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Power Steering failure

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sharptooth View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10 Aug 2013 at 7:18pm
Upon starting a return journey home this morning, when I switched on the engine I noticed that I could barely move the steering wheel. An icon on the dashboard confirmed either 'Active steering defective' or 'Power-assisted steering failure' - I'm unsure which. I completed the return journey with some difficulty, the problem has not gone away.
Unfortunately I'm beginner at best when it comes to car maintenance, so with this in mind the only thing I thought I could check is the power steering fluid level. I think I checked the correct area, but I'm honestly not sure, however what I did check was empty (picture attached of the cap I checked).

Did I check the correct place, is this even the right thing to check?
If yes to the first two, what fluid should I use to refill?

Many thanks in advance to anyone who even responds to this!



PS car in question is a 130i.

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Peter C View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Peter C Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2013 at 7:27pm
Only educated guess but I think that is the cooling system
If your engine bay looks anything like this the one in your photo is left of pic (right of car).
 
The power steering is right of pic (left side of car) in front of suspension tower with green ring.
 
I reckon the level should be checked with the engine is running - but there should be oil there when it is not running.
 
Cause of problem could be the belt driving the power steering pump but that is a guess because I do not know this engine set up.
 


Edited by Peter C - 10 Aug 2013 at 7:28pm
Peter Cheesbrough
F11 535D M Sport
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sharptooth View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sharptooth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2013 at 8:49pm
Hi Peter,
Yes looks like I was checking in the wrong place then (though slightly concerned that this was empty). I can't seem to find a cap that looks like the correct one. I've attached a photo of my engine compartment; unless it's under one of the plastic covers it's just not there. I checked under the covers in the top left and right corners of the photo, but no joy - an unusual looking cap under one with a lead coming from it, and a sealed white unit under the other. Could it be under the cover on the nearside right corner?


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Peter C View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Peter C Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2013 at 9:06pm
1 series is not my area of knowledge. It may be you have electric assistance for your steering in which case there will not be any hydraulic fluid to check - The failure is probably going to need specialist attention.
 
Yes you are right to be worried about the water level being low. is there a level mark on the outside? I would fill it up to that when cold and then check it after a few days (when cold).
Peter Cheesbrough
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sharptooth View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sharptooth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2013 at 7:57am
I'm sure you're right about it being electric power steering, a forum post I found elsewhere suggests that this is a 'feature' of the 130i, plus when I looked at my photo again I saw a similar shaped bracket to yours that is unused - which in yours holds the PS fluid tank.

I'll call the dealership first thing Monday and get it booked in ASAP.

Many thanks for your help Peter, I'll update the post when it's all rectified for anyone else's benefit.

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sharptooth View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sharptooth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2013 at 7:56pm
UPDATE

Managed to get the car into the dealer today, unfortunately the news is very bad - a broken steering rack. The service guy I'm dealing with has contacted BMW to see if they will cover the cost of replacement parts, given my car's low (33k) mileage and young (08) age. Fingers crossed BMW will be agreeable!
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I_MNL View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote I_MNL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2013 at 2:45pm
Originally posted by sharptooth sharptooth wrote:

 
 however what I did check was empty (picture attached of the cap I checked).



PS car in question is a 130i.

 
when you removed the cap, was there a thin stick sticking out? If so, this shows the level of the coolant.
And the name is Marie-Noëlle or nick name MNL! NOT Marie or Noëlle alone

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Norrie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2013 at 4:50pm
depends upon the age of the car, some newer BMWs no longer have the floating stick arrangement. This is the case in my E65.
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