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Old 02-02-2015, 01:38 AM
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***solved*** Steering play

**update, solved by searching the forums and removing and tightening E10 torx bolt #5 in diagram to 28Nm. This bolt connects shaft #2 and #3 (diagram below) together. the aluminum knuckle that attaches to the steel shaft is starting to wear, torquing them together seems to have removed my extra free play in the steering wheel, will source a new part for a future project.***

Hello all,


I am just in the process of replacing my steering rack and I noticed something that I am not sure is normal.

Can someone please confirm if this slop in the steering wheel is normal, it doesn't seem like to me, I just replaced my steering rack with a new rebuilt one and this doesn't seem right on a new rack. Where I tracked down the play was to the "lower steering column joint".

Is this a normal part that wears out? Has anyone needed to replace this before? I know some play is normal at this joint, but is this more than normal?




video here
https://vid.me/pRS2

Last edited by swissfrank; 02-12-2015 at 01:20 AM. Reason: updated with findings
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  #2  
Old 02-02-2015, 07:25 AM
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I just did that joint. Mine had play in it, but when they really go, they tighten up at certain spots through the steering. I had that happen on my track car too. Not fun. If you don't mind the play you can extend the life a bit by lubing it up, but if you have play, no amount of lube will fix the wear.
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:17 AM
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The double joint got stiffer and stiffer on mine. Felt like there was no power steering. Tried several times to lube it, smack it with a rod, etc., as others have posted, but saw no improvement until it was replaced. The double joint is crazy expensive, too - something like $400 and dealer only.

I remember replacing individual u-joints on my 240Z. Now they want us to toss the whole assembly and buy a new one...
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  #4  
Old 02-02-2015, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swissfrank View Post
**update, solved by searching the forums and removing and tightening E10 torx bolt #5 in diagram to 28Nm. This bolt connects shaft #2 and #3 (diagram below) together. the aluminum knuckle that attaches to the steel shaft is starting to wear, torquing them together seems to have removed my extra free play in the steering wheel, will source a new part for a future project.***
Thanks for the follow-up.
My free-play is about 1/3 of what your video shows, and the steering feels heavier than I think it should. So I'm not in bad shape, but hoping to improve things to ensure it's safe and to push any real repairs well out into the future.

From your "solved" description, it sounds like you found no problems with the joint itself, and that the problem was just in the clamping of the double-u-joint assembly to the steel shaft. Right? If I find the same thing, I'd assume that after re-seating and re-torquing that connection, my u-joints would be fine. Right?

Does it make sense to lubricate the u-joints while I'm in there? With what?

Sounds like you did this all without really removing anything other than that one screw. Right?

Thanks.
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Old 02-02-2015, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldskewel View Post
Thanks for the follow-up.
My free-play is about 1/3 of what your video shows, and the steering feels heavier than I think it should. So I'm not in bad shape, but hoping to improve things to ensure it's safe and to push any real repairs well out into the future.

From your "solved" description, it sounds like you found no problems with the joint itself, and that the problem was just in the clamping of the double-u-joint assembly to the steel shaft. Right? If I find the same thing, I'd assume that after re-seating and re-torquing that connection, my u-joints would be fine. Right?

Does it make sense to lubricate the u-joints while I'm in there? With what?

Sounds like you did this all without really removing anything other than that one screw. Right?

Thanks.
Hello,

Thanks for replying everyone. "oldskewel" you are correct. I removed torx bolt #5 and disconnected the knuckle from shaft #2 and #3 as in the diagram below. Upon inspection i noticed my joint was tight and didn't have issues with binding, I only noticed that I had a lot of wheel play. Looking at where the shaft inputs the joint the edges were starting to round ever so slightly. Re-seating the joint and torquing down bolt #5 again luckily made my steering wheel tight again, now minor moments are translated directly to my steering rack. Hopefully this lasts a while without replacement since my early lower steering assembly is the more expensive one.

To me no it doesn't make sense to lubricate this joint if there is not problem with binding, I would however clean them, they look like a sealed unit, I would be concerned that greasing them would attract dirt/moisture.

I moved my coolant tank and heater valve out of the way, and then turned my steering wheel to bring the torx bolt to the top for easy access. Make sure to take the key out of the ignition after so the steering wheel locks in place, this will make the whole removing / re-installing easier!

A couple more links for you;

http://www.xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-foru...nt-photos.html

http://www.xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-foru...heel-play.html


Regards,
Frank
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:17 PM
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I did this "repair" today on my 2001 X5 with 170k miles. Worked perfectly. Some more info:

I had about 3/4" of noticeable free-play in the steering wheel. Not enough for major concern, but not good. I thought it might be the double u joint, but it turned out it was this exact problem swissfrank described, bolt #5.

It was literally a 5 minute repair. Probably easier due to my 3.0's cavernous engine compartment.

With my son at the steering wheel, car not jacked up, key in to release the steering lock, but engine off, he wiggled the wheel while I looked and felt for where the play was. It was clearly right at that point. None at all in the double u joint. Then some play down where the shaft goes into the steering rack (which is not a problem for me, it turns out).

So I loosened the E10 bolt, just using extensions, not removing anything else at all. Wiggled things around to estimate what was going on down there, but without disassembling anything else.

Put some red loctite on the screw and screwed it back in, having my son wiggle the steering wheel very slightly (I told him 1/8 inch) as I was doing it so things would seat themselves properly. I think this wiggling / reseating is a critical part of the repair. Torqued to 35 Nm (a guess, turns out to be about right).

Went for a test drive and the slack is completely gone.

I expect this is the sort of problem that helps if it can be caught early. Really - 5 minutes.
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Old 02-12-2015, 01:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldskewel View Post
I did this "repair" today on my 2001 X5 with 170k miles. Worked perfectly. Some more info:

I had about 3/4" of noticeable free-play in the steering wheel. Not enough for major concern, but not good. I thought it might be the double u joint, but it turned out it was this exact problem swissfrank described, bolt #5.

It was literally a 5 minute repair. Probably easier due to my 3.0's cavernous engine compartment.

With my son at the steering wheel, car not jacked up, key in to release the steering lock, but engine off, he wiggled the wheel while I looked and felt for where the play was. It was clearly right at that point. None at all in the double u joint. Then some play down where the shaft goes into the steering rack (which is not a problem for me, it turns out).

So I loosened the E10 bolt, just using extensions, not removing anything else at all. Wiggled things around to estimate what was going on down there, but without disassembling anything else.

Put some red loctite on the screw and screwed it back in, having my son wiggle the steering wheel very slightly (I told him 1/8 inch) as I was doing it so things would seat themselves properly. I think this wiggling / reseating is a critical part of the repair. Torqued to 35 Nm (a guess, turns out to be about right).

Went for a test drive and the slack is completely gone.

I expect this is the sort of problem that helps if it can be caught early. Really - 5 minutes.
Glad to hear! Thanks for reporting back.
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