DodgeIntrepid.Net Forums banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I have an 04 Intrepid and the drivers side front tire has some play in the steering, passenger side doesn't seem to have any. If I wiggle the steering wheel back and forth, I hear a knocking sound coming from what seems to be the rack. Outer tie rods were done maybe 5k mile ago and I see no play there, inner rack bushings are literally brand new and I see no play there. Steering column universal is tight and with a stethoscope the rack itself is very knocky and loud when I shake the wheel car turned off. I also don't see the rack itself moving around at the mounting bolts.

I would say broken worm gear or something in the rack, but how would that only effect one side? Now when I did the inner bushings I did remove both tie rods at the same time. I managed to get everything back bolted up but could I have screwed something up by doing this? I was doing struts at the same time so did move the rack/steering wheel a bit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
771 Posts
look at the lower control arms. the pin that goes into the bottom of the wheel hub might be worn out. I literally found out I had an issue because my steering wheel suddenly felt feedback, and I herd a clunk from what I thought was the steering rack. the passenger side had witness marks.
Automotive tire Material property Wood Rim Gas
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,039 Posts
look at the lower control arms. the pin that goes into the bottom of the wheel hub might be worn out. I literally found out I had an issue because my steering wheel suddenly felt feedback, and I herd a clunk from what I thought was the steering rack. the passenger side had witness marks.
View attachment 42947
Once the control arm ball joint gets loose in the hole in the knuckle for whatever reason - stud worn or knuckle hole worn or clamping bolt not torqued to spec - no matter which of those three initially starts the slipping or play, in short order, both the stud or hole will become unusable (i.e., will never be tight again), and the control arm and knuckle will need to be replaced - not replacing both will result in both being damaged again. Also, the clamping bolt wears if slipping occurs, which is why new control arms usually include a new bolt. If the knuckle is replaced, the replacement must have either "15" or "16" cast into it in agreement with the original knuckle for proper brake caliper position to accommodate the rotor diameter (I believe after 2000 model year, they all have "16").
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My play is in the steering. And I can hear the clunking with the car parked and off. Wiggle the wheel and knock knock knock knock. And for what it's worth my control arms are brand new. Replaced just because the rubber was cracking.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,039 Posts
Have one person wiggle the wheel and a second person look, feel, and listen at every possible source point of the movement and noise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
It's normal for the rack to make a knock-knock sound when the engine is off (my 94 does the same thing) since there's no power steering fluid being fed to the rack. It shouldn't happen when the engine is running and fluid is being pumped into the system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's normal for the rack to make a knock-knock sound when the engine is off (my 94 does the same thing) since there's no power steering fluid being fed to the rack. It shouldn't happen when the engine is running and fluid is being pumped into the system.
I had that feeling, but if I move the wheel quick while running I can hear it also. I also can't figure out why my driver side tire is loose. Both inner and outer tie rods feel tight, lugs are tight as is wheel bearing. Could the alignment adjustment nut actually be loose somehow causing this? I hear the knock in the steering rack, so I know there's something there. But if that's normal, I'm lost as to why my driver side wheel has steering play in it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
I also can't figure out why my driver side tire is loose.
Since you've ruled out that your wheel bearing is OK there might be damage/play in the steering knuckle. I'm guessing where the lower ball joint from the control arm attaches.

Curious - Do you have an aftermarket steering rack or is still factory original?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Since you've ruled out that your wheel bearing is OK there might be damage/play in the steering knuckle. I'm guessing where the lower ball joint from the control arm attaches.

Curious - Do you have an aftermarket steering rack or is still factory original?
As far as I know original. My grandfather bought it new and I know it had steering work done semi recently, but I thought just tie rods. If I grab the tire I only get play holding at 9 and 3, nothing at 12 and 6 which makes me think wheel bearing is good.

This is interesting though because I'm wondering if there could be wear in the outer tie rod part of the knuckle. When my grandparents were still alive and the car had probably around 65k miles, I found a ton of play in the steering one time. I'm not sure what they had replaced but I remember it being very loose and I'm wondering if maybe it could have damaged the knuckle somehow where the outer tie rod drops in. It feels tight to me, I don't feel any play, but at this point something isn't making sense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
This is interesting though because I'm wondering if there could be wear in the outer tie rod part of the knuckle.
Whoever did the job may have damaged the threads on the knuckle when they secured the suspension and steering components. A dealer mechanic (or sloppy indy mechanic) probably over-torqued something with an impact wrench instead of using a torque wrench.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Whoever did the job may have damaged the threads on the knuckle when they secured the suspension and steering components. A dealer mechanic (or sloppy indy mechanic) probably over-torqued something with an impact wrench instead of using a torque wrench.
How could this actually cause steering slop? The threads are on the tie rods themselves.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
I'm talking about where the lower control arm connects to the steering knuckle. The thread may have been damaged by over-torquing with an impact wrench.

As for the outer tie-rod, you mentioned that the alignment nut may have come loose. Double-check that it is secured and torqued to spec.

I'm wondering, since you've replaced your inner tie-rod bushings as well, what type of head bolts are you using? 15mm or 22mm? There have been reports where the 15mm bolts do not properly secure the locking tabs to the bolts and the bolts tend to back out in extreme cases. Also make sure that your inner tie-rod bolts are torqued to the revised 74 ft-lbs spec.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,039 Posts
It's normal for the rack to make a knock-knock sound when the engine is off (my 94 does the same thing) since there's no power steering fluid being fed to the rack. It shouldn't happen when the engine is running and fluid is being pumped into the system.
Internal to the rack, I don't see that as being true for the linear slide surfaces and mating of the pinion gear and rack teeth, which are mechanically downstream of the fluid-powered forces and motion of the pinion shaft "motor". (See my comments below on noise masking with engine running.)
Product Auto part Cylinder Engineering Metal


Deep dive:
It may sound counter-intuitive, but, if you think about it, any forces and take-up-slop movements on the output side of the rack (internal main rack rod, rack mount bushings, tie rods, McPherson struts, control arms, knuckle) will be the same (or less) with the engine off than with the engine/power steering pump running. But (with engine off), forces and take-up-slop movements on input side of the rack (steering column-to-rack coupling, steering column intermediate shaft coupling, and steering column universal coupling) will be greater (because, without power assist, the input side sees huge - almost brick-wall - resistance to movement on the output side).

What may fool you into thinking otherwise is that with engine running, the noises of the engine, power steering pump and fluid, and actual turning of the wheels (direction-wise - i.e., tire tread contact patch rotating on pavement, concrete, or gravel) may be masking any take-up slack noises resulting from back-and-forth steering wheel motion that would be present with or without engine running. If what I'm saying doesn't seem right on first-time-thru mental visualization, think it thru a couple of times to see if it doesn't start making sense.

Bottom line: The key is to realize that, for a given back-and-forth motion of the steering wheel with the engine running, the forces on all components on the the outout side of the rack will be greater, and the forces on all of the components on the input side of the rack will be lower than with the engine not running. Resulting take-up slop noises on the output side of the rack may only seem to be less with engine running because the additional noises (engine, etc.) will be masking the take-up slop noises - you'll just have to listen "harder" for them (or go more by visual than by sound). And don't rule out that take-up slop/knocking noises on input side of rack may be what you're hearing (especially with engine off). Input-side noises should/would, in reality, and because of masking, be way less or non-existent with engine running.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,039 Posts
I'm talking about where the lower control arm connects to the steering knuckle. The thread may have been damaged by over-torquing with an impact wrench...
The only thread there is on the clamping bolt. What you may mean is that the smooth bore of the knuckle hole could be worn (from being loose - see post #3) or s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d from the bolt being over-torqued - and that definitely would be a valid concern. Torque on that bolt is critical. Too loose, and you get slip and wear; too tight, and you stretch or break the knuckle clamping hole.

EDIT: Perhaps you did mean damage to the bolt (stretching or stripping of its thread). Fair enough. End result is same - added play. 🍻 As also mentioned in post #3, I've also seen that bolt get significantly thinned down by being severely hammered by up and down motion of the control arm stud if it ever gets loose and starts slipping in the hole.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm talking about where the lower control arm connects to the steering knuckle. The thread may have been damaged by over-torquing with an impact wrench.

As for the outer tie-rod, you mentioned that the alignment nut may have come loose. Double-check that it is secured and torqued to spec.

I'm wondering, since you've replaced your inner tie-rod bushings as well, what type of head bolts are you using? 15mm or 22mm? There have been reports where the 15mm bolts do not properly secure the locking tabs to the bolts and the bolts tend to back out in extreme cases. Also make sure that your inner tie-rod bolts are torqued to the revised 74 ft-lbs spec.
I used the factory bolts and have 5 miles on the car since I did them so doubt they moved. I also bent the tabs over and used a tq wrench to tighten to spec.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Also I'm confused by all the control arm talk. How could that in any way cause 9 and 3 o'clock movement in my tire? Also the knocking I hear is in the rack 100% no question. The rack is loud when I move the wheel. Unless that is normal and the looseness is completely unrelated. Which to me makes sense because only the drivers side has play. If the rack was bad wouldn't that effect both sides?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well I decided since I wasn't sure if the outer tie rods were ever done I would just do them. So grabbed a pair today, changed them out tonight and the play is gone. I still feel no problem with the outer that came off but this just shows that no test is ever 100% unless it is truly measured. I still have a little clunk feeling when I really wrench on the tires but I'm assuming that's probably just normal rack movement because the cars not running. Steering is tight and instantly responsive. The only thing I can think maybe a clunk could be is rack bushings. But I would have to get a helper to check that. I bet a snap pop when I start out moving and turn the wheel, but pretty much everything is new so who knows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Internal to the rack...
Well of course the knocking sound would be internal to the rack. In my experience, the rack has always made a slight knocking sound with the engine off. Even my original factory rack made a sound if the wheel was rocked back and forth without the engine on. I recently went to a U-Pull-It to replace the factory steering column shroud on my 94 with a 2nd gen unit - and that rack also made that knocking sound when the wheel was rocked.

Way back when, when I serviced my car at Chrysler, I was told by some techs that this is due to the steering pump being shut off and not sending fluid to the rack. Whether that's a BS explanation or not is up for discussion, but every LH sedan I've encountered - new, used, wrecked, etc. - has always made that sound with no power on.
What you may mean is that the smooth bore of the knuckle hole could be worn
This. I had some damaged threads on my own steering knuckles a few years back where the caliper bolts attached. I tried to salvage the knuckle with a helicoli kit, but the brake pedal would sometimes get spongy, so I replaced both knuckles with a used set from a wrecked Intrepid. Been great ever since. I've also read that the second gen knuckles are compatible on first gen cars.
So grabbed a pair today, changed them out tonight and the play is gone.
Great. I personally recommend the Moog Problem-Solver with zerk fittings. Better than the original factory sealed units.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well of course the knocking sound would be internal to the rack. In my experience, the rack has always made a slight knocking sound with the engine off. Even my original factory rack made a sound if the wheel was rocked back and forth without the engine on. I recently went to a U-Pull-It to replace the factory steering column shroud on my 94 with a 2nd gen unit - and that rack also made that knocking sound when the wheel was rocked.

Way back when, when I serviced my car at Chrysler, I was told by some techs that this is due to the steering pump being shut off and not sending fluid to the rack. Whether that's a BS explanation or not is up for discussion, but every LH sedan I've encountered - new, used, wrecked, etc. - has always made that sound with no power on.

This. I had some damaged threads on my own steering knuckles a few years back where the caliper bolts attached. I tried to salvage the knuckle with a helicoli kit, but the brake pedal would sometimes get spongy, so I replaced both knuckles with a used set from a wrecked Intrepid. Been great ever since. I've also read that the second gen knuckles are compatible on first gen cars.

Great. I personally recommend the Moog Problem-Solver with zerk fittings. Better than the original factory sealed units.
Oh yeah I went out of my way to buy those. Granted a lot of Moog is now made in china now, but better than some of the lower end stuff. I hope. Seems like nothing is quality today anymore.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top