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Discussion Starter #1
Wondering if any one could help troubleshoot this problem with me?

In a nutshell I am not mechanic but capable of doing the every day to day bits (Servicing, changing discs/pads etc. etc.)

Now I bought my car 12 months ago and the car came with paperwork to say both front wishbones had been replaced, now the car did pull slightly to the left when I got it so I assumed it needing tracking.

12 months on and the steering has only got worse, there is a constant pull to the left, if going at slow speeds and go over bumpy ground the steering wheel catches and pull heavily to the left.

What can I do to get this sorted? is there something this is ringing alarm bells that it is likely to be?

A friend who is a mechanic recently serviced, MOT'd the car for me and had to replace a track rod end however I feel if anything this made the issues more noticeable (it was tracked right after).

Just love my car and the steering is really putting me off.

Still have a list of things to do, including Steering, Front Brakes, Leathers, Passanger door Seal, Rear Parking Sensors, Drivers door handle, camshaft sensors (not sure if inlet or exhaust as both came up?!)

Just getting annoyed (its not the cars fault I know but strapped for cash!)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
To be honest Martyn I don't know my mates a BMW Specialist but he doesn't do the tracking he takes it to another garage to have it done.

When you say similar, did it feel like there was play in the steering wheel, that it was a bit sloppy and constantly pulling to one side?

I'm honestly about to scream! lol
 

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The best way I can describe it as it felt like I was driving on ice and the smallest dip in the road and the car used to veer off to the side, if I recall correctly it cost around £60.
Another thing to check is the joint in the steering column, the bolt sometimes comes loose, this gives play in the steering wheel, not the easiest to see as the car needs to be on a ramp then follow the shaft up from the steering rack then you'll see the joint and bolt.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I hope its something like a loose bolt, would make sense progressively getting worse since the last repair job on the steering!!

I wouldn't have said it feels like I am driving on ice just constant pull.

Also another thing I notice while maintain a regular speed, so 20 MPH on a straight road the steering wheel bobs a little to the left and the right in a rhythm, you can feel a little tug every second or so, car remains in a straight line, and then suddenly starts pulling to the left and if a bump in the road the steering wheel will pretty much pull harsh around to the left.

I may take a video on my phone later - would that help any one?

EDIT: Looks like this is the same problem:

YouTube - BMW Steering Wheel Play

Any other verdicts?
 

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What size wheels do you have? Are they damaged in any way?
I had issues with the steering coupling on the column on mine that might explain the vaugeness when straight, but the pulling might just be camber on the road, combined with play in the coupling, added to the fact that E46's with 8"+ wide wheels seem to tramline a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It's definitely not just tramlines etc. as my sister has the 330CD and it drives and feels so much tighter on the steering.

The wheels look pretty straight and wouldn't have said they are to blame, the severity of the pulling would indicate that the wheels are not to blame for that.

My main issue is the constant tugging and sloppy steering, its not wheel balancing etc. That's what is driving me mental, it feels like something is loose causing play in the steering wheel.

Its annoying as I love my car, shes done sub 60k so really low on the mileage and I want to keep her mint just a few niggles!

I need to get under it, but where to check?!
 

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Get someone to shake the steering wheel while you lay under (ramps or axle stands!!) the motor. Up by the exhaust is the top UJ for the steering.Grab the bottom part while its being shaken and see if theres any play.
Mine had less than a mm play in it but was horrific to drive as the steering wheel amplifies the play. Hows the PAS fluid? tugging (ooer!) suggests that the rack may be at fault too.
And theres no play in the bushes? none in the track rods (in or out?)
Wheel bearings ok?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wheel have to get that all checked this weekend - it had a new power steering pump (fitted by me) about 6 months ago, its steering was improved after the new pump from what it was before the pump went, but that's since deteriorated further.

could be the whole steering rack, how do you know?
 

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If the rack has been damaged in any way it might be the cause. I'm just thinking through the components one by one to see if i can work out why it would pull, that s all.
Do you have access to any other wheels? I ask as it might be worth trying different rims to see if the problem is still there, therefore eliminating them.
4 wheel alingnment is a must though. Mine was miles off after i fitted my new rack! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'll have a play in a couple of weeks, life is so manic at the moment its hard to actually get time to do anything with the car, my mate (the mechanic) only got to service it because I literally didn't have the time.

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll have to book a saturday off and go through component by component to check what the play is, I want to get this car spot on its only got 60k on the clock and the engine is sweet as a nut just niggles stressing me out! lol!

Thanks
 
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