E36 Steering Rack Swap

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This article was created by Ritalin Kid from r3vlimited.com. The original forum post is here. This guide is reproduced on this site for the sole purpose of maintaining a static archive of well written e30 guides. If the original author would like this article removed, please contact site@e30dohc.com.


[edit] BMW E30 -> E36 Steering Rack Swap

This guide was created to explain how to swap an E36, E36 M3, and/or E36 Z3 steering rack into an E30. I do not consider this to be the only method to accomplish this swap so if you have suggestions please post them.

A special thanks to my friend Josh (HST) for helping out.

The Parts You Need: - Quoted from BMAParts.com

Item BMW Part No. Qty Price
7/16 Bolt 2 Inches Long xxxxxxxxxxxx 2 ?
Bolt M10x50 26111226737 2 $2.70
Self Locking Nuts 07129964672 2 $0.60
Copper Seals 14x20 32411093596 4 $0.68
Copper Seals 16x22 32411093597 4 $1.04
Self Locking Nuts 07129922716 4 $1.20
Power Steering Res 32411097164 1 $19.50
High Pres. PS Hose 32411141953 1 $74.00
Spacer 72118119268 1 $2.05
Spacer 72111847480 2 $1.92
Nut 72111977925 2 $1.10
LP PS Return Hoses xxxxxxxxxxx 2 $14.50
Bottle of ATF xxxxxxxxxxx 1 $2.50
Tacos xxxxxxxxxxx 3 $2.75

Steering Racks

92-98 E36 3.2 Turn to Lock Ratio Rack - Ebay - Tom's FAP - $125.00

92-98 E36 3.2 Turn to Lock Ratio Rack - Maval Rebuilt - $270.13

95 E36 M3 3.0 Turn to Lock Ratio Rack - Maval Rebuilt - $270.13

95-97 E36 Z3 1.9L 2.7 Turn to Lock Ratio Rack - Maval Rebuilt - $317.59

Steering Racks Purchased from BMA have a $150 Core Charge.

Total Cost = $256.57 - $449.16

The Tools You Need

3/8 Ratchet 1/2 Ratchet 3/8 Sockets = 10mm, 13mm, 15mm, 17mm, 19mm, 22mm 1/2 Sockets = 17mm, 19mm, 22mm Open End Wrenches = 13mm, 15mm, 17mm, 19mm Hammer & Wooden Block Vice Grips Flat Head Screw Driver Table Vice Tape Measure Hydraulic Jack & 2 Jack Stands Dremel

Getting the Job Done

Step 1: Jack up the vehicle and set it on jack stands

Step 2: Remove both front wheels from the car

Step 3: Turn your steering wheel all the way to each side and remove the tie rod ends from the strut

NOTE: Use a jack to raise the strut up on the control arm ball joint and then use a hammer and a block of wood to knock the tie rod end out of the strut. See Pic.

Step 4: Remove the old tie rod boots using a flat head screw driver to pry the boot clamps loose

Steeringrackswap01.jpg

NOTE: This is what a rack will look like when it finally takes a shit

Steeringrackswap02.jpg

Step 5: Bend the tie rod locking plates off of the inner tie rod

Steeringrackswap03.jpg

Step 6: Remove the inner tie rods from the steering rack using the vice grips.

Steeringrackswap04.jpg
Step 7: Drain the power steering fluid from the PS reservoir.

Step 8: Disconnect all power steering hoses from the PS pump and the steering rack.

x2 19mm Banjo Bolts & x2 22mm Banjo Bolts

NOTE: KEEP ALL BANJO BOLTS REMOVED FROM THE STEERING RACK AND THE PS PUMP!

Steeringrackswap05.jpg
Steeringrackswap06.jpg

Step 9: Remove the PS Reservoir by loosening the 13mm bolt shown below. Then remove the low pressure lines and save the hose ends for the new low pressure hoses.

Removing the PS Res. with the bracket makes it easier to remove and loosen the 10mm bolt that clamps it in place

Steeringrackswap07.jpg

Step 10: Loosen the 13mm bolts that hold the steering knuckle in place.

Steeringrackswap08.jpg
Steeringrackswap09.jpg

Step 11: Unbolt steering rack from the subframe by looseing the 15mm bolts holding it in place.

Steeringrackswap10.jpg

Step 12: Carefully bend back the lower tabs on the subframe that support the bottom part of the steering rack.

Steeringrackswap11.jpg

Step 13: Drop the old steering rack from the steering knuckle.

Steeringrackswap12.jpg

Step 14: Remove the steering knuckle from the steering column spline.

NOTE: Using a flat head screw driver helps to open the knuckle at the spline to make it drop. See Picture Below.

Steeringrackswap13.jpg

Step 15: Eat some tacos and drink some beer

Steeringrackswap14.jpg

Step 16: Using a Dremel - Grind down the rivets that hold the steering knuckle together and pop them out to seperate the two pieces.

Steeringrackswap15.jpg
Steeringrackswap16.jpg

Step 17: Using a Dremel w/ cutting blade - Cut the aluminum spacer in half.

Steeringrackswap17.jpg

Step 18: Use the 7/16 - 2 Inch Bolts & Spacer Halves to shorten the length of the steering knucle. Make sure to put Loctite on the bolt threads to make sure the knuckle does not come apart.

NOTE:Use washers to make both sides even it needed.

Steeringrackswap18.jpg

Step 19: Tighten the bolts together and test the knuckle for any play. This is what the finished product should resemble.

Steeringrackswap19.jpg

Step 20: Tap the knuckle onto the steering column spline and tighten the 13mm bolt to secure it.

Step 21: Use a wrench to try and make the rack as even as possible. Use a tape measure to ensure both sides of the rack are even.

Steeringrackswap20.jpg

Step 22: Line the steering wheel up straight and lock it in place. Slowly push the new rack onto the bottom of the knuckle. Once in place tighten the 13mm bolt to secure it.

NOTE: This step may take some time. Be patient and rock the rack while pushing. This is somewhat like stabbing transmission back onto an engine. Here is a picture of the finished product.

Steeringrackswap21.jpg

Step 23: Tap the lower tabs on the subframe to bend them back into place.

Step 24: Line the holes up on the steering rack with the holes in the subframe. Place your short spacers and bolt the rack into place.

Steeringrackswap22.jpg

Step 25: Unlock the steering wheel and turn it to check for any binding.

NOTE:If there is some slight binding in the knuckle use a Dremel with a grinding bit to grind out some of the joint. Keep checking the wheel until there is not sign of binding in the steering wheel.

Steeringrackswap23.jpg

Step 26: Using your hands, bend the high pressure PS line to make it match up with the new steering rack then temporarily bolt it in place.

NOTE: The line to the rack requires very little bending to match up with the rack.

Step 27: Take notes of what bends are needed to match the hose up with the PS Pump. Use a vice or pipe bender to make the appropriate bends.

NOTE: This will take a few trys. Be sure not to bend the metal line at too much of an angle if using a bench vice or you could damage it.

Step 28: Place your new copper crush on the appropriate banjo bolts and bolt down the high pressure PS hose to the rack and PS pump.

Steeringrackswap24.jpg

Step 29: Install the low pressure hose ends in the new hoses and clamp them in place. Then attach them to the new PS reserviour.

Steeringrackswap25.jpg

Step 30: Install the new PS reserviour into the engine bay.

Steeringrackswap26.jpg

Step 31: Bolt up the new low pressure PS hoses to the steering rack and PS pump.

Steeringrackswap27.jpg

Step 32: Fill the PS reserviour with ATF. Start the car and turn the wheel to both sides a few times to circulate the new fluid. Check for leakage and add more fluid when needed.

Step 33: Reinstall the tie rod ends

Step 34: Bolt your wheels back on, lower the car off the jack stands, and take for a test drive. .

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