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Thread: E34:Change to non-power steering rack

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Default E34:Change to non-power steering rack

    i wonder if anyone here has experience doing a conversion to a non-power steering (ie fully manual steering) on a E34 either thru:

    1. disabling the pump

    2. total conversion to a steering rack without power steering (is there one in fact ?)

    i'm looking at this from the point of reducing the # of hydraulic items to go wrong and also reduce parasitic loss on the engine.

  2. #2
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    Default

    1 is not a viable option.
    2 is a lotta work...

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ktteoh
    i wonder if anyone here has experience doing a conversion to a non-power steering (ie fully manual steering) on a E34 either thru:

    1. disabling the pump

    2. total conversion to a steering rack without power steering (is there one in fact ?)

    i'm looking at this from the point of reducing the # of hydraulic items to go wrong and also reduce parasitic loss on the engine.
    1. disabling the pump
    You won't make the first corner. In fact disabling the pump is downright dangerous. Powering steering systems are engineered to be powered. There is no provision to simply run them as manual by disabling the pump. The hydraulic pressure required cannot just be replaced with 'elbow grease' (unless you're the Incredible Hulk) Just pick a safe area on a slight slope let the car roll a few yards with the motor off and see how easy it is to steer... not!

    2. total conversion to a steering rack without power steering (is there one in fact ?)
    Someone did a rack & pinion (powered) conversion on an E34 a while back.

    Rack & Pinion Conversion

    Pretty big job & not cheap.

    Frankly I don't have a problem with the steering on mine. While some complain about the E34's steering; ie lack of feel in straight ahead position etc mine is just fine. No center slack or vagueness just the right amount of assist. I've driven cars in the past with rack & pinion steering both powered and manual and I don't favor them over my E34. Maybe I just got a good one?

    As for going back to manual steering...
    Last edited by pundit; 04-05-2005 at 10:47 AM.

    1990 E34 535iA, 215,000kms (130,000 miles).
    Dual Climate, Rear Headrests, Rollerblind, M-Tech Wheel,
    Memory Seats, EAT Chip, T-Stars.

  4. #4
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    OMG!!! I have a story to tell... A few months after I purchased my car, my PS pump was making funny noises.

    Then one day, while parking --of all times-- I heard a "clank"... then my steering just felt like it locked in place!!! (It didn't lock in place, my PS pump shaft just snapped... the car was just so heavy that my wheel felt like it froze in place)

    Anyway, I was out already, and couldn't do anything about it til I could call a shop, I drove a few days with the pump absolutely dead.... just to let you all know... the car is much lighter than you think once it's moving...even just a few mph. That's the beauty of BMW engineering. And at speed, the car actually feels more stable since you feel the weight of the car.

    Anyway, just to let you know, making a 3-point turn w/o PS takes a lot of effort...specially since I was running my 18" rims already. Turning the wheel in place to full lock on my rims w/o PS was almost impossible. While rolling, a bit easier.

    I wouldn't remove my PS unless I was turning my car into a serious TRACK-ONLY car. I do wish they would come up with an electric-assisted PS system though. This would be lighter on the engine both in terms of power drain, and weight. Plus a dead electric system wouldn't ADD weight to the steering (a dead PS pump makes the car heavier to steer than a car w/o PS to begin with since you're now turning the weight of the hydraulic system)

  5. #5
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    you would need a manual box to have the correct ratio for manual operation, the pumps hardly ever die on these cars and when you are not turning at parking lot speeds the pump is not really dragging on the motor
    all america wants is cold beer warm cat and a place to take a poop with a door on it

  6. #6
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    Default but how much power would u loose running the pump? 0.1 HP? its only steering...

    surely once ur off idle it'd make no difference whatsoever...

    Join the Aussie
    540i LE yahoo forum

    08/88 535i e34 M30+miller MAF, 'stiens, tints & teeth!

  7. #7
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    I think it's about 0.5HP and that's at FULL load... standing still turning to full lock. That plus weight savings of a couple of lbs would be all you'd gain. You'd gain more speed by ditching your spare tire, and using EMTs. And only fill up to a half tank of gas.

    Winfred... my pump died. The belt drive shaft snapped/bent, was there when the mech took it down for the swap. I think the previous owner ran it dry for a while since there was a slight leak when I bought the car... had to top it off a couple of times before it gave.

  8. #8
    ukm5 Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ktteoh
    i wonder if anyone here has experience doing a conversion to a non-power steering (ie fully manual steering) on a E34 either thru:

    1. disabling the pump

    2. total conversion to a steering rack without power steering (is there one in fact ?)

    i'm looking at this from the point of reducing the # of hydraulic items to go wrong and also reduce parasitic loss on the engine.
    youre probably best taking out the water pump also, as they can sometimes go wrong and take a few horses from your power. Throw your air compressor out aswell they can also go wrong. Prob best to throw away the door locks too they are always going wrong, oh and get rid of the engine too they are a nightmare to fix...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukm5
    youre probably best taking out the water pump also, as they can sometimes go wrong and take a few horses from your power. Throw your air compressor out aswell they can also go wrong. Prob best to throw away the door locks too they are always going wrong, oh and get rid of the engine too they are a nightmare to fix...
    ..... but keep the power steering!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    my only intention is to keep things simple. power steering has the potential to leak hence my reasoning to remove it.

    so back to my original question: what is the best way to achieve manual steering on an e34 ?

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