R50/R53 :: Hatch Talk (2002-2006) Cooper (R50) and Cooper S (R53) hatchback discussion.

Steering column "clunk"

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Old 06-10-2019, 04:57 PM
Island_Moose
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Steering column "clunk"

Sitting in the car, idling or driving straight. If I move the steering wheel left and right slightly I can feel a solid knock coming from somewhere between the wheel and the rack. There's no looseness, it's like the way my knee cracks everytime I stand up. Any ideas where I should look first?
 
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Island_Moose View Post
Sitting in the car, idling or driving straight. If I move the steering wheel left and right slightly I can feel a solid knock coming from somewhere between the wheel and the rack. There's no looseness, it's like the way my knee cracks everytime I stand up. Any ideas where I should look first?
It could be caused by worn outer CV joint(s). I had this symptom and I suspected the cause and I was spot on. Replaced both axles with $150 communist made set and the clicking and subtle binding are gone.
 
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:31 PM
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What about the universal joint that connects the steering column to the steering rack?
 
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:36 PM
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I would try to move the whole column from side to side. Mine has a little looseness left to right. The other thing to check would be the U joint where it attaches to the rack from the column. If it has ever been in service mode, this may have been inadequately tightened. It could also be a bad tie rod end. That is fairly easy to test for by jacking the car up and trying to move the wheel left and right. There should be no play at all, only the resistance to movement from the rack to the pinion, which may let you move it slowly and with great effort. Yet another issue can be bad strut mounts. Look at the top of the strut towers and see if the strut mounts are torn. It will be visually obvious if they are. Lastly I would look at the lower control arms and their bushings and ball joints. I would check all of it thoroughly and figure out where it is coming from.
 
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:25 PM
Island_Moose
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Thanks all,

I'm going to start with the u-joint on the column, as part of my rebuild has been to replace the front suspension entirely, and reinforce the strut towers.
 
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:28 PM
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I will not replace the u-joint unless I prove it defective. If it is so loose the car will wander at freeway speed.

It is easy enough to test. With engine not running so you have no power assist, turn the steering back and forth and if you have no click or play, it is good. It is that simple.
 
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:50 PM
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I had the same "clunk" noise in my wife's car a few years ago.....turned out to be a bad outer tie rod end......check the simple stuff first

Bryan
 
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Old 06-11-2019, 07:44 PM
gumbedamit
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Inner Ball Joint
 
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:11 PM
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Inner or outer ball joints/tie rod, https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...ll-joints.html





if it's still there and the steering wheel is hard to turn that it can be the steering wheel shaft.

https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...-any-tips.html

 
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:25 PM
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Raise the front of the vehicle. Put your hands on each tire at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. Push the tire in and out. If there’s movement it’s the tie rods.
 
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