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E85 / E86 Z4 (2003-2008)
E85 Z4 Roadster, E86 Z4 Coupe, E85 Z4 M Roadster, and E86 Z4 M Coupe talk with our BMW gurus here.

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  #26  
Old 07-24-2012, 05:03 PM
Stromtech Stromtech is offline
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Location: Victoria BC
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 75
Mein Auto: 2004 Z4 3.0 6 speed
I have an opinion or two...

I believe it is definitely related to the worm gear in the electronic assist unit.

What I don't understand is why the symptoms don't occur when the vehicle is new. From what I have read it seems to happen to cars several years old. Perhaps someone can tell me I'm wrong and their car suffered when new? If it's true that new cars are OK then what changes in the worm gear with time? Would dismantling, cleaning and new lube fix it for a few more years? Is this possible?

It gets worse at high speed as the steering boost is diminished (variable boost)
It definitely gets worse if the car is parked in the sun with the roof and windows closed but why would new cars not have this same heat issue? It seems to happen after driving for a couple of hours even in cool temperatures so time seems to matter, perhaps time creates heat in the servo and worm gear.

There should be a general recall for this issue as it is a design fault...the NHTSA let the owners down big time...perhaps they were afraid of being litigated to death by BMW.

Shame on BMW for not stepping up.
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  #27  
Old 07-25-2012, 07:29 AM
Stromtech Stromtech is offline
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Location: Victoria BC
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 75
Mein Auto: 2004 Z4 3.0 6 speed
Rush4....Can you please provide an update on the long term success of your mechanic's fix?

Do you know if he cleaned and lubed the EPS worm gear as well as the bearing you described?

Thanks
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  #28  
Old 07-27-2012, 02:27 PM
PortlandWill PortlandWill is offline
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Location: Portland
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: '04 2.5i Z4
The Sticky Wheel Syndrome might be age-related, but it's not usage dependent. I just got an '04 with only 12,000 miles and so far it has happened to me once - the one time the cabin got hot from sitting in the sun with the top up. Sucks!
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  #29  
Old 10-16-2012, 05:55 PM
ldn ldn is offline
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Location: North Carolina
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 119
Mein Auto: 2004 Z4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stromtech View Post
...last week I did the reset with the key, 10 seconds in pos 1, 10 seconds in pos 2, then back to pos 1 and start the car...
What is this "reset" that you talked about? Could you please elaborate?
Thanks.
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  #30  
Old 10-17-2012, 07:28 AM
Stromtech Stromtech is offline
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Location: Victoria BC
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 75
Mein Auto: 2004 Z4 3.0 6 speed
Quote:
Originally Posted by ldn View Post
What is this "reset" that you talked about? Could you please elaborate?
Thanks.
Someone on one of the Z forums suggested the sequence with the key....I think it's supposed to reset the computer. It was suggested that it may reset the steering but I didn't experience any changes what-so-ever from performing that reset sequence. I can't tell you anymore than that.
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  #31  
Old 05-02-2013, 05:33 AM
George Warren George Warren is offline
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Location: Castro Valley CA.
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: BMW Z4 2005-2.5
Cool 2005 Z4 steering sticking

I am a retired 30 year veteran heavy duty diesel mechanic a a Freightliner dealership in CA. I believe that these problems of expansion of one of the steering components on hot days.My Z4 has done this several times and I have only had it happen when it warms up! As we know heat expands almost everything and cold makes it shrink.The Question of the day is why it did not happen off the show room floor and what triggered it? Even with my years of experience i'm not ready to tear into this thing or modify the system! You would have to look hard and far to find a more dangerous situation. Those who have driven the car when this happens you know first hand! I talked with a service manager in the east bay last night and he said he will do what he can to help so I will drop off today. Temperatures are expected to be 96 today so I hope it does it thing! I will try to post the outcome! The Sitting machine!
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  #32  
Old 05-02-2013, 07:16 PM
Clearancediver Clearancediver is offline
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Location: Canada
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 143
Mein Auto: 2004 Z4
Z4 sticky steering fix $285

I had the situation occur this winter driving in 4 Celsius (40 F) with the top down on a sunny day. I had the heater on full blast/high heat to the feet and had the sticky wheel syndrome occur on my 2004 Z4. I'm going with the heat effecting the electronics.... Even with the heat pouring out it I don't believe it was hot enough for worm gears to be effected that much to cause the sticky wheel syndrome....but...electronics quite possibly.

Were this to occur to me in the summer I'd run the AC and direct it all to the feet....even with the top down. It will direct cold air to the area and cool the electronics .....likely minimizing or greatly reducing the issue.

Thats my take on the issue...for what it's worth.


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  #33  
Old 05-06-2013, 05:37 AM
George Warren George Warren is offline
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Location: Castro Valley CA.
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: BMW Z4 2005-2.5
After more thought I believe you might be right with the electronics and the temperatures.It only takes a couple of degrees to foul up a circuit board.I dropped of my Z4 at the dealer on thursday and talked with the service manager and forman in depth. I told them they could have the car as long as they needed as I don't plan on doing much hiway driving until I trust it won't happen again.My wife had purchased a S-mini from this dealership and had traded it in on a 128 so maybe they will be more inclined to make it right! I got a positive feeling from the service manager and forman so I am keeping my fingers crossed! I will up date post when I get some info.
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  #34  
Old 05-22-2013, 03:54 PM
Clearancediver Clearancediver is offline
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Location: Canada
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 143
Mein Auto: 2004 Z4
Z4 sticky steering fix $285

I happened to do some reading on Shipkillers website on EPS system....

http://www.shipkiller.com/Electrial_...ing_(EPS).html

A very good explanation on the effect of heat on the EPS system and a deliberate gradual reduction in servo assistance to the steering.... Which is clearly what happened to me.

As electronics age its possible that the system is more sensitive to heat on some Z4's.... Translating into the "sticky wheel syndrome"....


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  #35  
Old 07-02-2013, 03:14 PM
Open Bayer Open Bayer is offline
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Location: Belgium
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: Z3 1.8i and Z4 2.2i
Beginning 2013 I bought a 2005 Z4 that had the problems of the "sticky", "magnet" or "ribbed" steering feeling. The problem occured only if the cabin temperature was hot for a while (standing in the sun or a long drive). After much debate, I got BMW so far as to pay for a replacement column.
I hope my below message helps all affected Z4 owners and will convince BMW to take their responsability for this safety critical issue.

In the German magazine AutoBild you can find a rough explanation for this problem.
(check "BMW Z4 klebelenkung" in google = German for "sticky steering")
With my engineering experience I filled the gaps to make the explanation as shown below. I have no proof it is true but it correlates with the description of the problem.

The problem of the sticky steering of the Z4 is related to the worm/reduction gear mechanism that transmits the torque from the electric motor to the steering shaft.
The circular reduction gear has a nylon crown with teeth. All the surrounding parts are metal (steel or aluminium).
The thermal expansion of the nylon is 3X bigger than the surrounding parts. To compensate for this expansion, there should be a clearance between the worm gear and the reduction gear. Unfortunately BMW and their steering supplier ZF Nacam chose this clearance too small. When the nylon gets warm, the clearance with the worm gear becomes zero and the reduction gear is stuck with the worm gear. The friction increases dramatically and you will then "feel" the engagement of the individual teeth of the reduction gear.

On top of that Nylon absorbs water up to 2yrs after being made (after which it is saturated). This absorption causes the nylon to expand making the clearance even smaller. Therefore cars that didn't had the problem when new can get it after some time in service.

You cannot adjust the clearance between worm and reduction gear as it is determined by the position of the bearings.
A complete EPS column replacement is the only possibility.
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  #36  
Old 07-02-2013, 06:42 PM
George Warren George Warren is offline
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Location: Castro Valley CA.
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: BMW Z4 2005-2.5
Smile Sticky steering

After working with BMW north america I was not satisfied with what was on the table. The fix was to replace the steering column and assist motor and another six hundred dollar control! total $4500.00 I Emailed BMW in Germany and explained my circumstances. It must have reached the right people because the end result was excellent! All was replaced and the car drives fantastic now. Kudos to BMW in Germany for taking Great care of my problem! Remember people that the squeaky wheel is the one that gets the Grease!
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  #37  
Old 09-05-2013, 08:45 PM
Z4topdown Z4topdown is offline
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Location: Northern Virginia
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: 2004 Z4 2.5i
George, I'd appreciate knowing who you contacted in BMWNA and Germany. I am the original owner of a 2004 Z4 and one of the frustrated NHTSA complaintees. While under warranty - extended I might add - I complained to my dealer on each visit but was told that the steering was within spec. I have not been back since the warranty expired 3 years ago. During each summer I have the "sticky steering" problem every day I park in an open lot and the temps reach 80+. It is not yet severe enough to be a real safety hazard but it eliminates the joy of driving and I suspect it will eventually get worse. Since I love every other aspect of this car I am now debating whether to have this repaired at my own expense since I believed that contacting anyone at BMW would be a complete waste of my time. Your experience says otherwise and I would appreciate anything you or anyone else can share. Thanks.
__________________
2004 Z4 2.5 - 5speed,Sport,Conv,Prem,HS,Xenon

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  #38  
Old 09-07-2013, 05:23 AM
George Warren George Warren is offline
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Location: Castro Valley CA.
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: BMW Z4 2005-2.5
I went online and found the most expensive looking BMW site, I am sure I was just lucky but don't give up.
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  #39  
Old 09-21-2013, 01:55 PM
dragontooth dragontooth is offline
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Location: Pensacola, Fl
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 2003 Z4 3.0; 2011 X3 335i
ratchet steering in Z4

2003 3.0i, 18775 miles, problem with steering column locking if switched off with wheels anywhere but dead ahead since day 2 of new purchase. Then about 4 years ago onset of "ratchet steering" whenever car hot, such as sitting out all day. Out of garage had no issue. Grew worse and worse and very hairy driving at times. Wife quit driving it. Changed out tires to michelin pilot sports, non-RFTs. maybe helped a little but driving still most interesting if hot. Dealer decided was defect in column, with no parts available to repair short of changing out column to the tune of $3606. Uhhh, no. Commented on satisfaction survey after the visit, was contacted by BMW, discussed the issue, including the facts that this has been a well recognized and discussed problem on the Internet. Expressed my safety concerns, my disappointment that an owner advisory had never been received (I'm original owner), and my plans to replace the car with another (not BMW) if I could be assured that a future owner's safety would not be compromised. I was contacted 2-3 days later by my dealership and informed BMW would foot the entire bill. WOW. The part (new steering column) has been ordered and then appt to repair. Very nice but what about the new part's reliability and what about all the other folks with bad columns. Anyway, found a new Boxster I like.
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