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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-25-2008, 04:08 PM
jfl323ci jfl323ci is offline
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Sudden Power Steering Loss? Please Help!

Hi Guys,

My '00 323Ci was sitting in the company parking lot in 20 degree weather, and when I was pulling it out I felt the steering wheel was freaking heavy, then I knew somehow I lost power steering on my car.

It was driving fine this morning too. So I drove around the parking a bit, parked, and checked the PS fluid reservoir, it was half full but the fluid is kind of nasty and dark brown. There's no warning lights, no squeals, or any other surprises. Any ideas on what might have caused it?

Any help is appreciated! Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 01-25-2008, 05:19 PM
MOLOS MOLOS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfl323ci View Post
Hi Guys,

My '00 323Ci was sitting in the company parking lot in 20 degree weather, and when I was pulling it out I felt the steering wheel was freaking heavy, then I knew somehow I lost power steering on my car.

It was driving fine this morning too. So I drove around the parking a bit, parked, and checked the PS fluid reservoir, it was half full but the fluid is kind of nasty and dark brown. There's no warning lights, no squeals, or any other surprises. Any ideas on what might have caused it?

Any help is appreciated! Thanks!
I just had that happen on my 2000 328ci. Soden loss of power steering. I can tell you one thing it is Power Steering Pump. . One way to check make sure it is P/S pump is to lift up the front of the car and try to turn the steering wheel left and right. If it turns easy then it is the P/S pump for sure. The fluid in my car was nasty brown too. So replace the p/s pump. It is quiet spendy around 400USD. I bought mine LuK20 for 282USD remanufactured. Im going to install it next week. i heard that LuK 20 p/s pump tends to fail frequently, some people recomend to buy upgraded one: LuK 30. I know it sucks without p/s. been dealing with it about 2 months now.

Take care,
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  #3  
Old 01-25-2008, 05:24 PM
MOLOS MOLOS is offline
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check this site out for parts: http://www.bmwpartsonly.com.
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  #4  
Old 01-25-2008, 06:23 PM
MOLOS MOLOS is offline
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I don't know. I feel like this problem is teperature/weather related, because my care was parked outside overnight and it was very very cold. And in the morning i noticed the problem right away.
When I took the part out (p/s pump) the metal shaft inside the pump was snapped/broken off. Seems like it cracked or broke off because of very cold tepm.
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  #5  
Old 01-25-2008, 06:24 PM
MOLOS MOLOS is offline
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Lol... Keep your car in garage!!!
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  #6  
Old 01-25-2008, 07:11 PM
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crowz crowz is offline
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When mine died christmas a year ago it was the pump snapping. I had stopped at a gas station and when I got back in the car and cranked it there was a bit of a bump to it like it hicuped or something and no power steering. The shaft had snapped in to. No other symptoms other than no power steering. Replaced the pump and its smooth as silk now. I believe that a shop the previous owner took it to had put in regular power steering fluid in place of atf and it had started moaning alot. So I believe the normal power steering fluid is what killed the old pump.
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  #7  
Old 01-25-2008, 11:59 PM
jfl323ci jfl323ci is offline
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Thanks molos and crowz. If it's really the p/s pump, then I guess I can't avoid the $400 fix. Is this a possible DIY?

I also read other threads in bimmerfest saying that the BANJO bolt could be the culprit in restricting p/s fluid flow?? Is there a way that I can actually check this bolt first before concluding the p/s pump failure?
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  #8  
Old 01-26-2008, 12:01 AM
jfl323ci jfl323ci is offline
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Originally Posted by MOLOS View Post
Lol... Keep your car in garage!!!
Actually I do garage it at home. It was parked outside at work though....
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  #9  
Old 01-26-2008, 12:24 AM
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BMW_tech BMW_tech is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfl323ci View Post
Thanks molos and crowz. If it's really the p/s pump, then I guess I can't avoid the $400 fix. Is this a possible DIY?

I also read other threads in bimmerfest saying that the BANJO bolt could be the culprit in restricting p/s fluid flow?? Is there a way that I can actually check this bolt first before concluding the p/s pump failure?
For the Banjo bolt with the check valve worth ten bucks at the most ? Versus giving up and paying the pros to do diagnose and tell you that you need a pump. Are you going to argue wether they checked the check valve ? Buy the bolt since you already mentioned the fluid condition was poor and no flow,if it isn't the bolt you got a new one to match the new pump you need to buy before your rack decides to bind or blow a seal and leak out fluid hidden by the boots and you'll wonder where all the fluids go everytime you fill the reservoir.Inspect your hoses,if not terribly hardened by excessive heat and NOT leaking.....change the hoseclamps or tighten them and replace the sealrings at the end of the banjo fittings since you want to drain all the dirty icky old fluid out.A new reservoir might not be a bad idea versus cleaning the muddy bottom area inside the reservoir and the filter built in the assembly.I hope your luck would cost you ten bucks to repair your problem.That ought to be a record especially associated with steering repairs that usually amounts to 2 weeks salary and cup-o-noddles and PB&J's for lunch.Someone always mentions paying for the techs cup of coffee but nobody ever brings me Starbucks and the $185.00 (is it?) an hour diagnosis. Even somewhat out of topic,can someone from back east tell me what the labor rate nowadays cost ??? Thanks.
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  #10  
Old 01-26-2008, 01:06 AM
jfl323ci jfl323ci is offline
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Originally Posted by BMW_tech View Post
For the Banjo bolt with the check valve worth ten bucks at the most ? Versus giving up and paying the pros to do diagnose and tell you that you need a pump. Are you going to argue wether they checked the check valve ? Buy the bolt since you already mentioned the fluid condition was poor and no flow,if it isn't the bolt you got a new one to match the new pump you need to buy before your rack decides to bind or blow a seal and leak out fluid hidden by the boots and you'll wonder where all the fluids go everytime you fill the reservoir.Inspect your hoses,if not terribly hardened by excessive heat and NOT leaking.....change the hoseclamps or tighten them and replace the sealrings at the end of the banjo fittings since you want to drain all the dirty icky old fluid out.A new reservoir might not be a bad idea versus cleaning the muddy bottom area inside the reservoir and the filter built in the assembly.I hope your luck would cost you ten bucks to repair your problem.That ought to be a record especially associated with steering repairs that usually amounts to 2 weeks salary and cup-o-noddles and PB&J's for lunch.Someone always mentions paying for the techs cup of coffee but nobody ever brings me Starbucks and the $185.00 (is it?) an hour diagnosis. Even somewhat out of topic,can someone from back east tell me what the labor rate nowadays cost ??? Thanks.
Makes sense. I'll get the bolt. But is there a DIY around for changing the p/s pump? I'd imagine changing the reservoir should be a piece of cake?...
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  #11  
Old 01-26-2008, 08:32 AM
Hutchman Hutchman is offline
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I just replaced my water pump and thermostat. I noticed my PS pump is leaking at the pump and at the Res. It is the same hose that is leaking. I have replaced the clamps previously but it still leaks. Do you guys think a hose will solve the problem? or do I need a new res and pump as well?
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  #12  
Old 02-04-2008, 11:16 AM
jfl323ci jfl323ci is offline
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Update !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jfl323ci View Post
Hi Guys,

My '00 323Ci was sitting in the company parking lot in 20 degree weather, and when I was pulling it out I felt the steering wheel was freaking heavy, then I knew somehow I lost power steering on my car.

It was driving fine this morning too. So I drove around the parking a bit, parked, and checked the PS fluid reservoir, it was half full but the fluid is kind of nasty and dark brown. There's no warning lights, no squeals, or any other surprises. Any ideas on what might have caused it?

Any help is appreciated! Thanks!
Finally after a week of waiting for the parts, paid a local mechanic $100 something to replace the pump and reservoir. It's all good now (actually the steering is a little lighter than before, could be psychological).

Thanks all for the input.
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  #13  
Old 02-04-2008, 11:20 AM
jfl323ci jfl323ci is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutchman View Post
I just replaced my water pump and thermostat. I noticed my PS pump is leaking at the pump and at the Res. It is the same hose that is leaking. I have replaced the clamps previously but it still leaks. Do you guys think a hose will solve the problem? or do I need a new res and pump as well?
I personally think the clamp is not tight enough. My mechanic didn't tighten it enough after replacing the pump.... leaked half a quart out on my drive way....had him come back to re-tighten it... no leak for two days so far.
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  #14  
Old 02-05-2008, 06:49 PM
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crowz crowz is offline
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For anyone that decides to do this one yourself you might consider getting an electric ratchet they sell at walmart. Its a skil brand 1/4" lithium battery electric ratchet. Ran about $60 or something. Perfect for working with the hard to get to bolts on the pump.
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  #15  
Old 02-05-2008, 07:04 PM
tomindo tomindo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutchman View Post
I just replaced my water pump and thermostat. I noticed my PS pump is leaking at the pump and at the Res. It is the same hose that is leaking. I have replaced the clamps previously but it still leaks. Do you guys think a hose will solve the problem? or do I need a new res and pump as well?
hey dud
how many miles you got when you changed water pump? mine is 71000 ,,,,im thinking of replacing it
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  #16  
Old 02-06-2008, 07:05 AM
Hutchman Hutchman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomindo View Post
hey dud
how many miles you got when you changed water pump? mine is 71000 ,,,,im thinking of replacing it
I had 85,000 with no problems at all. After I took the pump off it looked fine, no leaking out of the weep hole. It was easy to do if you have the manual transmission.
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