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1" wide dead spot in steering on '01 330i

2493 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  bmw325
On my '01 330i, there is a 1" wide dead spot in the steering. By "dead spot", I mean that I can move the steering wheel about 1 inch from left to right while driving, without there being much resistance and without changing the car's direction. In comparison to 2 other 330s that I've driven, the steering feel on my car just feels overboosted in the center and not very precise.

I had the steering retrofit done last year but they didn't do a good job on the alignment initially. About 2 months back, a 2nd alignment was done on my car and this greatly improved the steering feel. This time, I specifically asked them to use the max toe in settings allowable by spec in doing the alignment. Unfortunately, now that some time has gone by, there is a 1" wide dead spot in the steering. After the 2nd alignment was done, this wasn't really noticeable but it seems like it's gotten worse with time.

Is it possible that the dead spot is due to the max toe in alignment values that I requested when they did the 2nd alignment? If anyone knowledgeable with alignment settings could answer this for me, I would appreciate it.
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How low is your tire pressure?
Not low

I'm very good about regularly checking my tire pressure. I'm currently running 34F/35R on the staggered tire setup that comes with the sport package.

I'm just very curious if this dead spot is related to the alignment or the steering rack that was put on my car as part of the retrofit.
PG -

I have a similar deadspot on my retrofitted 325i. I think it may be due to having too much toe-in. Think about the position of the front wheels if they're toed in while travelling down the road. They're pointed towards each other-- which means that you have to move the steering wheel more in order to make the car steer--as you begin the inner wheel will be parallel w/ the road while the outer wheel is at an angle. I've read a bunch about alignments and have seen mention of the fact that too much toe-in causes vagueness.

Unlike you, I think my dealer used a lot of toe-in when they did the alignment after the retrofit- unfortunatley they lost the alignment prinout so i don't know what I had before or what I have now. I'm going to try taking my car to an independent alignment shop, and find out what the current toe-in value is. I'll probably have it dialed back to .1' total (.05 on each side) and hope that this solves the problem. According to my Bentley manual, .07' total front toe is the average which sounds like a lot less than we're probably running.

Its tricky to get the right balance between straight line stability and fast turn-in. I think my car currently errs too much to the former (although it still tramlines fairly often). I've been trying to find a cheap and easy way to measure toe-in so that I can mess w/ the alignment myself-- i don't feel like spending 60-$150 a pop to get the alignment right. Unfortunately, my old "bad" steering was better in both respects. The grass is always greener though... I'll let you know when/if I get this alignment and if it solves the problem.
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