Steering Gear Inspection After Damage
This bulletin applies to all Mini Cooper vehicles that have been involved in collisions/damage. Impacts due to accidents or similar driving conditions can cause damage to the steering boxes or racks. It may be extremely difficult to diagnose internal damage which otherwise appears undamaged externally.
A thorough internal check of steering gears is generally not economically feasible. However, damage to other related components can be taken into consideration when deciding whether a steering gear must be replaced.
The steering gear does not have to be replaced if:
- There is no visible damage to front axle parts such as spring struts, hubs or spindles, control arms or wishbones, thrust or tension rods or stabilizers performing a locating function, steering drop arms or pitman arms, track rods or drag links, tie rods, front axle subframe, steering column and attachment points for suspension components to the body.
- There is no binding or increase in turning effort when operating the steering gear from lock to lock with the engine off.
- After impact, the wheel alignment can still be adjusted within specified tolerances using normal adjustment procedures.
The steering gear MUST be replaced if:
- There is visible damage to the steering gear, including blackening or discoloration of the housing from fire damage.
- There is any permanent deformation or cracks on steering gear mounts, front axle subframe, steering drop arms or pitman arms, spring struts, spindles or hubs, steering column, control arms or wishbones, thrust or tension rods, stabilizers, track rods, drag links or tie rods.
- On EPS (electric power steering) versions, examine the control unit with all plug connections for damage and hairline cracks.
The steering column MUST be replaced if visibly damaged, deformed or broken. If there is no visible damage, check the steering column for a sheared-off crash rivet. Open the steering column lock, pull the steering wheel out toward the driver until the physical limit is reached, but do not use excessive force. Push the steering wheel toward the engine, about 20-30 mm away from your body, into the comfort position and lock.
If there is no end stop when pulling out the steering column or if the steering column shroud gaiter is under tension, the crash rivet has sheared off and the steering column must be replaced.