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3-Series (E21, E30) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1975-1983 and 1984-1991 line. Specific models: BMW 315, BMW 316, BMW 318, BMW 318i, BMW 320/4, BMW 320i, BMW 320/6, BMW 323i, BMW 320i. E30 Family models include: BMW 325e, BMW 325i, BMW 325is, BMW 325ix.

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Old 04-06-2004, 09:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I did a search and I'm really amazed this hasn't come up before.

I've only driven cars with unassisted steering like twice in my life, so I'm relatively familiar with that whining noise the pump makes when it'd like some more fluid. Had the 1987 325 back from the mechanic for..about a week and a half, and two days ago it first started to wheeze a little bit during a turn. Today, if I so much as put pressure on the steering wheel, regardless of how far it's turned, the thing grumbles loudly. So I may have to replace something other than the fluid, but for now that's all.

So in the manual (6-19) it gives a big list of approved fluids of the Dexon formulation or whatever..is there some specific brand or 'grade' of fluid that the car would like most? The fluid that's in there now is probably a few years old, because the thing sat for quite some time before i bought and fixed it, so I was also thinking that if the thing isn't leaking, and it's still got fluid in it, that I should just haul off and change it all. Is there a drain plug on the reservoir, or would I have to syphon it out?

To recap: power steering fluid, which brand/grade does the 1987 325e enjoy; would it be wise to change all of it at once, and how might I do that most easily.
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Old 04-06-2004, 11:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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i just put regular old whatever the gas station has PS fluid in mine. drain on the resivoir... i don't think there is, i don't know, i just took my resivoir out and drained the fluid into somthing, took my hoses off, drained them... and it was cherry.
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Old 04-06-2004, 11:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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man somethin is broke in my rack and i was leaking it bad. Until i can get a new one i just disconneceted the pump, and drove with sore arms for a while. Now it's not bad. I've only had one other car with power steering so i was not worried. But it is pretty tough when it is made for PS.
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Old 04-06-2004, 12:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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So the pump isn't going to hurt itself trying to actuate while it's empty? The sound it makes now really makes me think I'm hurting something.
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Old 04-06-2004, 12:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Aether@Apr 6 2004, 01:06 PM
So the pump isn't going to hurt itself trying to actuate while it's empty? The sound it makes now really makes me think I'm hurting something.
you'll seize the pump if you don't put any fluid in it. All PS fluid is basicly the same. You should be filling up it is under half full.
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Old 04-06-2004, 01:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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you run a major risk of damaging your steering rack (~$600-700 fix), also, it can be leaking internally and not be dripping on the ground, most of the fluid will get caught in the boot connected to the steering rack and be held in like a water balloon.

another thing, running without fluid for too long will cause the steering gears to get extremely hot and could weld themselves together and lock up the steering.
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Old 04-06-2004, 02:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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DO NOT put power steering fluid in your power steering reservoir. The e30 uses ATF fluid for the power steering system. This is why your manual referenced a Dextron fluid spec. Why you will not perminently damage the system if you have put power steering fluid in the system will not work correctly. There is no drain plug on the rack, so a power steering fluid change is very difficult to do and not nessesary. You have to remove all the lines and force the fluid out of the rack. Just add fluid to the full mark with the propper Dextron grade and then inspect the system to see where it is leaking whether it is external and very visible or internal as MrM3 described.
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Old 04-06-2004, 04:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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There's not a hint of a leak on the inside, and there aren't any spots under where the car's always parked. If it's an internal thing, is there any way I can bleed it out myself, or are there any clear warning signs that would indicate such a problem?

Thanks for the help thus far. B)
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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i had the same problem, but instead my boot was leaking due to a loose bolt. I never noticed any pink fluid on the ground, so i thought it was an internal thing also or maybe i just never took time to notice. But when i looked under the car, all of the power steering fluid messed up my steering rack and the rack and pinions. It bled all over it and made it full with gunk.
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Old 04-14-2004, 04:20 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I HAD THE SAME PROBLEM EXCEPT ONE DAY SOMETHING STARTED DRIPPING ONTO MY FOOT AS I WAS DRIVING AND THEN A TIDLEWAVE OF IT DUMPED ONTO THE DRIVERSIDE FLOORBOARD WHAT A MESS BAD BRAKEBOOSTER PART ALONE WAS OVER $500.00 IF SOMETHING IS NOT WORKING AS IT SHOULD OR IF IT LOOKS FISHY TAKE MY ADVICE AND IMMEDIATELY HUNT DOWN THE PROBLEM AND FIX IT
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