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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just installed poly subframe bushing inserts from IPD, and some steering issues have become apparent since then.

When I'm at a stop or extremely low speeds (1-2mph), I get a clunking sound/feeling from what seems like must be the steering rack. If I turn the wheel to "load up" the steering wheel against the tires, and then then release the tension, it clunks like there is some metal-metal play in the rack. It's most noticeable when the car is cold, although I haven't experimented much when it is warm.

Has anyone experienced this? What might I look for? I also have urethane bushings in my front suspension.
 

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The steering racks can and do fail or wear but the incidence of worn inner tie rod ends and outer tie rod ends is far greater. The ball joints can wear oval and move and pop when steered. I have 2x8 mini ramps that I drive cars up on and then have someone turn the wheel 1-2 inches both side of center. I can observe and feel for loose motion in the ball joints and steering components.
It is also possible that the clunk you are describing is normal. The power piston on the rack has pressure applied to one side and when you reverse the direction there is an undamped hydraulic pressure wave that occurs when the power proportioning spool valve closes and the opens in reverse flow to apply pressure to the opposite side of power piston. Effectively the steering rack version of what can happen when you close a faucet quickly and your pipe thump in wall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok I'll have to go back under and do a closer observation. I actually did exactly that, and the inner tie rods did seem to have a tiny bit of play. I'll go experiment more. Thanks!!
 

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I haven't messed with inner tie rods and want to know if the boot over the inner tie rods are just dust boots or are grease filled like CV joints.

Sent from my HTC Sensation 4G using Tapatalk 2
 

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Just boots. The inners will have had grease on them when made. The boots seal the rack and should be dry other than the lube used on rack parts when made. If you find oil in the boots it is a sign of seal leakage.
 

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I'm having similar issues. Before installing the sub-frame bushings my R had that "searching for center" feeling, and very slightly felt like it was pulling to the left under braking.

After the install the steering felt tighter and more controlled but under braking the steering wheel would pull was much more apparent. Oddly, if I let go of the steering wheel and hit the brakes it would track straight but the steering wheel pulls half an inch to the left and re-centers when I let off the brakes. Yesterday it started clunking while making sharp turns, I can replicate the sound while parked turning the steering wheel left and right. There also seems to be a dead zone just left of center but turning right is nice and tight.

I suspect tie rods, I replaced the outers last spring but maybe the inners are worn too. Would this be causing my braking issues too? Is there anything else that would cause this to happen other than steering rack?
 

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R racks can clunk especially 2004s, (first year for the ZF rack)
Some can be fixed by tightening the yoke but some do just go bad.
If it's only at parking speed, a cold car or literally standing still and turning the wheel.... you can live with it forever. If you can't, these racks are VERY expensive.
A-sims car is a different matter
 

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So mine could be tie rods or is it something else?
 

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Its had several alignments, new control arms, new outer tie rods, ipd spring seats, ipd endlinks. rear brace, trans torque mounts, in the last year. The suspension setup has never been good on my car.
 

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I am having it looked at again after Christmas. Still frustrating though.
 

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Its had several alignments, new control arms, new outer tie rods, ipd spring seats, ipd endlinks. rear brace, trans torque mounts, in the last year. The suspension setup has never been good on my car.
Sounds like you’ve had a biatch of time with your front end.
- how many miles do you have on your car?

There are two things in your post that you haven’t mentioned a replaced; a) inner tie rods and b) ball joints. Without getting your key steering components sorted, you’re throwing away money on alignments.

Inner tie rods are a common wear point and easy to diagnose.
Ball joints, not so easy as they are under tension even with the front end off the ground.
Like cattlecar mentioned, to accurately check ball joint wear is typically a two man job.
Most shops tend to use the single mechanic ‘grab and shake’ diagnosis which is quick and nasty.

Suggest you find a GOOD independent shop. Ideally one who can diagnose and do the alignment work. As a correct wheel alignment requires the steering angle sensor to be set correctly in VIDA.
 

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If tie rods and spring seats are good, it's usually the rack itself
As I said, tighten the yoke, (always makes it a bit better), if it's very bad it needs a new rack
 

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...so I took my car down to the shop. He said the steering rack and tie rods are tight, CA's and ball joints seemed fine.The noise seemed to be coming from my bumper stops being worn away. Anyway he said my tires were worn unevenly, near the center but towards the inside. The psi was, and always has been at 37 psi. I pulled a tire back at home and it does look like the inside half of my Conti Extreme contacts are bulged. I bought them new at 111,000 miles, now at 130,000. Hopefully new tires will fix this issue, but I'll be getting a second opinion also.


 
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