as well if your worried about heat.
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Old 12-11-2013, 03:08 PM   #7
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interesting but if that ever cracks... scary. i'm a fan of AKG but i'm not sure about this particular product. i'd rather go for the aluminum one if anything. but even then i'm skeptical as a matter of safety in a crash.
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:55 PM   #8
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Why? The steering shaft looks like it'll collapse like an umbrella in a crash. And even then if you had the OEM rubber piece, the two aluminum ends will hit each other regardless.
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Old 01-16-2014, 02:08 PM   #9
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it's a shame that it couldn't be a review of a new oem one compared to this new poly guibo. right now you're reviewing a very Very tired 167,000 mile oem flex coupling to a brand new poly one.

having replaced this flex coupling with brand new genuine BMW on two of my E46s with much less mileage and being able to immediately feel a difference, it' hard to say just how much you would have felt a difference if you had gone oem too.

in other words was this big improvement from this poly material or just because it's a new one.
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Old 01-16-2014, 02:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockLee View Post
After 167k miles I've noticed that the steering response on my car is...lacking, to say the least. The wheel is very numb if you jiggle it around, I'd have NO road feel when I was performing slight turns AND the car would wander if you kept the wheel straight. (This would feel more prominent on the interstate or highway.)

So I looked up the price of an OEM steering wheel flex coupling and it was around 50 bucks give or take a few.

O.k that's dandy and all but...It'll just gradually get looser and looser after awhile until it needs replacement again. (Especially on cars that are driven hard.)

So I looked for a different solution that could be more permanent so I could have the 'like new' steering response ALL the time, instead of it gradually decreasing over the miles.


Enter the AKG Motorsport Flex shaft coupling. They sell two types. An all aluminum unit and a 75D Polyurethane unit. I chose the Polyurethane piece because the Aluminum piece was out of stock and I was impatient. The price of the Poly unit is $50. The price of the Aluminum unit is $55.

The installation for these pieces is more time consuming then an OEM unit because you have to reuse the Aluminum ends. This involves cutting the old rubber piece out, drilling the rivets out of the Aluminum ends and enlarging the holes slightly to fit the studs that come with the kit. (Note: Make sure to put the ends on the piece in the right direction. On my first try I noticed that everything fit and the steering wheel was straight but...it was upside down.)

On to the pics.

Here is the old unit pulled out from the car. The rubber was very soft and I could bend it myself and even twist it a little bit. I suspect that this unit isn't original to the car because of the numbers stamped on the side, 39/01. (39th week of 2001?)



Uploaded with ImageShack.us


Here is the kit that you receive in the mail. Very nicely packaged IMO.



Uploaded with ImageShack.us



Uploaded with ImageShack.us

And here is the finished rebuilt unit. I couldn't move this AT ALL. Solid as a rock.



Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Now on to the driving. People get nervous about these Poly or Aluminum flex shafts because they think it will cause the wheel to shake uncontrollably whenever you go over a bad piece of road. Well that's BS. Going over bad parts of the road with the poly unit installed is just the same as when I had my old unit installed. HOWEVER you do have more 'feel' for what you just ran over. But it won't cause the wheel to vibrate violently.

Let me just say that the suspension on my car is the original sport suspension from 1999 APART from the Powerflex FCAB's and RTAB's. Everything else including the shocks is original. SO if your car has a fresh suspension in it or you have higher rate springs then I suspect you will notice a bigger difference then I have due you your car being tighter than mine. (Giggity.)

Let's go back to the word 'feel' because now after the installation I have heaps of that. The car no longer wanders and the steering response is instantaneous. I can feel the texture of the road as well but it's NOT uncomfortable because you can barely feel the difference from the old unit. But the difference IS there.

Also the steering effort is largely unchanged APART from turning the wheel slightly from the center position while the car is stopped or moving. The steering effort is slightly heaver then because there is no flex in the new unit.

When I jiggle the steering wheel now I can rock side to side in my seat, before I could not do that. You could feel the car moving slightly but it still went straight.

Would I recommend this? Absolutely. I opted for this even knowing the hassle of the 'extra' installation procedures that I would have to do because I don't want to touch this again for a very long time. Plus it costs about the same to do this, as it is to buy a new OEM Rubber unit. But I chose this and so far I have no complaints.

I will probably post a before and after video later on showing the amount of steering wheel play their was and how much there is now.
The bold is my response.

Sure I could have gone with OEM and the results would have been really similar, but probably not for long. But I didn't want that small piece of rubber to flex more and more over time. I don't want to touch this piece in a long time. (Now the test is to see how long it WILL last in the real world. So far so good.)
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Last edited by RockLee; 01-16-2014 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 01-31-2014, 03:37 PM   #11
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It seems the Aluminum version isn't for sale anymore.
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Old 01-31-2014, 03:58 PM   #12
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Was just looking at this on the AKG site. How long was the install? Cant beat it for $50 bucks.
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Old 01-31-2014, 04:03 PM   #13
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I ordered one last week along with FCABs & RTABs. Can't wait to get it all on! Nice review.
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Old 01-31-2014, 04:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Was just looking at this on the AKG site. How long was the install? Cant beat it for $50 bucks.
Ehhh....a few hours because you need to drill out the rivets and install the piece to the OEM aluminum ends. Then I discovered I put it on backwards.

Knock it out in one afternoon.
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:49 AM   #15
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These steering couplers in poly or full Alu, have been used for years in the JDM crowd.

6-7 years ago when I swapped a GTS rack, GTS inner forged tie rods and GTR rod end pins to a 9/16" rod end on my GTS-4 Skyline, I had to mod the steering column shaft length and added the full Alu steering coupler at the same time.

Other than removing all the slop from having big tires (more load required to move the wheels from big grip causing flex in the rubber coupler), there was absolutely ZERO drawbacks to this swap. It's easy to do, just time consuming and very easily done on a drill press.

It adds peace of mind and longevity to a unit that will fail eventually, either by softening or cracking.

In the spring, when I do my suspension 2.1 update, this will be on the list of steering components to go.


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Old 02-01-2014, 11:11 AM   #16
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MCM put one in their drift car.

Skip to 6:53 to see it.

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Old 02-01-2014, 12:02 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by RockLee View Post
Ehhh....a few hours because you need to drill out the rivets and install the piece to the OEM aluminum ends.
Yeah, that's really the only downside to this item. Other than that, it's an overall improvement over the stock unit which quickly develops slop in the holes in the rubber where the rivets pass through.
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