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Causes of Steering wheel play?

Old 05-03-2005, 06:04 AM
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Tom M'Guinn
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Default Causes of Steering wheel play?

My steering isn't as tight as I'd like it -- the steering wheel has maybe an inch of play left and right. What are the common causes of that?
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:42 AM
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slim_boy_fat
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Originally Posted by Tom M'Guinn
My steering isn't as tight as I'd like it -- the steering wheel has maybe an inch of play left and right. What are the common causes of that?
An inch is a fair bit, but try the track rods.
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Old 05-03-2005, 09:34 AM
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Doc had that problem, started a thread on it (username karl2bc). Turned out to be a worn steering shaft ($$$).
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Old 05-03-2005, 11:07 AM
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Yup, U joints on the steering shaft where very loose on mine. I ended up gettting a new rod from Ian 944online.com for 47 bucks...some of the best money i have spent on the car.

I see he wants 115 for a shaft now...the guys pricing is so sporatic.
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Old 05-03-2005, 12:58 PM
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Doc, were you able to see the play at the joint by turning the wheel?

Slim_boy_fat, I think you are referring to what some call the "tie rods" yes?
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Old 05-03-2005, 09:40 PM
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When my car was turned off in park, you could turn the steering wheel left to right about an inch or so before it had resistance. I really couldnt see any play in the shaft until i pulled it off the car, but it was pretty hashed once i had it out of the car and looked at it. If you crawl underneath and grab the u joint where it attaches to the PS rack, you may be able to detect some play there without pulling it all apart. To replace it, i dropped the rack out of its mounts by taking out the 4 mounting bolts, i pulled the brake booster heat shield, and 2 13mm wrenches will take the nut and bolt off on each end. The firewall end is a little tricky to get to, but definetly doable (you may have to turn the steering wheel slightly to get in a position that you can get on the bolts with a wrench). I would say it is about a 1.5-2 hour job taking your time.
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Old 05-03-2005, 10:12 PM
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Has anyone checked their old ones for play and seen how bad they were? This is one of those things that people mention all the time but I have never come across one that was actually bad with my own eyes.
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Old 05-03-2005, 11:54 PM
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I'll take some pictures of my old shaft, but i dont know how much play you can see in pictures.
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Old 05-04-2005, 01:16 AM
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I know of two guys who had to do this job and both said it was a MAJOR pain. Sorry to scare you, just be prepared or put it off to a competent shop if you aren't ready for it. Soak the fittings with penetrating oil for days in advance.
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Old 05-04-2005, 01:58 AM
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Check the the steering rack mounts also. The best way to trace down any steering play is to put your car on ramps, take off the under tray, and have someone turn the wheel back and forth while you look and feel for any play. I did this on mine and found a lot of play in the mounts.
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Old 05-04-2005, 06:20 AM
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My U joint bolts were loose. SCAN auto tightened then for me when they did my track tech inspection and now there's no play!
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Old 05-04-2005, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom M'Guinn
Slim_boy_fat, I think you are referring to what some call the "tie rods" yes?
Donĺt know about that, but what i am talking about are the rods that come off the steering rack and bolt via a pin joint to the steering arm on the hub. They re called track rods in Europe, but could be the same thing not sure.

Its probably not then with so much play 1" is really allot you can get a few mm of play in the track rods which feels like more at the steering wheel.

Easy way to check is get the car up on stands (ramps would be easier) and put a hand on the end of each rod where the attach to the hub, get someone to wiggle the steering wheel, you will feel any play in them. Pretty easy job to replace cost about ú100 over here for the parts.
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Old 05-04-2005, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by 944Fest (aka Dan P)
I know of two guys who had to do this job and both said it was a MAJOR pain. Sorry to scare you, just be prepared or put it off to a competent shop if you aren't ready for it. Soak the fittings with penetrating oil for days in advance.
Sorry, but this is not a hard job at all, i have done it.
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Old 05-04-2005, 12:42 PM
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My steering became much tighter when I replaced my front wheel bearings! No more slop
I have razor sharp accuracy now!
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:10 PM
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Tom,

Did your issue turn out to be the steering rod? I have a buddy and he is having the same issue you describe in your OP. He has replaced everything except this rod with the joints on it.
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