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Old 04-18-2012, 07:53 PM   #1
Starmonkey
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2000 SL
Default Strange grinding noise when turning steering wheel

Hello,

I've got an unusual noise when I turn the steering wheel sharply in either direction - like when you are parking. It is sort of a clicking/grinding sound - almost like large sand granules being ground inside the steering rack assembly. I chalked it up to CV joint noise, as I had other symptoms (front end vibration at steady speed and the "rocks in the hubcap" sound on sharp turns), although I thought it strange that the sound would present even if the car was not moving.

I recently changed both axle shafts (which fixed the vibration and rocks in the hubcap sound), and while I hade the tie-rod ends undone from the steering knuckle with the front end on jack stands, I tried turning the wheel, expecting to not hear the noise – but to my surprise I did.

I believe having the tie rod ends disconnected eliminates anything in the hubs, struts or axles because they weren't moving. The only thing I can think of is the steering rack itself or the U-joints in the steering column.

Before I go to my local P&P for a whole rack and steering column, Has anyone else had this issue (I have yet to have a unique problem in this forum)? It is a 2000 SL with manual steering and a bit over 200K miles, most of which in the uneven pavement in California (sort of rough on suspension). The axles, wheel bearings, and control arms/ball joints are new. Thanks in advance!

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Old 04-18-2012, 09:13 PM   #2
off-track
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1997 SL2
Default Re: Strange grinding noise when turning steering wheel

Mine makes a "creaking sound" when the weather is hot. Does that sound right? So far, I've just put up with it.

If you dig around through old posts there was one a long time ago that described a similar problem that was related to a bearing on the lower end of the steering column. IIRC, the fix required fabbing in a new beefier bearing.

...
1997 - SL2, barebones, 161k, Auto - Rebuild complete and.. burnt a valve 20k later Arrgh!
Purchased 114k 10/07
Added OEM CC

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Old 04-19-2012, 11:39 AM   #3
Starmonkey
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2000 SL
Default Re: Strange grinding noise when turning steering wheel

It is sort of a creaking sound –could be the same issue. I haven’t noticed a difference with temperature, but there isn’t a huge temperature variation here – or mine might just be further gone.
Like you I’ve just put up with it. It doesn’t seem to have any effect on performance, but it’s a bit annoying – particularly with all the new front end parts.
I will do some digging in the posts, now that I know what to look for – thanks!

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Old 04-19-2012, 11:59 AM   #4
DB42
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Default Re: Strange grinding noise when turning steering wheel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starmonkey View Post
Hello,

I've got an unusual noise when I turn the steering wheel sharply in either direction - like when you are parking. It is sort of a clicking/grinding sound - almost like large sand granules being ground inside the steering rack assembly. I chalked it up to CV joint noise, as I had other symptoms (front end vibration at steady speed and the "rocks in the hubcap" sound on sharp turns), although I thought it strange that the sound would present even if the car was not moving.

I recently changed both axle shafts (which fixed the vibration and rocks in the hubcap sound), and while I hade the tie-rod ends undone from the steering knuckle with the front end on jack stands, I tried turning the wheel, expecting to not hear the noise – but to my surprise I did.

I believe having the tie rod ends disconnected eliminates anything in the hubs, struts or axles because they weren't moving. The only thing I can think of is the steering rack itself or the U-joints in the steering column.

Before I go to my local P&P for a whole rack and steering column, Has anyone else had this issue (I have yet to have a unique problem in this forum)? It is a 2000 SL with manual steering and a bit over 200K miles, most of which in the uneven pavement in California (sort of rough on suspension). The axles, wheel bearings, and control arms/ball joints are new. Thanks in advance!
This may sound to easy but check where your plastic engine splash guards are make sure they are attached and not rubbing on your tires when you turn sharp. My daughters grand prix had a very loud grinding noise happen when she turn the wheel sharply going slow. I was about to replace wheel bearing when all of that looked good. then while I had the car on jacks I had her get in side it while putting it in gear and turning the wheels and sure enough I heard the noise and saw where the right wheel was rubbing on the engine splash guard cause the guard was out of place. it made a big grinding sound like metal with a few plastic zip ties I fixed the noise! Man if I would of brought that to a shop they could of said wheel bearings or something else and ripped me off.

...
1997 SL2 162000 miles

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