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Hi all, i have a R50 (2002) cooper with the norm stearing coloum problem, get a clunky sound while turning at low speed, think it is bearing problem but not sure, anyway my question is does anyone know what the diffrence is between a automatic and manual coloum ????? have rung BMW who cant tell me !!, how not surprising :D
Thanks in advance
 

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If you have an Auto the steering column is different from manual models due to the electric shift lock feature.

The clunk or clicking noise when turning the wheel in low speed situations such as parking can be caused by a failed or dry bearing and rotary coupler in the upper steering column assembly. The rotary coupler is the part that allows all the wiring coming from the steering wheel (Airbag, stereo controls, cruise control and horn wires) to rotate when the steering is turned and to keep all the cables in place inside the column. Greasing the upper column bearing often gives a temporary fix.
MINI in early 2003 issued a new revised upper steering column / rotary coupler assembly with new part numbers. NOTE: If you have a 2001/2002 MINI both upper and lower steering column assemblies MUST BE REPLACED as the new upper column is not backwards compatible with the old lower steering column assembly (Differences in the splines). The repair / fitting takes about 2-3 hours garage labour and the approx. parts prices from BMW are Upper column £163 +vat, Lower column £73 + vat (Total parts £280 approx. inc. vat).
Dismantling and fitting is detailed for DIYers in the MINI Haynes manual.
(The MINI steering column is made by NSK Steering Systems Europe Ltd. of Coventry, West Midlands CV6 6PA.)
For BMW part numbers and exploded diagrams see RealOEM.com Online BMW Parts Catalog)
Despite the modified parts it seems it is not unknown for later post 2003 columns to start clunking!

This thread details how to diy grease the upper steering column bearing:-
http://www.mini2.com/forum/faults-fixes/141143-clicking-noise-steering-column.html
 
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