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Thread: Stiff/ Heavy Steering

  1. #1
    Sport Button On lamakdaddy's Avatar
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    Stiff/ Heavy Steering

    I recently changed my 2001 daily driver Z8 to Alpina 20 inch wheels with MPSS tyres. I had hoped it would make some difference to the steering but it feels exactly the same. Its wonderful at speed but I found it very heavy at low speed and it doesnt return to the middle position. Its particularly heavy over th first 30deg in each direction which is also where it 'binds'

    Are there any obvious parts that requrie replacement or is this just the way the cars are..the car has done 40k kms..

  2. #2
    While requiring much more effort than my wife's MB with an electric pump power steering, I don't find the steering feel too heavy on the z8. Pure speculation on my part on your car, but the power steering hoses, high and low pressure, were weeping on my z8 and have been replaced as well as the fluid.

    Keep us posted on your findings!
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  3. #3
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    I, too, have the Alpina wheels and tires you have installed.
    My reaction is that the steering "feels" slightly better - a bit more accurate and smoother, with a touch more feedback (in terms of knowing what the tires/wheels are doing). I have found no increase in heaviness, or other negatives.

    I did have the BMW Performance Kit installed at the same time, along with the accompanying Dinan parts as mentioned many times on this forum. Whether that makes a difference in with your situation I can't say. The bottom line is that I don't think there should be any drawbacks from what you've done, and if so then maybe some other issue has come to the fore. EDEZ8 raises one.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Sport Button On lamakdaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hlmiii View Post
    I, too, have the Alpina wheels and tires you have installed.
    My reaction is that the steering "feels" slightly better - a bit more accurate and smoother, with a touch more feedback (in terms of knowing what the tires/wheels are doing). I have found no increase in heaviness, or other negatives.

    I did have the BMW Performance Kit installed at the same time, along with the accompanying Dinan parts as mentioned many times on this forum. Whether that makes a difference in with your situation I can't say. The bottom line is that I don't think there should be any drawbacks from what you've done, and if so then maybe some other issue has come to the fore. EDEZ8 raises one.

    Good luck.
    Hi-You are correct- the Alpinas have definitely improved steering precision and the tires feel great. The issue is that the steering is equally as heavy as it was when the standard wheels were on and the steering still binds and returns to 11 o clock on left turns and 1 o clock on right turns- You have to purposely move it the centre. it is also too heavy at parking speeds. On curves at speeds above 30 mph it feels perfect.

    I have a PP being fitted very soon and will have the garage look at the steering in detail and perhaps change the top mounting bearings at the same time.

  5. #5
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    Hmmmmm......
    You shouldn't have any feeling of obstruction at any point, especially when returning close to center. You are correct in your concerns about having to "force" the steering wheel/front wheels to center (ok, "centre" ). Your situation sounds a little unique to me - that there is some binding towards the end of wheel travel on each side, along with some impediment to an easy return in the middle.

    The good news is that something so obvious and far-reaching should be easily diagnosed and remedied (if maybe somewhat costly). I'd rather have that than an irregular and subtle problem.

    To be clear: I don't recall the steering effort becoming lighter with the new front end setup. As they are bigger the Alpina wheels are probably heavier than the stock BMW wheels.

    NOTE: if you have a Performance Package installed, be 100% certain that the shop or dealership has some previous experience and/or knows exactly what to do. There are very close tolerances involved between the front towers and the hood and if everything is not installed perfectly, with the proper process, the hood will be deformed.
    See http://www.bmwz8.us/forum/frames/per...tions-698.html

    And if you haven't already seen it, get a comprehensive and good suspension upgrade overview at http://www.bmwz8.us/forum/suspension...on-z8-735.html

    It'll all be well worth it. And those Alpina wheels are gorgeous, right? The echoing of the steering wheel spokes is sweet.

  6. #6
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    I occasionally get some binding at full lock with my 20" HREs. But other than that, no real "heaviness" beyond the stock set up.

  7. #7
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    Good news. I had my garage remove the engine cover to inspect the Universal Joint between the Steering Rack and Column. It looked visibly in poor shape. Looks like grease escaped from the bearings and attracted dust and made the whole thing stiff. We cleaned it up and greased it and the steering feels much better. Not too light but not ponderous as it did before. I will order a new joint now that I have felt the improvement. The occasional clonk that the steering exhibited is now also gone.

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