Play in steering wheel ?

Mistral150

Original poster
Member
Dec 7, 2011
24
Hi !
I have steering wheel play and need advise before getting the steering gear out.

Ball joints done.
Outter tie rod done.
Inner's are ok.
What else I'm I missing ?:confused:

Everything else looks ok but when I turn steering wheel forth and back rapidly, it makes a little "toc toc toc" noise in the steering wheel. From under I can feel and hear the noise from the steering gear. I first thought it was the inner tie rod but it was not.

My main symptom is truck wandering on the road like it's windy. even if I'm straight, sometimes it pulls itself to one side or the other. It is not a dangerous situation for me, it just playing on my nerves making constant correction to steering wheel. :hissyfit:

My first thought is a loose part in the steering gear.

Any clue ??? :confused:
 

Mistral150

Original poster
Member
Dec 7, 2011
24
After my tie rod installation it was aligned.
For the tires, they are General Grabber UHP and they are like new (2 years) I'm not hard on tires.
 

jham

Member
Nov 20, 2011
1,334
Mistral150 said:
After my tie rod installation it was aligned.
For the tires, they are General Grabber UHP and they are like new (2 years) I'm not hard on tires.

how does the power steering fluid look?
 

Mistral150

Original poster
Member
Dec 7, 2011
24
Why that question ? What is the link with the fluid ? :undecided: I hardly beleive it would be the fluid but when I go out I'll take a look !
 

jham

Member
Nov 20, 2011
1,334
Mistral150 said:
Why that question ? What is the link with the fluid ? :undecided: I hardly beleive it would be the fluid but when I go out I'll take a look !

if the fluid has been contaminated it can cause noise and internal parts to fail that's why I asked
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Bad toe-in can cause wandering as one tire or the other gets more traction on the pavement and pulls the front to its preferred trajectory. Or loose rack mounting bolts (rare) or worn rack/pinion parts. No substitute for getting it supported then pulling on the tires at the 3 and 9 o'clock position and checking for looseness.
 

Mistral150

Original poster
Member
Dec 7, 2011
24
Fluid looks ok (to me). Fluid is clear like motor oil. but has a burnt transmission fluid smell and level is ok.
 

Mistral150

Original poster
Member
Dec 7, 2011
24
the roadie said:
Bad toe-in can cause wandering as one tire or the other gets more traction on the pavement and pulls the front to its preferred trajectory. Or loose rack mounting bolts (rare) or worn rack/pinion parts. No substitute for getting it supported then pulling on the tires at the 3 and 9 o'clock position and checking for looseness.

The 3 and 9 is ok too. I really feel the loose IN the steering wheel. But maybe it's coming from tires like said above. I just installed my winter tires so I'll see if it does the same thing this week with these tires.
 

Mistral150

Original poster
Member
Dec 7, 2011
24
I think it's the steering assembly too but wanted to make sure I did not miss something. I can feel the loose while not moving in my driveway just turning steering wheel from left to right in short motion, I can hear a ticking noise in column.
 

harveyfam2001

Member
Aug 24, 2012
42
I noticed on our 2002 Envoy the steering feels loose too. My wife first noticed it and I also notice it when I drive it. I feel like I have to constantly keep adjusting the steering wheel. We just got the Envoy last week and I had the tire shop guy look at it because I thought it was making suspension noises when going over bumps which of course stopped when I was on the test drive with him. It was out of align though so they aligned it. He did say all of the suspension parts looked okay to him.

I'm getting the same symptoms though the OP is posting. It still feels like it's drifting on the road (almost like if I'm on a road with ice). Seems like a lot of play in the steering wheel. Could it need a new rack and pinion? Rockauto.com has the AC Delco one for $340 which is a lot for us right now.

What all is involved with changing out the R&P? What would the normal price range be at a shop for this?

Could it be something else?

I did notice the tires on the front look more worn (both of them) than the same brand tires on the back, and I know her grandparents bought those last year and they did get them rotated on schedule.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Can you describe the nature of the wear, and what the pre-alignment specs were? How was it out of alignment, in other words? How about a printout of the post-alignment numbers?

Looseness can be in the R&P (no idea how much to swap - I wouldn't pay anybody), the inner tie rods, outer tie rods, upper or lower ball joints, upper or lower control arm bushings, or the hubs. If you're feeling it, and the mechanic didn't, I think he owes you a closer inspection of each of those parts with you watching.

Shot shocks can also cause excessive wheel hop that can appear to be loose steering. Did you or the mechanic test the shocks? How many miles on the truck?
 

harveyfam2001

Member
Aug 24, 2012
42
the roadie said:
Can you describe the nature of the wear, and what the pre-alignment specs were? How was it out of alignment, in other words? How about a printout of the post-alignment numbers?

Looseness can be in the R&P (no idea how much to swap - I wouldn't pay anybody), the inner tie rods, outer tie rods, upper or lower ball joints, upper or lower control arm bushings, or the hubs. If you're feeling it, and the mechanic didn't, I think he owes you a closer inspection of each of those parts with you watching.

Shot shocks can also cause excessive wheel hop that can appear to be loose steering. Did you or the mechanic test the shocks? How many miles on the truck?

The truck has 147k miles on it. The wear looks pretty even on the treads on both tires. The front tires look like they are older treadwise than the rears. I don't have a print out of the post-alignment numbers as I don't think they gave my wife anything but a receipt when she took it on Friday to have it done. The truck would pull pretty good to the right and after alignment it still feels that way but not nearly as severe. We did test it on the only flat road around us that I could find and it pretty much kept straight.

When the mechanic said he looked at the suspension parts last Wednesday when I took it in he said everything looked okay to him, nothing stuck out as being worn out yet. I asked about the struts and he said they looked good to him. As far as I know from what her grandparents told us about the history on the vehicle they have never had the struts replaced and they have owned the vehicle since it was new.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
If the shocks are black painted, they could be OEM. A mechanic who sees a 147K truck come in the shop and who doesn't suspect bad shocks is some sort of saint for not trying to upsell you. The downside is that the shocks could be totally worn out and he didn't detect it. I'd get a second opinion at another shop with good reviews on Yelp.
 

harveyfam2001

Member
Aug 24, 2012
42
the roadie said:
If the shocks are black painted, they could be OEM. A mechanic who sees a 147K truck come in the shop and who doesn't suspect bad shocks is some sort of saint for not trying to upsell you. The downside is that the shocks could be totally worn out and he didn't detect it. I'd get a second opinion at another shop with good reviews on Yelp.

This tire shop is one that members of our family do trust but I do see your point. He most likely didn't do a detailed inspection of the shock.

The shock is painted black. I saw one of your other posts about the Monroe Quick Strut and that has me intrigued as I was concerned about the spring too, and that alleviates spring issues at the same time. This same tire shop is listed as a dealer for Monroe and I have seen ads for Monroe parts in the waiting room. The rears do need to be replaced as well as it sounds like something is loose back there.

I know the tire shop did quote me about $500 to replace all 4. I'd much rather do this myself though, but this will mean I will have to get the alignment redone.
 

6716

Member
Jul 24, 2012
822
harveyfam2001 said:
This tire shop is one that members of our family do trust but I do see your point. He most likely didn't do a detailed inspection of the shock.

The shock is painted black. I saw one of your other posts about the Monroe Quick Strut and that has me intrigued as I was concerned about the spring too, and that alleviates spring issues at the same time. This same tire shop is listed as a dealer for Monroe and I have seen ads for Monroe parts in the waiting room. The rears do need to be replaced as well as it sounds like something is loose back there.

I know the tire shop did quote me about $500 to replace all 4. I'd much rather do this myself though, but this will mean I will have to get the alignment redone.

My Monroe Quick Struts, Sensa Track shocks, and Moog rear springs are all due to be delivered by Fed Ex tomorrow. Looks like I'll be getting into that repair on Friday. I'll let you know how it goes. The truck doesn't sit quite level, and there's something of a squeak coming from the rear driver's side suspension. I'm interested in seeing how the existing rear springs that come out compare to the new ones going in.

My shocks are painted black and labeled Bilstein, so I figure they are original to the truck.

I know different people here have different opinions of Firestone, but with the lifetime alignment (basically, you way overpay the first time) you can chip away at the front end, get an alignment when you do some front end work, and then every 8000 miles. I get tires there, too. With warranty tire rotation when I go in for oil changes, they are always telling me what's going wrong with the truck, and then I take care of it myself if I can.
 

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