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Steering rack

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stavros_uk
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Steering rack

Post by stavros_uk » Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:56 pm

Good day all

Been advised to post my problem on here from another forum.

I’ll try and give all the history to give you as much information as possible.

At the end of August 2021 I noticed two wearing noises on my beloved X3. I took the car to a local BMW specialist garage for a diagnosis.

A few days later I was advised the transfer box was on its way out and needed replacing. At this point my gut said sell the car but with the second hand car market being expensive at the moment I decided to go ahead with a refurbished box for £1200.

8 weeks later ( lack of boxes available I was told ) the transfer box was fit. On its test drive it was now noticed the front differential was wound up and left as is would damage the refurbished box. Cost £1300.

As I was already £1200 in I decided to have that changed also. Another 8 weeks later the differential is changed.

£2500 and 4 months later my car is ready for pick up. I have the car and drive 15 miles in it and I get a very brief warning light on the display and the steering went heavy. I pulled over and turned the car off. I started the car up again and no warnings and steering fine

I phoned the garage who said to take the car back to them to plug in and see if the fault had registered for that brief moment.

I was passing the garage my work use for there company vans, so I asked the garage to plug in and run a full scan of the vehicle. Please see photos attached. I’m total there were 17 faults codes. I found that surprising as the garage who carried out the repairs have all BMW software and they had advised me they had already carried out the checks on a test drive as they had to re program some software to set up the new differential.

I had the garage I was at clear the codes to see which ones came back, just to confirm it wasn’t a error with the car being stood.

I leave the car a work as I didn’t feel it would get me home and to prevent further damage.

The next day I start the car and drive around for 10 minutes as I get back to work the car brings up two fault on the display please see attached photos. The power steering stops working.

I call the garage who did the work and advise them the RAC will be bringing the car back to them. ( really not happy )

The RAC patrol man checks over the car and confirms it’s power steering related, I asked him to check the battery to endures it charging, which he did and confirmed the battery was charging correctly. 14amps I believe he said.

Car taken to garage who advise the steering rack is faulty. The electrics are drawing the battery down. It’s needs a new rack or refurbished. Still waiting for a cost.

When the car went in back in august there where no faults with the steering. Can someone confirm if to access the front differential the steering rack would have been taken off.

I feel something is not right and I’m being taken as a fool.

Someone has mentioned fitting a new battery. It may be the problem.

Help would be greatly appreciated

I’m calling the garage on Tuesday for an update.

Thank you all.

I will upload photos

I also mentioned earlier the car did have two wearing noises. The second I have noticed is the air conditioning that is making the noise. I’m fusing it needs a new compressor. Is there a way or removing the belts to stop the noise or does the belt drive other functions on the vehicle.
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X5Sport
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Steering rack

Post by X5Sport » Sun Jan 02, 2022 4:32 pm

Part 1 - see Part 2 as well.

Steering work is not part of the repairs for replacement of either the transfer box or front differential. The official instruction make no mention of doing anything with the steering. All the work is around the driveshafts and that’s all. No work on steering parts at all.

Changing the transfer box with another unit rather than the one fitted may require coding work. Was that done?

Have you had a full wheel alignment done at all? Is the steering wheel position correct for straight ahead - I.e. the wheel is centred properly?

If however the steering was moved whilst the repairs were conducted then the system possibly needs recalibrating so that the systems know where the steering is actually sitting (I.e. straight and centred). This is needed so the DSC etc knows where ‘dead ahead’ is as far as the steering angle sensors are concerned. That detail forms part of the input for the stability system so it knows what the steering is doing at that moment.

Has the instrument binnacle been out at all? Has the steering wheel been removed at all? If yes then the system needs reinitialising. A lot of these errors are electrical not mechanical.
:ant: Never anthropomorphise computers. They hate that.

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Steering rack

Post by X5Sport » Sun Jan 02, 2022 4:49 pm

Part 2….

NOTE: You might also be chasing a ghost. The tyre pressure monitoring (TPM) system isn’t happy and that can trigger other faults all connected with the DSC and steering. Do you have sensors in each wheel and are they all working? I lost a TPM sensor in my F46 and various errors showed up. The TPM sensor in one wheel was broken. Once replaced everything was fine again.

Your car is also reporting under voltage. Is the battery OK? It must show at least 12.6V DC with the engine off, car ‘asleep’ and after 4 hours since last used. Anything less than that and your battery is dying, regardless of whether the alternator is charging it or not. Before you go too deep make sure that your battery is OK. Changing the battery requires coding as well, you can’t just swap it over. Measure the voltage from under the bonnet. It’s best if you open the bonnet a bit, lock the car and come back 30 mins later, then check it.
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Post by X5Sport » Sun Jan 02, 2022 5:16 pm

As a separate thing, front diff and transfer box damage are frequently caused by tyres. All xDrive cars with ‘staggered’ wheels (different sizes front/rear) have proven to be sensitive to choice of tyres and/or more than 2mm difference in wear between the tyres. This latter part matters even on ‘square’ setups too. BMW’s own tech instructions warn of ensuring no more than 2mm difference between ANY tyre and any other tyre.

BMW also recommend that only tyres ‘approved’ for use on an xDrive car are used. These carry a ‘*’ mark on the sidewall. You can also use MOE marked (Mercedes Original - Extended) and this of course means premium brands only with the unwanted cost. If you have had ‘wind-up’ in the past that knocked out the transfer box, then damage to the diff is just as likely. That being said I’m a bit surprised it was both unless it went on for a long time. It’s normally one or the other.

Fitting correct tyres should prevent that from happening again, but if you have the same tyres still and the depths are out of tolerance, you’ll have the same problem again in the future.
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Steering rack

Post by Leslie » Sun Jan 02, 2022 7:55 pm

Is it electric power steering in these now ? If so battery condition is crucial as the current draw is huge when turning ,did you just make a turn before the steering failed ? If so id stick the proper battery in before going any further .Given how the diff became an issue straight after the transfer box was changed I'm wondering was it an exact like for like part number wise as there are different diff ratio's etc so maybe different transfer boxes too :? Most get their own refurbished so avoid any issues there .
I'm sure you are sorry you tried to fix it now and having the sort of nightmare we all lose sleep over but you are in too far to now not fix it :thumbsup:

O and welcome :hi:

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Post by X5Sport » Sun Jan 02, 2022 8:10 pm

From what I’m reading it is electric/mechanical steering - and that’s why I think the battery may be the real issue. A lot of the error codes are ‘electronic’ in nature. Knowing how sensitive all of our modern cars are to even slight voltage drops, it has to be worth a look. Replacing the electromechanical steering unit requires major surgery on the front axle. I’m not aware of anyone on here ever having to do this on any model fitted with EM steering assistance.

I missed an answer about the a.c - yes the belt drives other things so no you can’t take the belt off. Are you sure it’s the compressor? The belt goes around a number of pulleys and tensioners all of which could give the same noise if a bearing is faulty. When did you last get a gas check done? Have you got enough gas & lubrication oil in the system? Do you regularly cycle the system from Min to Max temp and does it get fully cold? If you don’t use the a/c much you will lose gas as the seals dry out.
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Steering rack

Post by stavros_uk » Sun Jan 02, 2022 8:55 pm

Yes the steering failed the first time as I turned but came back on after I turned off the ignition and the back on again.

The second time it failed when I had the vehicle retuned I was turning again. This time all errors in the display came up.

As a point the pictures showing fault codes was before the car displayed all on the dash of that makes sense.

The garage have just said the electric power steering is drawing to much current and can’t be repaired. It’s a full rack new or reconditioned.

I do feel trying a new battery is worth a shot. Just concerned if it does clear the issue will it be a permanent fix.

The car does have the correct tyres on. I replace them
Nearly every 18 months. P zeros different sizes on front and rear BMW spec.

Thanks for info on ac. Going to work on steering issues first.

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Post by X5Sport » Sun Jan 02, 2022 9:41 pm

If it’s the EPS (electromechanical power steering) control module then that is built into the rack and may be why they are saying it’s a full replacement only.

Checking the battery voltages will tell you if the battery is the issue. If it’s more than 5-6 years old then it will be approaching its end of life, but a meter check will tell you for far less than a new battery!

Good news about the tyres, but that does raise a question about how/why both the front diff and ATC450 unit failed.

If it were me, I’d actually seriously consider letting BMW run a diagnostic check. It might cost you a bit, but their software could help identify an issue that saves you big bucks. :)

A new EPS rack retails at well over £2k, hence suggesting a second opinion is sought. It might be damaged wiring rather than the unit itself, especially as work has been done in that area? It’s close to the front diff.
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Steering rack

Post by stavros_uk » Sun Jan 02, 2022 9:58 pm

I will check the voltage once I get access to my car. The garage is closed till Tuesday.

I’m sure the steering wheel has been of or messed with. The steering a low speed had a small squeak noise which wasn’t there before.

The garage tell me they only use bmw software. So what they have done should be correct.

I just feel someone has taken the rack out or disconnected it and it’s developed this fault.

Something doesn’t feel right.

I’ve been told it’s a dealer part only, unless I get a recondition one.

Still don’t understand if you can recondition one you can get parts to build it back up. That sounds a cheaper option.

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Post by X5Sport » Mon Jan 03, 2022 10:04 am

Part of the problem with recon for those producing them is sourcing the actual parts. BMW themselves don’t refurbish or remanufactured faulty items as they either scrap them after investigation or return the item to the OEM. That of course limits spare part availability. I think it’s wrong, but the motor industry has massive lobbying powers, especially in Germany, and politicians aren’t brave enough to take them on.
:ant: Never anthropomorphise computers. They hate that.

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