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View Full Version : Found the front end noise, easy fix


ausie
05-04-2005, 08:08 AM
For some time now, the front end would make a metal ripping sound when the steering wheel was turned. I had a similar problem with a 97 escort until the wheel assembly fell off. Although the sound was familiar, it was not the same deal. It was more of a ball joint or tie rod end issue. Yesterday I had someone turn the wheel for me while I investigated the source of the noise. It turns out that the entire steering rack was shifting side to side which sort of rulled out any ball joints or tie rod ends. Fix: unbolted each side to inspect the bushing. It appears that the inner metal ring is oversized when compared to the bolt diameter. There was enough space for shims but I did not use any at this time. I re-torqued the bolts to the pain threshold of my hands and the slipage is no more. :thumbsup: That surely tightened up the steering feel too. Also, the worm gear section of the steering rack was pinching off the clutch calbe every time it moved towards the right. I doupt it had anything to do with shifting issues, but there have been times when the transmission would not go into any gear.

NO 5 OH
05-04-2005, 03:10 PM
For some time now, the front end would make a metal ripping sound when the steering wheel was turned. I had a similar problem with a 97 escort until the wheel assembly fell off. Although the sound was familiar, it was not the same deal. It was more of a ball joint or tie rod end issue. Yesterday I had someone turn the wheel for me while I investigated the source of the noise. It turns out that the entire steering rack was shifting side to side which sort of rulled out any ball joints or tie rod ends. Fix: unbolted each side to inspect the bushing. It appears that the inner metal ring is oversized when compared to the bolt diameter. There was enough space for shims but I did not use any at this time. I re-torqued the bolts to the pain threshold of my hands and the slipage is no more. :thumbsup: That surely tightened up the steering feel too. Also, the worm gear section of the steering rack was pinching off the clutch calbe every time it moved towards the right. I doupt it had anything to do with shifting issues, but there have been times when the transmission would not go into any gear.

Another fix to this... and would get the rack "tight" up against the k-member is the aluminum rack bushings from Maximum Motorsports. They are an easy install... and as I said they allow the rack to tighten up right against the k-member and keep it that way. They're not really expensive either... but if you do install them you'll need the front toe settings changed as it moves the rack back from it's original position and changes the toe. I have these in my car and the steering response was improved.

HTH,



Shannon

InfamousSVT
05-04-2005, 08:35 PM
Hey Shannon, maybe the noise Ausie had is the same thing I'm experiencing in my car?

I'm going to have to check it out! Well, I'll just get you to check it out for me Shannon!:p :rolleyes:

-Jason

ausie
05-04-2005, 08:36 PM
:thumbsup: thanks for the info. Actually I was planning on fabricating some shims at work, but the aluminum scrap bin was recycled. dang. I hate when that happens. For the time being, no more slip. I will wait until it slips again before I replace them (maybe)..

cobra2112
05-04-2005, 09:43 PM
I had the same problem twice in my 04. The dealer first retorqued the rack mounts. About 2 weeks later same problem. Brought it back and they replaced all of the mounting hardware. No problems so far after about 3K miles. Good Luck!:thumbsup:

sssvtcobra
05-05-2005, 04:18 PM
Ausie,

I had the same noise that you are talking about in my '04. It only happened when I turned the steering wheel left or right. I took it to my dealer and they inspected with chassis ears, and found a TSB on it. They ended up replacing the front rack mounts and front rack mounting sleeves. Problem solved, and it was all free under warranty, plus I got a free rental (part of the svt warranty)

Hope this helps anybody

ausie
05-07-2005, 11:15 AM
The noise is creaping back. Perhaps new bushings are in order. I could go to ford and get the run-around, but that is some thing I like to avoid. Inspecting the bushings and then re-tightening the bolts did do the trick for the short run. At least I know the issue at hand.

InfamousSVT
05-11-2005, 04:34 AM
Ausie, let me know what you find out about the front end noise!

I beleive I have the same problem!:(

ausie
05-11-2005, 07:58 AM
Front end noise is symptomatic to a creaking when turning the steering wheel with the engine on or off. Usually more noticeable when not moving. It may even creak when traversing uneven ground. To rule out ball joints or tie rod ends, you need to have someone else turn the steering wheel for you while you are looking at the steering rack. The car has to be on the ground for the full effect. I noticed the entire rack would move approximately a quarter inch +/- 1/8th inch. When I installed the shims (which did help to reduce most of the noise) I realized that the bushing sleeve as well as the hollow shaft in the control arm are oversized when compared to the diameter of the bolt shaft. The bronze bearings I bought at sears hardware (having a standard unit ID) fits perfectly on a 1/2 or 31/64 bolt shaft, however the 12mm bolt used in our car is way too small for the application. Much of the movement is from the rack, also part of it is from the bolt assemby shifting in the control arm. In my opinion, the bushing sleeve and bolt guide in the control arm were sized for a standard (english unit) bolt. That is unless Ford spec'd in a 1/8 inch tolerance. Replacing the bolt either with a 12.7mm or 12.3mm diameter would reduce the amount of shifting of the steering rack. I am tempted to remove the bolts off of the explorer and bushings from the steering rack to see if they fit. But come to think of it, I have the same noise with that too.

InfamousSVT
05-12-2005, 06:15 PM
Well, the front end noise finally got on my nerves so much I decided to go up to ford and have them fix it for me for free since they put the bushings on for me! I also got my Oil changed too, I bought the oil and they supplied the filter, but that's all I actually paid for.

I had the Aluminum Steering Rack bushings installed by ford when I had all my Urethane bushings installed. Well shortly after the bushings where installed I had the same symptoms as stated above. Everytime I turned my steering wheel left or right the noise is revealed. I talked with the Ford "tech" that installed the bushings and he said that he couldn't tighten the steering rack bushings all the way cause it would crack the back plate or some BS like that. Well since I was getting my oil changed, with the car on the lift I went to the back to had the "tech" that installed by bushings come show me and explain to me why it couldn't be tightend all the way! Well, once the car was up......I could twist the steering rack bolts with my hand:eek: ........I told them to torque them down to spec (don't have it off hand) and he said he couldn't........whatever it's my car and I want it to be safe to drive so I told him to torque them down all the way. He did so and after everything was over and done with the noise was gone and the steering of the car and response felt 100% better. I'm now please that I don't have that annoying noise and can actually enjoy driving the car rather then worrying about the steering rack falling off going down the road.

Just thought I'd share my experience with you guys!:)

Thanks,

-Jason

NO 5 OH
05-13-2005, 04:04 AM
Well, the front end noise finally got on my nerves so much I decided to go up to ford and have them fix it for me for free since they put the bushings on for me! I also got my Oil changed too, I bought the oil and they supplied the filter, but that's all I actually paid for.

I had the Aluminum Steering Rack bushings installed by ford when I had all my Urethane bushings installed. Well shortly after the bushings where installed I had the same symptoms as stated above. Everytime I turned my steering wheel left or right the noise is revealed. I talked with the Ford "tech" that installed the bushings and he said that he couldn't tighten the steering rack bushings all the way cause it would crack the back plate or some BS like that. Well since I was getting my oil changed, with the car on the lift I went to the back to had the "tech" that installed by bushings come show me and explain to me why it couldn't be tightend all the way! Well, once the car was up......I could twist the steering rack bolts with my hand:eek: ........I told them to torque them down to spec (don't have it off hand) and he said he couldn't........whatever it's my car and I want it to be safe to drive so I told him to torque them down all the way. He did so and after everything was over and done with the noise was gone and the steering of the car and response felt 100% better. I'm now please that I don't have that annoying noise and can actually enjoy driving the car rather then worrying about the steering rack falling off going down the road.

Just thought I'd share my experience with you guys!:)

See... now didn't I just tell you this the other night that this was more than likely the problem? I don't do too bad for someone that doesn't do this for a living now don't I :p

Torque spec for the rack bolts using MM aluminum bushings is 30 to 40 ft/lbs.

I DO SINCERELY HOPE that's the last time you'll be going to those flunkies to have anything else fixed/done for your car. I am the one that's gonna put the KB on after all... plus do half a dozen other things while I'm at it as well :) You better give me a call tomorrow sometime so we can talk about this weekend... ya punk :rotf: :rotf:



Shannon

InfamousSVT
05-13-2005, 04:23 AM
Yeah yeah, I'll call you old man!

Let's just start throwing the Black Blower on it Friday night......should be ready for the car show by then right!:eek: :baby: :doubt:

ausie
05-14-2005, 02:19 PM
Sweet, go ahead squeese the Charman Mr. Whipple. That should put a smile on your face.

I whould have taken it in to the Ford dealer for the Bushing fix, but I usually find them not doing the job right. The tech's usually follow the FORD recommended routines only. That does not mean that it will correct the issue at hand. Some times it takes a bit of intuition to correct issues that may be faced with certain problems, but that is not how the job is done. I had some major issues with warranty repair work done on other vehicles which had caused more problems. I have lost any confidence in the technical staff. I do not blame the mechanics, but the policy on warranty repair protocals or procedure. I have talked to many ford technicians who no longer work for Ford and they have complained about the writen rules. I could only hope that things have changed just in case I need to use them for any issues while under warranty.

ausie
05-15-2005, 10:51 AM
After messing around with the steering rack bolts I decided to replace them. The shims did not fix or correct the problem so I will use 1/2inch bolts which are the correct size for the bushing barrels, but I will find out if they will fit through the A-arm today. I got the best grade steel along with 4 washers per bolt and appropriate nuts. My fear is that if the rack continues to move it is possible that eventually it will shear off the factory bolts or oval out the holes. There is no garruntee that the replacement bolts will fit, but based on the measurements I took they should.

ausie
05-15-2005, 07:01 PM
My mistake in the A-arm. The Bushing sleeve is in the K-member. Silly me. Yep, 1/2 inch bolts fit just right with a little persuasion with a hammer. The trick is to tap the bolt in from the front and attach the nuts from the rear. The sleeve is a split steel roll so it will expand some, overall it is probably 0.010" smaller than the bolt. Oh yeah, debur the threaded end first with a file before tapping it into place. The large washer had to be opened up a bit with a 1/2 inch drill bit. I doubt that the creaking will come back since every thing is all snug and tight. The entire stock bolt was slipping side to side so there was no way to tighten the bolt up to eliminate the creaking noise. Now with the new bolt SAE 1/2"x8" with 4 washers and a lock nut did the job. Careful not to hammer the rack if anyone decides to attempt it. A little bit of grease would not hurt either. Probably not FORD spec but it did the job :thumbsup:

ausie
08-14-2005, 10:57 AM
So far no problems, has not come loose and no creaking. SWEET :thumbsup: