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Old 10-07-2002, 10:20 AM
andy_thomas andy_thomas is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 2,585
Mein Auto:
E36 - steering clunk

Hello chaps and chappesses, Andy here. First time poster, so please go easy!

I have a 1995 318is which is exhibiting a "clunk" when the wheel is turned with the motor running. It manifests itself as a low-frequency thud felt through the steering wheel and, to a lesser extent, the floor of the car.

When the wheel is turned - especially from the straight-ahead position - resistance builds up and is then released with a "clunk". It's most noticeable when the car is stopped - it happens when driving, too, but it's easier to isolate with no other noise or vibration. When the engine is switched off, there is no clunking or thudding - no matter how fast or far you turn the wheel. The steering is otherwise tight and precise, with little slop. There is no PAS fluid loss, and no leaking from the gaiters or the hoses.

I've checked the archives and Google etc, and the usual suspects - anti-roll bar links, spring binding, even a cracked subframe - are all OK on the car. I've had new springs, shocks, ARB links and LCA bushings and balljoints recently (replacing parts only because they were steadily wearing out through 81,000 hard-driven miles, not in an effort to eradicate the clunking!).

As it feels purely power-steering related, I suspect either the rack is causing delaying power assistance input, or the pump is bad. Before I go ahead and replace half the front end, has anyone else come across this (in the E36 chassis or otherwise)?

Comments welcome!


Andy T
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Old 10-07-2002, 12:59 PM
Eric Giles's Avatar
Eric Giles Eric Giles is offline
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Location: Waynesboro, MS
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Mein Auto: '04 330i ZHP
When you were replacing most of your suspension pieces-did you replace your upper strut bearings? This bearing allows the entire strut assembly to turn with the wheels, and it is possible that one or both of these bearings is bad causing your problem. I would either suspect these parts or the steering rack itself.
Eric Giles
Old 10-09-2002, 07:58 AM
andy_thomas andy_thomas is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 2,585
Mein Auto:
Thanks for the reply! I hadn't changed the upper strut bearings - they looked OK when I replaced the struts 10,000 miles ago and weren't making any noises before. Only in the last 2 or 3,000 miles has this noise appeared.

I have even (crosses fingers) tried switching the engine off while driving at 30 mph down a quiet, gentle hill and moving the wheel side to side. With the engine on, the clunk is audible; with the engine off, it goes away. I didn't do anything more than sway a bit from side to side with the motor off, before restarting. (Very dangerous if you try this with any traffic around...)

I think a new rack is on the horizon... damn
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:55 PM
///M-fan ///M-fan is offline
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Location: AL
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: e36 M3/4/5
Andy did you ever get this fixed and what was the fix?
Iíve got exact same issue. Thx

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