E36 318 Steering column sticking!
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  1. #1
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    Steering column sticking!

    Hi,
    I have a worrying intermittent problem where the steering seems to stick whilst turning at low speed.
    It initially sounded like a PAS failure, but it happened very rarely and only when my kids were driving. They just said it got very heavy and then released.
    However it happened to me yesterday. When going round a slow speed corner, or parking with a lot of lock on it sticks, and a lot of force is necessary to push past it. It felt like either the steering lock was interfeering with the column, or the indicator self cancelling was jamming. There is suddenly a high resistence to turning, and when you turn harder or reverse the turn it releases.
    Anybody had this before, what is it?
    Cheers
    Richard

  2. #2
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    Hello Richard, welcome to BFI

    Have a look at the firewall, where the column comes through into the engine bay, and soak it in oil - I used engine oil as it doesn't burn off so quick with the exhaust manifold being close by.

  3. #3
    Worn out....
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    Steering column sticking!

    Sounds to me like the uj at the bottom of the column has become sticky. You can see it under the bonnet through the bulkhead by the exhaust. Try spraying some oil onto it, but if it has partially seized it will need replacing.

  4. #4
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    Have followed the advice and checked the UJs, Lifted it up and spun the wheel back and forth, and moved the rack from underneath...seems to be in perfect condition, no stickiness or play. I'll strip them out tomorrow so that I can get a good feel or the movement, but it's all smooth as far as I can see.
    Only thing that's slightly disconcerting is that the PAS fluid seems "black", not like there is water in it or anything like that, just kind of like black ink. I wonder if that means anything. But as I say the PAS itself seems to be fine, no noise from the pump or rack, smooth as silk. I may change the fluid just to be safe, but will have to work out how to drain it fully...any ideas?
    I'm wondering if it's possible for the steering lock to fail and catch the column?
    Cheers
    Richard

  5. #5
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    Steering column sticking!

    The steering lock is held on by shear bolts and I have seen them loosen before. Best to remove the cowling and have a look for any play. I suppose its possible for the lock not to disengage properly but I think you would feel it clunk or knock rather than a stiff spot in the steering. Deffo remove the knuckle at the bottom of the column though, and check it for any stiffness. The one on my car was shagged.

  6. #6
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    i wouldn't worry itsa common foible on the E46 the sticking steering on full lock it can be addressed with a shim IIRC most get used to it cos they all do it now and again...

  7. #7
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    Hi,
    I'm afriad it is a worry, it's not on full lock, somewhere about half-lock. I was doing about 20mph in town when it happened, and if it had been one of my kids driving they could have collected a parked car or a pedestrian before they reacted. quite scary at the time.
    Cheers

  8. #8
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    My compact does this very same thing it was easily sorted by spraying greese where the column exists the bulkhead and kept turning the steering for a few mins and the problem is now resolved!

  9. #9
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    Interestingly looking back through the service history the car went back to BMW early on in it's life for a safety recall "E36 RHD STEERING SPINDLE CORROSION", sounds like the same issue. Will grease the hell out of it and see what happens.
    Cheers

  10. #10
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    Pulled the intermediate shaft out, no wear or stickiness in the UJs, greased it all up and put it back. Greased the shaft where it comes through the bulkhead, but difficult to get it right up inside, any suggestions? can you access from inside?
    Cheers

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