Power steering blues … I relate personally, and I gather many people do.
A friend of mine used to pour so much power steering fluid into her car that the price started to be a financial problem even if she could ignore that the leak was so massive that she was dripping power steering fluid all out over the roads while driving. She finally handed over the car to a junkyard for almost nothing, and the power steering leak was the main reason.
My own 735i has a massive power steering leak. I’ve just been ignoring it and driving it with the power steering inoperative. I gather many folks do that. Can you relate? It’s certainly good exercise.
But, having just spent literally all night messing with a problem on an E30 with the M20 engine, I’m now very familiar with that general geography of the car. The power steering pump, which is often the problem, seems to be a big, messy, black hunk of oil.
It’s intimidating, isn’t it?
And yet, on the E30 3-series with the M20 engine (the 325, 325e and 325i models) this part is relatively easy to access, and to remove and replace.
The pump is at the extreme bottom of the driver’s side of the engine compartment, and working from the bottom, it’s a relatively simple process to remove it. A key tip is to loosen the lines before loosening the bolts that attach the unit. If you have 12 mm, 13 mm and 19 mm wrenches, you’re off to a good start.
I sell good used original BMW power steering pumps, and I will refund your money and shipping if the part doesn’t work right when installed. You’re taking a chance on a unit that might have a year’s worth of life remaining, or another twenty years. I price the part so that the risk tends to be worth taking.
Sadly, the pump isn’t the only place that can leak. The steering rack can, too … and that’s a much bigger project.