Little clunks in steering - NOT the steering rack thread - Page 4 - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #61 of 281 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 11:04 AM
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I have a 2007 Elise (Note that this car is not tracked at all but does have some spirited driving). When I first got the car, the steering had quite a bit of clunking and rattling noise. Luckily the car was in under warranty and after I drove with the technician to verify the issue, he immediately said that it definitely was the steering rack. So the rack was replaced under warranty, about 23,000miles with the new type (so I was told) of rack.
After replacing the rack the it was a day and night difference, but still when going over bumps and pot holes, the steering does seems to clunk a bit and you can feel it. So I went back to the dealership and drove a new one and the steering was tight as anything. No rattling or clunking, even on bumps or pot holes. I believe that these steering have a bit of a “bump steer”, right? So, next time I have the wheels off, I will definitely take a look at bolts. In order to inspect the upper bolt, the damper/shock has to be removed. It is definitely true that the spring does not have to be compressed? Can someone please describe the step by step process to remove the shock to adjust the bolts? For those that have tightened the bolts, did you remove it completely and apply the “sealant” (what type should we use)?

Definitely a great post!!! hats off to you.

Thanks
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post #62 of 281 (permalink) Old 04-11-2011, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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You remove the shock completely to properly tighten the upper bracket-to-frame bolts. The first time I installed the shock, I didn't compress it before tightening the bolts. However, after hearing that it was good practice to load the shocks before tightening (in order to precompress the rubber bushings in the ends of the shock), I did so the second time. It is hard to say if there was a real difference in driving feel, but it seems like it is just a bit better with loading the shock/spring before tightening. To load it, just put the shock on with its bolts and nuts and tighten to almost snug (but the shock can still move on the bolt), but don't do the final torque. Then use a car jack under the lower ball joint to raise the hub and compress the spring. Then fully tighten the bolts.

My suspension and steering feel pretty tight now (like new), except when the weather is hot, when I get some small clunks/clicks that I can feel through the steering again, but not a loose feeling. I will be trying to track down my last remaining small clunk again this summer when the weather is warm.

The only special tool I needed (other than standard sockets, extensions and wrenches) was a metric crows foot set. That helped get off the nut on the lower shock mount. A 3/8 inch drive clicker torque wrench is easier to use than a 1/2 inch drive (the upper shock bolt space is tight).

The nuts are nyloc, so you technically don't need a thread locker. But I used red thread locker on the shock bolts anyway. The upper bracket-to-frame nuts are also nyloc, and I don't think I used thread locker on them.

I did upgrade the bracket-to-frame bolts to class 10.9 and increased the torque (see earlier post). For the amount of force due to shock that the bracket can experience, I feel more comfortable with the extra clamping force the higher torque provides. It is the friction between the bracket and the frame that keeps it from moving, not the sheer strength of the bolts. The bolts should never experience sheer force.
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post #63 of 281 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 07:07 AM
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You remove the shock completely to properly tighten the upper bracket-to-frame bolts. The first time I installed the shock, I didn't compress it before tightening the bolts. However, after hearing that it was good practice to load the shocks before tightening (in order to precompress the rubber bushings in the ends of the shock), I did so the second time. It is hard to say if there was a real difference in driving feel, but it seems like it is just a bit better with loading the shock/spring before tightening. To load it, just put the shock on with its bolts and nuts and tighten to almost snug (but the shock can still move on the bolt), but don't do the final torque. Then use a car jack under the lower ball joint to raise the hub and compress the spring. Then fully tighten the bolts.

My suspension and steering feel pretty tight now (like new), except when the weather is hot, when I get some small clunks/clicks that I can feel through the steering again, but not a loose feeling. I will be trying to track down my last remaining small clunk again this summer when the weather is warm.

The only special tool I needed (other than standard sockets, extensions and wrenches) was a metric crows foot set. That helped get off the nut on the lower shock mount. A 3/8 inch drive clicker torque wrench is easier to use than a 1/2 inch drive (the upper shock bolt space is tight).

The nuts are nyloc, so you technically don't need a thread locker. But I used red thread locker on the shock bolts anyway. The upper bracket-to-frame nuts are also nyloc, and I don't think I used thread locker on them.

I did upgrade the bracket-to-frame bolts to class 10.9 and increased the torque (see earlier post). For the amount of force due to shock that the bracket can experience, I feel more comfortable with the extra clamping force the higher torque provides. It is the friction between the bracket and the frame that keeps it from moving, not the sheer strength of the bolts. The bolts should never experience sheer force.
How much autox or track do you do and at what mileage were you starting to see issues?

2007 Exige S | 2000 Insight
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post #64 of 281 (permalink) Old 04-12-2011, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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How much autox or track do you do and at what mileage were you starting to see issues?
No track, some private autocross (San Diego club 111 associated events), lots of spirited twisty mountain road driving (my commute is a twisty mountain road). Started noticing problems around 40,000 miles. I am now at 75,000 miles.
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post #65 of 281 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 08:35 PM
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Step by step.

After developing a nasty clunk in the front suspension I found this thread and as I headed to the garage to perform the recommended checking the damper assembly bolts and the upper mount bolts I brought the old Camera along and figured I would do a step by step for people that wish to do this and need extra guidance.

First and foremost this is a very easy task. Heck the Elise is a very easy car to work on. That said it should take you about an hour if you take your time and thoroughly inspect everything.

Here are the steps.

1. Set the parking brake.

2. Loosen the wheel studs.

3. Jack up the car using the factory front jack point.

4. remove wheel studs and wheel.

4b. Do yourself a favor and spray a rag with brakleen and wipe down the rotor surface and the outer diameter. This will keep your arms from looking like Rob Lowe in Soul man"....

5. Loosen and remove the 17MM bolt holding the bottom part of the shock in place.


6. Loosen and remove the 17MM bolt holding the top of the shock in place. Make a note of the orientation of the spacer's so that you re-install them correctly. Notice the larger diameter of the hat spacer faces the shock. If you try to install them the other way they will not want to fit correctly.


7. Remove shock assembly and set it aside. This will expose the 13mm bolts that need to be checked. Take your torque wrench and torque the bolts to 18 lb feet. or 25 NM


8. Reinstall the shock assembly and insert the top bolt assembly and finger tighten only.

9. Install the lower shock assembly bolt and finger tighten only.

10. Use a jack under the lower a arm to load the suspension. Jacking up the lower a arm compresses the suspension and is recommended when tightening the shock assembly bolts.


11. With the suspension loaded torque the upper and lower bolts to 45NM.

12. Remove the jack and re-install the wheels and wheel studs.

13. lower vehicle and torque wheel studs to OEM spec.

14. Lather rinse repeat on other side.


I also took time while I was in there to remove the splash shields and check the inner fittings on my oil coolers and check around in general. A lot of gravel and debris gets kicked up behind the liner and I like keeping that area clean.

I hope this helps others perform this mod.

Wes
2005 GG Elise
post #66 of 281 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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You didn't mention your result. Did tightening the bolts help with your clunking problem?
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post #67 of 281 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 07:07 AM
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You didn't mention your result. Did tightening the bolts help with your clunking problem?
While doing this improved overall feel it did not solve the issue. On the passenger side only the lower bolt took marginal torque to get it to spec. On the driver side the bolts were pretty loose and took quite a bit of tightening to get them to spec.

I believe it is steering rack related or a bad damper. Visually the dampers looked fine however I did not remove the spring to check rebound. If I have any undulations in the road and any amount of steering input I hear and can slightly feel it. This car transmits EVERYTHING to the steering wheel though so I am trying to pay close attention. It does not reduce or change when slightly dragging the brakes so I do not believe those to be the culprit.

I will research tightening the steering rack as it appears based on my visual inspection yesterday that the steering rack is in a long square tube in the front of the car and bolts go through the front cabin wall in to the provision on the rack itself. Gonna check those and poke around a bit.

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post #68 of 281 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 09:09 AM
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Wes, thanks for the pictures and write up - although it did not solve the clunk, this is going on my "to check" list when I go under the car every time.

Live a long happy life
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post #69 of 281 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 09:20 AM
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As I mentioned earlier, the source of the clunk in my case was not the shock mounts, but the steering pinion U-joint inside of the cabin. I believe this is a part that also wears over time.

I would check there next.
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post #70 of 281 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 11:09 AM
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As I mentioned earlier, the source of the clunk in my case was not the shock mounts, but the steering pinion U-joint inside of the cabin. I believe this is a part that also wears over time.

I would check there next.
I have that on my to do list as well as checking the dampers. I sent you a PM regarding the one's you had for sale back in April just in case it is a shock failure...

Thanks for the tip.

Wes
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post #71 of 281 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
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As I mentioned earlier, the source of the clunk in my case was not the shock mounts, but the steering pinion U-joint inside of the cabin. I believe this is a part that also wears over time.

I would check there next.
I thought they replaced your steering rack? I took both wheels off and used an fiber camera to investigate mine and saw some questionable pictures. I could not get them to transfer to media to be posted. Time to take the wheels off again to check it out when I do the brakes.
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post #72 of 281 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 07:01 PM
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As I mentioned earlier, the source of the clunk in my case was not the shock mounts, but the steering pinion U-joint inside of the cabin. I believe this is a part that also wears over time.

I would check there next.
Just to clarify, I was under the dash yesterday inspection the steering shaft. There are two flex joints, one near the firewall and one just behind the steering wheel. Both of mine appeared fine and made zero noise when moving the steering wheel through it's range of motion and rapidly shaking it. How did you diagnose this to be the issue? Also did replacing that joint solve the issue? Lastly the flex joint does not appear to be serviceable, I am assuming they replace he shaft and joint assembly as it is one assembled piece?

As an aside I drove the car today and had ZERO clunking. Earlier in the week when it started and got bad it was 90 degrees, the last two days it has been in the mid 50's. The noise goes away based on temp.

I thought someone else mentioned this...

Wes
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post #73 of 281 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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I'm the one who reported still having some remaining clunking/clicking, but only when the weather is hot. I hope to track it down this summer.
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post #74 of 281 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 08:56 PM
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I'm the one who reported still having some remaining clunking/clicking, but only when the weather is hot. I hope to track it down this summer.
I find it doesn't have to be too warm, just driving aggressively and then listening to the chassis when I slow down.
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post #75 of 281 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 09:30 PM
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I thought they replaced your steering rack? I took both wheels off and used an fiber camera to investigate mine and saw some questionable pictures. I could not get them to transfer to media to be posted. Time to take the wheels off again to check it out when I do the brakes.
My rack was replaced under warranty a long time ago, but more recently, I had a terrible clunk and excessive play in the steering wheel that was beyond the normal wear in a rack of < 20k miles.

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Just to clarify, I was under the dash yesterday inspection the steering shaft. There are two flex joints, one near the firewall and one just behind the steering wheel. Both of mine appeared fine and made zero noise when moving the steering wheel through it's range of motion and rapidly shaking it. How did you diagnose this to be the issue? Also did replacing that joint solve the issue? Lastly the flex joint does not appear to be serviceable, I am assuming they replace he shaft and joint assembly as it is one assembled piece?
The joint in the footwell has a bolt / nut that can be tightened that I believe wraps around the pinion. Mine was loose. My clunk was accompanied by feedback through the steering wheel, which is how I diagosed it to be a steering issue. All the serviceable bolts in the steering system were checked.
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post #76 of 281 (permalink) Old 07-05-2011, 11:42 PM
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I have an issue with the cluncking / knocking coming after a long drive (car warms up?)

Would the noise from these loose bolts be felt right from when you drive the car?
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post #77 of 281 (permalink) Old 07-06-2011, 07:36 AM
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I have an issue with the cluncking / knocking coming after a long drive (car warms up?)

Would the noise from these loose bolts be felt right from when you drive the car?
If you are talking about the bolts that hold the upper suspension mount on then yes, you will likely feel that right away. My opinion is that if it changes based on temp. it is steering rack related. That seems to be the symptoms with my car and it is certainly temp. dependent.

Wes
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post #78 of 281 (permalink) Old 07-06-2011, 08:17 AM
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Subbed. Looks like I have a project to work on soon... I haven't replaced my steering rack, but I am having the exact same issues. They are worse when it is hot, so I have a bit of the heat dependency as well. However, my steering is a little loose to accompany the clunking.

Would it be worth my time to hire someone to get in there and tighten my suspension and steering? I have been holding out on buying a new rack, but I am driving my car daily again, so I am a little worried.
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post #79 of 281 (permalink) Old 07-06-2011, 08:34 AM
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I have that on my to do list as well as checking the dampers. I sent you a PM regarding the one's you had for sale back in April just in case it is a shock failure...

Thanks for the tip.
If the damper is gone, what kind of noise will it be?

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post #80 of 281 (permalink) Old 07-06-2011, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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...Would it be worth my time to hire someone to get in there and tighten my suspension and steering? I have been holding out on buying a new rack, but I am driving my car daily again, so I am a little worried.
You really should check all your suspension and steering bolts before going through the much larger and expensive effort of replacing the steering rack. I would recommend you do it yourself if you are at all mechanically inclined. It isn't hard to do, and it is a good way to learn more about your car.
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