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Old 04-15-2007, 07:33 PM   #154
E30 Enthusiast
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Bellingham, WA
Posts: 1,088
I did the steering rack swap this weekend and I put up some pictures I thought would have been helpful to have before starting. This is using a 95 M3 rack and its going into an airbag car.

E30 and E36 rack side by side:

I had never seen an e36 rack before, so I was always curious what the difference was.

I cut back the firewall insulation and pulled the shaft grommet out. You can see the plate that people reference.

This is with the rack installed and no part of the firewall cut, you can see on the column shaft where its rubbing on the plate by the shiny marks.

I cut away the plate material to match the firewall with an end mill style bit.

This is with the rack installed and the plate ground to match the firewall opening. The column shaft is still rubbing on the firewall even though you can install all the components.

This shows my estimate of how much of the firewall I needed to grind out, it was more than I initially thought I would need to remove.

After the firewall material was hogged out you can see that the shaft does not rub on the firewall any longer and has some clearance for the rubber grommet to go back into place. FYI I cut some of the carpet that the shaft was rubbing on out of the way from the interior.

With the rubber grommet installed.

Finished product.

No material was removed from the universal joint.

Obviously this was pretty easy with the engine removed, but I wouldnt want to try and hog out that much firewall with the engine and components in place. I did test fits multiple times before I removed that much material and the steering column shaft still rubbed on the firewall up until that point. I wouldnt reccomend anticipating the removal of less material and having a smooth steering feel.

Hopefully this helps give people a better idea of what is required to swap an e36 rack into an airbag car.

M42 on VEMS
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