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Steering Shaft Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Steering Shaft Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$100

Talent:

***

Tools:

Set of sockets (18mm), pry bar, wire brush

Applicable Models:

BMW Z4 Convertible (2003-06)
BMW Z4 Coupe (2006)

Parts Required:

Steering shaft

Hot Tip:

Replace inner and outer together

Performance Gain:

Quiet and smooth front end

Complementary Modification:

Replace tie rods

The steering system used in BMW Z4 is known as power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering. Rotating the steering wheel spins a small pinion gear, thus sliding a toothed rack left or right. The ends of the rack attach to tie-rods which steer the front wheels. A hydraulic pump, powered by the engine accessory belt, forces steering fluid into hoses leading to pistons in the steering rack. A hydraulic valve in the steering rack varies the hydraulic fluid pressure in the two cylinders, dependent on how fast or forcefully the pinion gear is rotated. This multiplies the driver's force in steering the wheels.

The steering shaft connects the steering wheel to the power steering rack. The shaft has two universal joints and is designed to collapse in the event of a crash. The universal joints lose the lifetime grease in the joints as they age. This can cause stiff, groaning or creaking steering. To check it, you can detach it from either end and check the universal joints for smooth and free movement. If they bind or feel stiff in any position, replace the shaft.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Raise and support front of vehicle on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle. You'll want both wheels off the ground for this repair.

Remove intake air housing and ducts. See our tech article on intake air housing removal. This repair is performed on a BMW Z4M, other models similar.

The steering shaft (red arrows) connects the steering wheel to the power steering rack.
Figure 1

The steering shaft (red arrows) connects the steering wheel to the power steering rack. The shaft has two universal joints (purple arrows) and is designed to collapse in the event of a crash. The universal joints lose the lifetime grease in the joints as they age. This can cause stiff, groaning or creaking steering. To check it, you can detach it from either end and check the universal joints for smooth and free movement. If they bind or feel stiff in any position, replace the shaft.

Working at the top of the shaft, near the brake booster, remove the E10 External Torx fastener (red arrows).
Figure 2

Working at the top of the shaft, near the brake booster, remove the E10 External Torx fastener (red arrows).

This photo shows the top fastener being removed (red arrow).
Figure 3

This photo shows the top fastener being removed (red arrow). Inset shows the fastener with thread locking compound from the factory. If reusing the fasteners, be sure to use a new thread locker of the same color.

Now it is time to remove the steering shaft from the power steering rack.
Figure 4

Now it is time to remove the steering shaft from the power steering rack. Working above the left side subframe, near the corner of the oil pan and the engine mount (purple arrows), remove the E10 External Torx pinch bolt (red arrows). Once it is removed, secure the steering wheel so it does not move. If the steering wheel rotates with the steering rack removed, the clock spring may be damaged.

Then, remove the steering shaft coupler from the steering rack by sliding up and off.
Figure 5

Then, remove the steering shaft coupler from the steering rack by sliding up and off. If it will not come off but slides a little, lever it off using a prybar (red arrows). Be gentle, don't damage it.

Later, when reinstalling the steering shaft, be sure to align the split in the shaft coupler (purple arrow) with the plastic tab (red arrow) on the rack.
Figure 6

Later, when reinstalling the steering shaft, be sure to align the split in the shaft coupler (purple arrow) with the plastic tab (red arrow) on the rack. This will properly align the two.

Then, remove the steering shaft coupler from the steering wheel shaft at the top by sliding it down and off (blue arrow).
Figure 7

Then, remove the steering shaft coupler from the steering wheel shaft at the top by sliding it down and off (blue arrow). If it will not come off but slides a little, lever it off using a prybar. Be gentle, don't damage it. Later, when reinstalling the steering shaft, be sure to align the split in the shaft coupler (purple arrow) with the plastic tab (red arrow) on the rack. This will properly align the two.

Remove the shaft up and out of the engine compartment (red arrow).
Figure 8

Remove the shaft up and out of the engine compartment (red arrow). Reverse steps to install new steering shaft. If your steering wheel is not centered when complete, have vehicle professionally aligned.

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 03:00:33 AM