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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Suspension | Brakes | Chassis > Lower Steering Shaft - does yours move ?



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      08-03-2017, 07:42 AM   #1
esi183
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Lower Steering Shaft - does yours move ?

Hi guys,

I'm a new poster to these fantastic forums which have helped me with countless issues and DIYs over the years. I was wondering if anyone could help me out by doing a simple check on their car.

Recently, I had the lower steering shaft replaced as it was the cause of my steering popping/creaking when turning the wheel while stationary. RealOEM reference below:

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=32_1516

Before this, when I would physically grab the steering shaft from under the bonnet and give it a firm push/pull up and down, there would be movement at the top joint, which joins it to the steering column. So I thought this was an even better reason to replace the shaft as clearly the top U-joint had play. However, after the repair, while the popping/creaking has gone, the movement persists, and seems to be coming from the steering column itself, i.e. above the shaft.

I was therefore wondering if anyone could grab the equivalent part on their car, try and move it up/down, and see if the movement at the top is normal? (my garage suggested it is) My understanding is, unless you have a 335, it is relatively easy to access this from the enigne bay (but on my 320i it's right next to the exhaust, so I have to do it with the engine cool) :

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showth...=256125&page=2


As a bit of background, I've had a host of suspension work done to the front of my car over the last few months, as a few parts needed renewing and my mileage was getting on a bit.

I also hoped they would fix a years-old steering wander/excessive tramlining issue at highway speeds, which make it difficult to keep the car in a straight line without constant corrections. Unfortunately they haven't.

The work included:
Front: New springs, shocks, tie-rods, M3 control arms, anti-roll bar links+bushes
(Rear: New shocks, control arms, trailing arm bushes and ball joints)

After all of these works (including the steering shaft) I had new front tyres and a 4-wheel alignment. All my tyres are non-RFT Goodyear Eagle F1 Assym3.

As nothing really remains (aside a very expensive steering rack), I'm wondering whether there's any play in the steering column which shouldn't be there and could cause these issues, and would therefore be most grateful for your help.

Many thanks

Last edited by esi183; 08-03-2017 at 07:54 AM.
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      08-04-2017, 12:38 AM   #2
PhaseP
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Mine has a slack at the same spot for a long time now. It is not the steering column, it is the connection of the u joint to the column. It has a pinch bolt, this is blue lock tight secured. It doesn't hold tight especially if it was removed and reassembled. It holds tight for a few weeks but then loosens. Once the bolt is loose it allows the u joint move up and down a few mms. This is noticeable while driving only when moving parking speeds and steering , especially on bumpy pavement. I fixed it once by tightening that pinch bolt with fresh blue lock tite but it came back after a while. Planning add some shims around the bolt to take up the slack and tighten again but never yet got to it yet. It is worse at hot days since the slack gets widened by heat expansion.
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      08-10-2017, 08:38 PM   #3
thakid22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esi183 View Post
Hi guys,

I'm a new poster to these fantastic forums which have helped me with countless issues and DIYs over the years. I was wondering if anyone could help me out by doing a simple check on their car.

Recently, I had the lower steering shaft replaced as it was the cause of my steering popping/creaking when turning the wheel while stationary. RealOEM reference below:

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=32_1516

Before this, when I would physically grab the steering shaft from under the bonnet and give it a firm push/pull up and down, there would be movement at the top joint, which joins it to the steering column. So I thought this was an even better reason to replace the shaft as clearly the top U-joint had play. However, after the repair, while the popping/creaking has gone, the movement persists, and seems to be coming from the steering column itself, i.e. above the shaft.

I was therefore wondering if anyone could grab the equivalent part on their car, try and move it up/down, and see if the movement at the top is normal? (my garage suggested it is) My understanding is, unless you have a 335, it is relatively easy to access this from the enigne bay (but on my 320i it's right next to the exhaust, so I have to do it with the engine cool) :

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showth...=256125&page=2


As a bit of background, I've had a host of suspension work done to the front of my car over the last few months, as a few parts needed renewing and my mileage was getting on a bit.

I also hoped they would fix a years-old steering wander/excessive tramlining issue at highway speeds, which make it difficult to keep the car in a straight line without constant corrections. Unfortunately they haven't.

The work included:
Front: New springs, shocks, tie-rods, M3 control arms, anti-roll bar links+bushes
(Rear: New shocks, control arms, trailing arm bushes and ball joints)

After all of these works (including the steering shaft) I had new front tyres and a 4-wheel alignment. All my tyres are non-RFT Goodyear Eagle F1 Assym3.

As nothing really remains (aside a very expensive steering rack), I'm wondering whether there's any play in the steering column which shouldn't be there and could cause these issues, and would therefore be most grateful for your help.

Many thanks
These two threads revitalized the steering on my 330i.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=256125
http://www.bimmerforums.co.uk/forum/...-heavy-t55956/

On N52 vehicles, you can tighten the bolts listed in these threads from under the hood.
Both are easily visible as the is no charge pipe blocking view like on the N54.

The rack preload adjustment in thread 2 worked wonders for my 128k mile rack.
A little adjustment goes a long way. Too much, though, and the steering wheel will have trouble returning to center and you will introduce excess wear in the rack.

Those should take care of the front end wandering/jerking when hitting bumps.
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      08-11-2017, 06:02 PM   #4
esi183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thakid22 View Post
These two threads revitalized the steering on my 330i.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=256125
http://www.bimmerforums.co.uk/forum/...-heavy-t55956/

On N52 vehicles, you can tighten the bolts listed in these threads from under the hood.
Both are easily visible as the is no charge pipe blocking view like on the N54.

The rack preload adjustment in thread 2 worked wonders for my 128k mile rack.
A little adjustment goes a long way. Too much, though, and the steering wheel will have trouble returning to center and you will introduce excess wear in the rack.

Those should take care of the front end wandering/jerking when hitting bumps.

Thanks! So my steering shaft + pinch bolts are new, but I'll try tightening the top one again.

Thakid22, I've read your advice on these forums. Do you know if the preload adjustment procedure is the same for electric steering (EPS)? Is this what your car had?Many thanks .
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      08-12-2017, 07:53 AM   #5
esi183
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Update: I had a good look at the top steering shaft U-joint, and it's definitely the steering column output that has up/down play. I can move it with my hand further up than the steering shaft, so if anyone can try and replicate in their car I'd be very grateful.

And on my EPS box, the nut which I think is the preload adjustment is bigger than my largest hex socket (which is 21mm), so I will try and get a bigger one.


Thank you guys.
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      08-12-2017, 11:07 AM   #6
PhaseP
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From what I remember when I had taken the steering column and lower shaft out to inspect, the output of the steering column telescopes in and out, but without any lateral play. This telescoping ability is there so that the lower shaft u joint can be installed or removed while the steering shaft is in place. Otherwise one wouldn't be able to replace lower shaft without at least loosening the steering column.
Once the lower shaft is in place and it's u joint pinch bolts are all tight, both at column and rack sides, even this telescoping movement should not happen. Just in case it can be misunderstood I am not talking about telescoping of the steering wheel, that is different.
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      08-12-2017, 02:07 PM   #7
esi183
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Thanks for your input PhaseP. The movement I can elicit is up/down, not lateral and not in/out. I'll post a video tomorrow morning as well. Instinctively I feel the movement shouldn't be there. Curiously, I thought I had a great improvement in straight-line stability on the motorway for the first 200miles after the shaft was installed, and the car felt far less nervous. But I'm not sure if that's just placebo .
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      08-12-2017, 02:12 PM   #8
esi183
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On a different note, could my problems be related to the brakes or top strut mounts at all? These are the only components which haven't been replaced (aside the rack and steering knuckles). My mechanic did tell me the top mounts looked Ok though when he did the springs/shocks.

And I'm really keen to tighten the rack preload, but need to make sure the procedure is the same on my electric rack. It's got a nut at the same place as the hydraulic racks, but it's bigger than the 18mm which was suggested on other posts (and indeed larger than 21mm).

Thanks again
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