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Rocan

Steering Coupler Failure...

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Drove home this morning around 7.30 after a long night out and being kicked out of my girlfriends bed by her Dad (who's really a nice guy, but lives by a "my house my rules" vibe). If the freezing cold drive home thanks to the recent failure of my blower motor wasn't enough, I pulled into a really tight parking only to have my steering coupler completely fail on me. I wrangled it into place for the last few turns (cringing at the noise of the coupler being twisted and mangled) and passed out in my bed. The annoying part is that a few days ago I recognized the part as being really worn and said to myself "that really needs to get fixed soon." I ordered a new poly unit that's meant for a beetle (same part, but cheaper), and it's supposed to be here thursday. Only problem is that I have to move the car by Tuesday thanks to street cleaning (which I wouldn't mind, if they actually cleaned the damn street!). Not an easy task in Brooklyn without functioning steering.

In the mean time I'm going to go find a tire and cut it up...

anyone have the dimensions of the holes and distances?

post-22717-13667667976126_thumb.jpg

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rant on:

so how lucky are that this isnt the photo

posted to tell your story?

rant off:

article-2180986-144997A8000005DC-792_634x406.jpg

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c.d.- Believe me, I know how lucky I am! I was shocked that there wasn't a fail safe in place in case the coupler failed. I am going to take a good look at it when I find time and design a fail safe version to pass on to everyone else. I'm just bitter because I've been trying to get work done on the car for a while now and haven't had the opportunity thanks to the weather and a lack of a warm dry working place. It seems more things are breaking than are being fixed. All part of the fun though; deep down I know that if I didn't secretly love fixing the crap I break I wouldn't be daily driving a 40 year old car.

I figure there aren't many mentions of it's failure as a big deal because it will most likely fail while parking or racing; most other conditions wont put enough torque on it to tear it apart.

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If you only need to drive a few blocks, couldn't you simply bolt the two shaft ends together using some washers as spacers (instead of the disc). I haven't tried this and the geometry may not be correct.

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If you only need to drive a few blocks, couldn't you simply bolt the two shaft ends together using some washers as spacers (instead of the disc). I haven't tried this and the geometry may not be correct.

As fantastic as an idea as that is, I believe that the two ends have the studs already exposed. In other words, they are not through bolts which would allow bolting them together.

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On a 40+ year old car, the "fail safe" is called the human BRAIN. That's why these cars are better than new, idiot-proof machinery. They're INTERACTIVE!!!!

Old cars require a lot more owner / user attention to remain safe and reliable. Limping along an old, often tired car has it's *responsibilities*. You either step up or buy a modern Kia.

Respect for the car, it's engineers, and yes... even your girlfriend's dad, when you're under his roof - are lessons that come with maturity.

Surely the correct BMW piece (versus VW crap now often made in China) isn't that expensive.

I might add, that in 25+ years of ownership of about a DOZEN 2002s, I have never, EVER seen this coupling fail. I suspect there's a tension / alignment problem on your car - maybe a broken subframe steering box mount!

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On a 40+ year old car, the "fail safe" is called the human BRAIN. That's why these cars are better than new, idiot-proof machinery. They're INTERACTIVE!!!!

Old cars require a lot more owner / user attention to remain safe and reliable. Limping along an old, often tired car has it's *responsibilities*. You either step up or buy a modern Kia.

Respect for the car, it's engineers, and yes... even your girlfriend's dad, when you're under his roof - are lessons that come with maturity.

Surely the correct BMW piece (versus VW crap now often made in China) isn't that expensive.

I might add, that in 25+ years of ownership of about a DOZEN 2002s, I have never, EVER seen this coupling fail. I suspect there's a tension / alignment problem on your car - maybe a broken subframe steering box mount!

Believe me, I understand the need for owner attention in classic cars. I wouldn't have a job working on classics worth a lot more than my 02 if I didn't! hehe.

I agree with all things you mentioned, besides for the brain being the fail safe. Surely, it is the first fail safe (I've had throttles stick on me, brakes lock, etc etc over the years on motorcycles and quickly learned how to remain calm and stay in control when a system fails), but in something as important as the steering, It cannot be the only one. Of course, not driving with worn parts is number one, but I don't really have a choice (I'm a college student and this is my only working mode of transport), and at the end of the day there should at least be some wire holding the bolts together in the event of a total failure.

The correct BMW piece is about the same price, but is rubber, not poly. I've heard mixed things about poly for the steering coupler, but I decided to go with it because of the more direct steering at low speed in the city. A lot of effort goes into deflecting the stock rubber coupler that could otherwise be used to actually turn. The replacement poly VW unit is the same one supplied by ireland engineering, just without their badge. same part, but if you write "VW" on it instead of "BMW" things get cheaper ;)

Interesting that you have never heard of one failing. I read a post of another guy in brooklyn who had the same issue and a friend of mine in queens had the same exact failure in his 02 while parking (though his is a RHD and more prone to failure thanks to the exhaust manifold). Perhaps it is an issue only for city driven cars? A lot of the parkings are tight enough that there is little room to roll and steering, so a lot of steering occurs while stopped. As far as an alignment issue or broken mount, I will take a closer look, but I have noticed nothing odd in the 1500 miles of ownership thus far, and I really do push the car hard at times. The engine mounts could probably be changed, but thats unrelated. The car has new bushings all around up front and new shocks on stock springs and all is well. The copious amount of oil that bleeds from the engine may have contributed to the failure over time. I'm surprised a 40 year old rubber doughnut lasted as long as it did.

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I believe the cars came from the factory with a braided saftey strap in case the coupler failed. I know mine did. Probably could make one with parts from the local Ace Hardware.

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That strap is nothing more than a ground connection for the horn.

In the immortal words of John Muir (he attributes it to the Bible, but I'm not so sure about that):

"mind after your ass, for it bears you"

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ground for the horn button to insure the horn works.

As for the coupler, isn't it held in place by four bolts (not studs)--two for the upper and two for the lower part of the steering column? If that's the case, you could bolt the two ears together with some rubber washers between 'em just to allow moving the car ssssslllllooooooowwwwwwly off the street 'till the proper part arrives.

And I agree, some sort of safety bracket (like the late style motor mounts have) would be a good addition...although like Paul, I've not heard of one catastrophically failing as yours did.

cheers

mike

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From an old Cavalry Squadron Motor Officer....

Son, make sure you do your PMCS regularly....Preventive Maintenance Checks & Services.

Earl

74 02Lux

02 M Roadster

72 Volvo 1800ES

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From an old Cavalry Squadron Motor Officer....

Son, make sure you do your PMCS regularly....Preventive Maintenance Checks & Services.

Earl

74 02Lux

02 M Roadster

72 Volvo 1800ES

I live by PMCS.

I know everything that needs fixing on the car. The problem is finding a place to do the work. If I work on the street, assuming perfect weather I still have to worry about passing traffic, people stealing my tools, people parking (being under the car would scare the crap out of me on the street) and I have at maximum one week in the same spot before I have to move the car.

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Rocan,

If you still need dimensions I have a IE coupler in my storage garage. I can retrieve and measure in the morning.

In as much as the mechanical failure sux, losing the warm bed is painfully wrong.

"What the freek?"

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Rocan,

If you still need dimensions I have a IE coupler in my storage garage. I can retrieve and measure in the morning.

In as much as the mechanical failure sux, losing the warm bed is painfully wrong.

"What the freek?"

That would help a ton... I need to hook something up in the meantime.

Losing the bed sucked, but all is well.

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