New steering rack - stiffness...

UK forum for general and technical discussion about the Z3 roadster

Moderator: Gazza

Post Reply
Warrior
Joined: Tue 11 May, 2010 11:02
Posts: 382

  Z3 roadster 3.0i

New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Warrior » Wed 26 Oct, 2016 00:50

Had a new steering rack fitted last week, just a day before my mechanical relative and fitter went away on holiday so can't ask THE question of him....

Initial thoughts, everything a lot less jumpy, although this is more likely to be down to the replacement bushes, but on further driving i've realised that the steering is overtight which is particularly noticeable at very low speeds, i.e. bumper to bumper stop start traffic. Arms outstretched the force needed to turn the wheel can be felt in one's forearms.

I've done less than 20 miles since fitted so guess it will loosen up a bit or will it?

Also, after the rack was fitted the steering wheel sat at 20 past 10 but the steering was relatively loose. I can't say for sure but the tightness only struck me after laser tracking was completed.

User avatar
Southernboy
Joined: Thu 07 Oct, 2010 13:39
Posts: 6312

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Johannesburg

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Southernboy » Wed 26 Oct, 2016 07:42

Presumably you've had the wheel alignment checked and set correctly ? Perhaps that's what you mean by laser tracking ?
Have you checked the fluid level in the reservoir to ensure it hasn't changed since the change was made, and are you satisfied there are no "odd" noises when turning the steering wheel which may indicate air in the system. With the car stationary, turn the wheel full lock in both directions, then check the fluid level in the reservoir, also, feel if the steering is any easier to turn to left or right, or if it's the same in both directions. Did your mechanic tighten up to the correct torque settings on all the bolts etc. Sounds a bit odd that it should be stiff since it's driven by the hydraulic pump attached to the motor belt drive. Check to make sure the belt is in good nick, and correctly fitted so it drives the pump as it should. The steering should get heavier as speed increases. ie. at standstill, the steering should be easiest to turn, and as you increase speed it becomes heavier to provide stability and direction.
"Normal is overrated"
Image

Z3 Upgrades and Additions

Warrior
Joined: Tue 11 May, 2010 11:02
Posts: 382

  Z3 roadster 3.0i

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Warrior » Thu 09 Mar, 2017 23:26

Belated update. Checked as much as I could Southernboy but after 5 months and very few miles still wasn't happy. Spoke to my mechanic relative who took it for a test drive yesterday and was reminded that the bushes were changed at the same time and suggested I do a decent trip round some twisty bends before further investigation.

As an aside and regarding another thread i've started tonight, would a sticky brake caliper contribute to the feeling of stiffness, particularly in slow moving traffic?

User avatar
BladeRunner919
Joined: Fri 17 Feb, 2012 20:18
Posts: 2221

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by BladeRunner919 » Fri 10 Mar, 2017 08:07

I don't see how changing the bushes could be a factor, and the advice of driving round some twisty roads sounds like a fob-off. Did you get the wheel alignment re-checked at all?

Warrior
Joined: Tue 11 May, 2010 11:02
Posts: 382

  Z3 roadster 3.0i

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Warrior » Sat 11 Mar, 2017 02:29

BladeRunner919 wrote:I don't see how changing the bushes could be a factor, and the advice of driving round some twisty roads sounds like a fob-off. Did you get the wheel alignment re-checked at all?
Sorry I meant the ball joints. (I think! :lol: ) Trying to guesstimate how many miles I have done since fitting and it's quite possibly no more than 50 :oops: so the twisty roads suggestion makes more sense.

The mechanic is the wife's uncle and business partner. Between them they have 110 years experience on the spanners. Hear what you are saying but they wouldn't fob me off. :squeeze:

Howard Adams
Joined: Mon 10 Oct, 2016 16:39
Posts: 44

  Z3 roadster 3.0i

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Howard Adams » Sat 11 Mar, 2017 07:42

Hi, the fault seems to be with the new steering rack. If you go lock to lock with out the engine running then do the same with the engine running there should be a massive difference. This eliminates the power assisted side of the system.
Next jack the car up, remove both track rod ends and see if the whole hub moves freely side to side ,if so nothing to do with the lower ball joints or strut bearings. Next how does the rack feel? . The diagnosis should be strait forward. All steering racks should automatically self centre.
Good luck
H

Del
Joined: Sat 19 Nov, 2011 18:35
Posts: 2122

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Del » Sat 11 Mar, 2017 09:56

Check level of power steering fluid - human error - may have been overlooked

Juvvajuvva
Joined: Sun 06 Nov, 2016 16:52
Posts: 49

  Z3 roadster 2.8

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Juvvajuvva » Sat 11 Mar, 2017 20:04

Hi,
If you had the car 4 wheel laser alignment completed, why did they leave the steering wheel off center?
I wouldn't be at all happy with that.
Was this done immediately after the rack was replaced?
Did they give you the read out/ sheet of paper with the ed and green blocks where the wheels are and the degrees % on the sheet?
However good or bad they did the alignment it may not explain the heaviness.
If you remove the inner rack boots you will see the slotted mech part. Although your mechanic has years of experience,everyone sometimes miss something silly.
Just check that it is sufficiently greased.
Also have a look at the track controll arms and if they are obviously adjusted differently.
Get the car up on stands/lift and take a tape measure too them and see if they are way out.
Also check what has already been said above and bleed the PAS system correctly.
Good luck.

Warrior
Joined: Tue 11 May, 2010 11:02
Posts: 382

  Z3 roadster 3.0i

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Warrior » Sun 12 Mar, 2017 02:33

Del wrote:Check level of power steering fluid - human error - may have been overlooked
Already done. Twice. All fine...

Warrior
Joined: Tue 11 May, 2010 11:02
Posts: 382

  Z3 roadster 3.0i

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Warrior » Sun 12 Mar, 2017 02:45

Juvvajuvva wrote:Hi,
If you had the car 4 wheel laser alignment completed, why did they leave the steering wheel off center?
I wouldn't be at all happy with that.
Was this done immediately after the rack was replaced?
Did they give you the read out/ sheet of paper with the ed and green blocks where the wheels are and the degrees % on the sheet?
However good or bad they did the alignment it may not explain the heaviness.
If you remove the inner rack boots you will see the slotted mech part. Although your mechanic has years of experience,everyone sometimes miss something silly.
Just check that it is sufficiently greased.
Also have a look at the track controll arms and if they are obviously adjusted differently.
Get the car up on stands/lift and take a tape measure too them and see if they are way out.
Also check what has already been said above and bleed the PAS system correctly.
Good luck.
When the new rack was fitted and I drove the car home about 6 miles I didn't give a great deal of thought to the feel expecting it to be a little tighter and was more focused on the off centre steering wheel. She was pre-booked in for laser tracking the next day and again I was more focused on the alignment which was spot on and again I only drove about 6 miles home. The following weekend I went for a spin and got caught in slow moving stop start traffic doing a quarter of a mile in 20 minutes leaving my arms feeling like they'd had a workout.

I take on board your other advice but you might not have gathered that i'm a zed owner because I like the shape and polishing her, not of a mechanical leaning i'm afraid!;)

Warrior
Joined: Tue 11 May, 2010 11:02
Posts: 382

  Z3 roadster 3.0i

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Warrior » Sun 12 Mar, 2017 02:52

Howard Adams wrote:Hi, the fault seems to be with the new steering rack. If you go lock to lock with out the engine running then do the same with the engine running there should be a massive difference. This eliminates the power assisted side of the system.
Next jack the car up, remove both track rod ends and see if the whole hub moves freely side to side ,if so nothing to do with the lower ball joints or strut bearings. Next how does the rack feel? . The diagnosis should be strait forward. All steering racks should automatically self centre.
Good luck
H
Quite possibly a faulty rack and suggestion to do a few more miles is a pre-cursor to further investigation. I've a sticky caliper 'oo-er missus' at the moment so won't be til later in the week.

See post above - i'm not of a mechanical leaning :dunce:

petecossie
Joined: Wed 11 Apr, 2007 14:13
Posts: 125

  M coupe S50
Location: Billingham

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by petecossie » Sun 12 Mar, 2017 23:05

Just as a matter of interest, was the steering rack a brand new OEM item bought from BMW or was it a second hand item? If it was a brand new OEM item then I would have thought the stiffness you are getting would have most likely caused from something other than the rack. A bit of a puzzle really, may help to have a drive of another Z3 if there is anyone on here near enough to let you try their car, you could then make a comparison on the steering effort required. Just a thought.
Pete C

2000 Z3M Coupe - Cosmos Black Metallic/Black Interior.
Image
Previous BMWs
2003 E46 M3 6 speed manual - Carbon Black/Black Interior.
2000 Z3M Coupe - Cosmos Black/Black Interior
1986 M635
1985 E28 M5
1983 E28 528i Alpina

User avatar
billysally208
Joined: Sat 11 Jul, 2015 13:53
Posts: 38

  Z3 roadster 1.9i

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by billysally208 » Mon 13 Mar, 2017 16:09

Hi, What was your reason for changing the rack in the first place - here is a copy of a post I put up on another Z Forum that might be worth considering :-

'I had a problem with mine after bringing it out of winter storage - the steering being very heavy - I was considering changing the rack and power steering pump but found it was the lower steering shaft bearing had started to seize. If you look in your engine compartment, where the steering shaft comes out through the bulkhead, just above the universal steering joint, there is a small shroud which the shaft travels in - you need a spray grease, preferably with an extension tube to enable you to spray grease up into the bearing housing which is just up inside shroud. I also did mine from inside car, by removing the trim panel from below the steering wheel, you will see a tube running down from the steering wheel, down to the bulkhead, inside of which is the actual steering shaft. Drill a small hole in the outer tube, approx 4" above the floor and spray grease into the hole. The grease will run down the tube and onto the bearing. Cover the hole you have drilled with a piece of tape.
I put my car up on axle stands and repeatedly moved the steering from lock to lock, and within a few minutes it was back to normal and has been fine since.
Avoid using WD40 as this seems to dry out in time and becomes 'gummy'

Warrior
Joined: Tue 11 May, 2010 11:02
Posts: 382

  Z3 roadster 3.0i

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Warrior » Mon 13 Mar, 2017 19:26

petecossie wrote:Just as a matter of interest, was the steering rack a brand new OEM item bought from BMW or was it a second hand item? If it was a brand new OEM item then I would have thought the stiffness you are getting would have most likely caused from something other than the rack. A bit of a puzzle really, may help to have a drive of another Z3 if there is anyone on here near enough to let you try their car, you could then make a comparison on the steering effort required. Just a thought.
New out of the box aftermarket part with a guarantee.

Although I could drive my brothers i'm not sure that driving another Zed would help? I know that my van steering is a whole lot lighter ;)

I'll be putting a hundred or so miles on her when a sticky brake caliper is sorted so will see if the stiffness eases!

Warrior
Joined: Tue 11 May, 2010 11:02
Posts: 382

  Z3 roadster 3.0i

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Warrior » Mon 13 Mar, 2017 19:29

billysally208 wrote:Hi, What was your reason for changing the rack in the first place - here is a copy of a post I put up on another Z Forum that might be worth considering :-

'I had a problem with mine after bringing it out of winter storage - the steering being very heavy - I was considering changing the rack and power steering pump but found it was the lower steering shaft bearing had started to seize. If you look in your engine compartment, where the steering shaft comes out through the bulkhead, just above the universal steering joint, there is a small shroud which the shaft travels in - you need a spray grease, preferably with an extension tube to enable you to spray grease up into the bearing housing which is just up inside shroud. I also did mine from inside car, by removing the trim panel from below the steering wheel, you will see a tube running down from the steering wheel, down to the bulkhead, inside of which is the actual steering shaft. Drill a small hole in the outer tube, approx 4" above the floor and spray grease into the hole. The grease will run down the tube and onto the bearing. Cover the hole you have drilled with a piece of tape.
I put my car up on axle stands and repeatedly moved the steering from lock to lock, and within a few minutes it was back to normal and has been fine since.
Avoid using WD40 as this seems to dry out in time and becomes 'gummy'
It was leaking.......

Dino D
Joined: Fri 10 Feb, 2012 16:59
Posts: 376

  Z3 roadster 2.8

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Dino D » Mon 13 Mar, 2017 23:18

billysally208 wrote:Hi, What was your reason for changing the rack in the first place - here is a copy of a post I put up on another Z Forum that might be worth considering :-

'I had a problem with mine after bringing it out of winter storage - the steering being very heavy - I was considering changing the rack and power steering pump but found it was the lower steering shaft bearing had started to seize. If you look in your engine compartment, where the steering shaft comes out through the bulkhead, just above the universal steering joint, there is a small shroud which the shaft travels in - you need a spray grease, preferably with an extension tube to enable you to spray grease up into the bearing housing which is just up inside shroud. I also did mine from inside car, by removing the trim panel from below the steering wheel, you will see a tube running down from the steering wheel, down to the bulkhead, inside of which is the actual steering shaft. Drill a small hole in the outer tube, approx 4" above the floor and spray grease into the hole. The grease will run down the tube and onto the bearing. Cover the hole you have drilled with a piece of tape.
I put my car up on axle stands and repeatedly moved the steering from lock to lock, and within a few minutes it was back to normal and has been fine since.
Avoid using WD40 as this seems to dry out in time and becomes 'gummy'
Can I ask you point out on this diagram what the shroud is with offending bearing- I have a squeak/scratch noise when turning the wheel and it doesn't appear to be the slip ring or wheel itself. I rember reading your post bout this somewhere but never quite figured out where exactly the bearing is.
Here is a link to the steering diagrams:
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/showpar ... Id=32_0915
And
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/showpar ... Id=32_1031

User avatar
billysally208
Joined: Sat 11 Jul, 2015 13:53
Posts: 38

  Z3 roadster 1.9i

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by billysally208 » Fri 17 Mar, 2017 12:35

@ Dino D
Hi, Sorry for delay in replying - if you look at the second link, parts 10 - 14 form a bearing that allows the steering column to turn in the steering tube, part 1, in the same diagram, and this is the bearing that needs lubricating. From the engine compartment the bearing is located up above the universal steering knuckle joint, but is difficult to see and access from below. You can spray lube at it from below, which might work, but gravity will make the oil run down away from the bearing. I found it more effective to do it from above and allowing the grease to run down onto the bearing, by drilling a small hole in the steering tube, as described in the original post. My steering was creaking for sometime and then became stiff and 'notchy', before I did this.
Hope this helps.

Dino D
Joined: Fri 10 Feb, 2012 16:59
Posts: 376

  Z3 roadster 2.8

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Dino D » Fri 17 Mar, 2017 17:39

Will give it a go, thanks

Warrior
Joined: Tue 11 May, 2010 11:02
Posts: 382

  Z3 roadster 3.0i

Re: New steering rack - stiffness...

Post by Warrior » Wed 12 Apr, 2017 01:20

Update...

I had another bush changed along with the sticking brake caliper and drove a short distance home. Steering still stiff but greatly improved. A few more days and a few nore miles and she's loosened up a treat. A little firmer as one would expect with a few new parts but heading in the right direction and almost there.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Ragtop and 5 guests