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Purchased 89 325ix - Some Questions

Posted by httr_garage 
March 07, 2017 06:58AM
Hello All,

This is my first posting, as well as my first experience with an E30. Recently purchased an 89 325ix, which was previously owned by a serious car collector, who put close to $8K into the vehicle to get it up to a reliable daily driver. Pre-purchase inspection, as well as conversations with the BMW shop (who performed all maintenance/repairs on the vehicle) confirmed the long list of repairs completed on the vehicle. However, I've noticed an ongoing issue with the power steering at low speeds (parking lot speeds). At low speeds, turning the wheel takes a good bit of muscle, similar to having very little or no power steering, and as the wheel turns there is a squealing (potentially rubbing) sound. Based on the service records provided by the seller and shop, power steering line from reservoir to the power steering pump was replaced, due to an identified leak, in 2015. I plan to take the car into the shop, but would like to be armed with some knowledge beforehand, especially if heavy steering is just a characteristic of E30s at low speeds that I will need to get used to. Any thoughts?
Is the belt to the power steering pump slipping?
The low speed power steering assist is likely normal for E-30. I just had a new steering rack put on one and it too is a bit heavy at low speed.
My other E-30 is a bit better and I do not know what the difference is between the two racks.
Welcome to the adventure of having one of the "Chariots of the Gods" to ride. These little cars are so much fun that I have three of them.

If you do not already have a copy, get the Bentley published service manual for this car. It will save you a lot of time and effort with the little things that will come up with a car of this vintage. Even BMW master techs of the younger set have likely not worked on one. My son is an example. Knows all about the new ones but has not had an antique to work on.

Bob in Everett
I have an 89 iX and the steering isn't particularly heavy at any speed.

Noises when turning are usually indicative of pump wear or bad rack seals, this may be due to the pump running dry as a result of the hose leak. When run dry, hydraulic pumps wear very quickly, scoring of the pump rotors results in cavitation (likely the noise you are hearing). If you have eliminated a slipping belt then pump replacement may be needed, though bad rack seals is the other alternative.

Harbor Freight sell a really good stethoscope with a screw on long metal probe for a few bucks, get one and listen to the pump and rack while someone turns the wheel, this will confirm the problem source.
Thanks for the input from everyone! I had the power steering pump and fluid replaced. The groaning noise when steering wheel turns to lock is completely gone and the steering is very smooth. During inspection of the vehicle, my mechanic recommended replacement of the steering knuckle and sway bar linkages. My mechanic mentioned, while not at the point of potential failure, it would help with the overall steering and handling feel. In my opinion, the car handles pretty well, without performance modifications to the suspension. If I get these repairs completed, should I expect to find a noticeable difference in steering/ handling?
"If I get these repairs completed"

Since it sound like the power steering pump repairs are complete, are you referring to performance suspension enhancements ?

If so it all depends on what you have in mind, if you're thinking of lowering (e.g. H&R with shorter struts) then that's generally not a good idea for an iX. The iX is deliberately stanced 50mm higher than the RWD cars for snow clearance rather than trying to plow it. You can tighten up the handling with poly bushings with varying levels of ride degradation - I prefer high quality OEM stuff, but that's just me.
Quote
Seawolf
"If I get these repairs completed"

Since it sound like the power steering pump repairs are complete, are you referring to performance suspension enhancements ?

If so it all depends on what you have in mind, if you're thinking of lowering (e.g. H&R with shorter struts) then that's generally not a good idea for an iX. The iX is deliberately stanced 50mm higher than the RWD cars for snow clearance rather than trying to plow it. You can tighten up the handling with poly bushings with varying levels of ride degradation - I prefer high quality OEM stuff, but that's just me.

Correct, power steering pump was replaced. I also agree and did not plan to lower my IX. I like the idea of poly bushings and will definitely look into that. Anyone have recommendations on strut bars, shocks/struts, and tires?
I am pretty happy with my Koni shocks as they can be set at the stiffness you want. I have Michelin tires myself. I tried some Pirelli on my wife's car but they did not seem to last very long and had a noisier ride than the Michelin.
I would not recommend the polyurethane bushings as they will make the ride harsh. The steering knuckle may not be the issue. If the steering wheel appears to have some play in its rotation, try tighening the big nut on the telescoping section under the dash. Just do not rely on the steering wheel lock to hold the wheel while torquing it. Have someone else hold the wrench and use the wheel to tighten till the rattling subsides.

Bob in Everett



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/17/2017 10:48PM by Bob in Everett.
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