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E46 General discussion and technical help for 1999-2004 3 series cars.

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Old 02-14-2012, 01:22 PM   #1
crowtheartist

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Exclamation Power steering went out!...help!

I was driving normally. No issues AT ALL. All of a sudden I hear a kind of "snap", and I lose my power steering. ALL other systems are fine. The only light I got on the dashboard was the "battery" light.
Power steering fluid was topped off a couple of days ago.

Help please, it doesn't sound or feel like a big problem....it feels like an easy fix.....but I was reading online that the pump might have gone out, and need to replace it. A 500 dollar job - I can't afford that right now!
Besides, this was sudden, without warning.

I read that most pumps that go out give out some kind of warning, like groaning.
Car was fine up until it happened.
I'll appreciate your help.
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:50 PM   #2
DEATH2000
 
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Its odd thatit completley failed. However the pump can fail do to low fluid levels. Was teir a leak anywhere? Check to see if a hose came off because the massive loss of fluid could explain the pump failing.
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Old 02-14-2012, 04:32 PM   #3
crowtheartist

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OH GOD....So, I'm driving up to the shop, and on the way, car starts overheating, don't know why. Well.....when I get there, everything under the hood is in smoke.

Don't really know the sequence of events, but all I know is:
Power steering is out, Belt leading up to the Power steering pump (don't know if it's the fan belt) is snapped, and APPARENTLY, according to the mech, the radiator is cracked. All these events. But I don't know which caused which.
My cooling system has been down this whole time, but I just thought it was Expansion pack (because the expansion pack was cracked on the top). Then, just this happened with the power steering.

Holy crap. I'm estimating this around 1500.
What do you guys think?

Last edited by crowtheartist; 02-14-2012 at 04:33 PM..
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:30 PM   #4
DEATH2000
 
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If the belt snapped first then that could have been the reason the power steering failed. The coolant system on the 36 and early E46 was made of plastic which became brittle and cracked over time. Their are upgraded aluminum radiators available for $300-400. Replace the belt and the power steering fluid at the very least, and the expansion tank needs to be replaced as well. Be very careful as when these engines over head you can beery easily blow the engine.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:20 AM   #5
crowtheartist

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Thumbs down

Well, luckily it was only about a 7 mile drive to the mech. But now I'm scared. It looks like a mess.
I left the car overnight, and I'm going to call right now to ask what's going on and what the damage is.
It doesn't sound good at all right now. Because we know 3 things for sure.
Belt is snapped.
Power steering is not working, but I'm not sure if it's because the belt wasn't turning the rotor, or because the pump itself is not working. (of course the mech is probably going to try and tell me that the most expensive of the two, it being the pump out, is what is wrong)
Expansion pack is cracked (has been this whole time)

But from the sounds of it, he wants to replace the WHOLE cooling system, which would be fine....if I could AFFORD it right now.
And he will probably want to replace the entire Power Steering system (pump and hoses and whatnot), which I can't afford to either!
I'm willing to fork out a couple hundred bucks....and maybe up to 1500 if he can give me a payment plan. But I just don't have the cash to spend on big repairs like these at the moment.

FML
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:44 AM   #6
DEATH2000
 
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Don't worry man, I know the feeling. One broken thing is one thing, but four or five and it gets expensive quick. I've been their. It sucks.

The expansion tank will need to be replaced. If you didn't overheat the car you should be fine. As long as theirs no visible leaks then you should be okay to hold off on the coolig system. Check the oil to make sure it's not milky brown. That indicates a head gasket leak.

As for the power steering pump start with the belt. If you have a floor jack and jack stands you can probably fix and diagnose it yourself. Replace the belt and the fluid and with the car on the Jackstands turn the wheel to make sure the fluid gets through the lines and see if their is any issues. It should turn smoothly with little resistance.

Make sure you tell him ahead of time your on a budget and you only want certain things replaced. Clarify that only the parts YOU specify are to be replaced. Put in writing if you have too but your not obligate to pay for anything that you didn't want and any honest mechanic would meet try to push repairs that are not needed. I ALWAYS look at the parts he is recommending that need replaced and have him explain and show what is wrong and why it failed. A good mechanic will take te time to explain it to you. If they don't want to or refuse take your business elsewhere.
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Last edited by DEATH2000; 02-15-2012 at 10:46 AM.. Reason: iPhone spelling ;)
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:44 AM   #7
crowtheartist

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LOL....No offense man, but I've been 'round the block a couple times....I'm sure I know how to not get screwed at the mechanic. A little on the older side, over here.

Anyhoo...

Well, it looks as if the whole cooling system WILL have to be replaced because when I drove it, apparently that's what snapped when my Power steering went out. Therefore, my car couldn't cool itself down, so, as soon as I hit the road to take it to the mech, is started overheating and it couldn't cool because it had no belt.
But the expansion pack has always need replacing. Thing is, he also wants to replace the Radiator, and I honestly saw no need. He pointed out a "crack" but I honestly didn't see it. As I said before, I DO want to replace the cooling system, I just don't have the capital at the moment. I wasn't counting on my car exploding anytime soon.

You just reminded me....we didn't check the oil for a cracked head. That's...worrying me now. Making me nervous. If the head is cracked, I DEFINITELY don't have the money to fix it, and I'll probably have to get another car, even if I still owe on this one.

Come to think of it, if I'm right, which I'm still doing my research for....but if I'm right and the cooling system, fan belt, and power steering belt correlate with with other,....then it sounds as if I would only have to replace the cooling system and the belts themselves. That's not an expensive job. 500 plus labor....or so.

What do you think?
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:05 PM   #8
DEATH2000
 
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I keep hearing people getting fleeced by shops so I like to help them prevent that.

As for the coolant system the expansion tank should be sufficient. Same with the fan belt. It's the same belt that drives the power steering pump. It's up to you of you want to replace the rad, but at least check the water pump to make sure the bearing isn't wearing out.
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