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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 04-06-2006, 02:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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new steering rack

ok i have a 93 320i, and the steering rack is screwed, the dealership decided that it would cost about $1000 to fix and i dont like that. it wasnt life threatening or anything but i think the 'skip' in the steering wheel i can feel when i turn the steering wheel slightly is because of that. the other way i know something is stuffed up is because the power steering oil is dirty so something is rubbing on the inside!

now, i found a second hand one, from a car thats done about 87,000 miles, its a 1994 318ti. the guy will charge me $110 for it or around there! But what i want to know is does any steering rack from a e36 fit any other e36? is it hard to install it myself? and will my steering lock still be good, coz right now i can do pretty tight turns!

and i will have it checked by a shop before i install it!

ok hope u guys can help...


thnx
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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$1000 sounds about right. A new steering rack by itself is about $600. To that add dealership service labor costs, and you are up to $1000. I will be doing that soon, too. In fact, I'll come back and post again after I call my mechanic. He was going to get me a estimate after calling his sources for parts. About fitment, I am not sure. I would do this for you but I am at work: go to www.realoem.com. Enter the information for your car, and find the part number for teh steering rack. Then do the same for the 318ti. See if they mtach. If I were to guess, I would say all E36s share the same steergin rack.

Good luck. I'll check back later.
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Old 04-06-2006, 11:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Get a rebuilt rack, they are much cheaper.
Do a search on the net and you'll find some places.
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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ok well a new steering rack is way too much but the good thing is:

ALL THE E36 STEERING RACKS ARE INTERCHANEABLE!!!

i talked to the bmw dealership!


so i will take one of the 318ti which has done about 80,000km less than my car, take it to a specialised hydraulics shop for them to check it, for $10 and install it myself! that is the only thing i need to know now, is it hard to install it?


i took my car in to that same steering specialist shop to check out my current steering rack and he said:
-the skip in the steering wheel is because these steering racks are really soft and the 'trellaces' (i think he used that word) get worn really quickly in the middle of the rack as that is where you drive the most! this causes it to become loose and the skip in the steering wheel is felt, there would be no point in fixing it because in 6 months it'd get worn again!
-the power steering fluid is dirty because everything inside is made of aluminium and thats what happends!

well i'll let u know how i go with it, please tell me if u know of a good diy, ill have a look in the haynes nd bentley now!

thnx again
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I heard about some people switching to the Z3 steering rack, well those that track their cars, is it more responsive?
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Old 04-12-2006, 07:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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so anyone know how hard it is to put the new steering rack in?
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Old 04-12-2006, 08:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It's not easy to put in a steering rack. All the steering racks may be interchangeable but they are nto equal. The Z3 and the 95 M3 have the most direct steering rack. The 96-99 is the 2nd hoice. And the other e36 steerng racks are slower and behidn that. I dont know if the ratios are the same for all non-M e36 cars though.
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Anyone knows how many hours of labor this should be?
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Take it to an independent shop. Should be like $20-$300 to install plus fluid + alignment
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Old 04-12-2006, 11:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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since my car is a 93' and the one im gettin is from a 94 it can't be worse! yeah i figured about the alignment but it needs one anyway so thats ok, and fluid i can do, can't be that hard! but just to connect it up and to be able to drive it to a alignment shop, how hard is that part? connecting it to the car.
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Old 04-13-2006, 01:19 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Labor should be around 2hrs + align if you were to have a shop do it...it's not an extremely difficult job...the hardest part is getting the steering shaft out (on an E36 I believe it is done thru the inside like early E46s) and making sure the steering wheel is centered when you reconnect...other than that it's pretty cut and dry...and when you get the reman rack make sure it is centered BEFORE you install (I've had them come not centered which is no big deal if you catch it first) Good luck
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Old 08-13-2006, 06:05 AM   #12 (permalink)
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just wanted to say that getting the steering rack in isnt as hard as i thought it would be. but i suggest you DON'T follow the bentley manual and take off the tie-rod ends at the wheels, that will fully stuff your alignment up, instead take them off at the steering rack. there is one of those lock things (sorry no idea what its called, not a nut but that other thing lol), you need to bend it and then get a big as spanner to take off the round bolts (unless you have a special bmw tool, which they dont sell to general public). you'll need new "things" to bend which are a few $ from bmw and thats about it.

i got a wheel alignment a few days later and the guy said there was hardly any adjustment needed, he said most people come back with wheels facing opposite way.

and the main thing is that the 'kink' in the steering when you turn a left or right is now gone.

this was a steering rack from a compact e36, with 80k less km's than my car and everything seems to be going fine. if anyone wants advice feel free to ask...
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Old 08-13-2006, 02:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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when i changed to m3 steering rack, i forgot the whole centering the wheel thing... the ratio is in the middle but the steering wheel is not aligned with the rack... i shuold beable to just un bolt the steering shaft and rebolt it shuoldnt i?
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Old 08-13-2006, 05:08 PM   #14 (permalink)
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well i measured how much the steering rack was sticking out on each side when i took it off then i made the new one be the same. but u dont have to do that i dont think, the guy at the alignment place just fiddled with the tie rod ends. if u get it aligned professionaly it should be fixed.
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:00 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by WarNox
well i measured how much the steering rack was sticking out on each side when i took it off then i made the new one be the same. but u dont have to do that i dont think, the guy at the alignment place just fiddled with the tie rod ends. if u get it aligned professionaly it should be fixed.
i mean my wheels are straight and my car runs straight... its just in the cabin when the wheels are straight the steering wheel isnt aligned so its turned while the wheels are straight... the wheel isnt lined up with the steering wheel...
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