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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 07-20-2010, 07:51 PM
sleepyx637 sleepyx637 is offline
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Alignment and Steering Angle Sensor Question

Hi All,

I got my 2009 E92 335i (no active steering) aligned at West End Alignment (reputable shop in So. Cal.) about a month ago. Since then, I've noticed that my steering wheel seems off center just slightly, but enough to be annoying. (As far as alignment goes, the car tracks straight, just steering wheel is slightly off center). I don't want to go back to West End because (1) it takes about 2 weeks to get an appointment, (2) they're only open on weekdays, and (3) they're about 30 miles from me, and I don't really have much time to go before or after work. Basically, to me it's worth the extra money to get a new alignment at a convenient time in order to get the steering wheel centered correctly.

Now, I have two choices:

(1) Go to JC Auto House, which is much closer to me and open on weekends. They align with a Hunter machine and appear to have a good reputation on yelp (http://www.yelp.com/biz/jc-auto-house-temple-city) and several other forums. Cost: $80-100

(2) Go to the BMW dealership near my place for an alignment. Cost: $228.88

Two of the three BMW dealerships I've called have said that the steering angle sensor can affect how/whether the steering wheel is centered. They said that they have to reset/correct the steering angle sensor during the alignment and that the local alignment shop probably won't be able to do it. One BMW dealership said that an off-center steering wheel is purely an alignment issue.

So my question is: does anyone know if centering your steering wheel is tied to the steering angle sensor? I.e., is the steering wheel being off center purely an alignment issue such that JC Auto House can fix it properly?

Thanks!

Edit: I guess an ancillary concern is that if you don't get the steering angle sensor recalibrated at the dealer, will that cause a problem when you need dsc/dtc the most? I'm tempted to go to the dealer and get it fixed in one shot. Anyone know if an alignment at the dealer pretty much guarantees a dead center steering wheel?

Last edited by sleepyx637; 07-20-2010 at 07:52 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2010, 08:14 PM
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marinekilz marinekilz is offline
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ok your steering wheel will cause youre steering angle sensor to set a fault al affecrt the dsc if your steering wheel is way off. The good news is they are easy to reset, just disconnect your battery for about 15 minutes. once you reconnect the battery and start the car, the tracking light (and maybe the dsc light I really don't remember) will be on. turnign the steering wheel from lock to lock will calibrate the steering wheel sensor. now the sensor is calibrated to the lock to lock motion of the wheels not how the steering wheel is positioned.
forgot the point to this post, go to the indy shop, once you have a good alignment with a straight steering wheel disconnect the battery and go lock to lock to calibrate the sensor and your done

Last edited by marinekilz; 07-20-2010 at 08:15 PM.
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  #3  
Old 07-21-2010, 04:45 PM
sleepyx637 sleepyx637 is offline
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will disconnecting the battery cause any issues? (reregister battery, reset radio, etc?)
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  #4  
Old 07-21-2010, 07:27 PM
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marinekilz marinekilz is offline
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your radio station will still be in the radio, the veh settings will be kept, you will need to set the time and date, and calibrate the steering angle sensor.
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  #5  
Old 07-21-2010, 08:12 PM
Mineo335i Mineo335i is offline
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I was told to ONLY have my alignments done at a BMW dealership since they need to weigh down the car to correctly align the car? (I was told from a guy at Sears where i purchased my tires from)

Also, that alignment cost seems very high, I got mine done at fields BMW for under 150 with tax(I have the invoice if you want an exact cost)
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  #6  
Old 07-24-2010, 04:50 PM
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marinekilz marinekilz is offline
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Wieghing down the veh is the correct way to do any veh alignments, my hunter machine tell me the specs for everycar for wiegh in the trunk and seats. Now with that said, I don't know my mechanic that puts those sandbags in the cars to do alignments, including the bmw techs I know. Just get your car aligned anywhere, it will be fine
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  #7  
Old 09-16-2010, 06:23 PM
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Zahnarzt Zahnarzt is offline
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Exclamation

For $150, the dealership told me they could replace the steering wheel angle sensor for another $1300. I have the DSC/AWD error and can't get it to go away. Haven't tried to disconnect the battery yet, though. Wish me luck!
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  #8  
Old 09-16-2010, 11:15 PM
schatzie schatzie is offline
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I've given up on alignment on my car. After two different dealers doing two alignments (brand new tires too) the car still pulls to the right a little. They claim it's the road surfaces.

I've come to learn to live with this reasoning that the steering on the bimmer is so sensitive that any slight unevenness on the road will cause it to pull. And I'm sticking to it.
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  #9  
Old 09-17-2010, 01:30 AM
basho2 basho2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schatzie View Post
I've given up on alignment on my car. After two different dealers doing two alignments (brand new tires too) the car still pulls to the right a little. They claim it's the road surfaces.

I've come to learn to live with this reasoning that the steering on the bimmer is so sensitive that any slight unevenness on the road will cause it to pull. And I'm sticking to it.
(brand new tires too) Are these rotational type tires? If yes get new non rotational pattern and the car will drive straight.. Otherwise get high end half rotational tires.
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  #10  
Old 09-17-2010, 07:31 AM
schatzie schatzie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basho2 View Post
(brand new tires too) Are these rotational type tires? If yes get new non rotational pattern and the car will drive straight.. Otherwise get high end half rotational tires.
Too late. Just got them 3 days ago.

Also, not sure what non rotational patterns means. Can you please explain more so I can know for the future?

Thanks.
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  #11  
Old 09-30-2010, 08:44 AM
basho2 basho2 is offline
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Rotational tires are made useful for roads with a lot of water on surface or during rainy days, the rotational pattern allows water to run through better.
Sometimes poor rotational tires will not make the car run straight
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  #12  
Old 10-07-2010, 07:40 AM
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Zahnarzt Zahnarzt is offline
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Exclamation Another dissection!

OK, so it was the steering wheel angle sensor. The dealer confirmed this but wanted $1350 to do the repair. Despite this being a problem that they couldn't track down when the car was still under warranty, BMW NA denied a good will repair. My independent shop got the job done for $830, the only problem being that they had to take the car with the new unit installed to the dealer to program with the uber computer. Otherwise, it would have been a $730 job. I found the sensor itself online from Tischer for $450 shipped, but the shop wanted to use their own source.

So, of course I took the old one apart. I was surprised how simple the part appears to be.

First of all, everywhere I asked said you have to get the whole steering wheel cluster, not just the angle sensor. I think that with a bit more digging, you could probably get the center section apart from the control arms. All three control arms (marked with red dots) appear to be modular and have individual stickers with numbers. I don't see why you couldn't pop these off and put them on another unit, providing this wouldn't affect programming, etc.

Taking the thing apart is easy and requires no tools. Plastic tabs hold everything together, and they can be disconnected easily with fingernail or pen if your fingers are large.

Looking inside is that really got me. The disc that the sensor reads had obvious crud on it. What this crud is and how it got there is a mystery to me. There are no fingerprints, no drip marks, etc. It looks like something wet was once there and then evaporated to leave this crystal-like formation. $20 says wiping this off and putting it back in the car would solve the problem.

Of course, this could very well be unique to my vehicle and situation, or I could be completely wrong altogether. Still, a lot of the time, the simplest explanation is the correct one, and for the $830 I spent on this, I think I would rather have taken this apart myself first and towed the car to the shop if I screwed it up or required reprogramming.

My $.02.

P.S. I just used my Canon SD750 point-and-shoot for the images. It's surprising what you can do with macro mode!
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  #13  
Old 10-07-2010, 08:09 AM
Edb5020 Edb5020 is offline
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Wow, That steering wheel sensor is pretty neat looking how it reads the angle. I don't think that a steering wheel sensor would ever make a steering wheel be off center, that has to be an alignment issue. But, if the OP said their car went straight, but the steering wheel was off center, I didn't know the wheel can be moved independently from the direction of the wheels?? Anyone else confirm? I am not educated too too much on alignments.
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  #14  
Old 10-07-2010, 10:48 AM
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Contact Patch Contact Patch is offline
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When I replaced my tires at Firestone a few months ago and asked about alignment, they told me that they are the first chain automotive stores that have the ability to reset the steering angle sensor. This is a very important step to keep the ESP, ABS, and other electronic driving aids to work properly. They charged me $69.99 for the alignment.
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  #15  
Old 10-07-2010, 01:48 PM
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Mark K Mark K is online now
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Yep, nothing that $20 can't possibly fix ... read under "absolute encoder".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotary_encoder

http://mechatronics.mech.northwester.../encoders.html

Sorry for sarcasm, but this is my bread and butter and when somebody says wipe off "crud" on something like these devices, it just gets me going. If you did that on our equipment, you are talking 100 grand + damage, but on your steering wheel? You gotta be kidding me ...
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  #16  
Old 01-25-2012, 06:36 PM
dewayne6243 dewayne6243 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark K View Post
Yep, nothing that $20 can't possibly fix ... read under "absolute encoder".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotary_encoder

http://mechatronics.mech.northwester.../encoders.html

Sorry for sarcasm, but this is my bread and butter and when somebody says wipe off "crud" on something like these devices, it just gets me going. If you did that on our equipment, you are talking 100 grand + damage, but on your steering wheel? You gotta be kidding me ...
That "crud" is the protective coating coming off. Almost every sensor that I has taken apart and wiped that "crud" off fixed the dsc/awd light. The infrared eye can not read the sensor correctly with that "crud" in the way. Wipe it off with some alcohol and 9 out of 10 times the problem is fixed.
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  #17  
Old 01-26-2012, 08:07 PM
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Zahnarzt Zahnarzt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dewayne6243 View Post
That "crud" is the protective coating coming off. Almost every sensor that I has taken apart and wiped that "crud" off fixed the dsc/awd light. The infrared eye can not read the sensor correctly with that "crud" in the way. Wipe it off with some alcohol and 9 out of 10 times the problem is fixed.
+1, though I don't believe this stuff was part of the original coating, as wiping it off left a perfectly smooth finish as viewed under magnification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark K View Post
Yep, nothing that $20 can't possibly fix ... read under "absolute encoder".
...
Sorry for sarcasm, but this is my bread and butter and when somebody says wipe off "crud" on something like these devices, it just gets me going. If you did that on our equipment, you are talking 100 grand + damage, but on your steering wheel? You gotta be kidding me ...
Good thing we're talking about $450 part, and the $20 I bet I'm right is enough to buy me a nice 12-pack. What gets me going is waste. Waste is the garage not looking at the simplest possible cause of the problem. Waste is the woman referred to me today for evaluation of an intraoral mass after evaluation by two GPs, two specialists, and CT and MRI studies, only to tell me that after $20,000 in diagnostics, she was too embarrassed to tell anyone she had cheek implants. Waste is crud... sorry, schmutz, if you prefer, that could be wiped off an otherwise operational part instead of replacement and, most importantly, the oversight that led to its being there in the first place.
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  #18  
Old 07-25-2012, 04:36 PM
karim eid karim eid is offline
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ques ? Reset stearing angle sensor

how can i reset stearing angle sensor for e90 by using ops programe
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  #19  
Old 07-27-2012, 05:07 AM
Mike Benvo Mike Benvo is offline
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If you need the steering angle reset, let me know. I am somewhat local to you.

You won't be able to put another one on without programming. You'll have the DSC lights on and a few other warnings.

The reason for this is that the pairing process is complete when the Dynamic Stability Control unit is programmed. On the e9x chassis, the SZL (angle sensor/stalk) is programmed via DSC, and this encodes the serial numbers, etc..

You'll notice that without encoding the SZL will not report the steering angle to DSC, and therefore things like automatic cancellation of the turnsignal + traction control will not be functional.

The sensor itself can't make anything off center.. So if you're positive the alignment is correct, then the steering wheel would have to come off and be recentered. I think there is a notch on the e9x that would make it quite difficult to install the wheel improperly, and for this reason it sounds like the suspension might need to be realigned with the wheel set straight.

I take my cars to West End when they need an alignment and I've always been happy with their service.
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Last edited by Mike Benvo; 07-27-2012 at 05:11 AM.
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  #20  
Old 07-27-2012, 01:13 PM
topmar topmar is offline
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Hello to all,

I had the same Steering Wheel Sensor probem in my E90 320d (3/08) and I fixed it yesterday in a Greek BMW Dealer.

Just to inform you guys, you don't need to replace the whole BMW Genuine Part Number: 61 31 9 123 049!! There is a BMW Repair Kit (BMW Genuine Part Number: 83 19 2 179 894) which replaces the disk, the IR led and applies new lubricant on it.......most important, it costs only 45 Euro the part plus another 80 Euro for the installation, in total 125 Euro!

The above kit applies for models up to 11/2008 ONLY!!

Take care all.....
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