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I accidently put water in my bmw power steering bottle. I replaced the oil after driving 200 km. Now its stiff at low speeds. Sometimes work perfectly and then almost nothing again. Anyone know what it could be??

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  • Cars & Trucks Master
  • 2,122 Answers

Hi Theo, As you'll know water is non compressible. It is possible that the vanes in the steering pump have been damaged. Check The steering rack for signs of leakage. if the integrity of all the units are still good, disconnect the return pipe to the reservoir and place over an open container to catch expelled fluid. have a friend start up the engine and as the fluid is expelled refill with new fluid until fluid is clean and all signs of contamination have been expelled. Stop engine and reconnect the return pipe. Make sure fluid level is correct (Check with engine running). To bleed system turn steering wheel to right full lock and hold for no longer than four seconds and then repeat for left full lock. Keep repeating until steering feels normal and the sound of the pump has become so low as to be unnoticed. Don't put water there again! Regards John

Posted on Oct 12, 2013

Testimonial: "Thank you for the reply.I did exactly that.The pump is not making any noise after the oil change. I drove to town after that everything seemed fine until I tried to to park at the shop. Power steering was almost completely gone. When I came back it worked again. And again same problem today.I thought it could be the belt that is slipping. The battery light also came on which should indicate that the belt driving the alternator is slipping.I checked them when I stopped at home. The funny part is that the alternator and power steering pump aren't driven by the same belt. The tension on both belts look fine. The oil also looks like it is circulating well. However it might be my imagination but when the sun shines into the bottle it a bit glittery as if very small metal shavings. I dipped my finger in to look at it on my finger couldn't see any sign of metal particals there. I suppose it could be just be how the oil looks. The oil also get very hot. Im not sure what the working temperature is."

  • 1 more comment 
  • Theo Scholtz
    Theo Scholtz Oct 13, 2013

    The power steering is fine now. The problem is that the pulley driving the belt is standing still as soon as i put the aircon on. What could be the problem?

  • s and causing slippage. Remove the belts and test each unit for free rotation. It is possible that a different unrelated problem has presented itself. Afterwards try tightening the belts. If that does not have the desired effect replace all belts. Keep me updated Theo, Regards John

  • Theo Scholtz
    Theo Scholtz Oct 13, 2013

    thank you john. But the belts arent slipping. The main driving pulley is not turning. It stops as soon as i turn on the aircon. Looks like the pulley might have stripped?

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: stiff power steering

The power steering reservoir is between the engine and air filter intake. It looks as the image below.
744ead7.jpg

Posted on Mar 29, 2009

joecoolvette
  • 5660 Answers

SOURCE: steering is stiff driving on the road... feels as if it sticking

1.It isn't a lower or upper ball-joint, lower ball-joint, nor tie-rod end. A lower ball-joint being bad, would make the front-end shake. Upper ball-joint, and tie rod ends being bad, would make steering erratic.

Sounds more like the problem is in the steering box. In all actuality, it almost sounds like the power steering pump wasn't changed. Are you sure it's a new, known, good pump?

Posted on Apr 10, 2009

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: power steering is stiff in idle but ok when driving

2001 olds aurora traction control,abs, and stablity sys.lights come on? Help on where to start

Posted on Sep 02, 2009

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My 2005 Audi A5 steering is get stiff after few minutes of starting in the morning. This is the situation even with enough power steering oil. The power steering doesn't work. The gear system also has a...


Check the gear box oil level sounds low to me i had a similar problem with a auto box car before and as for your steering it could be a worn steering rack if the oil level is good

Feb 03, 2015 | Audi A5 Cars & Trucks

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After replacing power steering pump, steering still feels hard. rack and pinion was replaced less than 3k miles. car has been sitting for several months.


i've had a similar issue with a 99 M3. really stiff steering. i thought i was getting old and weak.

I was chasing another problem when i discovered a solution for my stiff steering issue.

Most of these vehicles have a valve that helps control steering pump fluid flow at various speeds.

i.e at higher speed you want stiffer steering. at low speeds easier steering. however, how does the pump known your going faster?

Note: all bmw steering hoses leak...

As your car ages, so do electrical contacts, especially in harser climates.

I used eletrical contact cleaner and di-electric grease to solve an intermittemt ASC problem.

This also cleared up the steering issue.

get some electrical contact cleaner and some di-electric grease. pop your hood and clean as many electrical connections as you can and apply a little di-electric grease after the contact cleaner drys.
even do the dme.

Note: I have replaced the power steering rack twice before i discovered this fix. You may also fix some other issues in the meantime.

electrical contacts may be the biggest problem source for most newer vehocles since they tie everything together.

Nov 04, 2010 | 1997 BMW 328

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My 1997 328is bmw ran perfect and now is running rough....took it to the shop and they replaced cam shaft sensor but still running rough im not sure were to start. also my add coolant light is coming on...


old car...electrical contacts may be the most common source for problems...even stiff steering.

solution...clean as many electrical connections as possible including the main harness to the dme.

use an electrical contact cleaner on all of them. let each contact dry and then apply a small amount of di-electric grease to those cleaned contacts.

I solved an intermittent ASC problems and stiff steering at low speeds with this fix. could very well fix bad signals from cam shaft sensors, as well as speed sensors etc.

Oct 17, 2010 | 1997 BMW 328

1 Answer

Power steering does not work


pretty vague. do you mean it's stiff at low speeds?

these cars stiffen the steering by reducing fluid flow via a valve in the steering pump. if the signal identifying speed is hampered, then the pumop may think you are at high speeds all the time.

electrical contacts are the most common source for most car problems these days.

use electrical contact cleaner followed by di-electric grease on as many electrical connection in the car as possible, including the dme.

spray the contacts, let dry, apply a small amount of di-electric grease and then refit the connection. under the hood connections will be the ones that need immediate attention.

Sep 20, 2010 | 1997 BMW 328

2 Answers

It has power steering. Why does it steer so hard?


Do you hear noises while turning the wheel at low speeds or stationary? If you hear a whining noise check the power steering fluid level. A low fluid level would make a whining noise as well as cause stiff steering. If you hear a squealing noise check the power steering belt tension. A slipping belt would cause stiff steering also. If you hear no abnormal noises check to make sure the power steering belt is there. If all of the above check out ok you may have a bad power steering pump, steering gear or a blockage in a pressure line.

Jun 19, 2010 | 2005 Volkswagen GTI

1 Answer

Car steers like its manual.


your power steering pump is probably bad, or you could just be low on fluid due to a leaky hose to the rack and pinion. tighen any loose fittings. then service it. if this doesnt fix the problem, go to an auto parts store and purchase a fluid suction device,to **** some fluid out into an empty water bottle, cost $8 dollars, and purchase some" Lucas" power steering stop leak. Don't use too much, as this stuff works so good that it might cause it to lock up,it did on me so i just let the pump idle for about two minutes and it worked ...i know all this because i just got finished trying this in my Car which had a daily leak, and i just got tired of filling it up every week. four days now and the pump is much less noisy now, and i put a piece of new carboard under neath the engine to monitor this so called snake oil to see if it worked...and i be Damed! its not leaking, and it steers like a new pump. Remember, only put in about half, if it doesn't fix the leak add a little bit more and this is what i did... i went to a shopping center to were i could go up and down slowly and make a lot of full turns to work the stuff in, Caution: Never ever crank a steering wheel to full position on any car, if you do crank it, you'll hear the pump straining, just ease off it a little, you dont want to damage the pump. If this doesn't fix it, you probably got a defective rack.
can you rate my answer, thanks!

May 09, 2010 | 1997 BMW 328

2 Answers

Power steering fluid or ATF


Yes There Is ONLY ONE PLACE for Power Steering Fluid.

ZF Gemmer Steering

The ZF Gemmer steering is permanently filled with oil. There is no drain plug.

ZF Rack and Pinion Steering Without Power Assist

The ZF rack and pinion steering is lubricated for its service life and therefore does not require servicing.
In case of repair, steering components on E21 vehicles are to be lubricated with a sodium-based grease, with a temperature range of -30°C to +75°C .
Calypsol D 4024 BMW Part No.32 11 1 116 929

Ball and Nut or Rack and Pinion Power Steering

Only reputable brand Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) of Dexron® III formulation may be used for the power steering and power steering pump.
In case of brief hydraulic noise after starting at low outside temperatures, we recommend replacing the red ATF with green CHF or LHM oil (see below).

ZF Ball and Nut Power Steering with H31 System

The approved oils for BMW models with power steering and the H31 brake booster system are identical with those oils approved for power steering without the H31 system except for the following:

E32 models with self-leveling rear suspension and mutual oil supply tank in the engine compartment.
Countries with very low outside temperatures (e.g. Canada) had their power steering systems filled at the factory with Pentosin CHF 7.1 since 9/87 through 9/91. This is also to be used on vehicles built before 9/87.

Since 9/91, vehicles now use Pentosin CHF 11S instead of CHF 7.1.

Pentosin CHF 7.1 BMW Part No.81 22 1 468 879
Pentosin CHF 11S BMW Part No.82 11 1 468 041

These cars are marked with a pertinent label located close to the oil tank.

LHM oils (green color) of the following manufacturers may also be used instead of Pentosin (CHF 7.1):
Shell LHM
Castrol LHM
Exxon LHM

The mixing of CHF, LHM oils and ATF is not permitted.

Pentosin CHF 4548 was used on vehicles built before 9/87 but is no longer available. However, mixing of Pentosin CHF 7.1 with residual quantities of Pentosin CHF 4548 are permiffed in these earlier vehicles. Mixing of these two oils is not permitted for E32/E38 vehicles.

The hydraulic system for power steering and power-assisted brakes must be drained as completely as possible when changing from one type of oil to the other.
All oil supply reservoirs are marked with the type of oil being used - ATF or CHF.

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744ead7.jpg

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