Little clunks in steering - NOT the steering rack thread - Page 3 - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #41 of 282 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mx1 View Post
I have the minor clunks and clicks in steering, too, on my 07 S. So, last night I pulled the wheels and wrenched on the bolts. Most were tight. Several needed a little torque. The one under the shock was a little loose. I did not remove the shock and used a couple of wrenches, so I did not torque with anything other than my calibrated elbow. With the small wrenches, I was not able to reef on it and did not want to. Both sides were loose and only took a small amount of tightening.

For the steering rack mount bolts inside the cabin, the top bolt on driver's side was tight, bottom on both sides was a little loose IAW torque value. I could not get to passenger side top bolt since a large wire bundle was in the way. Any tricks to get around this?

The upper swivel joint to the steering arm was not near the 55 NM on either side. I got several turns with the torque wrench and stopped before "clicking" because it kept turning. I am afraid to go to much tighter on those. It seemed like too much.

I drove today and it is much better. Great post!

Rob

I recommend you do spend the time to torque the upper shock bracket bolts properly. It really is easy to remove the shock, and those are important bolts.

In regards to the wire bundle in the way for the passenger side steering rack mount, if I recall correctly, I simply pushed the wire bundle to the side (was a bit hard). My torque wrench was a bit large for the space, so I used a pair of long extensions. I also had to remove the plastic edge guard from the bracket and bend the bracket metal out just a tad (with a flat bladed screwdriver) in order to fit the sock on the bolt head. (The head was too close to the side of the bracket.)
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post #42 of 282 (permalink) Old 10-26-2009, 07:33 AM
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Here was a big one in my car (2006 Elise)--the fuse box under the RHS front clam access panel was loose.

As you stand at the front of the car, facing the windshield, there are two bolts holding the fuse box down. The one on the right touches the wiper motor (metal on metal). Not good. In my case the zip tie holding the fuse box down was loose.

I put some foam pad between the wiper motor and bottom of the fuse box bolt, and tightened up the zip tie.

One rattle is gone over bumps.

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post #43 of 282 (permalink) Old 11-14-2009, 01:17 PM
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The steering rack bolts inside the cabin can also be loose (mine were not). Their torques (from the manual) are:
45 Nm for the top bolts
22.5 Nm for the bottom bolts
What I can't figure out is how to get in there to check/tighten them. Removed passenger seat but still cannot get any position with leverage to access the top bolt.
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post #44 of 282 (permalink) Old 11-14-2009, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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What I can't figure out is how to get in there to check/tighten them. Removed passenger seat but still cannot get any position with leverage to access the top bolt.
I did not remove the passenger seat. How I did it is as follows:
1) I used a 3/8" drive torque wrench (shorter handle than a 1/2" drive)
2) I used a bunch of extensions (some of them wobble extensions) to get the torque wrench out from under the dash (handle too long for being under the dash). I happen to have a set of wobble extensions I bought at Harbor Freight many years ago, and a few other standard extensions from eons past.
3) Inside the cabin, the brackets (which the bolt heads clamp down) have right angle bends on the side. In my case, one side was too close to the bolt heads to allow the socket to seat on the bolt head. I pushed a flat blade screwdriver in between the bolt heads and the side of the bracket, and used the screwdriver to bend out the side of the bracket a bit to make enough room for the socket to seat.
4) For the top bolt on the passenger side, there was a wire bundle in the way under the dash. I just pushed the bundle to the side (had to try multiple times) until I could get the extension past it.

And that is as best as I can recall.
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post #45 of 282 (permalink) Old 11-15-2009, 08:45 PM
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I'll have to make another visit to Harbor Freight this week and get some longer extensions. Never had a wobble but couldn't hurt. I tried using a universal but could not get any leverage laying under the dash.

I did pick up Wireless Inspection Camera after talking with Shinoo about the rack. I think I can see a potential crack in the housing on the passenger side of the steering column input. The camera has a video out but I could not find a PC nor VCR that could capture the video signal. The 1st camera I brought home was DOA so the video out port on camera #2 probably is dead.

I had removed the shocks to take to Bilstein but now I am not sure they are the problem. With 25K miles on the car should I just get them rebuilt anyway? $65/shock, 1-2 weeks to do the work.

The shocks made so much sense to the heat symptom, whereas a cracked rack should not be affected by temperature.

PM me if you want to use the camera to scope out your car.
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post #46 of 282 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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My temperature related issues did go away after replacing the spring/shocks. But, that is just mine.

What is the diameter of that camera? Will it fit down a spark plug hole? It sure is a lot cheaper than it was a few years ago when I last checked.
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post #47 of 282 (permalink) Old 11-19-2009, 12:20 AM
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What is the diameter of that camera? Will it fit down a spark plug hole? It sure is a lot cheaper than it was a few years ago when I last checked.
The lens is 16mm diameter but the focal length is probably 4-6". Not quite what I think would work for looking at piston. I think you should examine your rack even though the heat problem went away.
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post #48 of 282 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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In order to show the possible crack in the housing, maybe you could take a picture of the screen with a still camera.
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post #49 of 282 (permalink) Old 01-28-2010, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by plastique999 View Post
I have a clunk as well on slow turns when I am turning sharply left or right. I was told this was my LSD- I have a kusco LSD. Anyone else have this issue?
I have this exact issue. It just started in the last couple of days. The funny thing is that when the car is at a stand still, I can turn the wheel all the way left/right without any noise. As soon as the car heats up, I have the same sounds as you. My car doesn't have and LSD, it a stock '05. I'm going to check all the bolts tonight before taking it over to the dealership to have them check out the rack.


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post #50 of 282 (permalink) Old 01-28-2010, 09:59 PM
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If you guys could summarize your findings (when you find them) I'll copy and paste them up above so they're all easy to find... thanks.

Edit: Ooops! Wrong thread... carry on!

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Last edited by MTribe; 01-29-2010 at 03:30 PM.
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post #51 of 282 (permalink) Old 01-28-2010, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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If you guys could summarize your findings (when you find them) I'll copy and paste them up above so they're all easy to find... thanks.
The current editing rules at this site don't allow us to edit old posts anymore, otherwise I would modify Post #1 to include all sources of clunks & clicks people have found. Of course, if a moderator would allow it ...

By-the-way, it has been a long time now since I did my last fix (see my previous posts - there were multiple sources) and the clunks and clicks have not returned. The real test will be when the hot weather returns.
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post #52 of 282 (permalink) Old 01-29-2010, 07:44 AM
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Driving home from work last night, the clunky got really bad. It was to the point that any bump or right turn make it really noticeable. I check all the suspension bolts and the 4 in question at the start of the thread and they were a little loose. I took it for a drive afterward (when the car was still warm/hot) and for the most part they went away. I still hear a little clunk but I don't think that it's really that noticeable unless you're really trying to listen for it. I made my wife go with me to see if she noticed it and she thought I was crazy.

It took me about an hour to check both sides and that included taking the shocks off. I've never worked on a car where the shocks were so easy to rr.

Also, when the car was up, I moved the steering wheel in both direction as well and manually moved the steering at the wheel level and never heard any type of clunking. Am I right in assuming that this had to do with loose suspension bolts and not a bad rack?


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post #53 of 282 (permalink) Old 01-29-2010, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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It was probably just those bolts. It is the clunks you feel through the steering that are important. A clunk you hear may not be even in the suspension - it could just be something sliding around somewhere in the car, which is annoying, but not nearly as important as a problem in the suspension/steering. This thread is focused on suspension/steering related clunks and clicks.

Almost everyone who has reported that they have checked those upper bracket bolts has found at least one to be loose. This is a check everyone should be doing. The dealer doesn't do it as part of a routine service. You have to explicitly ask that those particular bolts be tightened. But, it is pretty easy to do it yourself.
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post #54 of 282 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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holy shizer!!! the past month or so, I've been feeling some small clunking in the steering and after reading all the horror stories about steering racks, i was dreading having to get it replaced. I came across this thread and figured, why not, it can't hurt to try. so i spent about 25-30 minutes today tightening down the bolts that the OP posted about. there was only 1 bolt that was "loose" and i tightened everything else down to 20 ft. lbs. thinking it wouldnt make any difference.

Holy huge effing difference batman!!! After tightening down the bolts from the mentioned in the main post and the bolts that hold the suspension in place, the clunks are completely gone and my steering tightness is WAY better.

THANK YOU original poster for finding this... you just saved me a LOT of money. This thread should really be a sticky, or in the uberpost!
I was recently sent a PM by another member concerning the items in the thread (he had his steering rack replaced multiple times under warranty, but the clunks kept coming back). He was in particular asking about the upper shock brackets being loose. One of the questions he asked as "Is this a safety issue." I thought about it, and it absolutely is. If the loose bolts allow the bracket to slide around, and the bolts have to take a shear (sideways) force instead of just tension because the parts aren't clamped tightly together, then the bolts could eventually break (they aren't designed for shear), and the bracket would come free. The shock could be driven up into and possibly through the top of the wheel arch, right through the body.

You could easily loose control of the car when they break. This could be deadly. Based on that alone, I agree this should be a sticky and/or part of the uberpost. Moderator?

I wonder if this should be a recall. Nearly everyone who has reported checking it has found at least one bolt actually loose or at least not tightened to its proper torque value.
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post #55 of 282 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 07:40 PM
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I...I wonder if this should be a recall. Nearly everyone who has reported checking it has found at least one bolt actually loose or at least not tightened to its proper torque value.
Come on Chris. I've never heard of any stock Elise/Exige suspension failing so catastrophically. Why speculate in this manner and whip people into a frenzy? Bolts come loose on these cars. They need to be checked on a regular basis. There is a reason why these cars are so light.

You are doing the community a great service by identifying this issue. I hope more people check their cars as a result, tighten the offending bits and go on loving their Lotus.

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post #56 of 282 (permalink) Old 03-06-2010, 07:20 PM
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I had my brackets checked today and the bolts were not loose. I'll have to confirm what the tech tightened but the steering rack rattle I was having is much improved. Also want to drive the car a bit longer before concluding that everything is fixed.
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post #57 of 282 (permalink) Old 03-31-2011, 12:17 PM
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I had my brackets checked today and the bolts were not loose. I'll have to confirm what the tech tightened but the steering rack rattle I was having is much improved. Also want to drive the car a bit longer before concluding that everything is fixed.
It was the universal joint that connects to the steering rack pinion inside the car that was loose.
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post #58 of 282 (permalink) Old 03-31-2011, 12:57 PM
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I was getting clucks at one point due to a slowly failing front wheel bearing. it slowly gets worse, and you can ultimately feel it by hand with a tire lifted off the ground.

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post #59 of 282 (permalink) Old 03-31-2011, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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A few months back I rechecked the front upper shock mounting bracket to frame bolts (the problem I described in the first post of this thread). They were still fully tight after over a year from the time I had discovered the problem of them being loose and torqued them properly. It still leads me to think that the factory wasn't (isn't?) consistently properly tightening these bolts.

As long as I had it apart to check, I went ahead and upgraded the bolts to class 10.9 (from the stock 8.8), and increased the torque to about 26 foot-lbs (if I recall correctly), from the normal 18 foot-lbs for the class 8.8 bolts. The extra clamping force will provide more friction between the bracket and the frame, lessening the chance it slips and damages a bolt when hitting a hard bump or pothole. I didn't really trust my original bolts anymore because I was concerned they had been damaged while some of them were not tight.
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post #60 of 282 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 07:38 AM
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I had a similar issue on a 2007 Exige listed here:

https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f157...ess-win-99436/

It wound up being the shock absorber had failed. No seal leaking or oil on the rod either so hard to diagnose.

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