Intermittent noise when turning

Tiny
MARKB167
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 SATURN VUE
  • V6
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 123,000 MILES
Sometimes when I turn the wheel, it makes a rubbig noise. What should I do?
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Monday, January 20th, 2020 AT 1:18 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Bail out and duck for cover! Well, there's actually two things to consider, and neither are safety issues. The first has to do with binding upper strut mounts. Those can cause a crunching noise or a mild clunking or popping sound. To identify that, reach over the top of a front tire and lightly wrap your fingertips around part of the coil spring. Have a helper slowly turn the steering wheel left and right. You should feel the spring rotate smoothly with the wheel and tire. If the upper strut mount is binding, you'll feel the spring wind up and build tension, then it will suddenly pop free and turn.

Another source of rubbing has to do with the rubber seal on the firewall, where the steering shaft goes out to the engine compartment. The metal shaft sticks to the rubber seal and creates that rubbing noise. The best product I've found for that is "Spray White Grease"
or "Spray White Lube" which is a lithium-based grease, although almost any type of grease will stop that noise. The hardest part can be getting down to that seal.

This drawing shows where it is at the bottom of the sheering column, under the dash. If it is like most other seals, you'll need a small hooked tool to pull the edge of the seal away by the red arrow, then squirt a little grease in there. Less common would the need to place the grease right on the metal shaft by the blue arrow. That shaft is usually not round, and part of the seal is clamped to it.
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Monday, January 20th, 2020 AT 5:11 PM

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