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  1. #1
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    No feedback from Steering

    2001 X5 4.4

    A couple of months ago my steering became strange. It turns easily, same force as it should have, but there is no feedback. In other words, turning in a sharp turn takes no more or less force than turning at a standstill. And coming out of the curve, you have to manually turn it back to center. For example, go to a large parking lot, get up a little speed, then turn the wheel fairly sharp, it goes into a turn. Normally, you let go of the wheel and it recenters itself quickly. In my case, it will just stay turned and keep going in circles. On the highway, a car will normally drift to the right if the road is pitched that way. Mine doesn't. Not any more.

    I had trouble with the telescoping, and we all thought that was causing it, but replaced several broken plastic parts and nothing changed. No feedback at all. Its like turning one of those round brake wheels on a train. Turn it and let it go and there it stays. One would think the caster in the front end would bring it back, and it does a little, but only a little.

    The mechanic thinks the steering rack is going bad. Sounds plausible, but I would like to be sure before spending the money.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks for any comments.

    Lin Gilbert


  2. #2
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    Update

    I have been diligently researching "failure to center" for the steering wheel. There are hundreds of conversations going on about it, all over the internet. Amazing. Chevy Cobalts pop up a lot. No other BMW's. But what I found was that there are many people suggsting fixes.

    Mainly, there must be something wrong with the steering.

    Seriously. That's the only consensus. Not for mine, for all of them. Its either the rack or the pump or maybe the pitman arm or possibly a ball joint, etc. Could be anything. And some have replaced everything to no avail. Although I don't think its the problem, I plan to switch out the pump. To swwitch out the rack you must elevate the engine, and I don't want to get into that much time and trouble. I'm sure the last bolt to get out would strip about half way out and I'd be bumming rides.

    Oh well. But at 200,000 miles its still running great. Maybe not quite as peppy. But pulled a 26 foot boat and trailer a few weeks ago. Anyway.

  3. #3
    Robert Platt Bell
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    Odd....


    Sounds like just a case of "worn out car".

    My old 2002 (car, not the year) had this problem. The worm gear steering box has a "center" that is tighter than the rest of the travel. The previous owner had the alignment so far off that when you turned right, you went though this tight "center" part and it was scary - like the box didn't want to move. I ended up putting a new box in, and properly centering and adjusting it according to the manual.

    I just replaced a power rack in one of my E36's, along with the lower control arms, ball joints, tie rod ends, and even sway bar links. It tighted up the steering some, but an old car is an old car.

    What happens with older cars is not that one thing wear out, but that everything wears out. I have a 140,000 mile F-150 that drives like a Ford 9N tractor - wanders from shoulder to yellow line and back. All original suspension, ball joints, tie rods, steering box, etc.

    FWIW, my 100,000 mile 2002 X5 wanders a bit more than it used to. All original suspension. I suspect it will get looser and looser until it reaches the point where I have to overhaul it - or sell it.

    With the E36, the car forces the issue, as it tends to shimmy when the lower control arm bushings wear, so you end up re-doing the suspension at about 80K miles to fix the problem. The X5 doesn't shimmy, it just gets loosy-goosy over time.

    Mine lane-wanders in cross-winds something wicked.

    IMHO.

  4. #4
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    Sad but true

    I've worn it out. At 200,000 miles its about all I should expect. I made the mistake of keeping a 750 past 200,000 miles. At about 250,000 miles all the rubber things fell off, and I spent half the cost of the X5 in one year keeping the 750 running. So I suppose its time to part with the X.

    But for now, being in real estate, I'll try to patch it along for a while. I try to pay cash for cars, and now is not a good time. Incredibly, the steering is loosening up and is not such a pain to drive, so I may have a few weeks to decide what to do. The motor runs good, maybe needs a MAF thing, stumbles as you stop. Is that a symptom? I think that's also a symptom of a slush box failing, not letting go of direct drive, but it does it even if I put it into neutral. Maybe I'll drop a stick in it :)


  5. #5
    Robert Platt Bell
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    Drive it till it dies....


    Drive it till it dies, take the plates off, walk away.

    200K is nothing to sneeze at. The "high miles" cars you read about (300,000 miles) usually accumulate miles fast (highway miles, 30,000 a year).

    Time, as well as mileage, takes a toll.

    If I can get 50K more out of mine, I think I'll be happy.

  6. #6
    Robert Platt Bell
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    Will Your Car go 300,000 miles? Probably Not


    I wrote a blog entry on this, in response to the annoying Subaru ads.

    Your 7-series experience pops up in one of my other blog entries.... it was a good learning experience for me, albeit not as painful as it was for yourself...

    Any car can go 300,000 miles - if you drive it 30,000 miles a year for ten years. I know a guy who did that with a Chevy Citation once. Doesn't mean they were good cars. In fact, seen one lately?

    200,000 miles is a more realistic expectation, IMHO.

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