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      07-10-2021, 12:37 PM   #1
ZBov82
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Steering - Light & Loose?

Hey everyone,

I'm trying to determine whether I've got something more serious going on with my 2019 M240i XDrive's steering or if it's typical steering frustrations that many have faced. I've read every steering related thread on here and am just hoping to get a little more clarity on what other M240i XDrive owners have going on.

I just bought my car about a month ago and immediately noticed the steering didn't feel right on the highway. The best way I can describe it is both loose and light. By loose, I mean I can jiggle the wheel around on the highway and not get a steering response. I know that's a common complaint and it doesn't seem a lot can be done on the XDrive models. By light, I mean there's no resistance / weight at the center of the wheel and the resistance isn't even. I can turn 1/2 to 1 inch in either direction from center and it's like there's hardly any resistance / weight. After that inch or so, you get resistance. Also, around that resistance point or right before when the steering responds, it just takes off in the direction you're pointed. The car is very darty. You have to be focused in on the highway to keep the car going straight making frequent small corrections. Also, when you're going around a ramp turning the wheel at speed, the feeling can be incredibly awkward. No resistance, sudden movement where it feels like the wheel just drops in your hand, then you hit the resistance.

The previous owner of my car also had complaints about the steering and took the car to the dealer at least twice (I bought the car from the dealer he traded it into and was unaware of the issue when I bought it). He had the tires replaced (currently running Pilot Sport A/S 4 square), wheels rebalanced, and an alignment. None of that helped. The dealer I took it to this week acknowledged there was an issue with the steering feeling loose and aligned the toe on each front wheel at 0 degrees 13', which is the highest toe in setting within factory specs. The car feels even dartier than before now.

So I know there's going to be a neutral zone with little response at the center of the wheel - I get that's there and designed in. But are other XDrive owners having issues with the lack of resistance / weight at the center of the wheel on the highway? Is the steering resistance uneven for you?

I'd really like to drive a couple of M240i XDrives back to back to see how the steering resistance feels. I drove a 2021 M235i XDrive Gran Coupe as my loaner car. The steering felt completely different. The big difference was there was even steering resistance and weight at the center of the wheel on the highway. Different car of course, but that's how I'd expect the steering feel on mine. I don't think I notice the loose feeling if there was proper steering resistance at center.

This turned into a novel - thanks for putting up with me! Any color you can provide helps.
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      07-13-2021, 12:04 AM   #2
yaboibooch
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Interesting issue you're having. On one hand, every BMW I've owned and have driven does have a bit of a dead spot when the steering wheel is straight but my RWD M240i doesn't really have it (as bad as my old E46 or friends' E36s). Maybe it could be the thrust bearing in the steering rack that has gone bad?
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      07-13-2021, 02:00 PM   #3
ZBov82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yaboibooch View Post
Interesting issue you're having. On one hand, every BMW I've owned and have driven does have a bit of a dead spot when the steering wheel is straight but my RWD M240i doesn't really have it (as bad as my old E46 or friends' E36s). Maybe it could be the thrust bearing in the steering rack that has gone bad?
Thanks for the reply - appreciate it. The dealer didn't note checking the thrust bearing so that could be something good to mention.

Let me ask you this - does your M240i have uniform steering resistance on the freeway / at higher speed? My car has light resistance on the freeway when I turn the wheel in the inch or two around center and then it stiffens up fairly meaningfully as you turn further. Ultimately I think that's what causes me to notice the neutral zone & darty steering on my car & might be the real issue.
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      07-18-2021, 06:32 PM   #4
yaboibooch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZBov82 View Post
Thanks for the reply - appreciate it. The dealer didn't note checking the thrust bearing so that could be something good to mention.

Let me ask you this - does your M240i have uniform steering resistance on the freeway / at higher speed? My car has light resistance on the freeway when I turn the wheel in the inch or two around center and then it stiffens up fairly meaningfully as you turn further. Ultimately I think that's what causes me to notice the neutral zone & darty steering on my car & might be the real issue.
I think the resistance is the same but ofc, like all cars with power steering, at low speed the assist is greater (parking lot speed). I'm very confused what exactly your experiencing. Sorry. Could be alignment (check for excessive toe out or excessive caster), could be bad bushings in the suspension arms I really don't know.

My car has been very predictable and maybe the most confidence inspiring car I've ever driven/tracked other than a Cayman GTS. There's a light at the end of the tunnel my friend keep trying.
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      07-21-2021, 04:53 PM   #5
ZBov82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yaboibooch View Post
I think the resistance is the same but ofc, like all cars with power steering, at low speed the assist is greater (parking lot speed). I'm very confused what exactly your experiencing. Sorry. Could be alignment (check for excessive toe out or excessive caster), could be bad bushings in the suspension arms I really don't know.

My car has been very predictable and maybe the most confidence inspiring car I've ever driven/tracked other than a Cayman GTS. There's a light at the end of the tunnel my friend keep trying.
Thanks for the reply and kind words! It seems like different people can have really different experiences with the steering on this car. I'm going to take the car back to the dealer - it doesn't seem to be an alignment issue (I've tried toe at middle of spec range and at the highest toe in setting within spec). Hopefully they'll be able to get it figured out.
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      07-21-2021, 06:44 PM   #6
SoftShoe
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I just used the same words (darty) in a different thread. But I think the best word might be skittish.

Anyway, I’ve currently got my chips on tire pressure.
If yours is high, drop it and see how that does for you.

My door jamb says 38 and 45, and other people tend to fill my tires that high.
Ran at 34 front / 36 rear and thought the steering felt better (read: heavier and deliberate).

My real test will be to take it back to that grooved Highway at the lower pressure and see what’s what.

Of course, if your tire pressures are already lower, I don’t want to hear about it.
Leave my placebo effect alone!

Last edited by SoftShoe; 07-21-2021 at 06:58 PM..
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      07-21-2021, 07:17 PM   #7
mblaucoupe135
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I have an 2019 M240 xdrive and have noticed this same thing. I just figured it was part of the crappy electric steering. lol I had a 2015 m235i xdrive before this car and from what I recall it was very similar; or, at least I didn't notice a huge difference when I got the 2019. I'll be curious to hear what you figure out and if there is a way to improve this all!
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      07-21-2021, 09:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mblaucoupe135 View Post
I have an 2019 M240 xdrive and have noticed this same thing. I just figured it was part of the crappy electric steering. lol I had a 2015 m235i xdrive before this car and from what I recall it was very similar; or, at least I didn't notice a huge difference when I got the 2019. I'll be curious to hear what you figure out and if there is a way to improve this all!
There is a part in the steering column (can't remember name) that wears out. Simple and inexpensive DIY fix. Look it up
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