Steering column rattling

Tiny
AXIS
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 HONDA CIVIC
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • MANUAL
  • 318,750 MILES
There is rattling coming from the steering column. Can anybody help me get an exploded view of the parts so I can use as guide in replacing the worn out parts? Tnx
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Monday, June 20th, 2011 AT 4:26 PM

11 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Check under the dash for worn universal joints in the steering shaft. Other than that, a steering column is not something you want to take apart. Even with the factory service manual it's a complicated affair requiring special tools, and many parts are not available.
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Monday, June 20th, 2011 AT 4:41 PM
Tiny
AXIS
  • MEMBER
I already checked the cross joints near the floor, no play, seems fine. I am hearing the rattles from along the shaft, both upper and lower portions sounds need replacement. What if I go for complete steering column assembly replacement from the scrap yard? Will it be possible to replace using basic tools?
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Monday, June 20th, 2011 AT 6:14 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yup, but one thing to watch for is to get one with the steering column still connected to the rack and pinion assembly so you know no one has been spinning the steering wheel. Turn the tires straight ahead, or count the revolutions of the steering wheel from full left to full right, then turn it back exactly half way, lock the column with the key, THEN remove it from the car. When you install it into your car, be sure the tires are again straight ahead when you connect the shaft to wherever you disconnected it. There is a wound-up ribbon cable in a plastic housing right under the steering wheel. That is the "clock spring" that makes a solid electrical connection to the air bag. If you turn the steering wheel one complete revolution, then install it, turning to full lock one way or the other will either cause that ribbon cable to become wound too tightly and it will snap, or it will unwind too much, fold over on itself, and crack after doing that numerous times. Most clock springs can only tolerate turning about an additional half a turn beyond what the steering system allows.

It might be smart to lock your old column in the centered position too before you remove it. That way your old clock spring can be used if a replacement is ever needed, and you'll know it is centered.
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Monday, June 20th, 2011 AT 7:59 PM
Tiny
AXIS
  • MEMBER
Too bad, the steering wheel is already turned 180 degrees away from the correct position. I have not thought about locking the steering column when I changed the rack assembly last week. Anyway, this model has no airbag. Before I buy a replacement steering column, ill try opening up the old one. If I cant fix it, then ill buy from the salvage yard. Nothing to fear now in trying to fix this. If it dont work, no problem. Its broken anyway.
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Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 AT 5:11 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Dandy. Should be no clock spring to worry about.

I can't imagine anything related to the steering shaft itself causing a rattle in the column. I'd expect to find a rod from the ignition cylinder to the switch or something like that, but holler back when you find the cause. Also, if it has tilt wheel, there are two large pins it pivots on and those can break, but then you'd notice the wheel can be lifted up and down without it actually tilting.
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Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 AT 6:55 PM
Tiny
AXIS
  • MEMBER
I went to my usual honda parts dealer and asked for spare parts for the column. They've told me the column doesnt get damaged. He showed me the parts catalogue and the exploded picture. There was no replaceable parts on the column itself except two crossjoints near the floor.I was expecting a bearing or bushing that might be worn out.I checked mine but I could see only one crossjoint. I'll try removing the joints tomorrow to have a closer look, and maybe I could find another joint deeper inside.
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Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 AT 6:59 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
If you have tilt wheel, there will typically be two curved metal fingers attached to the upper shaft, two identical fingers welded to the lower shaft, and a nylon insert in between them. All those pieces together look like a ball but it allows the fingers to swivel as the steering shaft turns and the steering wheel is raised up and down. Perhaps that nylon insert cracked. I would think you would feel that when you rotated the steering wheel rapidly back and forth.

I'll be waiting to hear what you find.
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Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 AT 7:14 PM
Tiny
AXIS
  • MEMBER
This a tilt wheel indeed. Turning the wheel back and forth and I can notice the clearance/play, same like when I have a loose steering arm. When I turn the wheel when the car is not moving, a grinding noise comes same as a dried bearing rolling. Its midnight here rightnow. Ill do this tomorrow and keep you posted on the outcome.
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Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 AT 9:37 PM
Tiny
AXIS
  • MEMBER
So it took me a few days before I checked the steering problem. Here is what I got. I found the other crossjoint I was looking for. Both were still solid, no play. I tried pulling the column horizontally and the inner shaft has a lot of clearance against the steel pipe that holds it in place. So this is where the rattling vibration was coming from. But to fix this is the problem coz the parts dealer said no replaceable parts on the column. They sell the complete assembly though but not OEM parts, only japan replacement parts. Its very difficult to work under the dash coz there is no comfortable position to do the work. Any ideas/ solutions/ suggestions?
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Sunday, June 26th, 2011 AT 6:28 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I'd head to a pick-your-own-parts salvage yard, (do a search for "Pull-A-Part" to see if there's one near you. Very clean and well-organized). You'll pay around $35.00 for a column or you can take one apart there and experiment on it. You can also remove bearings or any other parts you need. Anti-lock wheel speed tone rings are never sold separately but I got three of them for my "95 Grand Caravan, along with a small box full of other treasures for 5 bucks.
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Sunday, June 26th, 2011 AT 8:49 PM
Tiny
AXIS
  • MEMBER
More urgent problem has came up on the transmission and I think it will be costly but needs immeadiate attention. First I'll try to remove the cross joints and slip in a short piece of PVC pipe or anything between the shaft and casing just to prevent it from rattling.I will deal with this a little later. Tnx again
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Monday, June 27th, 2011 AT 4:20 PM

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