E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Discuss problems you have had or are having with your Z4
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wonkydonkey
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by wonkydonkey » Tue Jun 01, 2021 2:12 pm

Cliic Option 1 is the correct fix for this issue. This thread may be long, but it has been created specifically with the aim of helping just like you, so I would recommend taking the time to read it, as it doesn't cost you any money. I could carry out the adjustment for you, but it would take about two hours for you to drive to my house.
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by Cliic » Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:54 am

wonkydonkey wrote: Tue Jun 01, 2021 2:12 pm Cliic Option 1 is the correct fix for this issue. This thread may be long, but it has been created specifically with the aim of helping just like you, so I would recommend taking the time to read it, as it doesn't cost you any money. I could carry out the adjustment for you, but it would take about two hours for you to drive to my house.
Thanks Wonkydonkey, I will keep reading the thread and Might try myself the repair. Really kind to propose yourhelp but for sure $ hours overall of road would be the time maybe to carry it myself. I will let you know how it went :wink:

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wonkydonkey
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by wonkydonkey » Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:57 am

Cliic That's the spirit! :D You can always post back in here to ask for help if you run into any problems.
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~2006 Z4MR in Silver Grey
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Click here for the Sticky Steering thread
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by BostonJohn » Fri Jun 04, 2021 6:36 pm

I have only had my Z4 for about 6 weeks at first although I thought the steering was twitchy it was not that bad however last weekend when it was hot I started to get the notchy steering where I had to constantly make small adjustments to keep in a straight line. I do not have heavy or vague steering and no vibration or warning lights.
It is a facelift 2.5si built in 2007 unfortunately it is in the bodyshop now having the front bumper painted so I cannot check while it is cooler. From reading this thread I plan to go through a number of checks before reverting to drilling a hole for lubricant or moving the ring as discussed. I have nearly new Dunlop Sport Maxx non run flats so assume they are okay, the wheels are 108’s but they have been refurbed probably fairly recently and I cannot remember seeing any balance weights on them so will get them balanced, I will also check tyre pressures again they were 25 psi all round when I first got the car! I think I put in 34 front 36 rear so I may drop them slightly. The spigot I think it’s called this? The part the wheel sits on looks very rusty on all corners so I will wire brush this down but not sure what I should apply afterwards. The front lollipop bushes were replaced last year so I wonder if they were done correctly? I will get my friendly one man mechanic who does my MOT check all the the other bushes front and rear and grease any parts that can be. I have also noticed a slight sound like brake rubbing which he thought would be the rear brake disc guards, not bad but annoying. I have also seen springs can break? I guess once everything is ruled out I can get a laser alignment done. Never had this with my old 2.8 Z3 it just sat planted on the road! Any thoughts greatly appreciated. Thanks
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by Bluebogartlabel » Sun Jun 06, 2021 11:55 am

I've had a problem with what I would call 'twitchy' steering since I bought my car five years ago; at anything over 70 it was definitely a case of both hands on the wheel at all times!

I read this post when it first went out and have followed it on and off ever since and really thought I must give it a go. I think what stopped me was the same reason the car is still on run flats and that is I just don't drive it enough which is a poor reflection on me. Anyway this morning I finally got my backside in gear and got the job done and, thanks to all those who have gone before and shared their experiences, it was very straightforward and the result is nothing short of transformational.

I moved the ring anti-clockwise between 5-6mm which has had the effect of tightening the steering. All the twitching has gone and I can't detect any stickiness although the steering through the wheel is noticeably heavier (but in a reassuring way if that makes sense). Like others on here I will see how it goes and further adjust if necessary. If I do need to make any adjustments I would anticipate they would be in a clockwise direction 1mm at a time which would loosen the steering from it's current position.

For anyone procrastinating like me just do it, you'll only wish you'd done it sooner. :D
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by Bluebogartlabel » Mon Jun 07, 2021 8:39 am

Further to my post yesterday I have a query which may also benefit others in future as well as myself should I need to make any more adjustments.

When you remove the footwell cover to access the steering column you have to disconnect three wires; one from the courtesy light and two from ' whatever it is', I'm not sure!!

Not wanting to have to put everything back until I'd tested the adjustment by driving the car, I carefully removed the two components from the cover and reattached the the three wires prior to turning on the ignition. Having read so many stories of dashboard warning lights and error codes I didn't want to trigger anything.

Is it necessary to reconnect the wires in this scenario or is it OK to leave them 'hanging' as it were?

Many thanks in advance :D
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by wonkydonkey » Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:04 am

BostonJohn Your approach sounds good and logical. Checking tyres and suspension components before a thorough wheel alignment is a good starting point. If your steering is becoming sticky with rising ambient temperatures, that would certainly indicate that sticky steering is adding to/responsible for your woes. Drilling and lubricating the column is not advised.
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~2006 Z4MR in Silver Grey
~2003 3.0i E85 in Sterling Grey

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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by wonkydonkey » Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:05 am

Bluebogartlabel It sounds like it's going well for you! There's no need to keep the wires connected to the footwell bulb and the speaker (that's what emits your warning beeps for "lights on with door open" etc).
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~2006 Z4MR in Silver Grey
~2003 3.0i E85 in Sterling Grey

Click here for the Sticky Steering thread
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by Bluebogartlabel » Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:18 pm

Thank you James :thumbsup:
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by BostonJohn » Tue Jun 08, 2021 8:00 pm

Thanks Wonkydonkey, I will,if all goes to plan get my car back from the bodyshop tomorrow, with a matching front bumper! So I can start investigating the steering. I had thought pumping grease into the steering column might be counter productive.
I will keep everyone posted as to how I get on as hopefully it will help others on the forum.
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by Ratcatcher » Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:55 pm

Just found this thread and i think it might be the answer to my problems!

The car has just had all its suspension done along with various bushes etc followed by a 4WA. When i drove it to the garage it was definitely difficult to keep in a straight line so i just thought the 4WA would sort this but alas it hasnt so Im guessing i need to tighten the slipring as mentioned.
But, on top of the wandering about on the dual carriage way, the steering wheel definitely seemed to kick to one side every now and again. It didnt feel like it was coming through the road and i did wonder if the power steering was at fault. Is this also a symptom of slack steering ring or do i have another problem i need to investigate?
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by wonkydonkey » Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:08 am

Ratcatcher I would just get in there and see what improvements you can make by adjusting the ring on the column. I always recommend that people make these adjustments with the front wheels off the ground, though I'm not sure many people follow that advice, instead opting for numerous "finger in the air" adjustments and multiple road tests afterwards. If you follow my recommendation, it will allow you to feel what level of slop (or tightness) you have in your steering system before you make any adjustments. You will then be able to feel what effect your adjustments have before you go out for the test drive.
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~2006 Z4MR in Silver Grey
~2003 3.0i E85 in Sterling Grey

Click here for the Sticky Steering thread
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by Ratcatcher » Sat Jun 12, 2021 9:49 pm

wonkydonkey wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:08 am I would just get in there and see what improvements you can make by adjusting the ring on the column.
Agreed. Just been on the dual carriage way and when i touched the ton, the car became a bit scary tbh.
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by Spriteracer » Sat Jun 19, 2021 12:13 pm

Hi. A question for Wonkeydonkey if I may. I have done the adjustment on the steering motor ring and moved it upwards about 6-7mm. This gave an improvement but not as much as I had hoped. The car still feels twitchy and not confidence inspiring at speed on the motorway. OK I thought, try again with wheels in the air as your recommendation. Trouble is I can't feel any difference as ring moved up or down, with or with ignition on or off or with engine on or off. There is increased assistance but no difference in the "tightness or looseness" and I can't hear any rattles. How obvious should the difference be ?

Car is a late 06 E86 regrettably still on runflats. All the bushes and joints have been replaced within the last couple of years or so. Alignment done as an "M" and I am running the offset front wishbone rear bushes, rosejointed adjustable rear camber arms and ball joints at top and bottom of the rear hubs. Is this now likely to be just the runflat effect, or am I missing something ? Many thanks for any insight.
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E85/E86 Steering Problems (Solved)

Post by wonkydonkey » Sat Jun 19, 2021 2:54 pm

Spriteracer Hi. In going from fully tight to fully loose (by adjusting the ring) with the road wheels off the ground, you should feel a noticeable difference when turning the steering wheel.

If you rotate the ring a long way in the "loose" direction and then jiggle the steering wheel from left to right fairly quickly/sharply, it should almost feel as though your track rod ends are loose. You should feel and hear a degree of free play.

If you rotate the ring a long way in the "tight" direction, you should feel that quite a lot more effort is required to turn the steering wheel. This will be particularly noticeable when trying to turn the steering wheel from rest, and it will suddenly break free when you finally apply enough torque to get it moving. Once moving, it will still feel tight, as though the car has been lowered a bit and the tyres are scrubbing on the ground.

It's entirely possible that your tyres are the cause of your issue. I had some (non-run-flat) tyres on the front of my Z4 that it didn't enjoy. The front end was constantly changing its mind. Swapping the front wheels to the rear (and vice versa) instantly cured the issue (my car had different tyres on the front and rear ends). This of course requires you to have the same size of wheel and tyre on all four corners of your car, which mine did, but I assume all of your tyres of run flats? Not many people leave run flats on their Z4s, as I'm sure you're aware.
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~2006 Z4MR in Silver Grey
~2003 3.0i E85 in Sterling Grey

Click here for the Sticky Steering thread
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