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Discussion Starter #1
Recently, my 2004 325i with 45,000 miles has lost power steering. One night I drove it with absolutely no problems. The next morning I moved it 3 blocks and the power steering was completely gone before i pulled into the parking spot. I proceeded to check my PS reservoir and it was a bit low (see pictures attached). The fluid was actually low enough to not be touching the dip stick. But there was fluid in the reservoir. I checked all of my lines for leaks as well as the boots of the rack and found no fluid. I proceeded to refill the reservoir to the appropriate level. Upon refilling the reservoir (it only took about 4 oz probably), the power steering is still non-functional. Is the issue probably the power steering pump? Would the level being low have caused a pump failure? I am a couple hundred miles away from my garage so I don't really have the necessary equipment to do the repair myself. If I bought some cheap driving ramps to raise the front end up, could I replace it on a street? What kind of labor costs am I looking at to fix the problem if I take it to an independent mechanic?
 

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Most likely your PS pump. Not a difficult DIY. But make sure you get the correct pump. New are expensive, but you can try look for a used OEM on ebay. I saw a couple of good pumps there from low mileage cars. Not sure you can do it on the street though, I'd tow it to the garage but the equipment is very basic, ramps are enough.
 

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Recently, my 2004 325i with 45,000 miles has lost power steering. One night I drove it with absolutely no problems. The next morning I moved it 3 blocks and the power steering was completely gone before i pulled into the parking spot. I proceeded to check my PS reservoir and it was a bit low (see pictures attached). The fluid was actually low enough to not be touching the dip stick. But there was fluid in the reservoir. I checked all of my lines for leaks as well as the boots of the rack and found no fluid. I proceeded to refill the reservoir to the appropriate level. Upon refilling the reservoir (it only took about 4 oz probably), the power steering is still non-functional. Is the issue probably the power steering pump? Would the level being low have caused a pump failure? I am a couple hundred miles away from my garage so I don't really have the necessary equipment to do the repair myself. If I bought some cheap driving ramps to raise the front end up, could I replace it on a street? What kind of labor costs am I looking at to fix the problem if I take it to an independent mechanic?
You sound like me not to long ago..I replaced mines @ 77,000 its like 400 for a pump online and idk about the cost of labor though. Thats why i helped my uncle change mines.
 

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Yea, when the shaft on the pump breaks, it is bye bye power steering and you may have no signs at all. Easy DIY.
 

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Did you pull the splah shield (plastic) from under the engine/front suspension when you checked for leaks? If you have no leaks, seems to me your fluid level in the resevoir got low enough to cavitate the pump. In which case air has been introduced into the system, causing the difficulty in steering. I would fill and bleed the system, before changing any parts. G et the front end in the air with the wheels free to turn (steer). Use jack stands. It's a straight forward process. Fill the res., start the engine and turn the wheel left to right lock to lock, slowly, about 5 times each way. Now check the fluid level, top it off, and note any bubbles in the resevoir. Repeat the process till the level stays up and bubbles cease (it might take 3 or 4 repetitions). Alas! at this point if you have a leak, you'll know it. I leave the splash shield off untill the test drive is done. Good luck, hope you don't need any parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Is there any way that I can potentially guarantee that the fault is with the pump shaft? If I were to open the reservoir while someone was turning my steering wheel, would the fluid not be moving if the pump shaft were broken? I just don't want to order any costly and unnecessary parts. Also, could I potentially drive the vehicle back to my garage, nearly 200 miles away, without potentially damaging anything else (rack, alignment, etc..)?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Also, could someone tell me whether the 2004 325i came factory with a LF20 or a LF30? I don't want to order the wrong pump, nor do I want to involve any unnecessary retrofitting of hoses for a new pump model. The last 7 of my VIN are KR31253.
 

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Also, could someone tell me whether the 2004 325i came factory with a LF20 or a LF30? I don't want to order the wrong pump, nor do I want to involve any unnecessary retrofitting of hoses for a new pump model. The last 7 of my VIN are KR31253.
LUK LF-20 according to realoem. Open the hood, take a flashlight and you'll see the sticker on the pump to confirm.
 

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There's a BMW TSB that recommends going to the LF-30 if you have an LF-20 that failed. Doing so requires a different style pressure hose. Replace the reservoir as well because there is a filter in it. You can change it all in the street. The pump went out on my 325 and I had all the parts installed in about half an hour. It's really easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
After refilling the reservoir with ATF fluid, I drove around the block a few times tying to introduce the fluid into the system and bleed the system. I regained no power steering. On a positive note, the reservoir fluid level did not appear to be dropping any, so I'm assuming the fault is in deed the pump and not a major hose/rack leak. I typically always replace with OEM parts, but I have located an eBay seller who has the LF20 pump for 90.00 (non-oem - item 300359510442) or the pump and reservoir for 95.00 (non-oem - item 300359511272). I know, I know, deals that sound too good to be true, normally end up being so in the long run, but I thought I'd just get an opinion on buying non-oem for the pump. Also, could I potentially drive the vehicle back to my garage, nearly 250 miles away, without potentially damaging anything else (rack, alignment, etc..)? Is the worse case scenario that I will essentially incinerate my pump/hoses/pulley in the process?
 

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My PS pump failed down in Santa Barbara and I drove it back to the Bay Area withe a dead pump. On Highway 1 even. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
In ordering the LF-20 pump, it appears that there is a late model (from 9/02)(part# 32416760034) and early model (9/99-9/01) (part# 32416760036) production of the LF-20 pump. Will either work, or do I need specifically need the late production LF-20? For some reason the late production appears to be more costly from some online sellers. Once again, my vehicle is a 2004 325i.
 

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I'd buy the one your car's production date falls into. So obviously the late model. The pressure/return ports may be in different spots or the pump may operate at different pressures. Who knows? Just have to buy the one that fits based on production date.
 

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wow.... how did it feel, man :bigpimp:

why didn't you take 101? you wanted to take this special challenge w/ a non-PS? :p
I went down to SB with the intent of returning on 1. A bum PS pump wasn't going to stop me! You only need PS in parking lots, anyway. At freeway speeds you barely notice a difference. Although a bit extra force was needed through some fun, twisty sections of 1. :)
 

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I'd buy the one your car's production date falls into. So obviously the late model. The pressure/return ports may be in different spots or the pump may operate at different pressures. Who knows? Just have to buy the one that fits based on production date.
The good news for you is that the 20 has less pressure so you should be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That's partly my concern. I'll be traveling back to my garage, about 300 miles away, while driving for most of the trip through the Appalachian Mountains. It's bound to be a lot of fun w/o power steering.
 
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