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My e46 M3 is making the tell-tale whining and groaning of a power steering pump that is either out of PS oil, or gasping it's last breath. The oil level is fine, so I immediately jumped to the conclusion that the pump is bad. The thing that gives me pause is that the noise goes away after a few minutes, which seems odd. Do PS noises like this normally go away? The steering feels totally normal, still.

Also, I have read that a collapsed return line (to the pump) from PS rack could cause the same symptoms. Will a collapsed hose be obvious from a visual inspection? How do I differentiate between a collapsed hose and a bad pump?

Thanks, Jeremy

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Odd, my E60 M5 does the same thing. I would check the return line for any kinks. Are you leaking any fluid? Have you tried bleeding the ps system to see if there is any air in the system? –  NoCarrier Mar 15 '11 at 22:40
    
PS pumps are self-bleeding, so I can't imagine the issue is being caused by air in the lines. Also, I don't see any leaks on the garage floor, so that doesn't seem like it would be the cause. –  JeremyP Mar 15 '11 at 22:51
    
Do you have a combo/serpentine belt, or a dedicated PS belt, and if a dedicated one, are you positive it's not belt slippage? Hmm, okay, just realized it's a BMW, going to guess serpentine and that the belt probably isn't the problem... –  NSGod Mar 22 '11 at 8:50
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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

My power-steering pump failed about 2 months after the noise you described. I'm in an E46 3 Series. The noise would be louder when turning at a slower speed than it would at a higher speed. Dealer labour and part came to $1600 CAD, warranty saved me there.

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A lot of BMWs have a noise, but it might be a pump going bad. If I remember right, the lines are right under the reservoir. Check them for softness, and if they are soft/chewy I guess you can replace them. If it's a pump, run until it pops, as they are like $400. As far as the lines from the rack, those are hard lines, and unless clearly pinched not sure if you can see anything.

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chewy is a gross image for a power steering line yet also absolutely perfect. Well done! ;-) –  Bob Cross Jun 5 '11 at 19:30
    
@Bob Thanks. I do try to give the best description for the condition =-) –  FossilizedCarlos Jun 11 '11 at 19:29
    
Chewy hoses? ;) –  jp2code Jun 14 '11 at 17:41
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