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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-10-2006, 08:17 PM
chgolatin2's Avatar
chgolatin2 chgolatin2 is offline
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Question Power steering gear box or power steering pump???

I've been having a problems with my 99 540i steering, sometimes the steering works well and sometimes it goes to shiznit. Suddenly at times when I am driving my steering sticks that I have to use 2 hands to on the steering wheel. My mechanic tells me that he does not see a problem with my power steering during test drive however he states that it may be a problem with the power steering gear box or maybe my power steering pump is going bad.

The dealership tells me that I dont have a power steering gear box, so who is wrong? What may be the problem, really? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 01-10-2006, 08:38 PM
PropellerHead PropellerHead is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chgolatin2
I've been having a problems with my 99 540i steering, sometimes the steering works well and sometimes it goes to shiznit. Suddenly at times when I am driving my steering sticks that I have to use 2 hands to on the steering wheel. My mechanic tells me that he does not see a problem with my power steering during test drive however he states that it may be a problem with the power steering gear box or maybe my power steering pump is going bad.

The dealership tells me that I dont have a power steering gear box, so who is wrong? What may be the problem, really? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!
Here's a pic of the steering box on my '00 540. (Taken today as a matter of fact).



Here's a pic of the bay and where it is:


Your problem sounds to me like a power steering pump problem. The pump is here:
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  #3  
Old 01-10-2006, 09:04 PM
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chgolatin2 chgolatin2 is offline
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So can my problem be the gear box or the power steering? How can that be determine???
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  #4  
Old 01-10-2006, 09:13 PM
PropellerHead PropellerHead is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chgolatin2
So can my problem be the gear box or the power steering? How can that be determine???
Since your problem is not consistent, it sounds like a pump to me. If you had a problem with the mechanics of the steering box, you would know it all the time. Since the pump is what boosts your steering (and eases your effort to steer the car), and the boost is what is coming and going, I think you have a problem with the pump which is more prone to failure than the box itself.

I am no mechanic, but that is the best my deductive reasoning can offer.
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  #5  
Old 01-10-2006, 11:40 PM
supark supark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chgolatin2
I've been having a problems with my 99 540i steering, sometimes the steering works well and sometimes it goes to shiznit. Suddenly at times when I am driving my steering sticks that I have to use 2 hands to on the steering wheel. My mechanic tells me that he does not see a problem with my power steering during test drive however he states that it may be a problem with the power steering gear box or maybe my power steering pump is going bad.

The dealership tells me that I dont have a power steering gear box, so who is wrong? What may be the problem, really? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!
The dealership not surprisingly does not know what they're talking about. You do have both a power steering pump as well as a gear box.

Look at the color of your fluid - is it dark? If so it's probably about due to be changed - the fluid picks up contaminates over time which can eventually cause poor functioning in the system as well as reducing the life of the components (especially of the pump as it tries harder and harder to move the crud through the hydraulic lines).

It does sound more like a pump problem though - as like propellorhead stated - it seems like your power assist is going in and out, not the actual function of your steering box.
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  #6  
Old 01-11-2006, 11:00 PM
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jermiester1 jermiester1 is offline
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I'm in agreement with Propellerhead and Supark. Sounds like your problem is the power steering pump. I have a '00 540i, and at idle there was no power steering assist which made it very difficult to maneuver and park. With just a little rise in RPM, the power steering kicked in. I had the P/S pump replaced and problem was solved. BTW the pump was $320.00 and the labor was $112.00.
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2006, 09:23 AM
2001 540 AZ 2001 540 AZ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chgolatin2
I've been having a problems with my 99 540i steering, sometimes the steering works well and sometimes it goes to shiznit. Suddenly at times when I am driving my steering sticks that I have to use 2 hands to on the steering wheel. My mechanic tells me that he does not see a problem with my power steering during test drive however he states that it may be a problem with the power steering gear box or maybe my power steering pump is going bad.

The dealership tells me that I dont have a power steering gear box, so who is wrong? What may be the problem, really? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!
I had a similar problem with what I call "heavy steering" in addition I was getting "lane wondering" (seemed like it took more effort than usually to keep the car in the lane. This is identical to the thread going on now about this problem). Early last week it begain to get worse. the next morning I noticed several drops of what I thought was engine oil (dark center with a clear band around the dark center). Initially I thought I was leaking oil from the oil pan or drain plug.

Two days later on the way back from Phx airport the "wondering" and "heavy steering" became worse. Took the car to the BMW the next day and they found the power steering pump went out....fluid everywhere underneath the car . They replace the steering pump (under warranty )

Now the heavy steering has gone away and the wondering is much better, but I still get the feeling it takes more than nomal effort to keep the car tracking straight.
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  #8  
Old 01-12-2006, 12:30 PM
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psychop psychop is offline
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Steering pump that given up is often an source of metal debris/shavings in the system
which get to the steering gear and then induce premature wear of internals.
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