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      05-12-2017, 11:14 AM   #1
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Steering rack get heavy and contesters

Hello guys, today, after doing track day with my M3 I had a really experience.
After 5 laps, when car got hot, my steering wheel started to act weird.

First, I thought, that it happened, because I forgot to turn off the Driving assistant off. I was driving in to the corner, when suddenly, I almost lost control. My steering wheel turned back in to the center position, and car started to break slowly. After few seconds, car released the steering wheel, and I could continue to drive. On the media screen, there was en error, telling me the there is/was an increased force on the steering wheel. Please drive moderately. After some seconds, this warning went away. I could not find it afterwards.

After 40 minutes, I decided to go for some laps again. This time I switched traction control completely off, previously it was in MDM mode. Only this time, these steering wheel errors appeared again and again. All the errors would appear only while attacking the corner.

After these events, I decided to stop my track day, and went home. No errors or driving issues happened.

I did try to google this issue, but it is kind of hard to google for it. Maybe some one know where to search for the answers? These warning are really dangerous on the track, it could easily cause accident. I was lucky to have some track to let it drive straight for a while.

Steering rack would not lock itself, it would counter my moves, and it is almost impossible to counter that force.

Regards,
Pavel
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      05-12-2017, 12:03 PM   #2
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Could it be miss aligned steering angle sensor?
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      05-12-2017, 03:50 PM   #3
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What setting did you have the Servotronic control (steering force) set to, Comfort, Sport, or Sport+?

I'm guessing that you had it set to Sport+, which artificially increases the steering effort. This can overheat the EPS unit and may have lead to what you experienced. This is why in the M Schools at both Performance Center East and especially at Performance Center West (Thermal, CA, in the desert!), the instructors specifically tell you not to change the Servotronic control to anything but Comfort. I know a couple of instructors from PCW and they told me that they had this problem early on when the school got the F8x.

Since the steering in the F8x is electric (EPS), there is really no reason to artificially increase the steering effort, as it will never duplicate the feeling of hydraulic steering. Unfortunately BMW labels the higher settings as Sport and Sport+ and everyone thinks this makes the car's steering feel more "sporty". It may be OK for the street, but this is definitely not the setting to be used on the track, particularly when the ambient temperature is high.
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Last edited by SD ///M4; 05-17-2017 at 10:57 AM.. Reason: Inadvertently referred to "power steering pump" rather than "EPS unit". Edited to correct.
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      05-14-2017, 03:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD ///M4 View Post
What setting did you have the Servotronic control (steering force) set to, Comfort, Sport, or Sport+?

I'm guessing that you had it set to Sport+, which artificially increases the steering effort. This can overheat the power steering pump and may have lead to what you experienced. This is why in the M Schools at both Performance Center East and especially at Performance Center West (Thermal, CA, in the desert!), the instructors specifically tell you not to change the Servotronic control to anything but Comfort. I know a couple of instructors from PCW and they told me that they had this problem early on when the school got the F8x.

Since the steering in the F8x is electric (EPS), there is really no reason to artificially increase the steering effort, as it will never duplicate the feeling of hydraulic steering. Unfortunately BMW labels the higher settings as Sport and Sport+ and everyone thinks this makes the car's steering feel more "sporty". It may be OK for the street, but this is definitely not the setting to be used on the track, particularly when the ambient temperature is high.
Thank you for your reply. I never use steering settings at Sport or higher. Only comfort. I will try to realign my steering sensor, and see what will happen. At the moment, I am confused, why it would turn it self off...
I did wheel alignment few months ago, after winter, so it may affect this. I will let you know.
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      05-14-2017, 06:40 PM   #5
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Well, that's unfortunate, as that would have been the easy fix!

Good luck in finding and fixing the problem. I hope it doesn't end up being expensive!
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      05-15-2017, 02:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD ///M4 View Post
What setting did you have the Servotronic control (steering force) set to, Comfort, Sport, or Sport+?

I'm guessing that you had it set to Sport+, which artificially increases the steering effort. This can overheat the power steering pump and may have lead to what you experienced. This is why in the M Schools at both Performance Center East and especially at Performance Center West (Thermal, CA, in the desert!), the instructors specifically tell you not to change the Servotronic control to anything but Comfort. I know a couple of instructors from PCW and they told me that they had this problem early on when the school got the F8x.

Since the steering in the F8x is electric (EPS), there is really no reason to artificially increase the steering effort, as it will never duplicate the feeling of hydraulic steering. Unfortunately BMW labels the higher settings as Sport and Sport+ and everyone thinks this makes the car's steering feel more "sporty". It may be OK for the street, but this is definitely not the setting to be used on the track, particularly when the ambient temperature is high.
I assumed the power steering pump is more active in comfort mode as opposed to sport or sport +. Is there any way to confirm?
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      05-16-2017, 08:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swifty View Post
I assumed the power steering pump is more active in comfort mode as opposed to sport or sport +. Is there any way to confirm?
That was my assumption too. Maybe that was my mistake? Maybe I should use it in SPORT at least?
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      05-16-2017, 12:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swifty View Post
I assumed the power steering pump is more active in comfort mode as opposed to sport or sport +. Is there any way to confirm?
From the info I got from a friend who currently works for BMW NA and is also an instructor at Performance Center West at Thermal, the Sport and Sport+ Servotronic settings artificially increase the steering effort which places extra load on the EPS unit. In hot climates like Thermal in the summer, it can cause the EPS unit to overheat. This is why the instructors warn students to leave the setting in Comfort at all times on the track. This is under track conditions at hot ambient temperatures.

He suggested leaving the Servotronic setting in Comfort. His advice is good enough for me. Not sure what other confirmation you need.
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Last edited by SD ///M4; 05-17-2017 at 10:58 AM.. Reason: Inadvertently referred to "power steering pump" rather than "EPS unit". Edited to correct.
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      05-16-2017, 01:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD ///M4 View Post
I'm guessing that you had it set to Sport+, which artificially increases the steering effort.
How can a POWER steering INCREASE the steering effort ? Sounds like a dichotomy to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SD ///M4 View Post
This can overheat the power steering pump
There is no power steering pump on the F8X. As you said yourself, the F8X has EPS (electric power steering), where the steering force assistance is provided by an electrical motor that is mechanically connected to the steering rack (see picture below).


Quote:
Originally Posted by SD ///M4 View Post
This is why in the M Schools at both Performance Center East and especially at Performance Center West (Thermal, CA, in the desert!), the instructors specifically tell you not to change the Servotronic control to anything but Comfort. I know a couple of instructors from PCW and they told me that they had this problem early on when the school got the F8x.

Since the steering in the F8x is electric (EPS), there is really no reason to artificially increase the steering effort, as it will never duplicate the feeling of hydraulic steering. Unfortunately BMW labels the higher settings as Sport and Sport+ and everyone thinks this makes the car's steering feel more "sporty". It may be OK for the street, but this is definitely not the setting to be used on the track, particularly when the ambient temperature is high.
Sorry, but I call on the above.

Sport+ provide LESS assist, hence it should put less strain on the EPS motor.
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Last edited by CanAutM3; 05-16-2017 at 04:12 PM..
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      05-16-2017, 01:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD ///M4 View Post
From the info I got from a friend who currently works for BMW NA and is also an instructor at Performance Center West at Thermal, the Sport and Sport+ Servotronic settings artificially increase the steering effort which places extra load on the power steering pump. In hot climates like Thermal in the summer, it can cause the power steering pump to overheat. This is why the instructors warn students to leave the setting in Comfort at all times on the track. This is under track conditions at hot ambient temperatures.

He suggested leaving the Servotronic setting in Comfort. His advice is good enough for me. Not sure what other confirmation you need.
...because his advice does not make technical sense...
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      05-16-2017, 01:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ppjev View Post
Hello guys, today, after doing track day with my M3 I had a really experience.
After 5 laps, when car got hot, my steering wheel started to act weird.

First, I thought, that it happened, because I forgot to turn off the Driving assistant off. I was driving in to the corner, when suddenly, I almost lost control. My steering wheel turned back in to the center position, and car started to break slowly. After few seconds, car released the steering wheel, and I could continue to drive. On the media screen, there was en error, telling me the there is/was an increased force on the steering wheel. Please drive moderately. After some seconds, this warning went away. I could not find it afterwards.

After 40 minutes, I decided to go for some laps again. This time I switched traction control completely off, previously it was in MDM mode. Only this time, these steering wheel errors appeared again and again. All the errors would appear only while attacking the corner.

After these events, I decided to stop my track day, and went home. No errors or driving issues happened.

I did try to google this issue, but it is kind of hard to google for it. Maybe some one know where to search for the answers? These warning are really dangerous on the track, it could easily cause accident. I was lucky to have some track to let it drive straight for a while.

Steering rack would not lock itself, it would counter my moves, and it is almost impossible to counter that force.

Regards,
Pavel
Does your car have any of driving assistance options (lane departure warning, collision avoidance, blind spot detection)? If so, are you sure you turned all those aids off (not only DSC)?

I have over 40 track days with M4, I have never encountered anything like you describe and I use the Sport+ steering setting at the track.
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      05-16-2017, 05:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanAutM3 View Post
There is no power steering pump on the F8X. As you said yourself, the F8X has EPS (electric power steering), where the steering force assistance is provided by an electrical motor that is mechanically connected to the steering rack (see picture below).

Sorry, but I call on the above.

Sport+ provide LESS assist, hence it should put less strain on the EPS motor.
Sorry, old habits, I'm talking about power steering and said the power steering pump, which obviously was incorrect. I should have known better, I had EPS on my S2000 which I owned for 13 years, but our other BMWs all still have power steering pumps. It was not BS, it was using the wrong term.

Let me rephrase. In discussing this with my friend, on more than one occasion, he indicated that from what they saw at Performance Center West, the artificially induced steering effort of Sport and Sport+ places a strain on the EPS unit, causing it to overheat in high ambient temperature (100+ at Thermal) under track conditions. He has been an instructor at Thermal and works for BMW NA. He also has a dedicated track car and is a club racer. Some may know him from BMW forums as Southpaw. I highly value his opinions on anything BMW.

This is an exact quote of his reply to the e-mail that I sent him in March last year prior to my Euro Delivery when I asked him to clarify the M button settings used at both Performance Centers:

Quote:
Sport and sport plus steering makes the steering waaaay too artificially heavy. It also will overheat the power steering system in hot conditions (like Thermal.)
At several Experience events at Thermal, and at the 2-day M School in South Carolina, the instructors specifically warned us to leave the Servotronic setting on Comfort, and not to change it to Sport or Sport+ to prevent overheating of the EPS unit.

I'm just the messenger, I'm just sharing information that I was told by people who should know, and this is what I've been told on numerous occasions. Believe what you want. YMMV.
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      05-16-2017, 05:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD ///M4 View Post
Sorry, old habits, I'm talking about power steering and said the power steering pump, which obviously was incorrect. I should have known better, I had EPS on my S2000 which I owned for 13 years, but our other BMWs all still have power steering pumps. It was not BS, it was using the wrong term.

Let me rephrase. In discussing this with my friend, on more than one occasion, he indicated that from what they saw at Performance Center West, the artificially induced steering effort of Sport and Sport+ places a strain on the EPS unit, causing it to overheat in high ambient temperature (100+ at Thermal) under track conditions. He has been an instructor at Thermal and works for BMW NA. He also has a dedicated track car and is a club racer. Some may know him from BMW forums as Southpaw. I highly value his opinions on anything BMW.

This is an exact quote of his reply to the e-mail that I sent him in March last year prior to my Euro Delivery when I asked him to clarify the M button settings used at both Performance Centers:



At several Experience events at Thermal, and at the 2-day M School in South Carolina, the instructors specifically warned us to leave the Servotronic setting on Comfort, and not to change it to Sport or Sport+ to prevent overheating of the EPS unit.

I'm just the messenger, I'm just sharing information that I was told by people who should know, and this is what I've been told on numerous occasions. Believe what you want. YMMV.
Thanks for the explanation, but it still does not add up to me. I just don't see how a power steering would add weight to the steering, it defeats the whole point of a power steering. If the steering was light enough without assists, why bother putting an assist system?

I interpret what your friend is saying that it makes the steering FEEL artificially heavy TO HIM. In my book, a heavier steering effort from a power steering system means less assist. From the F8X technical training doc (particularly highlighted section):
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      05-16-2017, 05:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanAutM3 View Post
Thanks for the explanation, but it still does not add up to me. I just don't see how a power steering would add weight to the steering, it defeats the whole point of a power steering. If the steering was light enough without assists, why bother putting an assist system?

I interpret what your friend is saying that it makes the steering FEEL artificially heavy TO HIM. In my book, a heavier steering effort from a power steering system means less assist. From the F8X technical training doc (particularly highlighted section):
I understand your point. The BMW technical training doc appears to explain how it is supposed to work and makes technical sense. There may be some other reason why the EPS unit is overheating and they came to the wrong conclusion in their cause and effect analysis.

I may see him on Sunday and if so, I'll definitely have another conversation with him about this.
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      05-17-2017, 08:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanAutM3 View Post
Does your car have any of driving assistance options (lane departure warning, collision avoidance, blind spot detection)? If so, are you sure you turned all those aids off (not only DSC)?

I have over 40 track days with M4, I have never encountered anything like you describe and I use the Sport+ steering setting at the track.
First time when this issue occurred, I was sure that it happened because of the pedestrian warning. My info screen wrote something related to pedestrians. Did not have time to read it on the track. This time, I did NOT turn off that middle button of assistant.

I was calm, after resting a bit, I decided to return on the track, switched all those assistance off... and guess what, it happened again, but this time, there was a sliding car icon on the screen, and there was something about "increased force on the steering wheel..." After 1, 1.5 seconds, all return ed to normal. I switched my DTC completely off, thinking that maybe it was because of the MDM mode... But it happened again... this time, correct icon appeared on my cluster, steering well with exclamation mark. I though, that is it, something happened, I will have an error message. But, after 2 seconds, all returned to normal.

Today, I will check my car with PC tools. But until now, I am daily driving my car, and these issues never happened to me again.

These issues, happened only on very aggressive corners, with some altitude changes while cornering in. I think, it will be related to wheel alignment. One of my friends told me, that, when a car gets really wrong reads from them, the motor just shuts down. That is why it gets almost impossible to turn the wheels.

I will let you know, but at least now I see, why BMW M3/4 where banned from track days in US, if it is equipped with Driving Assistance . I know that it can be turned off, but things that happened if you don't, are really dangerous.

P.S. I was using, SPORT/SUPER SPORT/COMFORT modes. So COMFORT on the steering wheel. Forgot to try to switch it in to SPORT or above.

Regards,
Pavel
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      05-17-2017, 10:54 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by ppjev View Post
I will let you know, but at least now I see, why BMW M3/4 where banned from track days in US, if it is equipped with Driving Assistance . I know that it can be turned off, but things that happened if you don't, are really dangerous.
BMW M3/M4s (or any BMW) are NOT banned from track days in the US. ONE BMW CCA chapter went "rogue" and issued a ban for THEIR track days, without consulting the BMW CCA National Office. This was quickly addressed by BMW NA and BMW CCA and the ban was rescinded.

Please don't continue to spread false and misleading stories that have already been addressed and resolved. Do your research first.

Your situation seems to be unique and you need to address this problem with your dealer.
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      05-17-2017, 02:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD ///M4 View Post
BMW M3/M4s (or any BMW) are NOT banned from track days in the US. ONE BMW CCA chapter went "rogue" and issued a ban for THEIR track days, without consulting the BMW CCA National Office. This was quickly addressed by BMW NA and BMW CCA and the ban was rescinded.

Please don't continue to spread false and misleading stories that have already been addressed and resolved. Do your research first.

Your situation seems to be unique and you need to address this problem with your dealer.
Sure thing. I just read the news, that were all over the internet, on all quality blogs about BMW. Did not think that I have to check all over again. Any way, thank you for the information, was not intended to spread anything...
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      06-16-2017, 08:01 AM   #18
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Guys, I have found a solution, after it did it again today, but never came back to me. Lost my steering completely in the 180 corner.

The problem was with negative cord of a steering rack. It was lose. After cleaning and fixing it back together, now all works like a charm!!!
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      06-16-2017, 03:42 PM   #19
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So to clarify, you had a physical, faulty connection between the wiring harness and the EPS motor?
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      06-18-2017, 06:05 AM   #20
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There is a grounding cord, under the right front fender. Easily accesible after removing that fender. The cord was loose. I will post a diagram when I will have access to my PC.
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      11-18-2020, 08:54 AM   #21
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There is a grounding cord, under the right front fender. Easily accesible after removing that fender. The cord was loose. I will post a diagram when I will have access to my PC.
So I have the fender liner off. Can you tell me where the ground bolt for the power steering motor is?
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      11-18-2020, 11:15 AM   #22
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So I have the fender liner off. Can you tell me where the ground bolt for the power steering motor is?
The wires are on the right on your picture, Can you take a picture of that area? If possible, upload full size image, I will pinpoint which one.
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