View Full Version : Help with noise

08-15-2006, 12:47 AM
Hey all! I need some help with noises to see if they are common or not. 1996 Cobra coupe.

When turning the steering wheel back and forth it makes a "squeeking" noise. Just when starting to turn. If you keep turning it only makes the sound in the beginning or when reversing directions.

Also when you compress the suspension (stationary) all 4 corners make a squeeking noise. Do I need new shocks and strut or is there a bushing or something that is know to go bad.

The steering rack was replaced about 2,000 miles ago, when the old one started leaking really bad. It did not make this noise before the rack was replaced and seems to have gotten slightly better of the last 2,000 miles.

The last noise is a crunching noise in the steering wheel when the steering gets to the stop. The cruise does not work. Could this be the clockspring that is messed up and getting crunched at the end for the rotation?

65k on car. Totally stock.

These noises are driving me crazy.

Thanks for any input!

08-15-2006, 09:17 PM
I would lift the car off the ground and have someone turn the wheel while you try to pinpoint the noise. Be sure the vehicle is stable though.. ;) It sounds like your rack was not tightened all the way and the bushings are making the noise. If you had the rack installed recently then carry it back to the shop and see if they can find the noise, otherwise, look, listen, and shake to make the noise reproduce itself so you can resolve the issue.

09-05-2006, 05:50 PM
Hello All!

OK, I pinned my noise down to the steering rack moving back and forth. The rack was replaced recently because the old one was leaking badly.

The dealer I took it to today, said they cannot figure out what to do to fix it. They want to put another rack on (under warranty) but I am not assured that will fix it.

Any ideas or TSB's? I am sure they will not want to replace the bolts with bigger ones. There must be an OEM fix for this??? Maybe not.

All help would be appreciated.

I thought this was bump steering badly, now I know why!


09-05-2006, 06:51 PM
Do the ball joints need to be greased up? I have not dont mine for a long time, but now that im thinking about it Im going to get to it soon. I know that they dont have spot to put grease in, but you can get a thing from
snap on or mac tools and put it on a grease gun, and it has a needle on it and you poke it through the boot and put a couple of squirts in it. Any shop could do it for ya.

Just a thought for ya.


09-05-2006, 10:19 PM
No, it is definitely the steering rack. You can see it move back and forth when someone turns the wheel, and the noise co-incides with it.

Anyone know of a Ford fix the dealer can look up (TSB)? Would another new rack fix it?

It seems odd that the rack was OK for 63,000 miles (before it blew its guts) and then a new rack makes the noise.

Thanks, in advance, for the help.

09-06-2006, 12:04 PM
I had a similar issue and it was drving me nuts with my 04. I could have taken it into ford for the fix but what I remember others having done did not cure the problem. I decided to remove one of the bolts and discovered a considerable amount of play inside the support pin that the bolt rides in. I used calipers to measure the bolt diameter as well as measured the inside bore of the pin. I replaced both mounting bolts with 1/2 inch high grade steel bolts but had to install them in the opposite direction with a little help of a hammer to tap them into place.

The OEM fix would be to have the support pin replaced and to have the proper diameter bolt used. If the fit is too loose before tightening it will re-occur. The factory pin used is a rolled steel which can expand since it is not an extruded tube or pipe.

09-06-2006, 02:31 PM

Thanks for the reply. I got a call from the dealer today (they were going to order a new rack) and said that it was over 12 months ago (only 2,500 miles!) and that I was "out of luck". Did they still want me to order a rack? I about blew a gasket! The SOB was wrong from day one and I only got help from this forum. Now it is too late.

What do you mean by "support pins replaced OEM"? Is there any merit in that or just get the 1/2" bolts (sounds easy). What are the bolts tourqed to?

I asked the dealer if there was anything else they could do with my rack and he said no. I guess all they do is parts swap anymore. No diagnosis.

So, are there aftermarket parts to put new bushings, etc... in the rack or is the 1/2" bolt idea the best?

Thanks to all for the help. Once again, the dealer does not know ****.


09-07-2006, 11:57 AM
What you may want to try first is to tighten the original bolts. If that does not seem to work remove one of the nuts and inspect the bushing. It may just be that they used the old bushings when they replaced the rack, or they replaced the support pin (sleeve). If the bushings are worn it may be better to replace them than to attempt the bolt replacement since it is not as straight forward as it may seem (some drilling and filling will be needed, see below for details). Once you have the nut off of the bolt, inspect the bolt for freeplay while it is still in the K-member and support pin (or sleeve, not quite sure what it is really called, I will just refer to it as the support pin).

OEM method: Shop on-line for steering rack bushings, you may find the support pin or sleeve, as well as the mounting hardware. I have heard others have had the support pin (sleeve) replaced and that cured the issue. This way you will be able to obtain hard to find items that you cannot get at the local hardware store (and if you do not know what grade of steel you are buying, it would be better to get if from an OEM or specialty shop that sells replacement parts for mustangs or suspension parts and kits. :cool:

The factory bolt has a 12mm diameter shank (at least this is what I measured). A 1/2 inch bolt comes to 12.7mm. (the ideal bolt diameter should be 12.5mm) I used the highest grade steel bolts I could find along with nuts that have the same type of ferrel or integrated washer on the one end. The bolt length that I could find that was the closest length was 8 inches long. IF you can locate a good source in metric sizes that would probably be great if you can find the high grade steel, for some odd reason, most local hardware shops do not carry bolts larger than 10mm in diameter.

The factory bolt from the hex end to the threads is 7.5 inches in length but there is a hex key end on the bolt that is 1/2 inch in length. Depending on how long the threads are on the replacement bolt, you may need to pick up several washers of the same grade to stack up on the one end after you insert it.

To insert new bolts:
Remove original factory bolts (do one at a time). There should be a large cupped washer facing against the bushing of the steering rack. If it is stuck on the bushing pop if off with a screw driver or tap it loose. You will have to drill out the hole with a 1/2 inch drill to allow for the new bolt to be inserted.

Prepare the new bolt by inspecting the end of the threads. You may need to file the threads at the end so they do not get kinked when you are inserting the bolt. Make sure that the nut attaches freely onto the bolt before you tap it into place. Lubricating the bolt may help.

After preparation of the bolt end, install the large cupped washer onto the bolt. The Bolt will then be installed opposite to the orientation of the original factory bolt. Gently tap the bolt into place. The support pin will be tight but it should fit. If you find that the threads get kinked you will have to tap the bolt back out and refile (note: the support pin will come out with the bolt. to remove the support pin from the bolt you will need a vise.

As for torque spec, that is a good question. I basically tightened the bolts up until I could not go any further. You do not want to compress the bushing too much and you do not want to leave it too loose or it will still creak.

If you find that you cannot tighten any further, you may need to add more washers to the nut end.