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      12-06-2012, 01:26 PM   #1
singularity
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Exclamation Steering failure during snow training course

Steering wheel got jammed during snow slalom while driving.

It's now 4 days that I've been on a snow slalom and drifting driving courses. For 3 days I drove a Honda Civic (FWD, manual) and I finally decided to take my own car. Everything was fine for 30 minutes of slalom (drifting between cones in snow). After that my driving instructor asked me to do circles (donuts) around a cone.

I drove about 15 circles (donuts) around a cone when the steering wheel became extremely heavy and jammed. It was as if it went to Sport Plus Plus Plus Plus Plus Plus mode - it was stuck sideways and I couldn't turn anymore. I kept the ignition on and after about 20 seconds it became normal again. I tried 2 more circles and steering got jammed again. After that I stopped for 1 minute, it came back to normal and I continued drifting between cones (no more circles) - the steering wheel jammed again. At this point I left it for 1 more minute, steering wheel came back to normal and I left the driving course and drove home. It almost felt as if something is overheating and jams the steering wheel and goes away after a short period of cooling down. Nonetheless it sounds extremely dangerous in some road situations and when tracking your car when there are many turns.

Please help with any input may have from experience or knowledge:
  1. What is this steering wheel jam? It is not like the steering wheel lock when the key or ignition is not on - it's different. The steering wheel becomes so heavy that it's impossible to move it anymore.
  2. When parking in my garage, I noticed that a rattling/dinging noise when the steering wheel is turned maximum left or right. It's not loud, but I don't remember hearing it in the past.
  3. Night vision became very dark and unclear on default settings. Previously I could easily see the road and other objects in night vision, the way it is on YouTube videos. Now almost pitch dark, I can barely see a road and only see pedestrians in infra-red.

Does #1 and #2 issue sound like a temporary hydraulic pump failure? Please help with any advice you can have. It's a rare issue that is difficult to reproduce, especially for BMW service. Thanks in advance!

Last edited by singularity; 12-07-2012 at 08:17 PM.
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      12-06-2012, 04:21 PM   #2
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If your steering wheel gets jammed in a u-turn or on a track - don't say it wasn't brought up. This is one major safety issue that requires attention more than those topics about glamorous wheel and cosmetic parts. Anyway taking my car for another slalom tomorrow to see if the issue persists and then taking the car to BMW service for investigation.
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      12-06-2012, 04:46 PM   #3
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We don't have much snow in Canada yet but in a few weeks I will do some donuts and see if I can replicate the problem. My car was a March 26 2012 build.
Just a thought did you have the BMW winter rims and tires put on the car could that be causing a problem ?
I had mine put on the other day and only drove home but noticed a heavier feel in the steering thought it was the Pirelli winter tires.

Don
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      12-06-2012, 05:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AM47 View Post
We don't have much snow in Canada yet but in a few weeks I will do some donuts and see if I can replicate the problem. My car was a March 26 2012 build.
Just a thought did you have the BMW winter rims and tires put on the car could that be causing a problem ?
I had mine put on the other day and only drove home but noticed a heavier feel in the steering thought it was the Pirelli winter tires.

Don
Yes, today I put Pirelli Sottozero because of heavy snow (OEM winter set). I haven't tried doing donuts or extensively drifting on summer tires so I can't compare to the past.

This was the most dangerous issue I've seen with this car so far.
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      12-07-2012, 02:59 AM   #5
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After doing a lot of reading on other forums I've come to a conclusion that the issue is either a hydraulic pump failure or belt getting wet from snow. The rattle sound when the steering wheel is at maximum left/right position persists.

Conslusion: M5 F10 steering fails after 15 circles on snow. Buying a used 535i + 911 Turbo would've been more suitable.
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      12-07-2012, 07:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by singularity
After doing a lot of reading on other forums I've come to a conclusion that the issue is either a hydraulic pump failure or belt getting wet from snow. The rattle sound when the steering wheel is at maximum left/right position persists.

Conslusion: M5 F10 steering fails after 15 circles on snow. Buying a used 535i + 911 Turbo would've been more suitable.
Curious if you are seeing a starvation problem from centrifugal force? Possibly the pump isn't getting enough happiness from the reservoir. Might explain why you see it under heavy acceleration and steering conditions?

Still, yikes...
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      12-07-2012, 08:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrotwro7 View Post
Curious if you are seeing a starvation problem from centrifugal force? Possibly the pump isn't getting enough happiness from the reservoir. Might explain why you see it under heavy acceleration and steering conditions?

Still, yikes...
I was doing slalom max 15-20 km/h, because of ice and snow the car was barely accelerating and there was almost no traction, so there was no stress on the car itself. Today after 3 short slalom circles it went completely down and didn't recover. Barely drove it to BMW service, making u-turns made me almost go off-road twice and my strength wasn't enough to pull it back on road, if not for traffic jams I'd have called a tow truck.

BMW service confirmed the problem and said it's likely a factory defect which became more evident after a short stress. They said that the filter in the pump leak metal or something. New new oil pump has been ordered and the car will stay in garage for a few weeks. Getting the impression this is the "businessman's autobahn car", was quite embarrassing when STI/Evolution/Civic and even Hyundais kept rolling through the slalom where a big M5 failed after a few tries.

Last edited by singularity; 12-07-2012 at 08:11 PM.
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      12-07-2012, 08:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by singularity
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrotwro7 View Post
Curious if you are seeing a starvation problem from centrifugal force? Possibly the pump isn't getting enough happiness from the reservoir. Might explain why you see it under heavy acceleration and steering conditions?

Still, yikes...
I was doing slalom max 15-20 km/h, because of ice and snow the car was barely accelerating and there was almost no traction, so there was no stress on the car itself. Today after 3 short slalom circles it went completely down and didn't recover. Barely drove it to BMW service, making u-turns made me almost go off-road twice and my strength wasn't enough to pull it back on road, if not for traffic jams I'd have called a tow truck.

BMW service confirmed the problem and said it's likely a factory defect which became more evident after a short stress. They said that the filter in the pump leak metal or something. New new oil pump has been ordered and the car will stay in garage for a few weeks. Getting the impression this is the "businessman's autobahn car", was quite embarrassing when STI/Evolution/Civic and even Hyundais kept rolling through the slalom where a big M5 failed after a few tries.
If BMW calls me to say don't drive the car and to wait to for a steering pump...
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