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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series & 4 Series > E30 (1982 - 1993)

E30 (1982 - 1993)
God's Chariot. The E30 was produced primarily from 1982 through 1991. The cabriolet was the one exception which was produced through 1993.

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Old 05-04-2013, 02:01 PM
j_dunavin j_dunavin is offline
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Location: Illinois
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 56
Mein Auto: geo metro
Leaky rack and pinion?

I'm thinking about buying an 87' 325 that has a leakey rack and pinion.
I'm new to the BMW world, so what options are available?
My main question is if it can be rebuilt? If not then I suppose my next option would be to find one out of the yard some where and replace it?
Thanks for the help.
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:11 PM
j_dunavin j_dunavin is offline
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Location: Illinois
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 56
Mein Auto: geo metro
Wow O'Rilies has a whole remaned rack for $300
Or an overhaul kit for $90

Has anyone had success rebuilding the rack?
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:02 AM
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Newman271 Newman271 is offline
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Location: Cincinnati, OH
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 625
Mein Auto: 99' 540i M-Sport
Prolly wouldn't be too hard.. I just replaced mine. I just like to avoid too much hassle. It's pretty easy on these cars if you bend the mounting tabs down to slide the rack out.
1999 540i M-Sport
Still fresh and Minty

1985 335i
Black on Black coupe 5spd

1979 Trans Am 10th Anniversary
#16 of 5,683 made

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Old 05-14-2013, 09:34 AM
arbordogg arbordogg is offline
Location: Santa Rosa,Ca
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 53
Mein Auto: 1988 325i convertible
Re: Leaky rack and pinion?

I just had mine replaced. Did not do it myself. My garage is filled with too many motorcycles! Was $500 done by mechanic.

1988 325i convertible 2dr 5spd manual trans
Arbordogg, 1988 325i convertible 2dr coupe 8271514
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:34 AM
Jim Shoulders Jim Shoulders is offline
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Location: S.E. Coast
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 39
Mein Auto: 89i e30/87 spec30
Talk to Rich at Rack Doctor. I have replaced three e30 racks from him over the years and been 100% satisfied. Best value for the dollar IMHO. The rack comes with the inner tie-rods. He doesn't swap a e36 close ratio for your e30 core. The inner tie rods are different and screws his inventory. Rackdoctor sends you a rebuilt rack, you send Rich your core. The racks I have bought have all been BMW original rebuilt racks. No Hecho en China rebuilds. His business is out of SC I believe, quick turnaround and he will answer your questions. No BS.

BTW- I would highly suggest not trying the DIY rebuild. I'm a older racer/pilot/a&p/a&i and have gone that route. Pay Rich the $170 or so and enjoy your free time tuning the suspension or whatever. The once ever so often Rack rebuild is a PITA without a few special rebuild tools. Especially the inner seals. If your short on cash you can try some brake fluid in the P/S ATF method of swelling the seals. Your mileage may vary but it will swell the seals if they are not completely crapped.

Last edited by Jim Shoulders; 05-17-2013 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 05-19-2013, 03:25 PM
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garagistic garagistic is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 722
Mein Auto: e30
If deleting the power steering is an option:

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Old 05-19-2013, 04:54 PM
First time's Avatar
First time First time is offline
Location: in my house
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 549
Mein Auto: 2001 540i sport/1994 525i
Leaky rack and pinion?

I paid 95 for my rebuild kit and have yet to rebuild it. I have a walk thru from another thread somewhere and he recommends to just buy a rebuilt rack from IE. i will be doing the same.

He said that most of the pieces are hard plastic and once they break thats it. He has the rack 90% rebuilt but broke one piece so he doesnt want to spend another 95 bucks just to get that small piece again.

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Old 05-20-2013, 01:06 AM
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cmac2012 cmac2012 is offline
Renaissance Dude
Location: Berkeley, CA
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 7,006
Mein Auto: '87 325i, '86 MB300SDL
Originally Posted by garagistic View Post
If deleting the power steering is an option:

Ahh. That explains a few things. Some years back the bracket that mounts the power steering pump to the block busted and genius me figured I'd just disconnect the belt and get stronger arm muscles. It's more work, no doubt about it. I didn't realize that, as you imply, one can reduce the work required with the proper hardware. I've seen a manual rack online somewhere (less weight as well) but didn't think it worth the money - over $200 IIRC.

Anyway, eventually repaired the pump mount and got it going. About a year later the rack started leaking. (Not sure if I damaged it with my power steering by Armstrong routine, didn't think of that at the time)

The first boneyard rack lasted about 120K, cost me $35. That one just pooped out a couple of months back - got another one - this about $40 at Pick 'n Pull. I search for these things carefully. The one I settled on came from a convertible, looked completely clean. Boots in mint condition, no oil caked dirt on them.

Replacing the rack is a semi-tough job. When you take the clamp thingy from the pinion on the end of the steering column, the bolt that loosens the clamp needs to come out, not just get loosened. Self evident when you get it out.

But hey, it runs great.

PS: I'm lucky here in the People's Republic - good boneyards and plenty of E30s to choose from. Won't be that way forever I reckon.

Last edited by cmac2012; 05-20-2013 at 01:13 AM.
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