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Odd steering noise - any ideas?

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by John-H, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. John-H
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    John-H New Member

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    Hi,

    I've an MOT coming up and a worying creaking noise I can't get to the bottom of. The noise is slow creak or cracking sound (crack crack crack) which happens when slowly turning the steering wheel and over a few degrees of turn from central. It can be felt in the steering too like a sort of "stiction". It's only slight but slowly getting worse. It's noticable when driving slowly but can sometimes be recreated when stationary. At speed I can't hear it.

    At first it sounded like it was something in the steering colum or high up in the dash but when I had the window open I could hear it was coming from outside. Crouching by the front wheel, with the engine running and with my arm through the window to turn the wheel, I can cause it by turning the wheel back and forth slowly. Then it sounds like it's coming from the wheel. At the same time I can feel the top of the strut but I can feel no vibration there in the spring.

    I've checked the lower ball joint nuts and I've just replaced the rack end tie/track rod. The rubber bushes in the track control wishbone seem fine as do the ARB bushes. Nothing seems loose that I can see. Could it be in the rack? Sticktion in an end bush - lack of grease perhaps? Has anyone come across this before?
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  2. jesters3
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    jesters3 Active Member

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    Lack of fluid in the Power Steering Reservoir? May be worth just checking this out. Had a creaking sound when steering and came down to lack of PS fluid.
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  3. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    Make sure you use genuine VAG spec mineral oil to top up powersteering fluid, or you will kill your steering rack quicker!
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  4. John-H
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    John-H New Member

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    I checked the fluid level and it's on about MAX and it is the proper green stuff.

    Another clue may be that it only does it when the car's warmed up and can't be persuaded to do it when cold. It was doing it when I parked this morning after driving to work but come home time (not moved in between) it's fine. It also does it with the engine turned off but obviously it's more difficult to turn the wheel.

    I'm getting it up on ramps now to see if I can spot something loose.
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  5. John-H
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    John-H New Member

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    Just had it up on ramps and checked all the rack, TCA and sub frame bolts for tightness - all OK.
    I took the bellows off on the rack and slapped a load of grease in there. I'll see what it's like tomorrow.
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  6. John-H
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    John-H New Member

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    I tried some more grease on the rack inder the bellows but this seems to have made no difference. With someone else turning the steering wheel back and forth today It seems to be coming from the rack as you can feel it in the tie rod but not the outer or lower ball joints. I've tried altering the pinion pre-load but only succeeded in making the rack stiff so backed it off again. Not easy by yourself. I'll have another go tomorrow.
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