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BMW E30
steering rack upgrade


At LPSR, we are focused on your needs, specifically conversion steering parts.
BMW E30 is an '80s icon that has become increasingly popular.

Many of our customers want to upgrade the "steering feel" on their BMW E30, which is notoriously slow with 4 turns lock to lock. Drivers become aware of the potential steering rack conversion when their old stock rack starts leaking and they need to find a replacement, or when they've had enough of the "bus-like driving feeling."

There are a lot of myths circulating on the internet about E30, E36, E46, and Z3 rack swaps, including their number of turns and compatibility. At LPSR, we have remanufactured thousands of BMW 3 series steering racks, and we are confident that we can provide reliable information to our customers.

What are your options  for BMW E30 steering upgrade?

BMW E46 Steering Rack BLACK LABEL / BLACK TAG

The BMW E46 BLACK LABEL steering has 2.5 turns lock to lock.

Total rod travel from end to end- 150mm 
Rod movement per revolution- 60mm
Total rod length- 575mm
Number of rod's splines- to be updated
 

Explore how easy and enjoyable driving can be with our Signature Product.
Designed to suit our customers' needs. 

 

2.5 turns lock to lock makes it the QUICKEST rack that you can possibly install in your BMW without heavy modifications implemented to your vehicle.

It is a life changer for drifters, racers and everyday drivers!
Our RHD E46 BLACK LABEL is incredibly nimble, precise and most importantly NOT TWITCHY on highway driving. Even at high speeds, the steering is very predictable, easy to control and it just feels like the car is on rails!

 

You don't need to be a drifter to enjoy THE BLACK LABEL.

Our product is also suitable for everyday drivers.

Did you know that nowadays passenger vehicles usually have only between 2.4 -2.7 turns lock to lock? They handle nicely and they do not feel like they are too quick. 


After many years of designing, testing and most importantly listening to our customers' needs, we are proud of developing THE BLACK LABEL.
We are confident that you'll love it too! That's why if you are one of the customers who are still not sure and question the rack speed or twitchines- we are happy to brake our terms and conditions in your favour. If you already have a quick rack installed ( Purple tag, Z3 rack, or a CSL Blue Tag) and you are willing to test our signature product we are happy to offer you a change of mind return option. 

  To fit an E46 BLACK LABEL steering rack into your E30 you would need:

1. Uni Joint - Slimmer, adjustable uni joint as the angle of the e46 rack pinion is slightly different to your previous E30 rack. Old uni joint length will simply be not right and most probably your firewall will be on the way too.


2. Tie rods - You would need a tie rod conversion set especially to fit E46 rack into BMW E30. You cannot reuse your old E30 tie rods as they do not have special air canals. 

3. Rubber boots - They are mandatory and have to be replaced. Even if your boots “looks good”!
They are underestimated product which protects your rack from humid, dirt, corrosion etc.
You can have a brand new genuine power steering rack installed with old boots and if they have even a small hole or tear they can cause corrosion and damage to your rack in no time.

4. 14mm subframe spacers - E46 steering rack is 14mm narrower in mounting spot. To fill this gap you would need to use 14mm spacers.
 
5. Power Steering lines - Pressure and return port in your E46 steering rack are in different position than your standard E30 steering rack. That means you would need to bent your old lines to fit or custom make new ones or purchase them from our shop.

Please note all BMW E46 steering racks have the same mounting, fittings orientation etc. The only difference is with the number of turns and the torsion bar mentioned above. They also have 17mm diameter pinion with 54 spline count.

bmw e46 black label power steering rack lpsr.jpg

BMW E46 BLACK LABEL steering rack 

THE BEST - OPTION X - BLACK LABEL

OPTION IX
 

BMW Z3 Steering Rack 

The BMW Z3 steering has 2.7 turns lock to lock (exactly 2.88 turns- checked by us).

Total rod travel from end to end- 144mm 
Rod movement per revolution- 50mm
Total rod length- 577mm
Number of rod's splines- 30

Due to its popularity, the racks are becoming increasingly rare and expensive as demand surpasses supply.

Customers often inquire about the difference between the Z3 and E46 purple tag rack/E46 ZHP Yellow Tag rack, which is only a 0.12 turn variance, and whether it's worth paying double the price.

Yellow tag ZHP steering rack, Purple tag steering rack and Z3 steering rack have the same rod movement per revolution which is 50 mm. The only difference between Z3 steering rack an those 2 other rack is total rod travel from end to end which is 144mm for Z3 rack and 150mm for Purple Tag steering rack and Yellow tag ZHP steering rack, resulting in slightly fewer turns lock to lock. Additionally the Z3 rack splines are designed better. They are stronger less prone to have play and might feel more direct.

  To fit a Z3 steering rack into your E30 you would need:

1. Uni Joint - Slimmer, adjustable uni joint as the angle of the E36 rack pinion is slightly different to your previous E30 rack.
Old uni joint length will simply be not right and most probably your firewall will be on the way too.


2. Tie rods - In theory you don’t need to change your tie rods to use it with your new E36 rack BUT we would always recommend using new rods for best steering feel and accuracy.
 

3. Rubber boots - They are mandatory and must be replaced. Even if your boots “looks good”!
They are underestimated product which protects your rack from humid, dirt, corrosion etc.
You can have a brand new genuine power steering rack installed with old boots and if they have even a small hole or tear they can cause corrosion and damage to your rack in no time. Contact us to order suitable boots for your setup.

4. 14mm subframe spacers - E36 steering rack is 14mm narrower in mounting spot. To fill this gap, you would need to use 14mm spacers.

5. Power Steering lines - Pressure and return port in your E36 steering rack are in different position than your standard E30 steering rack. That means you would need to bend your old lines to fit or custom make new ones or purchase them from our shop.

BMW Z3 LPSR WIX.jpg

BMW Z3 steering rack 

OPTION VIII
 

BMW E46 Steering Rack Blue TAG

The renowned CSL Blue tag steering rack with 3.0 turns lock to lock (number of turns also confirmed by us) is exclusively manufactured for right-hand drive (RHD) vehicles.

Total rod travel from end to end- 150mm 
Rod movement per revolution- 50mm
Total rod length- 575mm
Number of rod's splines- 30

Meanwhile, the Blue tag with 3.2 turns lock to lock (exactly 3.33 turns- checked by us) is available for both RHD and left-hand drive (LHD) options.

Total rod travel from end to end- 150mm 
Rod movement per revolution- 45mm
Total rod length- 575mm
Number of rod's splines- 26

It is important to note that this slower rack may be mistaken for the famous and faster CSL unit, but in reality, it is the same as the 3.2 turns lock to lock (exactly 3.33 turns- checked by us) Silver tag steering rack.

  To fit an E46 steering rack Blue TAG into your E30 you would need:



1. Uni Joint - Slimmer, adjustable uni joint as the angle of the e46 rack pinion is slightly different to your previous E30 rack. Old uni joint length will simply be not right and most probably your firewall will be on the way too.


2. Tie rods - You would need a tie rod conversion set especially to fit E46 rack into BMW E30. You cannot reuse your old E30 tie rods as they do not have special air canals. 

3. Rubber boots - They are mandatory and have to be replaced. Even if your boots “looks good”!
They are underestimated product which protects your rack from humid, dirt, corrosion etc.
You can have a brand new genuine power steering rack installed with old boots and if they have even a small hole or tear they can cause corrosion and damage to your rack in no time.

4. 14mm subframe spacers - E46 steering rack is 14mm narrower in mounting spot. To fill this gap you would need to use 14mm spacers.
 
5. Power Steering lines - Pressure and return port in your E46 steering rack are in different position than your standard E30 steering rack. That means you would need to bent your old lines to fit or custom make new ones or purchase them from our shop.

Please note all BMW E46 steering racks have the same mounting, fittings orientation etc. The only difference is with the number of turns and the torsion bar mentioned above. They also have 17mm diameter pinion with 54 spline count. 

CSL blue tag rhd.JPG

BMW E46 CSL steering rack BLUE TAG

LPSR BMW E46 BLUE TAG LHD LPSR WIX.jpg

BMW E46 steering rack BLUE TAG LHD

OPTION VII
 

BMW E46 ZHP Steering Rack Yellow TAG


The BMW E46 YELLOW TAG steering rack has 3.0 turns lock to lock (number of turns also confirmed by us) and features a different torsion bar compared to the purple tag option.

Total rod travel from end to end- 150mm 
Rod movement per revolution- 50mm
Total rod length- 575mm
Number of rod's splines- 30


Despite the differences, the number of turns is exactly the same as the purple tag option. Genuine ZHP racks can be identified by the presence of a 712 number at the end of the Tag label. However, these racks are rare and difficult to find. It is important to note that yellow tag racks with 3.0 turns lock to lock are only available for left-hand drive vehicles. If you have a right-hand drive vehicle, this option is not available.

  To fit an E46 ZHP steering rack Yellow TAG into your E30 you would need:



1. Uni Joint - Slimmer, adjustable uni joint as the angle of the e46 rack pinion is slightly different to your previous E30 rack. Old uni joint length will simply be not right and most probably your firewall will be on the way too.


2. Tie rods - You would need a tie rod conversion set especially to fit E46 rack into BMW E30. You cannot reuse your old E30 tie rods as they do not have special air canals. 

3. Rubber boots - They are mandatory and have to be replaced. Even if your boots “looks good”!
They are underestimated product which protects your rack from humid, dirt, corrosion etc.
You can have a brand new genuine power steering rack installed with old boots and if they have even a small hole or tear they can cause corrosion and damage to your rack in no time.

4. 14mm subframe spacers - E46 steering rack is 14mm narrower in mounting spot. To fill this gap you would need to use 14mm spacers.
 
5. Power Steering lines - Pressure and return port in your E46 steering rack are in different position than your standard E30 steering rack. That means you would need to bent your old lines to fit or custom make new ones or purchase them from our shop.

Please note all BMW E46 steering racks have the same mounting, fittings orientation etc. The only difference is with the number of turns and the torsion bar mentioned above. They also have 17mm diameter pinion with 54 spline count. 

BMWyellow tag lhd.jpg

BMW E46 ZHP steering rack YELLOW TAG

OPTION VI
 

BMW E46 CLUB SPORT Steering Rack Purple TAG

The BMW E46 Purple Tag steering rack has 3.0 turns lock to lock (number of turns also confirmed by us).

Total rod travel from end to end- 150mm 
Rod movement per revolution- 50mm
Total rod length- 575mm
Number of rod's splines- 30


 We offer two options for customers to choose from:

  1. Tested units - These cost roughly half the price of remanufactured ones, are free from play and are ready to be installed. We clean and regrease them, check for any play, and comprehensively test them on our hydraulic test rig to ensure there are no leaks and that the steering control valve is working properly. These racks provide perfect, strong and equal steering assist in both directions and come with a 60-day warranty, as all the seals, O-rings, bushes, and other internals are old and not replaced.

  2. Remanufactured units - These racks are stripped down, carefully assessed, and all O-rings, bushes, teflons, seals, guides, etc. are replaced with new ones. The rack and pinion are polished with attention to detail and the tube is honed when necessary. If any of the other components are faulty or not 100% perfect, we replace them with new (if available) or another perfect condition second-hand parts. After assembly, the rack is tested on our hydraulic test rig to ensure there are no leaks, the steering control valve is working properly, and the rack provides perfect, strong and equal steering assist in both directions. We also apply some unnatural back pressure to ensure that the pinion seals can handle additional pressure as they should when the rack works in extreme conditions like drifting, racing, etc. These remanufactured units come with a 12-month warranty.
     

We highly encourage our customers to consider the remanufactured racks option as they are guaranteed to work for many years to come.

       To fit an E46 steering rack Purple TAG into your E30 you would need:



1. Uni Joint - Slimmer, adjustable uni joint as the angle of the e46 rack pinion is slightly different to your previous E30 rack. Old uni joint length will simply be not right and most probably your firewall will be on the way too.


2. Tie rods - You would need a tie rod conversion set especially to fit E46 rack into BMW E30. You cannot reuse your old E30 tie rods as they do not have special air canals. 

3. Rubber boots - They are mandatory and have to be replaced. Even if your boots “looks good”!
They are underestimated product which protects your rack from humid, dirt, corrosion etc.
You can have a brand new genuine power steering rack installed with old boots and if they have even a small hole or tear they can cause corrosion and damage to your rack in no time.

4. 14mm subframe spacers - E46 steering rack is 14mm narrower in mounting spot. To fill this gap you would need to use 14mm spacers.
 
5. Power Steering lines - Pressure and return port in your E46 steering rack are in different position than your standard E30 steering rack. That means you would need to bent your old lines to fit or custom make new ones or purchase them from our shop.

Please note all BMW E46 steering racks have the same mounting, fittings orientation etc. The only difference is with the number of turns and the torsion bar mentioned above. They also have 17mm diameter pinion with 54 spline count. 

BMW E46 PURPLE TAG WIX.jpg

TESTED
BMW E46 steering rack PURPLE TAG

BMW E46 PURPLE TAG WIX.jpg

REMANUFACTURED

BMW E46 steering rack PURPLE TAG

OPTION V
 

BMW E46 M3 Steering Rack Green TAG

The BMW E46 Green Tag steering rack has 3.2 turns lock to lock (exactly 3.19 turns- checked by us).

Total rod travel from end to end- 150mm 
Rod movement per revolution- 47mm

Total rod length- 575mm
Number of rod's splines- to be updated

However, there is a lot of confusion surrounding this unit. The most popular belief is that the E46 M3 rack is progressive, meaning the splines on the center of the rod are different from those on the edges, which is supposed to help turn the steering wheel quicker during U-turns and provide greater precision while driving straight. This type of setup is common in German cars such as other BMW and Mercedes models, but not in the E46 M3. We have dismantled and rebuilt many of these racks and have never seen progressive splines on the rod. The BMW E46 M3 Green Tag steering rack is linear, like all the other racks mentioned on this page.

       To fit an E46 M3 steering rack Green TAG into your E30 you would need:



1. Uni Joint - Slimmer, adjustable uni joint as the angle of the e46 rack pinion is slightly different to your previous E30 rack. Old uni joint length will simply be not right and most probably your firewall will be on the way too.


2. Tie rods - You would need a tie rod conversion set especially to fit E46 rack into BMW E30. You cannot reuse your old E30 tie rods as they do not have special air canals. 

3. Rubber boots - They are mandatory and have to be replaced. Even if your boots “looks good”!
They are underestimated product which protects your rack from humid, dirt, corrosion etc.
You can have a brand new genuine power steering rack installed with old boots and if they have even a small hole or tear they can cause corrosion and damage to your rack in no time.

4. 14mm subframe spacers - E46 steering rack is 14mm narrower in mounting spot. To fill this gap you would need to use 14mm spacers.
 
5. Power Steering lines - Pressure and return port in your E46 steering rack are in different position than your standard E30 steering rack. That means you would need to bent your old lines to fit or custom make new ones or purchase them from our shop.

Please note all BMW E46 steering racks have the same mounting, fittings orientation etc. The only difference is with the number of turns and the torsion bar mentioned above. They also have 17mm diameter pinion with 54 spline count. 

BMW E46 GREEN TAG WIX.jpg

BMW E46 M3 steering rack GREEN TAG

OPTION IV
 

BMW E46 Steering Rack SIilver TAG

The BMW E46 Silver Tag steering rack is an affordable upgrade option that offers 3.2 turns lock to lock (exactly 3.33 turns- checked by us).

Total rod travel from end to end- 150mm 
Rod movement per revolution- 45mm
Total rod length- 575mm
Number of rod's splines- 26

While it's not as popular as the Purple Tag rack, it comes at a lower price point. However, its handling may not be as good as the more popular 3 turns lock to lock BMW E46 Club Sport Purple Tag steering rack, although it still performs reasonably well. The condition of those racks are usually much better than old E36 steering racks.

       To fit an E46 steering rack Silver TAG into your E30 you would need:



1. Uni Joint - Slimmer, adjustable uni joint as the angle of the e46 rack pinion is slightly different to your previous E30 rack. Old uni joint length will simply be not right and most probably your firewall will be on the way too.


2. Tie rods - You would need a tie rod conversion set especially to fit E46 rack into BMW E30. You cannot reuse your old E30 tie rods as they do not have special air canals. 

3. Rubber boots - They are mandatory and have to be replaced. Even if your boots “looks good”!
They are underestimated product which protects your rack from humid, dirt, corrosion etc.
You can have a brand new genuine power steering rack installed with old boots and if they have even a small hole or tear they can cause corrosion and damage to your rack in no time.

4. 14mm subframe spacers - E46 steering rack is 14mm narrower in mounting spot. To fill this gap you would need to use 14mm spacers.
 
5. Power Steering lines - Pressure and return port in your E46 steering rack are in different position than your standard E30 steering rack. That means you would need to bent your old lines to fit or custom make new ones or purchase them from our shop.

Please note all BMW E46 steering racks have the same mounting, fittings orientation etc. The only difference is with the number of turns and the torsion bar mentioned above. They also have 17mm diameter pinion with 54 spline count. 

BMW E46 SILVER TAG RHD WIX.jpg

BMW E46 steering rack SILVER TAG

OPTION III
 

BMW E36 M3 Steering Rack

The BMW E36 M3 steering rack has 3.2 turns lock to lock (number of turns also confirmed by us), which may cause some confusion.

Total rod travel from end to end- 144mm 

Rod movement per revolution- 45mm

Total rod length- 575mm

Number of rod's splines- 26

In reality, the internals of the E36 M3 and standard E36 steering racks are almost the same. So why the difference in turns? The original M3 steering rack is equipped with 'limiters' between the inner tie rods and the steering rack rod. These spacers limit the turns lock to lock and reduce the rod's travel distance.

To identify an E36 M3 steering rack, you can simply look at the housing color. The standard E36 rack is grey or silver aluminum, while the E36 M3 rack is dark grey in color. In conclusion, the BMW E36 M3 rack is not quicker at all, but it is shorter while the spacers are installed. (Once the spacers are removed, it becomes the same as a standard E36 steering rack with exactly 3.33 turns lock to lock- checked by us).
Measurements for E36 rack without the spacers:
Total rod travel from end to end- 150mm 
Rod movement per revolution- 45mm
Total rod length- 575mm
Number of rod's splines- 26
 

It's worth noting that all types of E36 power steering racks, including LHD, RHD, M3s, and non-M3s, have a 17mm diameter pinion with 54 spline count.

1. Uni Joint - Slimmer, adjustable uni joint as the angle of the E36 rack pinion is slightly different to your previous E30 rack.
Old uni joint length will simply be not right and most probably your firewall will be on the way too.


2. Tie rods - In theory you don’t need to change your tie rods to use it with your new E36 rack BUT we would always recommend using new rods for best steering feel and accuracy.
 

3. Rubber boots - They are mandatory and must be replaced. Even if your boots “looks good”!
They are underestimated product which protects your rack from humid, dirt, corrosion etc.
You can have a brand new genuine power steering rack installed with old boots and if they have even a small hole or tear they can cause corrosion and damage to your rack in no time. Contact us to order suitable boots for your setup.

4. 14mm subframe spacers - E36 steering rack is 14mm narrower in mounting spot. To fill this gap, you would need to use 14mm spacers.

5. Power Steering lines - Pressure and return port in your E36 steering rack are in different position than your standard E30 steering rack. That means you would need to bend your old lines to fit or custom make new ones or purchase them from our shop.

To fit an E36 M3 steering rack into your E30 you would need:

BMW E36 M3 WIX.jpg

BMW E36 M3 steering rack

OPTION II
 

BMW E36 Steering Rack

The BMW E36 steering rack is a popular choice for those looking to swap out their E30 rack. It offers narrower turning radius, with 3.5 turns lock to lock (exactly 3.33 turns- checked by us).

Total rod travel from end to end- 150mm 
Rod movement per revolution- 45mm
Total rod length- 575mm
Number of rod's splines- 26

One of the biggest advantages of this unit is its price and availability, as E36 racks are commonly available and reasonably priced. However, it's worth noting that all components of the E36 rack are quite old, which can lead to issues over time.
Common problems with used E36 units:
One issue that arises is center position play between the rack and pinion, which can be attributed to the spline design of the rack and its age. Additionally, another common problem occurs when the steering system has been w
orking with black, contaminated steering fluid. This often leads to issues in the steering control valve housing area.
Despite these problems, the E36 rack remains a popular choice for those looking to upgrade their E30's steering system.


 
1. Uni Joint - Slimmer, adjustable uni joint as the angle of the E36 rack pinion is slightly different to your previous E30 rack.
Old uni joint length will simply be not right and most probably your firewall will be on the way too.


2. Tie rods - In theory you don’t need to change your tie rods to use it with your new E36 rack BUT we would always recommend using new rods for best steering feel and accuracy.
 

3. Rubber boots - They are mandatory and must be replaced. Even if your boots “looks good”!
They are underestimated product which protects your rack from humid, dirt, corrosion etc.
You can have a brand new genuine power steering rack installed with old boots and if they have even a small hole or tear they can cause corrosion and damage to your rack in no time. Contact us to order suitable boots for your setup.

4. 14mm subframe spacers - E36 steering rack is 14mm narrower in mounting spot. To fill this gap, you would need to use 14mm spacers.

5. Power Steering lines - Pressure and return port in your E36 steering rack are in different position than your standard E30 steering rack. That means you would need to bend your old lines to fit or custom make new ones or purchase them from our shop.

To fit an E36  steering rack into your E30 you would need:

BMW E36_.jpg

BMW E36 steering rack

OPTION I
 

BMW E30 Original Steering Rack

If you want to stay 100% stock with your E30, you can get another E30 (4 turns, exactly 3.9 turns- checked by us) power steering rack.


Total rod travel from end to end- 144mm 
Rod movement per revolution- 37mm
Total rod length- 572mm
Number of rod's splines- 27


Please note that there are two types of them. These racks have different design but they both are 4 turns lock to lock and the same tie rods will be fitted to them. 
Another difference is with steering rack ports orientation (pressure and return ports) which can become a crucial problem if you are not swapping with the same unit.

All types of E30 power steering racks (that means LHD, RHD, old types, new types) have 17mm diameter pinion with 54 splines. 

You need to make sure what type of E30 rack you have and replace it with same one. Otherwise you will face a problem with steering lines ports facing different direction ( you would need to bend them or custom make new ones ).
We do not recommend installing a used, second hand BMW E30 steering rack!
WHY? Those units are mostly over 30 years old and all seals, bushes, O-rings, teflons etc. are falling apart.
They often have steering control valve housing problems, play between rack and pinion etc.
Sooner or later these racks will all leak as after 30 years those poor rubber seals and O-rings had simply enough.
That’s why at LPSR we sell fully remanufactured units without core exchange or we can remanufacture your power steering rack. 


count.

BMW E30 OLD STYLE.jpg
BMW E30 NEW TYPE WIX.jpg

Older Type

Newer Type

3 piece housing - half of the housing is aluminium and half is a steel tube.

1 piece housing - the whole housing is made of 1 piece of aluminium.

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