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|5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)|
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Come with me on a journey....
A journey beginning with interest, fastidiousness and care, and currently marooned on the shores of rampant desolation.
Yes, I had that famous "slack in the middle" of my E34 steering.
First I got hold of a secondhand box and fitted it in the car. Note how that 3-day odyssey was condensed into half a sentence, there. It took me 2 days to split the ball joint holding the rack bar to the pitman arm. Most of that time was trying alternative ball joint splitters and trying to find a position to get them to fit in the car and give me spanner access. Then there was the WWF three falls/three submissions routine to get the box out of the car and the same pantomime to get it back in again. Still, apart from that ("apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?") it all went OK - no leaks, system bled up first time.
The bad news was that the new box was only marginally better than the old one. Still, this did leave me with a working car and a steering box to send away to be reconditioned.
When the box came back it still felt like there was slack on centre, and I discovered the idler arm was loose in the car - I guess I hadn't tightened it properly after loosening it to see if it would help me get the box out the first time (it didn't). Part of me wondered if that was the sole cause of the play in the steering all along...but I tightened it and the play was still there. Although it felt like there was slack on centre in the reconditioned box, I decided to place my faith in the reconditioners and revisit the box fitting ordeal.
I repeated the performance of the steering box change, this time completing it between 11 am and 9 pm yesterday - a good improvement on the first go, I thought. I did swear more at the box while wrestling it out and in again; I don't know if that actually helped. I left it without the fluid, figuring I'd be better able to look for leaks the next day in daylight and looking forward to a triumphal lash-free drive - there was no lash at all when everything was in place.
This morning I duly filled the reservoir with Bilstein Febi S6161 (couldn't find Pentosin CHF 11S on a Sunday), turned the steering wheel and...watched in horror as it all ran onto my drive, apparently unhindered by any kind of sealing technology placed in its way.
Wriggling under the car on stands, I fully expected to see my shoddy spanner-work resulting in a leak from one or both of the hydraulic unions onto the box, but no, they were clean and dry. The fluid appears to be issuing from the Pitman shaft on the steering box, although the restricted view in there makes it hard for me to be really certain. However, much tickling and teasing fails to produce evidence of wetness anywhere else and with the engine running the fluid flows into the small hole atop the suspension subframe immediately adjacent to the Pitman arm, whence it is distributed every which way by the box culvert/subframe to reappear anywhere it feels like.
Last time I did it there was a nut on the nose of the steering box that issued fluid; I tightened it and it all stopped. However, this time there is no evidence of wetness around there.
It breaks my heart to have to have the steering box out again, not to mention disappointing me slightly. Before I seek redress from the box reconditioner, I have two simple questions:
- Is there anything anyone can think of that I could have done to the box to make it do this? Specifically, backing half a car length out of my garage with no fluid in the system?
- Is it possible the leak is coming from somewhere other than the Pitman shaft (i.e. not from the steering box at all)?
Thanks for your time to read and I look forward to your ridicule/constructive suggestions/shoulder to cry on....
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