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'91 318is - should I replace the steering u joint assembly?

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    #16
    To follow this up...

    I replaced the u-joint assembly, the rack, and the tie rod ends. Problem solved!

    The u-joint assembly looked fine until it was removed. Then it was very apparent it was garbage. The rack had a number of issues as well. The existing tie rods were in decent shape, but when you're already replacing everything else, why not?

    The steering is awesome again! I think this concludes the front-end suspension refresh as the control arms and bushings have already been replaced. The springs and struts have been replaced. The rack, u-joint, and tie rod ends have been replaced. The alignment is spot on.

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      #17
      Hey Mike,

      Well, my entire front end is brand new and i am getting a clunk and highway vibrations. Removed the steering shaft and the bottom u-joint is loose and needs replacing.

      BMW no longer supplies this part sadly, so i contacted a driveshaft shop that is familiar with E30s and their numerous engine swaps for S, M20, M30, M50 etc engines that require modifications to the drive shaft. Since the steering shaft u-joints have the same basic principal as the driveshaft (staked u-joints) i contacted them and sent them photos of what i require. I hope they can replace those u-joints, since my options would be to get a used one or have a custom one installed.

      Comment


        #18
        Originally posted by S.J.1981 View Post
        Hey Mike,

        Well, my entire front end is brand new and i am getting a clunk and highway vibrations. Removed the steering shaft and the bottom u-joint is loose and needs replacing.

        BMW no longer supplies this part sadly, so i contacted a driveshaft shop that is familiar with E30s and their numerous engine swaps for S, M20, M30, M50 etc engines that require modifications to the drive shaft. Since the steering shaft u-joints have the same basic principal as the driveshaft (staked u-joints) i contacted them and sent them photos of what i require. I hope they can replace those u-joints, since my options would be to get a used one or have a custom one installed.
        Do let us know what you find out. I know a couple of people that have had the same issue and the part is NLA, as you've said. I was lucky that I was able to snag one before they went out of production. Good luck!

        Comment


          #19
          Originally posted by S.J.1981 View Post
          Hey Mike,

          Well, my entire front end is brand new and i am getting a clunk and highway vibrations. Removed the steering shaft and the bottom u-joint is loose and needs replacing.

          BMW no longer supplies this part sadly, so i contacted a driveshaft shop that is familiar with E30s and their numerous engine swaps for S, M20, M30, M50 etc engines that require modifications to the drive shaft. Since the steering shaft u-joints have the same basic principal as the driveshaft (staked u-joints) i contacted them and sent them photos of what i require. I hope they can replace those u-joints, since my options would be to get a used one or have a custom one installed.
          Isn't it the part that you're looking for?
          https://www.racegerman.com/product-p...steering-shaft
          https://www.sikky.com/product-catego...eering-shafts/

          Here they say that a 15x40 u-joint is required. Febest, etc make it.
          https://translate.google.com/transla...3052041322557/
          Last edited by Vincenze; 01-17-2021, 11:29 PM.

          Comment


            #20
            Originally posted by Vincenze View Post

            Isn't it the part that you're looking for?
            https://www.racegerman.com/product-p...steering-shaft
            https://www.sikky.com/product-catego...eering-shafts/

            Here they say that a 15x40 u-joint is required. Febest, etc make it.
            https://translate.google.com/transla...3052041322557/
            The replacement u-joint units in your links are for racing applications. Not really suitable for the street. The rubber disk serves a purpose for street use.
            1992 325i Cabrio
            1988 320i Touring
            2000 M5
            1977 530i
            2015 328i - Euro Delivery/Performance Center Delivery
            BMWCCA
            E30CCA

            Comment


              #21
              Originally posted by cory58 View Post

              The replacement u-joint units in your links are for racing applications. Not really suitable for the street. The rubber disk serves a purpose for street use.
              This guy praises it.
              https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/for...92#post9969792

              Then, you can use the second method and replace the u-joint(s).

              Comment


                #22
                Originally posted by Vincenze View Post

                This guy praises it.
                https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/for...92#post9969792

                Then, you can use the second method and replace the u-joint(s).
                Yes - that Russian video is very interesting (and potentially very helpful since these couplers are NLA). Thanks for posting it. I am in the process of removing the the coupler on my '92 cabrio (big-time PITA). The rivets and rubber disk are worn but I am praying that the u-joints are still good.

                Cory
                1992 325i Cabrio
                1988 320i Touring
                2000 M5
                1977 530i
                2015 328i - Euro Delivery/Performance Center Delivery
                BMWCCA
                E30CCA

                Comment


                  #23
                  Originally posted by Vincenze View Post

                  Isn't it the part that you're looking for?
                  https://www.racegerman.com/product-p...steering-shaft
                  https://www.sikky.com/product-catego...eering-shafts/

                  Here they say that a 15x40 u-joint is required. Febest, etc make it.
                  https://translate.google.com/transla...3052041322557/
                  Wow, i truly appreciate that last link showing how the u-joints on that shaft get replaced. Thanks to my local TÜV (German technical inspection) i am only allowed to replace that shaft with a non BMW model if and ONLY if BMW no longer supplies that part. I have an official email from BMW Classic, stating (in German) how that part is NLA and they have no alternatives.

                  So i would need two of the ST1540 to rebuild upper and lower u-joints?

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Originally posted by S.J.1981 View Post

                    Wow, i truly appreciate that last link showing how the u-joints on that shaft get replaced. Thanks to my local TÜV (German technical inspection) i am only allowed to replace that shaft with a non BMW model if and ONLY if BMW no longer supplies that part. I have an official email from BMW Classic, stating (in German) how that part is NLA and they have no alternatives.

                    So i would need two of the ST1540 to rebuild upper and lower u-joints?
                    It depends if your car is airbag or not.

                    There are other substitutes. Toyo also makes ST1540. It seems GMB ST1540 is also made in Japan.

                    ---
                    It's no wonder there are so few DIY repair tutorials from Germany.

                    Comment


                      #25
                      Originally posted by Vincenze View Post

                      It depends if your car is airbag or not.

                      There are other substitutes. Toyo also makes ST1540. It seems GMB ST1540 is also made in Japan.

                      ---
                      It's no wonder there are so few DIY repair tutorials from Germany.
                      Because most Germans just swap out the shaft with an Opel corsa C shaft or get those solid ones instead. There is a very old (2010) thread about someone asking the same question as i did, and everyone said "no", and he ended up spending €250 or so on a brand new shaft from BMW (when they were still available).

                      It appears that U-Joint also accept the U22 model, which is also 15x40, made by numerous manufacturers, can you confirm this?

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Originally posted by S.J.1981 View Post
                        It appears that U-Joint also accept the U22 model, which is also 15x40, made by numerous manufacturers, can you confirm this?
                        It seems that part was used in numerous vehicles.
                        https://www.fitinpart.sg/index.php?r...uct_id=1256647

                        The guy wrote in the article he had bought the Loebro U122 before for twice the price of the GMB. When he opened the box, he saw the label GMB Japan.


                        Comment


                          #27
                          Originally posted by Vincenze View Post
                          It seems that part was used in numerous vehicles.
                          https://www.fitinpart.sg/index.php?r...uct_id=1256647

                          The guy wrote in the article he had bought the Loebro U122 before for twice the price of the GMB. When he opened the box, he saw the label GMB Japan.


                          Those U22s are dirt cheap here in Germany, the most expensive one i found is €6.50 each from Löbro

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                            #28
                            Quick update, i picked up a used steering shaft for €50 and it arrived today. It is super clean and super tight, both u-joints are in top condition. Compared to what i have in the car, those are wobbling around like two headless chickens.

                            The used shaft also has the guibo/flex disc boltes on and not pressed in with rivets, to make things easier. I shall replace the guibo, the bolts, nuts, washers and the centre bushing on the used one. And thanks to you guys, i shall rebuild the one in the car.

                            Those short shafts for E30s with power steering and no airbags are usually €100+ due to the fact that a lot of locals in Germany are converting non PS E30s to PS and require that shaft. Which also explains why stock steering racks are expensive as well.

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                              #29
                              Managed to get the new bearings from GKN Japan, i inspected the original steering shaft and placed it in a bench vice.

                              To my surprise, the u-joints are fine. They move freely, they do not bind, but have no play at all. I asked two guys in the workshop to "check" the steering shaft (without telling them what the problem is) and they inspected, wiggled and messed around with both u-joints and said to me "whats the problem? they are fine".

                              So i then inspected the rubber guibo, also fine. No cracks, no tears, but there was play somewhere in there. After some digging, it turned out that the small bushing inside the shaft is whats causing the play.

                              Grounded off the rivets and separated the shaft, the bushing is a bit loose, but compared to the new bushing from BMW, there is a massive difference.

                              I cleaned everything off, removed the old bushing and taped in the new one.

                              Question is....should i replace the u-joints anyways? it is a lot of work to press them out and "stake" them in, and they are fine indeed (no play, no clicking, nothing). I am tempted to install a new guibo and hardware and stop there.

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Originally posted by S.J.1981 View Post
                                Managed to get the new bearings from GKN Japan, i inspected the original steering shaft and placed it in a bench vice.



                                So i then inspected the rubber guibo, also fine. No cracks, no tears, but there was play somewhere in there. After some digging, it turned out that the small bushing inside the shaft is whats causing the play.

                                Grounded off the rivets and separated the shaft, the bushing is a bit loose, but compared to the new bushing from BMW, there is a massive difference.

                                I cleaned everything off, removed the old bushing and taped in the new one.
                                I am in the middle of this same job and am not familiar with the "bushing inside the shaft." Would it be possible for you to post the BMW part number?

                                Thanks, Cory
                                1992 325i Cabrio
                                1988 320i Touring
                                2000 M5
                                1977 530i
                                2015 328i - Euro Delivery/Performance Center Delivery
                                BMWCCA
                                E30CCA

                                Comment

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