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ttiger79, ASE Certified Technician
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 1257
Experience:  Advanced level L1 ASE master certified auto technician
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In my 2005 mini cooper the power steering is intermidant.

Customer Question

In my 2005 mini cooper the power steering is intermidant. Right now it is not working and hard to drive. What could be the problem. What can we check?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: BMW
Expert:  ttiger79 replied 9 years ago.
Your Mini Cooper is equipped with an electro-hydraulic steering system. The pump is electric, and moves the fluid through valves depending on steering wheel movement. This system will shut down when there is a system fault, switching the system to manual steer- no power assist.

In most cases, the problem is one of the system overheating. If the system runs too hot, the steering system will shut down. When it cools down, the system will function again. There's actually a recall that was issued by the manufacturer outlining this concern. Here's a copy of the recall:

Campaign - Power Steering Fan Relay Wiring Modification
SI M32 03 04
Steering and Wheel Alignment

January 2005
Technical Service

This Service Information bulletin supersedes S.I. M32 03 04 dated December 2004.

[NEW]designates changes to this revision
Service Action: Correct the Wiring for the Power Steering Fan Relay


R50 (Cooper) and R53 (Cooper S) equipped with Park Distance Control (option 508)
Due to an improperly fitted electrical connection, the cooling fan for the power steering pump may not operate. This in conjunction with certain conditions, high ambient temperatures combined with aggressive driving conditions, could activate the thermal cutout feature causing the electro hydraulic power steering pump to switch off. If this were to occur, the steering system would revert to manual steering without power assist.

The dealership should fix this concern for free under this campaign. If you don't want to go to the dealership, I can post a repair procedure for you. You will still need to obtain the repair parts from the dealership, though.

Let me know if you have any more questions!
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to ttiger79's Post: I contacted the Mini dealership and they said that my ID # XXXXX XXXXX on a recall list. So they will not pay to have it fixed. I wanted my husband to do it so we bought a Mini handbook and he will check the belt and go down the list of items they suggest. Your suggestion was not helpful.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I never accepted your answer because it was NOT helpful in anyway. The $20 charge hit my VISA so I am disputing the charge. You never gave my husband anything specific to check.
Expert:  philhbmw replied 9 years ago.

Hi there I will answer this for you.

Check The pins on the electric power steering pump they can become burnt out due to the high current

Also the cooling fan for the pump they can sieze causing the pump the overheat and stop working.When it is cooled down it will start working again.

Failing this you are looking at a faulty pump. We change loads of these.

Let me know how you get on.


Expert:  ttiger79 replied 9 years ago.
I'm sorry that Mini won't cover this concern. You are probably still going to find that this is the problem. I can post a copy of the repair procedure for the bulletin, and your husband can check the items listed in the bulletin. Just let me know if you still need help.

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