Nasty front clunking problem solved


Ok, so you have that nasty clunking sound it the front driver side suspension, tipically when going over small bumps, but you can not put your finger on it, coz the endlinks are new, bushings are fine, steering arms are good, no slack what so ever, but funny enough, when you turn the steering wheel left-right fast enough, the clunk is there. You can even feel it on your wheel, but frustrated can not find the slack in the suspension...

Well, chances are your steering rack has developed some slack, and it makes you crazy...
But, how come you don't feel any slack on the wheel?

Weeel, ok, here's the 101 on that:

This is a standard generic steering rack schematic, and it's guts.

As you can see, the steering shaft 16 is being pushed left or right by a small gear 13 and on the right-hand side, there is a teflon/rubber seat holdnig the steering shaft in place.

Well, on the left-hand side, (driver's side), the ONLY thing holding the rack in place, slack free, and pressed against the gear 13 is the slider plate 17.

The slider plate is pushed against the steering shaft by a small but strong coil spring, which is in turn pushed by a nut.

this nut can be adjusted, thus adjusting the pressure / GAP between the slider and the steering shaft 7 16 respectivey.

Ok, so after years and miles on your odo, the gap becomes bigger, and the gap produces that nasty clunking sound, as the steering shaft goes front - back, between the gear nad the slider...

Ok, how to tighten the bolt/nut:

On Protege's there is a 38 mm locking nut on the joint where steering column meeth the rack.

The locking nut locks the 17 mm hex (it's actually a double hex) adjustment nut.

Here's an example of the diferent rack of a diferent car:

The locking nut is that big rectangular nut around the adjustment nut, big hex bolt...

So, the procedure for this is to put the car on the (pit or what ever you guys call the hole in the groung for fixing cars in English), so you can reach the rack from below...

Jacking up the car is NOT a good way to do it, since you NEED the forces on the front wheels, and entire car's mass, to test the adjustment.

There isn't muck room to operate, but wuth some elbow grease and some persurverance, you will undo the locking nut. You ONLY need to undo the locking nut BY HALF TURN, to get the adjusting nut free. Than, ask someone to wiggle the steering wheel 2 inches left right, fast, about 4 times a second, and listen to the noise... SLOWLY, BUT SLOOOWLY tighten theadjustment nut, in 1/32 on anch increments, until you hear that the clunking has stopped. After that, tighten back the locking nut, carefully, minding not to move the adjustment nut. IF you TIGHTEN the adjusting NUT TOO tight, the steering will will be hard to turn.

So it is a matter of trial and error.

the manual says to tighten the adjuster to 20 Nm, and than to undo it by 42 degrees, but it is a real mother to do it from below, so it is either to mess up your weekend and tahe the rack off and do the torque and angle metod, or to do it this way...

Again, i hold no responsibility for the damage, acid rain, earthquakes, powerty, riots in Africa, STDs and elevated blood pressure caused by applying this DIY....


2003 mazda protege speed
Gozz, thanks for the info but Im really posting to let you know,, you may have the best avatar Ive ever seen,,, ftw

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