Hello there and welcome to the BMW Car Club of America.

If you are a BMW CCA member, please log in and introduce yourself in our Member Introductions section.

Sticking Steering... unsolved mystery?

Discussion in 'E85 Z4 (2002-2008)' started by x888jmo, Jun 17, 2010.

    • Member

    x888jmo

    Post Count: 28
    Likes Received:0
    I have a 2004 Z4 3.0 with 13k miles. Have had the car for several years and have noticed a steering issue that seems to be getting worse. I researched this on multiple forums and it appears that there are numerous examples of similar problems. Most relate to issues in hot tempatures, mine is more related to speed. Problem was very noticable last evening at 70 degrees. Here are the symptoms...

    At low speeds (under 20mph) steering is very light and smooth, no issues at all. As speed increases, the steering gets heavier (as it should) but develops a "detent" at straight center. The faster the speed, the more effort needed to overcome the detent resistance, to the point that it becomes easy to oversteer the car. This can be real scary during avoidance maneuvers and quick lane changes.

    Sorry if I am repeating an old thread but I have not been able to find an answer.

    Thanks for any help!
    • Member

    rspeser

    Post Count: 141
    Likes Received:1
    I had the same problem and took it into the dealer. They found a code and reset the computer which solved my problem. Others have had their columns replaced to resolve the situation. It is a known issue and the dealer should be very familiar with it.
    • Member

    x888jmo

    Post Count: 28
    Likes Received:0
    Sticky Steering - Continuing Mystery

    Took the Z to the dealer yesterday. Figures that the steering worked fine with no problems at 9:00AM at 70F. They put the car through diagnostics and found codes indicating a voltage drop to the steering system. Checked the system and all wiring and only thing not up to spec was the battery. As this was the original battery it is very likely it is going bad so replaced the battery to eliminate one known point of failure.

    At 5:00PM and 88F the problem was back. Today's forecast is 90F so this afternoon will go for a ride and if it acts up will go straight to the dealer so a tech can drive it. Have been using Dave Walters BMW in Akron for nearly 10 years and they have always treated me right so please don't take this as a knock on their service team.

    Will post updates as they develop.
    • Member

    rspeser

    Post Count: 141
    Likes Received:1
    • Member

    x888jmo

    Post Count: 28
    Likes Received:0
    Almost There!

    Thanks for the link to the bimmerforums, it was enlightening to read about others with the same problem. I e-mailed the link to the service manager at my dealer last week,

    Yesterday it was in the low 90s and the symptoms were the worst yet. Drove to the dealer and let the technician take it for a drive so he could feel it first hand. He took it pack in to read any codes and found none. It just so happened that a regional service rep was in the shop yesterday (my lucky day! - should have played the lotto). Service rep was very familiar with the issue and told them what was needed - a new steering column!

    To BMW's credit (after a call from my service manager) they are covering all the parts! I'll pay for the labor. I'm pretty satisfied since the car is over 2 years out of warranty! Parts are on order and scheduled for install next week. Will let you know the results.
    • Member

    14th BMW

    Post Count: 49
    Likes Received:0
    Impending Recall?

    But....given the recent action by the NHTSA a full recall looks likely, which means that BMW will have to pay for everything, including the labor. You should try to make sure that you are in a position to at least get reimbursed for the labor if the recall happens.

    Freude am Fahren (und Sparen)...
    • Member

    14th BMW

    Post Count: 49
    Likes Received:0
    Change between '05 & '06

    Does anyone know what BMW changed between on the steering between '05 and '06 to make the '06+ Z4s not have this steering rack problem?

    Freude am Fahren (und Fragen)...
    • Member

    x888jmo

    Post Count: 28
    Likes Received:0
    Possible Recall

    Hmm, I'll check it out and also save all my paperwork... Thanks for the heads-up.
    • Member

    14th BMW

    Post Count: 49
    Likes Received:0
    • Member

    x888jmo

    Post Count: 28
    Likes Received:0
    Complaint Filed

    I had already filed a complaint with NHTSA. I agree, anyone with a Z4 experiencing this problem should file, it may force BMW to step-up and take care of it once and for all. I suspect that the problem lies in the electric steering motor and control module. Tech told me that you cannot get these parts individually, only the entire column...
    • Member

    x888jmo

    Post Count: 28
    Likes Received:0
    We'll See...

    Had the steering column replaced yesterday, cost me $450 for labor. Everything works great but it has not been hot enough to determine if the problem is truly fixed. Back into the 90s late this week so should be able to tell.

    Did some research on the NHTSA site and found the number of complaints for the same problem is now at 149 (several in the last week). By model year they are: 2003-60; 2004-69; 2005-16; 2006-4; none in 2007.

    Whatever BMW did in 2006 seems to have fixed the problem but have no clue WHAT was done.

    Here is a pic of the toy with her garage mates...
    • Member

    14th BMW

    Post Count: 49
    Likes Received:0
    2006?

    This the FIRST I've heard that '06 Z4s were having this problem as well. Where exactly did you find that data? Did it include build dates for the '06s? Or are those of us with '06s just waiting for the unpleasant surprise to rear its ugly head, cause we just haven't driven far enough yet?

    Freude am Fahren (und Wissen)...
    • Member

    x888jmo

    Post Count: 28
    Likes Received:0
    NHTSA info

    On the NHTSA site (www.nhtsa.gov) select the SEARCH button in the blue box (on right) where it says "Latest Recalls". On the next screen select "Search Complaints" on the left side. You have to complete and submit the search details one box at a time (vehicle, year, make, model, component). Here is the exact detail that is retrieved... (on further review, one of the complaints was NOT the same...) The information on the VIN only tells you the year of manufacture, not the full date. Hard to tell if these are early or late or just happened to get the old components from a stale parts bin...

    Make : BMW Model : Z4 Year : 2006
    Manufacturer : BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC
    Crash: No Fire: No Number of Injuries: 0 ODI ID Number: 10342060
    Number of Deaths: 0 Date of Failure: April 2, 2010 VIN : 4USBU33596L...
    Component: STEERING
    Summary:
    [IMG] I HAVE HAD A RECURRING SERIOUS PROBLEM WITH THE STEERING INPUT EFFORT, ESPECIALLY WHEN HOT OUTSIDE. THE STEERING SEEMS VERY HEAVY AND STICKS WHEN CLOSE TO THE ON-CENTER POSITION, AND IS VERY HEAVY AND DIFFICULT TO RETURN BACK TO THE ON-CENTER POSITION. IT IS A PROBLEM THAT HAS BEEN A CONCERN FOR MY WIFE AND I NOW FOR SEVERAL MONTHS. THE VEHICLE HAS BEEN IN AND OUT OF SERVICE VERY FREQUENTLY SINCE APRIL OF 2010. IT IS IN SERVICE FOR THE FORTH TIME NOW REGARDING THE PROBLEM WITH THE STEERING. THE VEHICLE THIS TIME HAS BEEN IN NOW FOR ALMOST A MONTH AND HAS NOT BEEN REPAIRED YET.

    Make: BMW Model: Z4 Year: 2006
    Manufacturer : BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC
    Crash: No Fire: No Number of Injuries: 0 ODI ID Number: 10325769
    Number of Deaths: 0 Date of Failure: April 14, 2010 VIN : 4USBU33556L...
    Component: STEERING
    Summary:
    [IMG] TODAY I EXPERIENCED A STEERING PROBLEM WITH MY 2006 BMW Z-4. THE OUTSIDE TEMP WAS APPROX 86 DEGREES. I NOTICED THE STEERING (WHICH IS ELECTRONICALLY CONTROLLED) BECAME VERY HEAVY AND IT BECAME DIFFICULT TO MAINTAIN THE VEHICLE IN THE LANE. TWICE THE VEHICLE JUTTED TO THE RIGHT CAUSING ME TO RIDE ON THE EDGE OF THE ROAD (HITTING THE GRINDERS) - IT TOOK BOTH HANDS AND A TIGHT GRIP TO MAINTAIN CENTER. I FIRST NOTICED THIS PROBLEM LAST SUMMER - STEERING IS NORMAL AT COOLER TEMPS BUT TODAY IT WAS HOT OUTSIDE AND THE PROBLEM REOCCURED. I TOOK MY VEHICLE TO THE DEALER LAST SUMMER AND THEY FOUND NO FAULT CODES, BUT THIS IS A DEFINITE PROBLEM AND BMW IS VERY AWARE OF IT.

    Make: BMW Model: Z4 Year: 2006
    Manufacturer: BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC
    Crash: No Fire: No Number of Injuries: 0 ODI ID Number: 10272437
    Number of Deaths: 0 Date of Failure: May 30, 2009 VIN: 4USBU33556L...
    Component: STEERING
    Summary:
    [IMG] THIS CONCERNS MANY BMW Z4 EPS (ELECTRONIC POWER STEERING) WHEN THE CAR SET IN HOT WEATHER AND THEN I GO TO DRIVE IT, THE STEERING BECOMES VERY TIGHT AND DOES NOT ALWAYS RETURN TO CENTER. ALSO THERE IS A LAG IN STEERING TURNING OR NULL SPOT OF ALMOST NO RESPONSE FOR UP TO ONE INCH OF STEERING WHEEL TURN. THIS TIGHT SLUG EST RESPONSE TO IS TOTALLY OPPOSITE IN COOL WEATHER WHEN THERE IS NO PROBLEM IN STEERING RESPONSE.

    :(
    • Member

    14th BMW

    Post Count: 49
    Likes Received:0
    Thanks...

    Jim:

    Thanks for taking the time to get & post that info. I'm going to post this link to other forums and see if anyone else with an '06 has had this problem. Thanks again...

    Freude am Fahren (ohne schwierig Steuern)...
    • Member

    x888jmo

    Post Count: 28
    Likes Received:0
    Fixed!!!

    I hope permanently! Left the car outside from 11:00AM to 3:00PM with top up and windows closed. Outside temp is 93F. Took her for a road test and the steering acted perfectly! :D:D:D:D
    • Member

    Zedfor

    Post Count: 101
    Likes Received:0
    I have a 2003 and this has been the hottest summer on record for Virginia, yet I have not had any problem with the steering what-so-ever.
    • Member

    x888jmo

    Post Count: 28
    Likes Received:0
    Good!

    Based upon the numbers of complaints (<150) versus the number of cars made over this time frame (>200,000?) I must assume the problem is rare. If it was greater there would have been a recall by now.

    Glad to hear you have no issues with the steering. Mine seems to be fixed, no problems since the new column installed and it has been hot!

    Enjoy!
    • Member

    14th BMW

    Post Count: 49
    Likes Received:0
    Latest Info

    All Z4 owners should read these documents posted at the NHTSA website; letters back and forth between the Gov and BMW. BMW was supposed to have already submitted the paperwork the NHTSA needed to determine if there should be a recall, but got extensions. BMW knows they've got a problem but it looks like they are just buying time to figure out what to do.

    http://nhthqnwws112.odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/acms/documentList.do?docId=PE10020&docType=INV&fromPublic=true

    Freude am Fahren (mit gutem Steuern)...
    • Member

    feldspar

    Post Count: 12
    Likes Received:0
    Unsafe Steering - Disgusted with BMW

    :(Last June I bought a used 2006 3.0i with 24k miles. Sport, premium, steptronic. During the multiple test drives I took, the outside temperature was moderately warm - up into the 80's at the highest. Full sunshine when I took the car out from the parking lot. And yes, the steering did seem to have some extra, unusual resistance to movement during long sweeping turns. I mentioned it to the salesman, and asked him to have it checked out before I would buy. Before making final arrangements to purchase, he told me it had been checked out and no problem was found. Of course, that would be the best answer to give if BMW corporate has not given an official dianosis that the maintenance folks can use to identify the problem. Anyway, during the next year I really learned to appreciate the fine handling that the car exhibits. The steering had great response during drives on really tight, narrow, widing roads when the steering and the suspension were highly loaded. The sport setting ON, and even with the transmission in AUTO, the car was absolutely a joy. But, on long sweepers at speed the steering had an un predictable resistance that would almost totally take away the ability to predict what response, if any response would be there, when pressure was applied to correct for road or power changes. Anyway, I ended up selling the car. Major question - If BMW can brag about such wonderful testing procedures during the development of a car, how is it that they could totally miss this issue so very completely?! My feeling is that the car COULD be, in the wrong circumstances, be DANGEROUS to drive. The car is a SPORTS CAR, it is supposedly meant to be more than a PROFILING machine, so wouldn't you expect that it would not need to come with a disclaimer about steering issues that could cause an accident if driven in hot weather?
    • Member

    Satch SoSoCalifortified

    Post Count: 2,187
    Likes Received:64
    Problems with the 2006 Z4 steering

    Man, I have been worried since somebody pointed out that even the 2006 Z4s might be affected. I was apprehensive because it was time to cross the country in this car for the third time to get to Oktoberfest---


    Oh. Wait. My car doesn't HAVE electric power steering!

    I KNEW there was a reason to buy the one with the M badge!


    :D :D :D

Share This Page