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  #1  
Old 02-02-2002, 01:06 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is offline
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Steering retrofit review-- May 2001 325i

Despite having the so-called "new new" steering, I was still dissatisfied with the feel and effort of my steering. After driving a 99 323 loaner, I became convinced that I had to have the steering retrofit.

The work was completed yesterday, and I've spent the last 3 hours enjoying it. It feels like a different car (in a good way). I think the right word is "meaty"-- that's how the retrofit steering feels. The original steering gave the car kind of a cheap feel-- loose and tinny. I didn't realize the overall effect of the new steering would be so great. The car feels tighter, more solid, more connected to the road, more like a traditional German car. It also seems like all of the rattles are gone finally (probably because i had 2 trim pieces replaced). Although the steering is heavier-- its heavier in a sporty way, not in a ponderous way. One concern I have is that the list of parts replaced doesn't include the torx bolts and some other screws. I have a feeling that they re-used what was on the car-- which you're not supposed to do with bolts like that. Of course, they'll never admit that in a million years. I guess I'll find out when a bolt fails at 70k miles from now- and the car is long out of warranty. Despite this, I'm still very happy--the car feels so much better that its worth it. BTW, my dealer was BMW of Darien (Connecticut) if anyone cares.

Many of you may have read my posted concerning alignment and specifically toe-in. The dealer had set my toe-in to .4 degrees in the front- which I thought was too much. They re-aligned it yesterday and made it .26 but didn't charge me (nice gesture). It was sort of my fault because i'd mentioned i wanted a slight bit of toe-in (i didn't want them to set it to 0). I made the dealer cough up the alignment print-out, and I noticed that rear-toe is out of wack-- one side is .2 and the other .37. My aignment print-out doesn't look as "fancy" as what I've seen posted on .org. My dealer doesn't have the latest hunter alignment rack-- I may take it to another more modern dealer and have the alignment checked again. I also had a 2 trim panels replaced due to a rattle. Lets just say the word "crafstmanship" is not in my dealers' vocabulary. The fit was horrible. I may rip them off and re-do it myself-- dealers just aren't capable of doing trim work properly. As I was driving home, I was thinking of how horrible a 3 series would look if a dealer assembled one from scratch-- like if you got into a bad accident. I've removed other trim panels- and it didn't seem very hard to put them back properly- but somehow my dealer manages.

I was looking at the large print notice on my invoice that explains BMW's service rating of "good" and "excellent." I think they tried somewhat to give me good service- but overall I expect better workmanship. I won't be able to give them an "excellent" and will probably try another dealer when I need to go in again. I'm thinking of BMW of Manhattan since they're factory owned and seem very modern. I may have them check and fix the alignment again. Although I don't notice anyting wrong- small toe problems can lead to big tire wear problems very fast.

My experience also confirms that there was such a thing as the new-new steering (heavier than new, but not quite like the old one), and that the retrofit should apply to all 325is. People w/ May-built 330s have commented that they have the 2002 rack-- whereas this was not the case with my 325. I had to push BMWNA a little bit, but thankfully the finally agreed. I'm also thankful that my experience didn't turn into the horror of what they guy on .org reports with a dealer in Las Vegas.
So:
Steering retrofit: Good
Dealer service/workmanship: ehhh
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  #2  
Old 02-04-2002, 02:33 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is offline
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Steering retrofit update-

I love the car so much w/ this steering that I just drove around aimlessly for about 3 hours on Sunday. I haven't done that since the car was new. The steering really have me the famous "SAG" that i was lacking. You actually do get more feel with the old steering-- i'm not talking about feeling the road (which you do in both the old and the new), but in corners the steering loads up much better. SOmehow, it made me much more confident in turns-- I can better feel what the wheels are doing.

:thumb: :thumb:

I finally have a real BMW. Things will be even better when I take the snows off and put on the 17 inchers again.
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  #3  
Old 02-04-2002, 10:18 PM
DaveN323i DaveN323i is offline
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Congrats on finally having the correct feel! As someone who is actually driving a 1999 323i, I know how you feel.

Sometimes it takes perseverance to get something correct done.

I doubt that there is another manufacturer that would have offered a customer a change on something that is not actually defective. :thumb:
  #4  
Old 02-05-2002, 09:21 AM
Teej Teej is offline
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I should get my 325i back today with the retrofit

Can't wait to try it out. And I hope the alignment is fine. They were gonna do it this morning. Will post reactions later after driving my "new" car.
  #5  
Old 02-05-2002, 10:09 AM
Mr Paddle.Shift Mr Paddle.Shift is offline
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....

Hrm.... mine is a May 2001 production car. When did you get onto the list for steering retrofit?
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  #6  
Old 02-05-2002, 10:18 AM
bmw325 bmw325 is offline
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Vince--
I didn't get on the list to my knowledge. I just kept calling BMWNA until someone decided to grant me the retrofit.
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  #7  
Old 02-05-2002, 10:20 AM
Mr Paddle.Shift Mr Paddle.Shift is offline
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...

Ah...persistency gets you somewhere!

When did you start calling and finally get a response from BMWNA?

Quote:
Originally posted by robg
Vince--
I didn't get on the list to my knowledge. I just kept calling BMWNA until someone decided to grant me the retrofit.
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  #8  
Old 02-05-2002, 11:30 AM
bmw325 bmw325 is offline
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Probably called a total of about 6 times over about 1 month. The key seemed to be telling them that i'd driven a 99 323 loaner and noticed that it had heavier steering. They were convinced my car already had the heavier steering but when i told them this that made a difference
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  #9  
Old 02-05-2002, 05:06 PM
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bimmerguy bimmerguy is offline
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So are you saying that you have the latest steering fix build and still don't like it? So you went with retrofit?
I have a 00 323i and love the steering feel.
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  #10  
Old 02-06-2002, 09:39 AM
bmw325 bmw325 is offline
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bimmeryguy-

My car had what we've come to know as the "new new" steering. Its heavier than the original 2001 model steering but it still feels pretty light. Some late build 330 owners received 2002 model racks which are heavier and have a quicker ratio. My car did not have this rack. Given this situation, and after driving a car w/ the original steering, I opted for the retrofit. It is indeed heavier, more solid feeling and stable. Hope this answers you question.
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