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Discussion Starter #1
I have an 09' 328i xDrive and my steering rack is toast. I found a used one that's in pretty good shape but can't find a DIY anywhere on how to remove and install and i'm hoping someone on here can help me out

I don't have to cash to send it somewhere and spend $2000 on labor.

Do I have to drop the subframe?

Can I reuse hardware?

What are the torque specs?
 

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...09' 328i xDrive and my steering rack is toast. I found a used one that's in pretty good shape but can't find a DIY anywhere on how to remove and install...
VERY involved process (Review ALL the Necessary Preliminary Tasks), since you have to (1) Support the Engine, and (2) Lower the Front Axle Support on the X-drive models. I didn't find anything in Bentley about the many extra steps required in the AWD model, but it DOES contain the simple procedure for Rack Removal in RWD models.

Here is the detailed procedure found in TIS Online Service Manual:
https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/...teering-gear-with-power-steering-unit/GLGm7PZ

I have NOT had the pleasure of doing that procedure myself, but I have seen others refer to Lowering the Front Axle Support on this and other forums, so I would expect you can find a DIY thread or perhaps even video for that procedure which shows how others have done it WITHOUT using the special factory tools. If all else fails, PERHAPS a local Indy would tell you the shortcut tips for a price.

WHY is your original steering rack "toast"? Is it leaking? Have the gaiters ruptured and fluid leaking from the end seals, etc.? Depending upon the issue with your existing rack, there may be much simpler remedies, at least to get another year or two of service from your existing rack. ALSO, I would want to know WHY this rack failed so that a replacement does NOT do the same. Pump issues, contaminated/wrong fluid damaged the seals, etc. Have you tried flushing the P/S fluid, either CHF-11 or ATF?

Please let us know what you find,
George
 

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Discussion Starter #6
i've been looking at the Bentley manual and I don't see anything about the xDrive rack. The process has to be different with the front differential and other xdrive components
 

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well, you can hear it when the car is off when you shake the wheel and it wanders and the steering feels dead. The car has had 6 owners and 124,000 miles, I don't really care to find out what went wrong with it all I know is it's shot and I have a used one that'll probably break as well (not feeling good about this job) I can see that the fluid is in pretty rough shape so i'm leaning towards that.
 

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well, you can hear it when the car is off when you shake the wheel and it wanders and the steering feels dead. The car has had 6 owners and 124,000 miles, I don't really care to find out what went wrong with it all I know is it's shot and I have a used one that'll probably break as well (not feeling good about this job) I can see that the fluid is in pretty rough shape so i'm leaning towards that.
NOT sure what you mean by the "steering feels dead", so I'll simply address "wander" or play/ looseness in the steering wheel. WHY do you KNOW the rack is "shot"??? Has any competent shop or tech carefully examined your steering system (how to do that is described below) and given you an opinion of what is causing "play" in the steering?

IF the steering has "play" or looseness when you turn the wheel, engine off, standing still, and you can turn the wheel an inch or more in circumference distance of steering wheel to left or right, WITHOUT any movement/ turning in/out of the front wheels, THEN that is probably NOT the rack. There is NOTHING magical about the Power Assisted Steering Rack. Think of it as a toothed "Rack Bar" moved laterally, L to R, by a pinion gear attached to the steering column, assisted by fluid pressure provided by the Power Steering Pump. Generally if too much effort is required to turn the steering wheel, and there is a "groaning" sound when turning the wheel while stopped, THAT is a pump and or fluid supply issue, and if you have "play" in the steering wheel, that is mechanical looseness somewhere in the linkage, and probably NOT in the rack assembly.

You need to have a competent shop check to see WHERE the play is, or you could do it yourself if you can understand how the steering works from the Bentley/ TIS manual descriptions and component photos.

With engine off, car stationary, front wheels pointed straight ahead: have someone turn steering wheel Left > Right > L > R, repeatedly, ~ 1 to 2 inches while you look, under the hood & over the left fender (assuming US - LHD ;-) first to see that the Upper Steering Shaft is turning, then the Lower steering shaft, then the U-joint at the Rack Tower, then make sure the rack body is NOT moving laterally on its mounts, then the Inner Tie Rod Ends at either side of the steering rack, and finally the Outer Tie Rod Ends at each spindle.

If you have "play" in the steering, where the front wheels do NOT turn Left/Right IMMEDIATELY when the steering wheel is turned an inch or less, that is because you have something worn in the linkage just described. The lower steering U-joint seems to be the most frequent suspect, followed by Outer Tie Rod ball joints at the wheel spindles. Replacing those items is easy. You just have to patiently and methodically test the system as described above to see what does NOT move when the part "upstream" toward the steering wheel moves.

It is natural human tendency to assume that the cause of a fault is something we don't understand the operation of, usually the most expensive or least understood "black box" part of the system (such as the ECU) when 90+% of the time the cause is something simple and cheap.

George
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I’m at school I have a video of the sound and the play in the wheel is there a way I can send it to you and you can tell me what you think?


Sent from my iPhone using Bimmerfest
 

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I’m at school I have a video of the sound and the play in the wheel is there a way I can send it to you and you can tell me what you think?


Sent from my iPhone using Bimmerfest
Take the best video you can, post it to youtube, provide the link to it. Get a second opinion.
 

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Umm, well this could be several culprits. One of them COULD be the very common u-joint severe play that has been repaired for me under warranty.
https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1219761&highlight=joint+u

I would also advise a very careful inspection of all suspension components, especially tie rods. My steering felt loose on the high way even by such unlikely component as the thrust arm bearings (lower control arms).
 

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Umm, well this could be several culprits. One of them COULD be the very common u-joint severe play that has been repaired for me under warranty.
https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1219761&highlight=joint+u

I would also advise a very careful inspection of all suspension components, especially tie rods. My steering felt loose on the high way even by such unlikely component as the thrust arm bearings (lower control arms).
Now that I***8217;m on spring break I have time to take my car apart. Took the air box and various intake pieces to see the steering rack and shaft. Still don***8217;t have an answer on what the problem is. Here***8217;s a video up close of the lower u joint

https://youtu.be/8X35iex4mrc
 

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...Took the air box and various intake pieces to see the steering rack and shaft. Still don't have an answer on what the problem is. Here's a video up close of the lower u joint
Several Observations:

1) Your vehicle is two years newer than mine, so that may be the difference, but that does NOT look like the lower U-joint at the Rack Pinion Tower to me. On mine, to correctly visualize the stated joint, you have to remove the LF wheel and look in on either side of the Left Front Inner Drive Axle Gaiter. I attach two photos, one taken from IN FRONT of the Left Front Drive Axle, showing the Rack Gaiter in the Left foreground, and the Drive Axle Inner Gaiter to the Right of the rack tower & Joint. The other photo shows the lower steering shaft side of the joint, but the shaft is hidden from view, and the photo is taken from BEHIND the Left Front Drive Axle and shows the Inner Gaiter in the Left Foreground.

2) I would suggest both (i) slowing the rocking of the steering wheel, where you move left slowly taking about a second to move 1 to 2 inches, and then slowly return to right taking about a second to move the same distance, and (ii) ONLY move the wheel an inch or two in either direction. The trick is to be able to see one component move on the steering wheel side WITHOUT corresponding movement on the other side of the joint. We're looking for looseness or play in components that are supposed to have NO play when new, and slow, deliberate movement of the steering wheel for ONLY an inch or two either way is much easier to follow than quick jerky movement.

3) Use that technique from the point your video is showing, and proceed downward to the rack, watching for rack body movement (should NOT be any), tie rod movement, and spindle movement, as described in my first post to this thread. Don't worry about showing us a video, just take your time and trust your own judgment. The trick of ANY diagnostic for a youngish enthusiast is to think and develop your OWN understanding of how things work/ SHOULD work, and to develop your OWN judgement. Too many people feel the need to "Set a New Speed Record" when working on a car. It is usually better to take your time & ANALYZE/THINK, particularly when trying to identify the source of a new issue.

4) If you have ramps, the best way to do this might be to put the front wheels on ramps where you can get UNDER the car and either visualize or use a camera to do a 10-second or less video of each element of the test. It's easier to get a camera in a tight space than to try to see it yourself. Since you have to show motion with a short video, lighting might be the biggest problem since you can't use a flash. A small LED light would be helpful. Experiment & get creative. :)

George
 

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...Took the air box and various intake pieces to see the steering rack and shaft. Still don't have an answer on what the problem is. Here's a video up close of the lower u joint
Several Observations:

1) Your vehicle is two years newer than mine, so that may be the difference, but that does NOT look like the lower U-joint at the Rack Pinion Tower to me. On mine, to correctly visualize the stated joint, you have to remove the LF wheel and look in on either side of the Left Front Inner Drive Axle Gaiter. I attach two photos, one taken from IN FRONT of the Left Front Drive Axle, showing the Rack Gaiter in the Left foreground, and the Drive Axle Inner Gaiter to the Right of the rack tower & Joint. The other photo shows the lower steering shaft side of the joint, but the shaft is hidden from view, and the photo is taken from BEHIND the Left Front Drive Axle and shows the Inner Gaiter in the Left Foreground.

2) I would suggest both (i) slowing the rocking of the steering wheel, where you move left slowly taking about a second to move 1 to 2 inches, and then slowly return to right taking about a second to move the same distance, and (ii) ONLY move the wheel an inch or two in either direction. The trick is to be able to see one component move on the steering wheel side WITHOUT corresponding movement on the other side of the joint. We're looking for looseness or play in components that are supposed to have NO play when new, and slow, deliberate movement of the steering wheel for ONLY an inch or two either way is much easier to follow than quick jerky movement.

3) Use that technique from the point your video is showing, and proceed downward to the rack, watching for rack body movement (should NOT be any), tie rod movement, and spindle movement, as described in my first post to this thread. Don't worry about showing us a video, just take your time and trust your own judgment. The trick of ANY diagnostic for a youngish enthusiast is to think and develop your OWN understanding of how things work/ SHOULD work, and to develop your OWN judgement. Too many people feel the need to "Set a New Speed Record" when working on a car. It is usually better to take your time & ANALYZE/THINK, particularly when trying to identify the source of a new issue.

4) If you have ramps, the best way to do this might be to put the front wheels on ramps where you can get UNDER the car and either visualize or use a camera to do a 10-second or less video of each element of the test. It's easier to get a camera in a tight space than to try to see it yourself. Since you have to show motion with a short video, lighting might be the biggest problem since you can't use a flash. A small LED light would be helpful. Experiment & get creative. <img src="http://s1.bimmerfest.com/forums/images/smilies/smile3453453.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smilie" class="inlineimg" />

George

We***8217;re looking at the same u-joint just from different angles, I removed the airbox and all intake piping. I took the SAT this morning and went straight to working on the car I***8217;ll look more tomorrow. Pretty exhausted

I have inner and outer tie rods to replace regardless, front control arms, and m3 rear upper arms, ps reservoir, and sway bar bushings. Should be a fun spring break. Yikes. Thought I***8217;d replace the servo first to see if that***8217;s my issue because I have one on a spare rack + tie rods + control arms. I***8217;m hoping somewhere in there my problem is fixed. I just don***8217;t see such a simple rack breaking like that

When I flushing my PS how much CHF does the system hold?

Thanks for all the help,
Ty
 

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...When I flushing my PS how much CHF does the system hold?
Hi Ty,

After finding NO easily accessible port or connection from which to drain the rack, I just used a large syringe to draw the old fluid out of the P/S Fluid reservoir. That took ~ 1/3 of 1 Liter can of CHF (presume your reservoir cap says CHF on label as opposed to ATF?). I figure to do that once per year to get the old stuff out. Don't imagine the CHF synthetic is quite as prone to getting gummy with age and heat cycles like ATF/Dexron III used to be, but rather than chance it, I figure to do that syringe treatment once a year for 3 years, and every two years after. Those are just SWAGS, since do NOT know the total capacity of the system if fully drained.

Here is the ONLY thing I found in TIS related to fluid refill:
https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/...teering-gear-with-power-steering-unit/DsV56Jq

George
 
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