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I've got a 2000 323ci with 116k miles. It has some steering issues, and I've already replaced the control arm bushings which definitely helped, but I've had a worsening bump steer problem that's making me uncomfortable.

With the engine off and the steering wheel unlocked, there's about three inches of play side to side in the wheel, but I wouldn't call it *loose* and there's no clicking, so I'm thinking less likely to be the steering guibo.

That said, it has significantly more play when turning to the right than left, and the car actually rocks a little when I turn it to the right. Turning left feels more solid and there's no movement in the chassis. But... On the freeway there's less side to side play and it's *opposite*; right feels relatively tight and left is loose. Could this be something other than tie rods? Like ball joints, strut, etc.?

Lastly, if it is tie rods, what are your thoughts on the inexpensive TRW outer tie rods, just to hold me over until I can afford complete Lemforders?

Thanks for your response.
 

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Could be many things. The steering guibo is the first thing to look at and is most likely to be responsible for most of the slack. Next is the steering rack then tie rods and ball joints. You should remove the guibo and examine it closely. It should be fairly obvious.
 

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3 inches is a fairly good amount. I highly doubt it is only 1 bad item.

You can drop the skid cover and crawl under while someone is turning the wheel.

Steering guibo would have no clicking, so it could be that.

As Dave mentioned, it could also be rack, inner/outer tie rods, ball joints.

The best method of figuring this out is the get the car elevated on jack stands or ramps (Use your brain be smart with putting the car in the air, especially with you under it).

Once it’s elevated you can get under there and wiggle and pry and see what’s loose, and also have someone wiggle the wheel.

That’s your best bet. We can not diagnose it on the internet. Also try youtube on diagnosing loose steering. It is almost a generic diagnosis for any car. n


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