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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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Old 10-09-2012, 09:09 PM
kindawg kindawg is offline
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Power Steering tight by nature???

I recently bought a 2002 325xi, and the steering wheel is decently hard to turn, the pump is working and I do have power steering, its just that, its very difficult to turn the wheel compared to my other vehicle.

I own a 2008 Mitsubishi Evo X and the steering on that car I can do with 1 finger. I can't however do that with my bmw, I need to use my entire hand, I don't care that I have to, but is this how the steering is on the BMW or has mine deteriorated over time? Pump makes no noise, no nothing, just like I said, tight steering.

Any input appreciated.
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Old 10-10-2012, 04:05 AM
zQUEz zQUEz is offline
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That is normal. Personally I like it as does my wife over the light feel of her Honda.

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Old 10-10-2012, 05:30 AM
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Brobby87 Brobby87 is offline
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I would agree and say yes it is much tighter compared to other vehicles...to a point.

Over time the steering guibo and the control arm bushings go bad and eventually perish. This can cause mushing steering that doesnt feel as crisp.

If your car hasnt had these items replaced I might look into doing that. I've got some new control arms and with new stiffer ball joints waiting in the wings to be put on. Just need to find some time!
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:20 AM
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cwsqbm cwsqbm is offline
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Its harder to turn because we like it that way.

According to the E46 wiki.

BMW marketing had feedback that said that their cars took too much effort to turn the wheel in slow speed situations, i.e. parking. BMW modified the steering rack and system to decrease the steering effort. Those owners who have had extensive experience with E36's (previous generation 3 series) or pre June 2000 cars have stated that there was also a resulting loss of road feel through the steering wheel. Many of these board members have dubbed the "new" steering feel equipped cars as the "Ultimate Parking Machine".

Various owners have stated that the only E46's spared this steering boost and loss in road feel are those equipped with the all wheel drive option (i.e. Xi's).

Current rumors state that the steering rack was modified again starting in Jan. 1, 2001 and that the "old" steering was phased in. Some E46s produced between Jan and April may or may not have the "old" steering. If you are unsure, check out post April 2001 cars and compare steering feel. See these posts from "Ginger" and Jon S. Post 1 & Post 2. Those with post-April 1, 2001 have stated that the steering feel was indeed not pre-June 2000 feel, but somewhere in between the "new" (June-Dec 2000) and the old (pre-June 2000). The post April 2001 steering has been dubbed as the "new-new" steering. This change was a direct result of feedback through bimmer.org members posting on the E46 board and direct contact with BMW NA. So our voice does count!

So the current terminology is:

"old" feel: pre-June 2000 build
"new" feel: June through December 2000 and some Jan-April 2001
"new-new" feel: post April 2001
"retrofit" feel: early retrofit "pilot" run participants have stated that the retrofit feels somewhere between the "new-new" and the "old" feel.

In response to consumer feedback, BMW NA initiated a program to satisfy owners of MY2001 E46s who prefer less boost in the power steering system. These owners maintain that a loss of 'feel' was associated with the newer systems which had more boost than MY2000 and earlier E46s. Intitially, BMW NA maintained a list of owners who would be interested in changing their steering racks for systems with less boost. People who have called in to have their name added to a list of persons interested in a retrofit back in Jan/Feb began to be contacted starting the week of April 16, 2001 en masse. BMW NA is going through the list and contacting those with 323/325 and 330's that were produced between June and December 2000, and is offering a one-time free-of-charge changeover to a less boosted steering system.

BMWNA has been very clear on the statements to those contacted. They typically cover the following items:

Steering rack and components will be replaced with pre-June 2000 components at no charge.
You have your choice of BMW centers to install the retrofit.
BMWNA will contact your chose center to give them the details and parts needed for the retrofit. BMWNA requests a couple of days before you try to schedule an appointment with your center.
BMWNA makes it very clear that the retrofit will make steering more difficult at lower speeds.

There has been some confusion as to whether June-Dec 2000 325's and post Jan 2001 cars with "new-new" feel were eligible for the retrofit. Latest news is that the post Jan 325/330's are eligible due to the phase in started in Jan 2001. "New-new" feel cars might be and will be evaluated on a case by case basis according to some sources.
My first few cars I owned didn't have power steering at all, so anything with power steering seems light to me while parking.
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Last edited by cwsqbm; 10-10-2012 at 06:26 AM.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:28 AM
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Brobby87 Brobby87 is offline
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Informative and yet confusion at the same time. That does shed some light on the sitation though.
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:16 AM
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smolck smolck is offline
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Your car should have a LUK 30 pump, it has a slightly lighter feel than the earlier (and more failure prone) LUK 20 pump. BMW's are heavier by design however I would make sure yours is up to snuff. Change your fluid using this DIY (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=214439) and see what happens. Takes 15 min and $15.

Check out my YouTube Channel for DIY's and other fun stuff HERE
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:52 PM
terry740 terry740 is offline
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Location: Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
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power steering feel

I just changed tensioners, pulleys and pump. There may be a slight reduction in effort, but I agree with the others, that it is naturally stiff, I much prefer it to my wife's Mazda CX-9 (nice SUV, btw)
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