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Steering Column Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Steering Column Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

5 hours5 hrs

Tab:

$600

Talent:

****

Tools:

16mm socket on ' drive ratchet, T45, T25, T20 Torx driver

Applicable Models:

R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-11)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-11)

Parts Required:

Steering column

Hot Tip:

Use a thin T20 Torx driver when releasing airbag spring

Performance Gain:

Repair faulty column

Complementary Modification:

Replace steering wheel with upgraded model

The steering system used in MINI R56 models is known as electric-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. An electric motor powered by the engine electrical system, applies force to the gear, dependent on how fast or forcefully the pinion gear is rotated. This multiplies the driver's force in steering the wheels.

The steering column connects the steering wheel to the steering rack. It has bearings and joints that can fail, causing grinding or rattle sounds.

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 you're 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. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Make sure your steering wheel is centered and the front wheels are pointing straight ahead.

Disconnect the negative battery cable. See our tech article on battery replacing and reconnecting notes.

The steering column (red arrow) was originally equipped with a steering lock (green arrow).
Figure 1

The steering column (red arrow) was originally equipped with a steering lock (green arrow). The steering lock was omitted in 2008. If you have an early R56 with the warning light shown (inset), you likely need a steering column lock assembly.

Remove the steering wheel and steering column switch assembly.
Figure 2

Remove the steering wheel and steering column switch assembly. Remove the lower dashboard trim panel. See our tech articles for the procedures to remove them. To replace a steering column lock, detach the electrical connector (green arrow). Then drill out and remove the shear bolts (red arrow). Install the new lock with new shear bolts. The vehicle shown does not have a steering column lock. The plastic box takes it place.

Working at the base of the steering shaft, remove the 13mm fastener (red arrow).
Figure 3

Working at the base of the steering shaft, remove the 13mm fastener (red arrow). Then lift the steering shaft universal joint off the steering rack connection.

Working below the steering column, remove the four T45 Torx fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 4

Working below the steering column, remove the four T45 Torx fasteners (red arrows). I like to use a long extension with a T45 Torx bit (green arrow). Support the steering column as you remove the last fastener, as it may fall out.

Remove the steering column by sliding it up and out the hole in the instrument panel.
Figure 5

Remove the steering column by sliding it up and out the hole in the instrument panel.

when installing the replacement column, be sure to line up the dowels (green arrow) with the holes (red arrow) in the body.
Figure 6

when installing the replacement column, be sure to line up the dowels (green arrow) with the holes (red arrow) in the body. Install each of the four fasteners finger tight. Be sure it is aligned, and then tighten. Reverse these steps to reassemble the steering column components.

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:55:45 AM