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Thread: Awful steering response on 540

  1. #1

    Default Awful steering response on 540

    Well I love my "new" 1995 540 6spd. The car has an amazing documented 65K original miles but the steering response is just awful.

    Very high effort at low speeds.
    Bad on center feel.
    Likes to wander.
    Fair amount of play on center.
    Poor self-centering.
    Shimmy at about 55-60.

    I'm new to the forum and have searched around for the easy fixes.
    I have jacked up the front and inspected the linkage- looks OK.
    The thrust arm bushes look fine and don't wobble.
    The front wheels sure moved around alot when shaken by hand.

    I have tightened the steering shaft nut under the dash. This took out the clunk when the front was off the ground and decreased the on center play by about half.

    A little more info:

    The car has a PS fluid leak and the previous owner said the steering made noise until he had it filled with fluid by the mechanic. (Guy must not have any mechanical ability.) The car has newish aftermarket 17 inch rims all around.

    I appreciate any info you, (the board) can provide. I'm not new to cars but this is my first BMW. I have always held them in the highest regard.

    Im leaning toward a steering box. Anyone know if the 95 540 box is interchangable with any other BMW ? Quicker ratio woud be fine too

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    4,892

    Default

    Sounds like you need an alignment... possibly you might have a bad tie rods...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    333

    Default

    tiger my transmission is finally is getting looked at today will know tomrrow what the deal is. they are replacing the fluid, filter etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    4,892

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    K... let me know the details.

  5. #5

    Default

    Seriously, any help on this one? I'm thinking of replacing/upgrading the thrust arm bushes but they don't "look" too bad. Is there a way of testing them wihout removing them first?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    baton rouge, loserana
    Posts
    6,922

    Default

    with the front wheel off the ground see how easy it is to shove the wheel towards the rear of the car, if the bushing is broken it will move easy (it shouldn't) thrust arms are not going to affect steering effort, id be thinking about centerlink, idler arm bushing, rag joint aka steering coupler, upper strut bearing and last but not least improperly adjusted box, you say "new" it's possible that somebody who didn't know how to adjust the box tried to adjust the play out before selling the car and got it too tight, the box may be worn out. i would diagnose with the front end off the ground and start dissconnecting parts till the binding part is found

    Quote Originally Posted by rev zundfolge
    Seriously, any help on this one? I'm thinking of replacing/upgrading the thrust arm bushes but they don't "look" too bad. Is there a way of testing them wihout removing them first?
    all america wants is cold beer warm cat and a place to take a poop with a door on it

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    454

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    Your note said that the wheels moved around when shaken by hand?
    Control arms will be needed but you need to look at the steering box and associated linkage to find the culprit regarding the centering.

    The control arms can cause a clunking sound on bumps and also cause the infamous 55-60mph shimmy.

    Scott
    1995 BMW 525i w/139K miles, EAT Chip - (Gone)
    07 525i 22K, 07 328xi (41K)
    1982 Mazda RX-7 w/147K miles (Back again!)

  8. #8

    Default

    Well I have adjusted the collar on the upper steering shaft - helped decrease play about 60%. I replaced the thrust bushings Helped tracking some, Play improved another 15% and shimmy is now GONE.Tire pressure now 32 in front 41 in the back on my 17" Falkens. Had the car aligned and It was in spec. Whew only $20 ! Still car hunts and and steering effort high off center. Wheels are rock solid no play in the linkages. Steering box adjustment is a real pain on the 540. Are there any other suggestions I sound try first. How do you test top strut mounts and the rear subframe bushes. When I go over RR xings I do get a little extra undampend chatter from the rear only. ( I also have the M-Technik suspension if it makes any difference).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    478

    Default

    When I overtightened my steering box I noticed the same symptoms... hard to turn the wheel at low speeds, really bad on center feel at above 50, wandering, etc. I loosened it gradually with the wheel to the right or left all the way, and dialed it out without making it too loose.

    In regards to the shimmy, do you have stock bmw wheels?

    Custom Turbocharged 1991 535iM - 135k mi.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    157

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    I've got the same problem...love to see how this turns out...

    Mark

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