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  #1  
Old 05-09-2002, 08:48 PM
PG PG is offline
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Mein Auto: '03 330i
Perfect steering at last (long)

After having the steering retrofit done in September '01 on my April '01 production 330i (originally had new-new steering), I still couldn't say that the steering felt quite right. Although the steering felt somewhat heavier on turns after the retrofit was done, the steering felt loose in the center and had a wide open dead spot. A few months after having the retrofit done, I finally decided to have a 2nd alignment done on my car thinking this would solve the problem. Although the alignment initially made the steering feel somewhat better, i still couldn't say that the steering felt the way it was supposed to.

Keep in mind that my opinion about my car's retrofit steering was based relative to 2 other 330s that I've driven. One of my friends at work has a 330i that had the retrofit done on it. His rack had the 3.2 turns lock-to-lock ratio and felt very firm and heavy. And, another friend at work has a 5/01 production 330ci with the heavier rack (non-retrofit) that has the 2.8 turns lock-to-lock ratio. Although I could sense a difference between the steering feel in both of my friends' 330's steering feel, I still felt that I would easily be happy if my 330's steering felt like theirs.

In the process of getting to the bottom of why my 330's retrofit steering still didn't feel heavy, I made my way through a total of 3 different dealerships and 1 technical rep from BMWNA. The first dealership was the one that did my steering retrofit and they felt that my car's steering felt fine. Ditto with dealership #2. And, the technical rep from BMWNA also felt that my car's steering was ok but he was very honest in saying that he had not driven a 330 with the retrofit.

At dealership #3, I got to know an excellent service rep that does his best to understand a customer's concern and then effectively communicates the concern to the tech that will work on the car. After having them do the 2nd alignment on my car, I told my service advisor that things still didn't quite feel right with my retrofit steering rack. After having one of the dealership's best techs take a drive with my car, it was concluded that something with my retrofit rack must be faulty. So, a new steering rack was ordered and it was decided that my steering rack would be replaced under warranty. Since I felt that it was pretty big accomplishment to get them to order a new retrofit rack for my car and replace it at no charge, I didn't question them much or ask them to order a specific rack for me. We simply agreed that a new retrofit rack (part #32131097315) would be ordered for my car.

One month later (this past Tuesday), I finally got a call back from the dealership saying that new steering rack was in. After bringing my car in this morning, I asked the service rep to verify with me which part # was ordered. He looked it up and to my surprise, he told me that the rack they ordered is not the regular retrofit rack (part #32131097315). He said, "Instead, we ordered the revised rack that is on all May '01+ 330s and also on the E46 compact." After looking up the part # of the rack they ordered (part #32136755065), I confirmed that they ordered the same rack that is on my one friend's 330i with the 2.8 turns lock-to-lock ratio.

This afternoon, I got a call from the dealership saying that my car is ready. I went to pick it up and to my excitement, my steering concerns have been solved. The new steering rack (same as the rack on post 5/01 production 330s) has a good amount of heaviness to it and feels very solid. In addition, the lower lock-to-lock ratio gives the steering a quicker feel so that lane changes require less movement. At last, I am satisfied.

To any individuals out there that feel that your E46's retrofit steering is not right, I'd encourage you to find a dealership with a good service department and do your best to get them to replace your retrofit rack with the rack that I have (part #32136755065) under warranty.

In my opinion, there's no reason to pay $40k for a car and not be happy with it. You need to be aggressive and do what it takes to get any steering issues resolved.

PG

Last edited by PG; 05-10-2002 at 09:28 AM.
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  #2  
Old 05-09-2002, 08:52 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is offline
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So good to hear! I think i'll be making a trip to Chicago soon.
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  #3  
Old 05-09-2002, 09:07 PM
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Sean Sean is offline
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That dealership may have to eat it on parts and labor. My 2nd retro rack was installed last week and a friend who is a BMW tech at my dealership tried to order me the same rack that was just installed in your car. It just so happens I was standing there when the Parts Dept. called BMW NA and were told that the same part had to be ordered and returned (warranty) or the dealer would be stuck with a core charge and possibly more.
  #4  
Old 05-09-2002, 09:14 PM
PG PG is offline
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Good point. I've thought about that. I'm just glad I got what I wanted. It's much better than paying $40k for a car and being upset with its' steering feel.
  #5  
Old 05-09-2002, 09:27 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is offline
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Yeah- I was thinking about the core charge too-- I guess that will add to the cost significantly if I try to do this myself. But, I've gotta think you would get some sort of core credit for returning the old rack.
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  #6  
Old 05-09-2002, 09:50 PM
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Glad to hear your steering is finally up to par. It sounds like you found a great service department. You ought to send the service guys that helped you a nice box big of Godiva chocolate or something.

--SONET
  #7  
Old 05-09-2002, 09:53 PM
PG PG is offline
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Definitely -- I plan to. I'll send something for both the tech that worked on my car and the service advisor. I'm pretty lucky that I found a service department that was willing to listen to me and address my concerns as opposed to telling me that my car's steering feels "ok".
  #8  
Old 05-09-2002, 10:03 PM
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Glad to hear you are sending them something... good service is hard to find and should always be rewarded! :thumb:

--SONET
  #9  
Old 05-10-2002, 11:20 AM
ESS ESS is offline
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Great to hear PG! By the way, how's that M3 wheel? I installed mine a couple of weeks ago and think it's a great improvement.
  #10  
Old 05-10-2002, 11:36 AM
PG PG is offline
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To ESS:

I have not yet installed the M3 steering wheel. About a month ago, I had ordered it. But, because I knew that my car's steering rack would be replaced soon, I wanted to wait for the new rack to be installed before changing the steering wheel. I'm probably going to wait a week or so now that I have the new rack just to make sure that there are no problems. Then, I'll install the new wheel.
  #11  
Old 05-10-2002, 11:55 AM
in_d_haus in_d_haus is offline
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Now I'm really interested to see which PN# they just put in my car.
  #12  
Old 05-10-2002, 12:01 PM
bimmee bimmee is offline
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Does this same concern apply to 325 also?

Not familiar with technical terms so may I ask wat does it mean by a steering retrofit?

When I test drove a 325ci at the dealer, I did notice the steering was very loose. I just thought maybe I am not used to it because I have been driving a pretty heavy steering car. So how do I know if the steering on my car is ok?

Thanks
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  #13  
Old 05-10-2002, 12:38 PM
webguy330i webguy330i is offline
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This is awesome! More proof that the post-May 2001 rack was indeed the best "new new old" steering.
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  #14  
Old 05-10-2002, 12:56 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is offline
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bimmee-

hoooboy. The retrofit is a big topic. I have a 325i built in May and got the retrofit. Search the archives for my username (robg), and you'll find a lot of stuff on it. See my post from yesterday for an exhaustive description of all of the various steering racks BMW has used in the E46. The short ansewr is that 2001 models got lighter steering, BMW made newere better version for 2002 models, and they started using this in April for 330s but not until September for 325s. All 2001 325s have the lighter steering-- suposedly there are 2 forms of it-- new and new new with the new new being slightly heavier. You'll have to work a bit harder w/ BMWNA if you want the retrofit on a 325i- they'll claim its not necessary. Anyway, search the archices, there's much to much to tell in one post.
Anyway, PG just attained the holy grail for those of us w/ 2001 cars-- a 2002 model steering rack w/ a firmer feel AND tighter ratio. He's the only one who has managed to do this- and may be the only one to ever achieve this.
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Last edited by bmw325; 05-10-2002 at 12:59 PM.
  #15  
Old 05-10-2002, 01:27 PM
bimmee bimmee is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by robg
bimmee-

hoooboy. The retrofit is a big topic. I have a 325i built in May and got the retrofit. Search the archives for my username (robg), and you'll find a lot of stuff on it. See my post from yesterday for an exhaustive description of all of the various steering racks BMW has used in the E46. The short ansewr is that 2001 models got lighter steering, BMW made newere better version for 2002 models, and they started using this in April for 330s but not until September for 325s. All 2001 325s have the lighter steering-- suposedly there are 2 forms of it-- new and new new with the new new being slightly heavier. You'll have to work a bit harder w/ BMWNA if you want the retrofit on a 325i- they'll claim its not necessary. Anyway, search the archices, there's much to much to tell in one post.
Anyway, PG just attained the holy grail for those of us w/ 2001 cars-- a 2002 model steering rack w/ a firmer feel AND tighter ratio. He's the only one who has managed to do this- and may be the only one to ever achieve this.
Hey ROBG,

thanks. I went and read some of your older posts. Sorry about your bad experience!!

I hope, like you said, the steering on 2002 model IS firmer and doesnt need anything done. The fact is, even if theres a problem..........I might not be able to tell
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  #16  
Old 05-10-2002, 02:29 PM
bmw325 bmw325 is offline
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bimmee- do you know if the 325ci you drove was a 2001 or 2002 model? If its a 2002 and you thought it felt loose then there's not much hope for you getting a new BMW-- there's absolutely no way BMW will retrofit 2002 model cars. I'm betting that you drove a 2001 model.
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  #17  
Old 05-10-2002, 03:09 PM
bimmee bimmee is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by robg
bimmee- do you know if the 325ci you drove was a 2001 or 2002 model? If its a 2002 and you thought it felt loose then there's not much hope for you getting a new BMW-- there's absolutely no way BMW will retrofit 2002 model cars. I'm betting that you drove a 2001 model.
It was a 2002 At least thats what my salesman said.

It did feel loose to me, I was so not used to it even the salesman could tell. He volunteered to park the car after the test drive, hehehe. So maybe its just me, I am too used to heavier steering. I have driven some american cars and also felt their steering was loose.
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  #18  
Old 05-10-2002, 03:13 PM
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vexed vexed is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by bimmee


It was a 2002 At least thats what my salesman said.

It did feel loose to me, I was so not used to it even the salesman could tell. He volunteered to park the car after the test drive, hehehe. So maybe its just me, I am too used to heavier steering. I have driven some american cars and also felt their steering was loose.
When did you test drive? They did not get their first 02's until October I think...your steering will be wonderful, if you got the SP spring for an M3 wheel and then it is really fun:thumb:
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  #19  
Old 05-10-2002, 03:31 PM
bimmee bimmee is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by vexed


When did you test drive? They did not get their first 02's until October I think...your steering will be wonderful, if you got the SP spring for an M3 wheel and then it is really fun:thumb:
I test drove in February so I guess it must be a 2002. The car has SP.

SP spring for an M3 wheel?? Is that an option or is it included in SP??
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  #20  
Old 05-10-2002, 03:59 PM
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vexed vexed is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by bimmee


I test drove in February so I guess it must be a 2002. The car has SP.

SP spring for an M3 wheel?? Is that an option or is it included in SP??
The M3 wheel is a "mod" you can install it yourself takes about 30 minutes with the right tool but it will cost over $300 and then there is shipping to Hawaii.....
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  #21  
Old 05-10-2002, 04:57 PM
bimmee bimmee is offline
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What difference does it make besides appearance?
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  #22  
Old 05-10-2002, 05:25 PM
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vexed vexed is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by bimmee
What difference does it make besides appearance?
It is smaller in diameter, more thickly padded, has thumb rests, and has to quote my friends "soft buttery leather.." I admit it is a luxury but it seems anyone who has one does not regret it.
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  #23  
Old 05-10-2002, 05:33 PM
bimmee bimmee is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by vexed


It is smaller in diameter, more thickly padded, has thumb rests, and has to quote my friends "soft buttery leather.." I admit it is a luxury but it seems anyone who has one does not regret it.
hmmmmm, will tink about it, maybe after i upgrade my audio
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  #24  
Old 05-15-2002, 11:59 AM
Trea Trea is offline
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Thumbs up Way to go!

I'm in the same boat - waiting to hear from my dealer - they started out with "feels" fine...and are at the "might be somehting wrong" stage...You just gave me hope!
  #25  
Old 05-15-2002, 12:17 PM
Hifters Hifters is offline
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PG,

I am in the Chicagoland area, and shopping for a 330i. What dealers did you go to? Any input would be helpful.

Thanks
Dean
 

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