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  1. #1
    skiwi
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    Yes | No

    Steering wheel play

    2001 325 257K

    I seem to be experiencing some steering wheel play. With the engine running and the power steering pump functioning, I seem to get about 5 degrees (guess - about 1 inch at the steering wheel rim) before I get any real steering input. Play seems to be there even with engine of and the steering wheel locked. The power steering works perfectly otherwise, firming up with speed, although even at 70-80 it feels a bit dead/loose in the straight ahead position.

    However, I have also noticed that when parked on a steep hill, with the wheels cranked all the way into the kurb, it is as if the power steering has failed and it takes a lot of effort to turn the steering, until suddenly the power kicks in. It feels as if something is binding then the effort finally frees it. I have checked the tie rod ends and they operate freely and flexibly. As far as I know they haven't been changed in at least 100k. There don't appear to be any fluid leaks and the flexible rubber disk and universal in the column look OK.

    Any suggestions welcomed...


  2. #2
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    You left out the history of the power steering

    pump, and the rack and pinion mileage-wise. Are they both original?
    If you still have the original at your astounding mileage, I'd easily be convinced that your steering gear is worn to the point of sloppiness and needs to be replaced.
    I have no experience here, but your choices are limited to only a few components. So I used common sense, gambling that it may apply.
    Bet you could get some diagnostic mileage out of putting the front end up in the air and checking freeplay in the steering.
    Please come back and tell us what the fix is when you discover same?

  3. #3
    skiwi
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    Re: You left out the history of the power steering

    The pump and steering rack are orginal. I wondered too if it could be what you suggested. Apart from fluid changes, and hose replacements nothing has been done to either.

    I'll let you know what the mechanic discovers....

  4. #4
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    I went back and reread you first post to pay more

    attention to the example you gave regarding parking, and the lack of immediate response.
    I know the theory of how a power steering rack works, and it sounds as if your rack has some sloppiness in the valving that responds to input from the steering wheel.
    And assuming that your belt is tight to drive the pump, perhaps the check valves or whatever in your pump are loose enough to prevent full operating psi from being developed in the pump.
    Just stands to reason that is has to be one or the other component, each of which are relatively expensive. But at half the price of the steering gear, let's hope it could be your pump!

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