Steer­ing wheel noise

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Help! -

I re­cently bought a 2002 Vaux­hall Astra Mk4 1.8 Ber­tone coupé. In gen­eral, the car is very clean and only needs typ­i­cal ser­vice items and a few brake lines to get per­fect. How­ever, there seems to be a prob­lem with the steer­ing. While go­ing round cor­ners, the car just doesn’t seem to go where I want, as it does on other As­tras. I have checked the tyre pres­sures all round and the off­side front was at 40psi and the near­side at 26psi, so I sorted that right away and got 34psi in fronts and 29psi at the rear. This seems slightly bet­ter, but it still seems slightly heavy when turn­ing, which may be down to the track­ing be­ing out.

I have checked the power steer­ing rack for leaks and it seems to be fine, with the power steer­ing fluid at the cor­rect level. I have also bled the sys­tem to make sure there were no air locks. In ad­di­tion, the track rod ends and coil springs are both fine. I did no­tice that a gaiter from the steer­ing rack to the steer­ing col­umn was not se­cured, so I fixed it.

When I turn the steer­ing wheel from left to right there is a noise like rub­ber be­ing pulled and stretched, but this seems to be com­ing from the steer­ing wheel, not the en­gine bay. My first thought was that some­thing was catch­ing a gaiter or the top mounts, but its def­i­nitely com­ing from di­rectly be­hind the steer­ing wheel. I took off the steer­ing wheel and some plas­tic trim to get a bet­ter look, but couldn’t see any­thing ob­vi­ous, al­though the rub­ber on the rear of the steer­ing wheel seems to be the only place that could pro­duce such a noise.

The steer­ing wheel is orig­i­nal and not af­ter­mar­ket. It seems as though the wheel is slightly catch­ing through­out the turn­ing of the wheel, which makes it feel frac­tion­ally heav­ier than my other car. The power steer­ing is def­i­nitely still work­ing, though.

I would greatly ap­pre­ci­ate your help on this as I am at a loss and re­ally don’t want to give it to a garage. Paul Mc­cully As you sent me a link to a video of the steer­ing in op­er­a­tion, this gave me the op­por­tu­nity to hear the noise for my­self. This con­firmed to me that the noise is very likely to be the re­sult of rub­bing be­tween the steer­ing wheel base and the top of the steer­ing col­umn cowl­ing. The tol­er­ances be­tween the steer­ing wheel and cowl­ing are tight, so I would first try us­ing a sil­i­cone spray lu­bri­cant – such as this one http://­qge – be­tween the two sur­faces. If this doesn’t re­solve the sit­u­a­tion, the cowl­ing may need to be re­moved and repo­si­tioned slightly lower.

I would also at­tempt to turn the steer­ing with the cowl­ing re­moved to en­sure that this is the prob­lem. If the noise is still present, then its source needs to be re­con­sid­ered. It may be com­ing from the airbag clock­spring unit.

An­other com­mon cause of squeaky steer­ing on Vaux­halls is a dry bush in the steer­ing rack where the col­umn ex­its the rack. By re­mov­ing the rub­ber gaiter be­low the lower U/J on the steer­ing col­umn, you should be able to trickle a thin 3-in-1 oil down the shaft to lubri­cate the top bush.

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