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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK, spurred on by Garcia's efforts and the desire to not be analy abused by BMW any more, I have been researching our steering box options to get rid of the centre position free play.

I have just changed my steering box and I can tell you the difference is night and day, people rarely change them but the increase in 'driver satisfaction', for me at least, was as great if not greater than changing the EDC legs.

So I've been speaking to a ZF agent who in turn has been speaking to ZF. To remind everyone, BMW recently let their patent lapse on this box therefore we are now able to deal directly with ZF; prior to this our only option was a £1,200 replacement unit from BMW.

So ZF will sell us a new box for £620 + VAT and there is also a £100 surcharge on our old boxes which they use as the core. I can't get to the bottom of how 'new' the new box actually is, i.e. are they changing the crown wheel and pinion bit or just all the seals and bushes. But either way this is still half the price that we had to pay only a month ago.

Although this is a major result, I still felt that this was a lot of money. So I have been talking to a lot of people and researching our other options. I came across a company called Power Steering Services, who had been recommended by 3 unconnected individuals. I have spoken to them and they will be able to recondition our boxes for £148.58, they also arrange collection and delivery for a further £50, so for a total cost of £198.58 inc. VAT they will collect our box from us, do a complete strip/assess/replacement of all bushes, bearings and seals/rebuild and give a 12 month warranty. The turn-around by them is normally 3 working days.

Although they are not 100% familiar with our particular box, having checked against our part number they can foresee no problems offering the same service that they offer on other ZF boxes (nothing special about our boxes, they are standard ZF design). This will take the box back to 'as new' tolerances and give us the same amount of free-play as the car had when it was new.

I have discussed this at length with them to try and eliminate any problems for us. The bottom line is that no 2 boxes are the same, but I think it's fair to say that anything we have that needs reconditioning will probably be in the 100,000 - 200,000 mile range, in good condition other than internal wear. They really didn't seem to think that the crown wheel/pinion arrangement will be worn; they hardly ever need to replace these. If it is the case that there is damage to the crown wheel assembly they will still be able to undertake the work as they can get parts re-chromed/re-hardened, but there would be an additional charge.

If we wanted to go this route, I think the thing to do would be to get a box over to them in order that they can do a strip/inspect to see exactly what is likely to be worn in our boxes. I probably have the ideal candidate sat in my garage, I have just replaced my 180,000 box which is fine but has about 2-3 inches of free play in the centre. I'd imagine that this is as bad as anyone will have, so if they inspect this and think they can recondition it back to new tolerances then it's fair to say they can do any of our boxes.

So what do you all think? Would you go the £620 + VAT + £100 surcharge ZF route (for I suspect is exactly the same job, but done by ZF) or would you go the Power Steering Services route for £198.58 (A stupid question I suspect, but I'll ask anyway.... :D )
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It's a sod of a job, mine was done at my local friendly specialist last week, you have to disconnect both engine mounts and jack the engine up to get clearance. I took the opportunity to get the sump gasket changed while it was jacked up with no engine mounts in the way as mine was leaking (as they all do) plus one of my engne mounts was in 2 pieces and the other half split through.

The other thing we need to check is if all these boxes are the same. Mine is a '95 but is it the same as an early 3.8? or a 3.6? or a 3.5?

They can still be rebuilt, it's just that if they are different you'll have to take it off then wait 3 days to get it back, but if they are all the same then we can have 1 pre-rebuilt 'in stock' so you can take yours out then immediately put the new one back in....
 

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Mike

According to ETK, the Servotronic Steering Box in my car has PN 32 13 2 226 893.

It was used on 3.6s and 3.8s - but unsure whether that's exclusive use or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OK, on the plate that is riveted onto my steering box it says...

8054 955 237

634724



And then on the casing next to the plate it says...

100594

8054 224
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Doubt if yours is a Servotronic, is it Andy?

I've never seen one, they were an option but I don't think many people specified them as they weren't reckoned to be very good as far as I know....
 

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Top work Mike, nice one :cool:

Incidentally, I was reading the M5 buying guide in Evo issue 5 last night, and it says that the steering ratio was altered for the last of the line big brake cars. Has anyone heard this before, or are they just confusing it with servotronic?

Cheers,
Bryn.
 

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London Mike said:
I have a niggling feeling that you may be right. I seem to remember hearing that the 95's had a different ratio....
All the LEs had Servotronic. Possibly all six-speeders.

I can tell the big difference if I get out of mine and into my housemate's e39 540i (non-servotronic box)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I was under the impression that Servotronic boxes were electronically connected into the suspension set-up? I really didn't think they were ever standard fitment?

I've had an LE and now I have a '95 non LE and they feel the same

The bottom line is that it doesn't really matter, Power Steering Services can rebuild it whatever it is, it just means that we will all have to send ours off individually and wait for 3 days with the engine jacked up before we can refit them rather than having a rebuilt unit 'in stock' to speed things up...
 

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Now for the next can of worms... is one steering box better than another and which one should we all be switching to!! :hihi: hiha

Thanks again for the research Mike :M5thumbs:

Cheers,
Bryn.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well personally I like very fast steering so the quicker the box the better. So for me the '95 is perfect.

Sports Saloon = quick steering for me :D

And before you ask, my old steering box I removed actually belongs to yewcorner now ;)

We need to research this more I think
 

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I re-read the Evo buying guide and it actually says that it was when the cars got EDC as standard that the steering was revised. So it could be that the 3.6, 3.8 and servotronic boxes are all different :confused2

Cheers,
Bryn.
 

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Bryn said:
I re-read the Evo buying guide and it actually says that it was when the cars got EDC as standard that the steering was revised. So it could be that the 3.6, 3.8 and servotronic boxes are all different :confused2

Cheers,
Bryn.

I wouldn't take anything in a magazine as gospel. evo's a great publication, but I've definitely seen several inaccuracies in their buying guides before..............
 

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Very true, I can't remember how many times I've cringed at how wrong info in buying guides has been :3:

Hopefully someone on this board has the definitive answer...

Cheers,
Bryn.
 

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Discussion Starter #17

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Although this is a major result, I still felt that this was a lot of money. So I have been talking to a lot of people and researching our other options. I came across a company called Power Steering Services, who had been recommended by 3 unconnected individuals. I have spoken to them and they will be able to recondition our boxes for £148.58, they also arrange collection and delivery for a further £50, so for a total cost of £198.58 inc. VAT they will collect our box from us, do a complete strip/assess/replacement of all bushes, bearings and seals/rebuild and give a 12 month warranty. The turn-around by them is normally 3 working days.

Although they are not 100% familiar with our particular box, having checked against our part number they can foresee no problems offering the same service that they offer on other ZF boxes (nothing special about our boxes, they are standard ZF design). This will take the box back to 'as new' tolerances and give us the same amount of free-play as the car had when it was new.

I have discussed this at length with them to try and eliminate any problems for us. The bottom line is that no 2 boxes are the same, but I think it's fair to say that anything we have that needs reconditioning will probably be in the 100,000 - 200,000 mile range, in good condition other than internal wear. They really didn't seem to think that the crown wheel/pinion arrangement will be worn; they hardly ever need to replace these. If it is the case that there is damage to the crown wheel assembly they will still be able to undertake the work as they can get parts re-chromed/re-hardened, but there would be an additional charge.

If we wanted to go this route, I think the thing to do would be to get a box over to them in order that they can do a strip/inspect to see exactly what is likely to be worn in our boxes. I probably have the ideal candidate sat in my garage, I have just replaced my 180,000 box which is fine but has about 2-3 inches of free play in the centre. I'd imagine that this is as bad as anyone will have, so if they inspect this and think they can recondition it back to new tolerances then it's fair to say they can do any of our boxes.

So what do you all think? Would you go the £620 + VAT + £100 surcharge ZF route (for I suspect is exactly the same job, but done by ZF) or would you go the Power Steering Services route for £198.58 (A stupid question I suspect, but I'll ask anyway.... :D )[/QUOTE]
-------------------

roughly how much do they weigh? I would consider posting mine from Sweden, if its not too heavy, the play in the steering wheel really takes away alot of the fun, especially after fitting new front edc and springs (HR).

Would Power Steering services take the box out as part of the service (obviously it would cost extra) its just that I am coming to the UK in Aug and would love to get rid of the steering play by leaving them the car and them fixing it whilst I am in the UK. Do you have their phone number - maybe I could ask them direct?
 
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