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Currently driving a 2K 323i. Built right after the switch to the lighter steering box. Anyone out here know BMWNA is still doing the retrofit program?

I've just sent in the e-mail request to them. Hope to hear back in a few days.

How does everyone like the retrofit?

Became interested in this when I was given a loaner by the BMW Center and found the difference to be significant.

If I'm SOL in getting BMWNA to do this, anyone here did it with their own $$$. If so, how much and do you think it's worth it?

Thanks - this is my first posting on this site.
 

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The experiences people have had with the retrofit vary significantly.

Myself, Pantelli, and Robg had very poor experiences.

Pantelli went through hell to get his rack re-replaced.

Rob is still figuring out the right alignment specs.

I ended up selling my car back because the problem was that intrusive.

To get a rack done yourself would run about 1200-1500 dollars is my guess. The part costs 7-800 alone plus a deposit on the core. Installation time is several hours.

Even then, you may or may not like the feel.

My advice, buy a set of Bridgestone S-03 tires and see if you like the steering quality. They make a difference.

I'd forego the retrofit and trade in the car before I ever did that again.
 

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I'm very surprised that the software tuners don't do anything with the power steering signal going through the ECU (side note: they can electrically tune the muffler flapper door as well but they don't).

anyway, my car was over at Dinan for developement when all of this steering retrofit stuff first went down. speaking for myself and the rest of my E46 homies, I suggested to Steve Dinan that he look into some sort of a product that would give us what we wanted. he told me that it *should* be a fairly easy task to accomplish because all electrical signals run through the ECU and anything that runs through the ECU can be modified. there is presumably some sort of a pressure regulating duty solonoid within the steering system (not unlike the various duty solonoids found in any modern electronically controlled automatic transmission). anyway, the signal to this duty solonoid could be altered to bring the road feal back at higher speeds and to increase boost at parking speeds (sub 2-3 MPH?). if this can in fact actually be done, it would certainly bring more value add to the present Dinan software offering. if this is indeed a viable solution, those of you who own or who are contemplating Dinan engine software might lobby Dinan for this feature (again: *if* it is a viable solution).

for the record, I have the steering retrofit as well. I combined it with the black stitch M3 steering wheel and am about 75-80% pleased overall.
 

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That's a nice conjecture, but I'm affraid it may not be as simple as changing software.
Think about it... if all it took was to rewrite the software and then download that software to any customer requesting it (that's about the cheapest solution a manufacturer can hope for), why is BMW spending millions of $ with steering rack replacements and dealer labor? I don't think BMW is that stupid. I believe the real solution is more complex than just software. What I meant in my other post was that since they decided to spend the big bucks to satisfy their customer base (always a good investment) they should have done the job right, and not try to cheap out of the problem.
 

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JetBlack330i said:
That's a nice conjecture, but I'm affraid it may not be as simple as changing software.
as far as simply reducing the boost pressure at higher speeds or raising it at parking speeds as you state is not conjecture. boost is partially controlled electronically. I know this from my previous experience as a tech but I'm simply not familiar with the specific system on our cars (not sure that very many current BMW techs are either). granted, it's not enough to solve the entire problem either, though. I think the steering rack alone does not address the issue either. from what I've seen posted (and I have in no way read every post that has been made on this subject), it seems that there are discrepencies with the steering ratio as well. in terms of what has been posted, this can be measured as the number of turns lock to lock of the steering wheel. since I ended up with the same number of turns after the retrofit as before, it seems that they didn't address the ratio but rather some internal valving of the steering rack.
 

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31st330i said:

it seems that there are discrepencies with the steering ratio as well. in terms of what has been posted, this can be measured as the number of turns lock to lock of the steering wheel. since I ended up with the same number of turns after the retrofit as before, it seems that they didn't address the ratio but rather some internal valving of the steering rack.
That's true.
While they retrofitted my car, I got a 2002 325i with a 2.8 turns lock to lock.
I asked my advisor if he had ordered a 2002 rack for me and he said he'd ordered exactly the same part specified in the original letter authorizing the service. I got that letter before the 2002's were available...
When I got the car back, sure enough, it had 3 turns lock to lock, just like any 2001. :bawling:
The fact that they redesigned the steering rack for 2002 tells me the ones used in the retrofit (refurbished racks, I was told), are not ideal (temp solution). I did find the 2002 steering boost a bit better than what I got (the difference in steering ratio is not noticeable).
 
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