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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 10-07-2012, 08:41 AM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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BMW E39 I6 528i 525i 530i steering rack rebuild

Fellas

We all know that I6 has the best steering rack with pinion
Based on my experience and research on US/ EURO forums to be able to take the best of them
they need to be rebuild every ~100k
I don't want to argue if it is necessary or not , if you think your steering rack
is perfect after 100k+ miles this thread is not for you

So lets start

1. All I6 has the same steering rack
The ZF # is 7852 955 304 and it is the same for 528i, 525i and 530i
( remember this number 7852 )
I personally checked 3 steering racks for M54 and they all have the same ZF number
The BMW # for steering rack w/o Servotronic ( US version ) is 32136751745

2. For this steering rack 7852 this is what i found so far :

The parts :

http://forum.bmwland.ru/index.php?ac...=post&id=26968

1 bearing ZF 0635 332 003 pic # 2
1 bearing ZF 7830 327 111 pic #53
2 plastic bush ZF 7852 035 131 pic # 24
1 plastic bush ZF 7852 040 192 pic # 30,1
1 plastic bush ZF 0770197 047 pic # 57
1 bolt ZF 7830 030 120 pic # 34
1 seal ZF 7830 040 507 pic # 34.3

1 seal kit ZF 7852 633 048
This what is included into this kit :
==================================
2 seals ZF 7852 033 155 pic # 10.9
1 seal ZF 0634 303 218 pic # 15
1 seal ZF 7852 033 166 pic # 16
1 seal ZF 0634 304 563 pic # 17
1 seal ZF 0634 306 218 pic # 31
1 seal ZF 0634 306 233 pic # 38
1 plastic bush ZF 0770 198 175 pic # 51
1 plastic bush ZF 0770 198 168 pic # 58
4 seals ZF 7409 033 112 pic # 87
4 seals ZF 0770 031 331 pic # 88
1 seal ZF 0634 303 340 pic # 94
8 seals ZF 7830 033 163 pic # 103
===================================

The repair instruction for 7852

ZF Rack and Pinion Power Steering Gear

3. I dropped mail to ZF US asking if i can get these parts
( anyone tried ? )

4. One more link is in US kit # RB8623.1 , Rack Kits / 528 / 97-00 / Without Servotronic
( anyone tried ? Looks like the one we need )

http://www.pskits.com/catalog/-c-21_25.html

Anywhere noone of these kits include bearings

5. One more source i found in UK

http://steeringseals.com/5series-2.html

Stay tuned
I
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Last edited by champaign777; 10-07-2012 at 10:07 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-07-2012, 08:50 AM
cornellone0 cornellone0 is offline
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Please let me know how much work is involved my rack is leaking now
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  #3  
Old 10-07-2012, 09:09 AM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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Remove steering rack is ~1-2H
You can leave your tie rods connected to wheel carrier and disconnect only inner part from steering rack
so you basically don't need to do alignment after repair
Repair steering rack is ~3-4H if you have all parts
Where to get these parts in US is a $1000 question
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Last edited by champaign777; 10-08-2012 at 01:27 PM.
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  #4  
Old 10-07-2012, 09:42 AM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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to have idea about this job

http://bmwpost.ru/forum/showpost.php...83&postcount=4
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Last edited by champaign777; 10-07-2012 at 09:54 AM.
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  #5  
Old 10-08-2012, 08:50 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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As you mentioned above, people have used the kit from:
http://www.pskits.com/catalog/-c-21_25.html

with good success.
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  #6  
Old 10-08-2012, 01:22 PM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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CNN
1. Do you know who did SR repair for E39 ?

2. If you see above some parts are not in this kit
All i can find is E36 or E46 folks but even they said they did it w/o bearings which is not a whole overhaul but partial
More than this E36 and E39 kit for steering rack are the same, BMW part #32 13 1 094 629
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Last edited by champaign777; 10-08-2012 at 04:39 PM.
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  #7  
Old 12-12-2012, 12:27 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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champaign777 and others,

I just saw something interesting in the Volvo forum and I thought I would share.

Most steering rack leaks occur at the outer O-ring/seal, thus fluid coming out of the protective boot ---> on the garage floor. It virtually never leaks at the pinion end.

Of course the proper way is to remove the Steering Rack and rebuild it from scratch or pay big bucks for a quality Steering Rack. But removing the steering rack from any car is a pain in the rear, not to mention the number of labor hours involved!

This Volvo person replaced ONLY the Outer O-rings/Seals using the rebuild kit ($47) without removing the Steering Rack from the car.

http://volvospeed.com/vs_forum/topic...rack-leak-fix/


So, we need someone in E39 to act as "guinea pig" and do this for forum i.e., replacing the Outer O-rings/Seals without removing the steering rack from the car.

Comparing with the Volvo, the BMW E39 Steering Rack is in a better location because (the Volvo 850/S70 SR is behind the front axle while the BMW E39 SR is in front of the front axle). So this job should be easier on the BMW E39.

Rebuild kits can be bought for $50.

The PS Rebuild Kit does not have the protective boot, so you have to order separately for the boot and clamps. Here are the Volvo TRW Rack photos for reference:



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Last edited by cn90; 12-12-2012 at 12:28 AM.
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  #8  
Old 06-11-2013, 03:35 AM
ramp ramp is offline
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Mein Auto: 635csi, MGA, e39
Has anyone followed up on this thread??

I'd be curious. Mine has a slight leak.
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  #9  
Old 08-15-2013, 09:55 PM
SiGmA_X SiGmA_X is offline
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Mein Auto: 99 528iT, 93 325iS
I may give this a shot in the next few weeks. I have some freeplay in a rack that has ~8,400 miles on it from a 'reputable' rebuilder, and I have a spare (good but old) rack I could rebuild in the mean time. I may have to call PSKits - Can anyone confirm if the include bearings? That is what my rack needs, not seals. Though obviously all will be done...
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  #10  
Old 12-15-2013, 04:27 PM
pfi pfi is offline
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Mein Auto: 93' 318is coupe
I have an E36 ('93 318is coupe) with ZF-rack # : 7852 955 304
so, it's in the same "family" but propably some differences.

I'm currently trying to "service" my rack....., (hopfully doin' a DIY when done)
( got my "service-pack" (part # : 32 13 1 094 629) from : schmiedmann )
but, ......
in the process, I've run into a problem..... :0

the pdf (previously referred to by champaign777) : ZF Rack and Pinion Power Steering Gear says, on page 10, "chapter" 6.2 Versions without cylindrical tube (22) to : "Unsnap the snap ring (18)." (see att # 1)
what to unsnap ? takealook at att # 2
and,
I'm NOT able to "unsnap" it..... :-/
so,
wondering.....,
does the E39 have the same "version" / solution ?
and,
or,
does anyone have a(ny) good idea(s) of how to "unsnap" the &%#/&% "snap ring (18)"

regards
-pfi
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  #11  
Old 09-14-2014, 06:37 AM
Smoothops Smoothops is offline
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The passenger side of my 2000 E39 sportswagon steering rack is leaking, so I'll serve as a guinea pig for the forum. I have the seal kit, but don't have to will to remove the rack, so I'll replace the outer seal to see what happens. I'll post results afterwards, perhaps even pics. May the Force be with me on this venture.
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  #12  
Old 09-14-2014, 12:44 PM
Smoothops Smoothops is offline
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Success!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoothops View Post
The passenger side of my 2000 E39 sportswagon steering rack is leaking, so I'll serve as a guinea pig for the forum. I have the seal kit, but don't have to will to remove the rack, so I'll replace the outer seal to see what happens. I'll post results afterwards, perhaps even pics. May the Force be with me on this venture.
The Force was indeed present at my garage. I'm keen to report that replacing the right outer seal is possible on the 2000 528iT wagon. I just replaced mine and the leak is gone

First I raised the car t where the front wheels were able to turn. I then loosened the inner tie rod ends from the ends of the steering shaft, allowing me to turn the steering wheel and extend or retract the ends of the steering shaft. I extended the left side as far out as I could, so that I could clean up the shaft with 120 grit sandpaper. I used ATF instead of water to sand the shaft smooth and shiny. I then cleaned the shaft.

Inner tie rod removed from rack photo 151_2608_zpsad9b3167.jpg

I retracted the shaft as far inside the rack as it could go on the right side, so I could take out the snap ring, which turned out to be a PIA. I finally got it out using 2 small flat screwdrivers.

The seal is behind that tough snap ring photo 151_2610_zps0f0b0265.jpg

Once the snap ring was out, I was able to slide the seal carrier out

Snap ring removed, the seal carrier can slide out of the shaft photo 151_2611_zps1202931d.jpg

The seal carrier also has an o-ring on the outside. Taking the old seal out was tough, as there is a plastic packing that limits the movement of the shaft and as I did not have a replacement for it, I had to carefully extract the seal without damaging the white plastic packing. the seal itself also has an extra white plastic packing.

The seal photo 151_2613_zpse11b4a18.jpg

Once the new seal was installed on the carrier, I filled the fluid reservoir and started the car, so that the fluid would flush the system while there was no seal installed. I used a full quart of ATF. Re-assembly was an easy reversal of the steps, with the snap ring being tough to install back inside its groove. I used a large socket to drive the seal carrier beyond the groove, then installed the snap ring with my fingers and a small flat screwdriver. I then tested the seal by filling the reservoir again and turning the car on, moving the steering wheel to both ends several times, then leaving the engine on for 5 minutes. The result was fantastic, no leaks at all.

already installed, no leaks photo 151_2614_zps6959be7c.jpg

I left it there, as one of the rack end booties was broken, so I'll have to wait until I get a set of replacement booties to finish the job. I hope this thread makes a lot of folks happy as I'm now after solving this pricey predicament of having a steering rack leak.

Last edited by Smoothops; 09-14-2014 at 12:50 PM.
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  #13  
Old 09-14-2014, 01:54 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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So that others can more easily find this nice thread in the future, I just added the following to the bestlinks:
- How to remove (1) and rebuild and find parts for the E39 I6 steering rack and pinion assembly (1)

See also the removal instructions:
Quote:
Steering Rack replacement (528i/no pics)

So I just did this job today, not gona lie, it was a pain in the ass.

Difficulty level: 8

Sorry, I didn't have time to take pictures because I needed the car done asap. Here is a step by step processes:

Tools:
Socket Set: 13-22mm
Pickle Fork ( Rent one from autozone for 16$)
Jack
Jack Stands
Block of wood
Various Extensions
Open ended Wrench
Close Ended wrenches(16-19mm)
Hex key set
Bucket
2 Quarts of ATF (DEX III)

Steps:
1. Jack the car up from the front jack point or the subframe. Make sure to loosen the Lug bolts before raising the car.

2. Remove the Splash Sheild.

3. Now we have to remove the tire rods, first remove the 18mm bolts on the steering knuckle that holds the outer tie rod in place.

4. Wedge you pickle fork between the tie rod and the steering knuckle and hammer away, don't pull or pry, just wedge and hammer. After a few good blows, the tie rod will separate from the knuckle.

5. Loosen the locking nut on the inner tie rod and then twist the outer tie rod off. Do no lose the spacer. Do the same for the other side. Remove both left and right outer tie rods.

6. Remove the two bolts that hold the steering rack to the subframe, these are 16mm heads with a 16mm nut on top, hold the nut and loosen.

7. Remove the lower engine mounts bolts, one on each side, there are either 16 or 17mm ( I forget which).

8. Now, get a jack and put the wood piece between the jack and the block, right behind the harmonic balancer. Slowly raise the engine. I had to to remove my fan shroud pins to lift then engine high enough. Raise the engine a good 3-6inches.

9. Now, unbolt the steering column from the steering rack, its one bolt and its 13mm. No need to worry about the nut, its welded on. Now pry off the column from the rack.

10. Now, remove the two power steering lines that are connected to the rack, one is a 22mm and the other is a 19mm. Both of them have two crush washers, DO NOT LOSE THESE. I lost mine and they were a pain in the ass to find at any hardware store. When you break the bolts loose, have the bucket read. Almost all the ATF will come out.

11. Maneuver the rack out of the car. I was able to remove my rack from the passenger side. It took some time, but if your engine is raised high enough, it should come out with ease.

12. Your new rack should come pre-filled with ATF, mine did. Now maneuver the new rack in. I was able to get the new rack in from the drivers side.

13. When tightening up the bolt that goes from the steering column to the rack, if it doesn't tights all they way, in other words, if the bolts doesn't sit flush with the metals, its fine. My new rack had a thicker stud compared to my old rack so I had about half an inch of the bolt sticking out. The bolt clears everything so all is well.

14. Put everything else back together and pour in some ATF. Pour past the full line. Now start the car, with the P/S reservoir CLOSED. and slowly turn, you do not want air bubbles in the system. Make 3-7 good lock-to-lock rotations very slowly. Shut the car off and replenish the system because odds are its probably low.

And that's about it. My local shop wanted 2200$ to do this job.I did this job for around 350$, that's including the price of a brand new rack with a 2 year warranty. I'm only 18 and I got it done in about 8 hours and that's with a friends help. Good luck and happy DIY'ing.

PS- Sorry again for no pictures. I tried my best to give as much detail as possible in every step.
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #14  
Old 12-19-2014, 07:47 AM
Sroor9001 Sroor9001 is offline
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Mein Auto: Bmw 520i 2002
Hi all
Sorry for raising old thread
Just bought old rack steering and there is freeplay in the inner tie rod and I want to change it my self is there a tool needed
Or normal spanner is ok
Also want to do a rebiuld to it as I've seen slight leak I don't know from the boot didn't notice it when I bought it
Non returnable any way is the kit for rebiulding available online on eBay
And what's the part number for the kit if I ask the shop
Thanks
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  #15  
Old 12-19-2014, 08:22 AM
Smoothops Smoothops is offline
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I took my inner tie rod with a large adjustable wrench, nothing to it. The kit is available on Ebay. I bought a kit, but only used the right outer seal. 25 bucks shipped if you want it.
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  #16  
Old 12-19-2014, 09:29 AM
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JDeGraff89 JDeGraff89 is offline
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So, would these snap rings be accessable with snap ring pliers? I have a set that comes with 90 hook, 45 hook, and straight end, I'm guessing I'll end up using the straight ended one? Seriously though if you're going to rebuild anything with snap rings pick yourself up a set, its only 5 bucks at any tool store.
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  #17  
Old 12-22-2014, 07:55 AM
chaenigma chaenigma is offline
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should I fix my front suspension problems before attempting to fix my steering rack leak? all my bushings need replacing, and I think my tie rods are loose too. car shudders at 65 on the freeway, and the steering isnt so great especially over bumps. Can these issues cause steering rack leaks?

Sorry if this question was addressed before, this is my first time posting
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  #18  
Old 12-22-2014, 11:52 AM
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mjalloul11 mjalloul11 is offline
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Loose ball joints will take thier toll on the rack with time. If the leak is not that sever, do all the front end in one go when you can.
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  #19  
Old 12-28-2014, 09:16 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Lots of very nice pictures of a steering rack rebuild were posted here today ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Steering rack replacement DIY
Quote:
Originally Posted by sactown540 View Post
BMW E39 I6 STEERING RACK REPLACEMENT DIY

The following are things I learned from just doing this job that I didnt see in other forums or in the Bentley manual.

1. Installing the rack is easier with inner tie rod removed. This might seem obvious to you but my rackdoctor rack came with inner tie rods and boots attached!
Meaning i should install rack with these attached, but this drastically cut down on space to install. To make things easier i removed the inner tie rod from my rackdoctor rack. This meant i had to cut the clamp on the larger end of the boot, so i could use a 32mm (or 1-1/4") wrench to remove the inner tie rod. Once the rack is installed its easy to install inner and outer tie rods.
2. Removing all ball joints is easy. My last car was a 2001 540i and i replaced everything in the front except steering components using harbor freight ball joint tool. I used it wrong then by trying to screw the ball joint out. What you should do it just screw on the tool then bang a hammer against the tool. Turn screw a turn. then bang with hammer. Repeat steps till ball joint drops out knuckle. This can be sometimes done with one blow.
3. Dont worry about keeping track of steering wheel alignment/wheels. This can be spline aligned close enough just before you install the rack into the car. I say this because after you have wheels straight, you still need to turn wheel carrier when removing tie rod ball joints. This is just my opinion from my first rack removal and install. I measured 9 inches sticking out of left/right side of the rack (indicating to me the rack was centered). I also turned the steering wheel to center then locked the wheel by removing the key. The wheel might not be perfect but it is close enough that you can drive to alignment shop once rack install is complete.
4. Taking advantage of having engine raised and car jacked up to perform other work
4A. Replace low pressure side of power steering system. These are the one that usually leak. The high pressure side are metal tubes and dont usually leak. My high pressure lines look good so far. The two low pressure hoses were like $14 from pelican parts. I just bought them instead of making myself. Reservoir to power steering pump and reservoir to cooler.
4B. Remove and replace engine mounts. Each mount has a nut to remove from top and bottom.
4C. Replace upper control arm/Tension strut & lower control arm/Wishbone. Especially since i now know how to use ball joint removal tool, this job is alot easier. I only replaced the Wishbone for now.
4D. And of course End links. Sway bar bushings. I should have done coils and springs....


DIY to remove and replace steering rack
Rack purchased from RackDoctor for $368 minus $100 core = $268
Other parts were purchased from Pelican Parts online.

1. Raise the car on jack stands and remove the tires.
2. I placed several flattened card board boxes on ground for floor protection.
3. Separate tie rod ball joint from wheel carrier. Turn wheels to better reach nut. I used 22mm wrench to remove nut. I used harbor freight ball joint tool to separate ball joint. Point tool so that its not cutting/stabbing into wheel carrier. Maneuver wheel as necessary. Screw tool on. Tighten down some. Bang tool with hammer. If ball joint doesnt fall out, repeat tightening tool then bang hammer. Repeat for other side. On mine I had to screw a few turns, bang with hammer a few times before it dropped.
4. Remove inner tie rod. Remove boot to access nut. Remove tie rod with 1-1/4" or 32mm wrench. Unscrew tie rod from rack. Repeat process for other side.
5. I did measure tie rods per Bentley manual. I had 9 inches. Center of ball joint to just end of threads. See Bentley manual.
6. Remove air box so you can access power steering lines, etc.
7. Separate the fan shroud from the radiator and make sure it can move freely. Remove two plastic plugs holding radiator to shroud.
8. Raise engine. I used two wood blocks on jack. Placed wood right under oil pan but not over sensor, that is there. I didn't measure but it felt like atleast a couple inches (or more!) to gain better access for all processes and specifically remove engine mounts. After each raise of the jack, check hoses, top and bottom, to ensure nothing is too tight. Anyway i think i went to near the max engine height as hoses on passenger and driver side became taught.
9. Remove power steering lines. I didnt do this but open power steering reservoir so fluid flows easily. Most fluid is in the rack. I didnt spill much from the rack, most came from the lines. Lay down cardboard and tray to collect fluid. Now that the engine is raised you can access power steering lines into rack from top to bottom. 22mm larger bolt, 19mm smaller bolt. Each has two brass rings. My rack from rackdoctor came with two sets of brass rings. The larger brass rings are obviously for 22mm bolt.
10. Remove steering column bolt (13mm) from driver side wheel well.
11. Remove Rack
-Remove the 2 bolts that hold the rack to your sub-frame. Now rack is free.
-Separate the rack from the steering column, this caused my job to double in time, because i did it incorrectly. I somehow removed the lower steering column with the rack! (see pic), instead of removing just the rack. If and when i do this again, i would with one hand lift rack to ease pressure/leverage on steering column then with other hand try to pull/pry rack from lower steering column right where the bolt attaches. I dont know how hard this would be since when i did this the lower steering column came out with my rack....this wouldnt be such a bad thing but I never could get the lower steering column to re-install correctly. It splined correctly but just wouldnt seat all the way.
-Rack should come out easily.
-Remove plastic dust cover on rack so you can install it onto new rack. It helps align spline onto lower steering column too. I didnt install mine cause that was how much space i lost in the column since i couldnt get it to seat all the way.
12. Remove and replace engine mounts. This is where i had to raise the engine a bit higher since it was a tight fit, especially on the passenger side. Two nuts on each mount. One on top and one on bottom. I had to bend a metal shield near the passenger mount and raise it really high to actually get it out.
13. Look over old and new rack. Make sure all parts are there. Switch dust cover from old to new. Make sure rack ends are around equal..or centered. I used tape measure and got them close as possible. If doing again I would cover rack ends with tape or something to protect metal sealing surface. I actually digned the sealing surface which will probably leak there in the future uggghh...lesson learned.
Rack came with plastic plugs in power steering line holes. I left them in so not spill fluid. I removed them after rack is installed but right before lowering the engine.
14. Re-Install rack
-Make sure steering wheel is centered and locked. If not locked make sure you're aware it can move.
-Be aware of power steering lines and out of way.
-I did this with inner tie rods installed at first. Cost me atleast an hour or more of headache trying to maneuver it into place. Instead I ended up removing the inner tie rods so i had more room. I had to cut the metal clamp holding the boot on, then removed inner tie rod with 32mm or 1-1/4" wrench.
-Maneuver rack into car. Since inner tie rod is off watch out you dont damage the inner sealing surface of tubes in rack.
-This part is where i messed up (since my steering column came out (see pic) i could not get it back in fully so my rack to steering column bolt would not fully seat!! not good but i could not fix this (see pic where bolt is sticking out) and i was really frustrated) but if done again i would do the following. One hand trying to hold rack up a lil off subframe and other trying to mate lower steering column female splines to rack male splines.
-Once mated seat rack bolt holes (2) into subframe. If these mate up then you should be good.
-Install rack to subframe bolts and nuts.
15. Install steering column bolt.
16. Install power steering lines into rack. Wipe surfaces clean. Using new or old brass rings, install and tighten lines and bolts. As you tighten make sure lines are in neutral position.
17. Lower engine. I had to guide the driver side engine mount into place.
18. Tighten engine mount nuts.
19. Install boots and inner tie rods onto rack. I hand tightened them then used a wrench on them once in place in wheel carrier.
20. Install outer tie rods.
-on each side i had to turn wheel full left or right so I could screw on outer tie rod. Make sure you install nut and washer. Washer on mine was not identical on each side. The greater chamfered end faces outer tie rod not rack. This is where i matched my old tie rod to new tie rod and adjusted nut accordingly.
-Screw on hand tight with nut of ball joint end facing up, best inline of wheel carrier hole.
-Tight nut on tie rod hand tight.
-Measure again that outer tie rod distance matches or is close to old outer tie rod.
-Repeat for other side.
21. Install outer tie rod ball joint.
-Position wheel out, so that ball joint play can best fit into ball joint hole in wheel carrier. Using wood block, jack up wheel carrier until ball joint fits into hole. Probably will need to turn steering wheel to extend rack.
-Install washer and tighten a few turns to secure ball joint. I believe these have allen holes that need to be held to fully tighten nut on ball joint.
-Lower jack then tighten nut on ball joint.
22. Tighten inner tie rod to rack. Using 32mm or 1-1/4" wrench, which is also used to loosen or tighten nut on fan clutch.
23. Tighten inner tie rod to outer tie rod. I believe this was 25mm. I just did snug since this will be used by alignment shop later.
24. Zip tie boot back into place. Later I plan to replace larger boot side with metal clamp.
25. Remove and replace power steering hoses. Pretty basic. Look up online how to do this. I saw many DIY's for this. I also replaced reservoir since it was probably stock.
26. Add ATF fluid to power steering system. I only had about 1quart come out and added about 1-1/2 quarts.
My steering wheel was a little off driving to alignment shop but was straight after alignment was done. Alignment cost me $50. Its been a few weeks since i did everything and its driving fine. The rack boots did come off since I only had zip ties so I had to buy large metal clamps to secure the larger end of the boot to the rack.
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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