E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

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Joycey
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by Joycey » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:39 am

My findings have solved my issues but there are still quite a few variables when trying to diagnose what your steering issue could be.

In my second year of ownership I started noticing a feeling like there was play in the steering above 50mph this could easily feel like a loose ball joint. Like with every issue you get with your car the first thing anyone does is search the internet. Between here, Zpost and various other sites I managed to get a picture of what to look at.

1) Rare cases the rack was damaged (very rare)

2) Pre 2006 cars suffered with sticky steering (BMW revised the grease and worm gear clearance) Mines late 2007

3) Ball joints, Couplings, EPS issues.

So like with all things you start with the cheaper options first I ended up fitting new wishbones, lollypops already powerflexed. I then changed the Tie rods along with track rods. After this I had hunter alignment done.
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Although the car felt great the movement was still there. So I removed the steering coupling and found nothing.
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Whilst I had that coupling out I could grab the column and see if theres any play, it was solid.
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This now left with the rack to inspect and the column to take out.
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I had this inspected by a race team next to my work who gave it the all clear. So now the fun begun having to remove the column which was surprisingly easy.

Once you remove the two bits of lower dash trim you can easily see the whole column.
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There were so many connectors plugged into the column so make sure you remember where they all go. Once I removed the 8 bolts holding the column up I could rotate it 90* to unbolt the motor. Very much square peg round hole situation with the motor still attached.
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Once it was out I started going over the column getting my head round how it works and after a few minutes made a discovery . While there I also checked the bearings to see if I could find any play. Then I came across a ring between the motor and the column, I did see this mentioned on a few forums but not many took the comments seriously.

This ring controls the engagement of the worm gear on the column too loose will cause play and too tight will cause it to be heavy. see next post.

Part 1 - need a larger photo upload limit :D
Last edited by Joycey on Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by Joycey » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:48 am

So after discovering I can adjust the motor worm gear engagement I decided to put it too the test.

This is the tightest setting all the way to the left.
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Loose setting all the way to the right.
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Setting it in the tightest position then refitting everything it was time for a test drive (3 hours later). Before turning the ignition on I could feel how much tighter the steering was, it was actually too tight on my test drive I was zig zagging down the road trying to go straight.

(Updated 17/06/18 - Clockwise = lighter/looser (less sticky), Anticlockwise = heavier/Tighter (less free play))

So after 4 attempts of backing the ring off a few mm, finally got the stiffness I was after and no play!! Amazing

You can make the adjustments without having to remove the column, simply remove the lower trim and slide into the foot well. You need the E11 torx socket and slacken the two bolts off on the motor and gently tap the ring round it is difficult but not impossible.

I've since helped another coupe owner and it's also solved his problem. Well chuffed.

Hopefully this might be of some help.
Last edited by Joycey on Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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AlienZed
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E85/E86 Steering Issues (Solved)

Post by AlienZed » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:51 am

Great work an pics.
My Zed feels a little light sometimes so will give this a go.
Thanx for sharing.
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E85/E86 Steering Issues (Solved)

Post by Paulr » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:03 am

Good work, looks like some serious dismantling to me!
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E85/E86 Steering Issues (Solved)

Post by Marlon » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:15 am

Top work and investigative skills - great result, you must feel very satisfied :thumbsup:
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E85/E86 Steering Issues (Solved)

Post by Joycey » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:18 am

Marlon wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:15 am
Top work and investigative skills - great result, you must feel very satisfied :thumbsup:
It was driving me bonkers like you wouldn't believe :headbang:
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E85/E86 Steering Issues (Solved)

Post by bladeowner » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:23 am

Great Pics. Looks like you had the reverse of 'sticky steering'. It is possible to move the ring without removing the column but access isn't easy.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=78250&p=1298532#p1298532

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=50994&p=1412897&hil ... g#p1412897

Nice work. :thumbsup:
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E85/E86 Steering Issues (Solved)

Post by Joycey » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:25 am

bladeowner wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:23 am
Great Pics. Looks like you had the reverse of 'sticky steering'. It is possible to move the ring without removing the column but access isn't easy.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=78250&p=1298532#p1298532

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=50994&p=1412897&hil ... g#p1412897

Nice work. :thumbsup:
Explains just that in the second part :thumbsup:
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E85/E86 Steering Issues (Solved)

Post by ph001 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:40 am

Superb post - this may come in very useful for a lot of people. The fact that you can do it without a strip down is great. Thanks very much for posting this :thumbsup:
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E85/E86 Steering Issues (Solved)

Post by bladeowner » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:40 am

So it does. :D
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E85/E86 Steering Issues (Solved)

Post by Roundozo » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:57 am

Did you experience and knocking before you sorted this? I've got a slight knock but for the life of me cannot find it and the steering feels loose.

Before any suggests the usual, the car has been on a wobble board (or whatever you call it that simulates going over very rough ground). Has had new shocks, springs, top mounts, drop links, ARB bushes, new wishbones with Polly lollypop bushes. Literally everything but I still have a knock and loose, wandering steering feel.

P.s also made sure the strut brace is tight. :tumbleweed:
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E85/E86 Steering Issues (Solved)

Post by Joycey » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:18 am

Roundozo wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:57 am
Did you experience and knocking before you sorted this? I've got a slight knock but for the life of me cannot find it and the steering feels loose.

Before any suggests the usual, the car has been on a wobble board (or whatever you call it that simulates going over very rough ground). Has had new shocks, springs, top mounts, drop links, ARB bushes, new wishbones with Polly lollypop bushes. Literally everything but I still have a knock and loose, wandering steering feel.

P.s also made sure the strut brace is tight. :tumbleweed:
Yeah you could also describe it as a knock, When I had it on the slackest setting exiting my estate, I have to go over a few rubble strips this made it chatter really loud and you could feel it in the steering wheel.

Worth a look. Tighten it a little.
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E85/E86 Steering Issues (Solved)

Post by Roundozo » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:22 am

Definitely giving this a go. :thumbsup:
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E85/E86 Steering Issues (Solved)

Post by ph001 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:48 am

Roundozo, please can you do a 'how to' with pics of adjusting this with column in situ. Would be a very valuable resource.
2007 E85 Z4 3.0Si manual :driving:
19" CSL's | Eibach Springs | Aeroskirts | Z4M front bumper | Clear brake light | ZHP | RCH+| Stubby

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E85/E86 Steering Issues (Solved)

Post by Roundozo » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:34 pm

ph001 wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:48 am
Roundozo, please can you do a 'how to' with pics of adjusting this with column in situ. Would be a very valuable resource.
I'll try. Looks like a lot of swearing will be involved and I'll need to find time to do it in between seeing to the little one and his many needs! I think to even be successful at doing this in situ you'll need to have small hands. I think if I can remove some more of the lower trim then I might be able to get better access.
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