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backeis

Steering binds on both sides after front spring swap

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Hi!

 

Recently had all stock springs swapped for IE stage 1. Before that, the car steered well and ran pretty straight (minus the usual on-center vagueness/play in the steering wheel). Now, after the springs were replaced (by a mechanic who I've trusted—so far) and have settled, the car doesn't want to drive straight after I make a hard turn (e.g. getting out of garage). It'll bind to that side until make an equally strong counter steer movement. The car is drivable, just requires steering force on the wheel to keep it centered.

 

I hear (tried searching the forums) that the primary cause for that could be some sort of bushing having been put back in the wrong way when the shock was re-assembled?

 

How can I go about investigating this? And, dumb question: will I be able to remedy without needing an alignment job again afterwards? Thinking I want to put it back on my mechanic to fix it.

 

Thanks much!

Erik

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(edited)

The front strut may be assembled incorrectly.  There is a concave/convex washer that must be correctly positioned or the steering will bind.  Third from top in yellow, looks like it is in the convex position in the diagram.

 

Mark92131

imageproxy (3).jpg

Edited by Mark92131

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There is a certain way to reassemble the upper strut bearing ( I am assuming he lubricated them with new grease) and if the parts are in the wrong order they will bind.

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Thanks both!

 

While we're on the topic of him (mechanic) probably having done things incorrectly: is it normal for an IE stage 1 spring to be too short when the shock is fully extended? He told me that when he jacked up the car, the new spring dangled in there loosely, and only connected to both ends of the shock under load.

 

The stance of the car is fine, though I honestly had expected a bit more lowering. IE says stage 1 takes off 1.25". I can barely see the different to how it stood before. Here's an "after" picture:

IMG_1193.thumb.JPG.5852e43d168aedb3adf5d7dea50e8451.JPG

 

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"The front strut may be assembled incorrectly.  There is a concave/convex washer that must be correctly positioned or the steering will bind.  Third from top in yellow, looks like it is in the convex position in the diagram."

 

+1....what he said 

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I have no personal experience with your aftermarket springs.  However, even if the upper strut mount is correctly installed, it is possible to over torque the top nut so that binding may result.

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‘Lowered’ springs will typically not stay in the cups when the suspension is at full droop. Your mechanic not knowing and understanding this reveals a lot about how often he has done this job. 

 

I would strongly suspect, as do others, that he has managed to get the installation order of the washers wrong. This binds the top of the strut to the top spring cup which then means the spring is literally being fought against when steering (or you have to overcome some steel on steel contact between the cup and the strut bearing).

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Just happened to me Rich. I test drove the car before bringing it home and the steering was difficult; not right. My mechanic (BMW specialist) told me I had assembled the struts incorrectly and was missing the proper washer etc. This was curious to me because I was EXTREMELY careful when I assembled the struts to put everything in the correct order as per the diagrams available on FAQ. But I don't care. He reassembled them and the car steers correctly now. That's probably the reason yours is binding or, the top of the struts aren't torqued correctly. Try that also.

 

On the springs, yes, he's correct. The springs are shorter and don't seat properly when the car is in the air. People, like me, have drilled holes in the upper perch and wired them to stay somewhat in place. There's a writeup for this too in the FAQ Tech Article I believe. You just have to be careful when lowering the car back down that they seat properly.

 

Count yourself lucky it's not serious and easily fixable!

 

Nick

 

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I don’t remember who posted this picture, but it helped me (and it’s correct). The parts on the left are under the strut bearing, the parts to the right are above. Make sure the dust cover (second from left) is installed with the cup facing upward.

 

Greg

2256FBF6-1B10-4DDC-8B1F-D4B7F5E5AB63.jpeg

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(edited)

Thanks Greg! So, the slim washer on the left is closest to the strut, then the dust cover, then the big flange, then the stuff on the right? Like, basically turn this image 90° the left and you'll have the proper stacking order?

 

Dumb question: If I go in there and do this myself (still debating whether I should make the mechanic do it) - do I need an alignment again afterwards? I assume yes.

Edited by backeis

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Regarding ride height,  many others have mentioned the drop. The consensus is that the original ones have drooped over time so your car doesn't get much lower. 

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The car looks a bit high to me front and rear.   Did they remove the steel spacer on top of the strut?  What tear spring pads are there?  There are various thicknesses of the rear spring pad and the spacer in the front adds 1/2” to the ride height.  

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On 5/19/2019 at 3:26 AM, backeis said:

Dumb question: If I go in there and do this myself (still debating whether I should make the mechanic do it) - do I need an alignment again afterwards? I assume yes.

 

Actually, no. Not if you don’t disturb the track rod ends. You would be dropping the strut (maybe disconnect the sway bar and even the lower control arm) but as long as you don’t change the relative positions of the track rod ends then you will be OK. 

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Had the same problem. After fixing the washers steering is very smooth.

 

Yes the springs will drop out of the cups when being jacked up. Very normal.

 

When you lower the car just stop half way down and use your hand to make sure the springs are going into the cups straight. 

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