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Steering Gear Box

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Mine is very loose.  I have adjusted as much as I can without binding..still have over 1.5 inches of play left and right when off center.  Car is starting to become hard to keep on the road with uneven pavement etc.  Rest of the suspension/steering components are tight and fine.  SO I need a replacememnt. I put a want ad out but was wondering if there is a source for rebuilt ones?

Edited by nbristow01

I'm not as dumb as I look

74 Verona

06 Audi A3

09 Mercedes C300

06 VW Passat

03 VW Conv Beetle

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Steering play isn't all in the box.  At the age of any 2002, the center track rod is suspect at all four joints.  Idler arm bushings wear.  Ball joints wear. Sometimes the rubber coupling in the steering column can break (this usually throws you into a ditch, which you haven't mentioned - yet).  Heck even the wheel bearings can be bad.  Ya gots your wheels bolted on securely?


You haven't mentioned any of these, but you should inspect the entire steering system and replace as/if necessary.  A good tie rod puller will help, but only if you hope to save the rubber boots on each joint.  If the part is junk, go ahead and use a pickle fork to separate it, or the two-hammer method.

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The worm gear and roller for the quick ratio steering boxes went NLA long ago.  I suspect the same has happened for the standard steering box as well.  Back in 2002 ZF was using the last of the worm and roller sets they had left to rebuild any 2002 steering boxes that came their way.  The parts for the quick ratio boxes went NLA even before this.  You can sometimes find good used steering boxes on 2002s that were completely stock and driven entirely for transportation only, didn't leak oil, and luckily the car never hit any potholes or other things that could damage the internals.  I would be suspect of a rebuilt box due to the lack of rebuild parts.  A reseal could definitely be done since the parts are still available if leaking were the only problem with the box. 


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The way these steering boxes are designed there is naturally quite a bit of play when off center..... Especially when near full turn. It's just a part of the design. If you have adjusted your box so that there is minimal play on center without creating notchy wear spots and still have play when off center that is normal.

A word of warning... Have you centered the steering wheel to the steering box? Adjusting the steering box to the steering wheel position when the box itself is not on center will easily harm the worm and roller inside! I have seen many boxes destroyed by doing this.

When I am rebuilding front suspensions, replacing steering linkage, preparing to adjust a steering box, or setting a car up for an alignment I always be sure the steering wheel is on center with the box, and be sure the alignment tech doesn't remove and reposition the steering wheel to get it centered....

Andrew at Ireland Engineering has rebuilt a few boxes using many core ones to build a few good ones. He did a few for customers; you'd have to ask him if he's willing to do more.

2002AD has many many core boxes. I do not know what they are doing with their "rebuilt" boxes. I have nothing more to say about them but caveat emptor, and do not use a credit card with them, use paypal or a check if possible.


Tom Jones

BMW wrench for 30 years, BMWCCA since 1984 at age 9
66 BMW16oo stored, 67 1600-2 lifelong project, 2 more 67-8 1600s, 86 528e 5sp 586k, 91 318i
Mom&Dad's, 65 1800TiSA, 70 2800, 72 2002Tii 2760007 orig owners, 15 Z4 N20

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