Steering wheel noise
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://
bit.ly/2encqge – 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.