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Old 11-04-2023, 02:00 PM   #1
abyssFT86
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Help diagnosing creaking noise while steering and at low speed

Howdy,


I've got a pretty noticeable creaking noise going on when I turn the wheel, especially at low speeds. I also notice the same creaking/groaning noise when driving on roads at low speed, especially if they are bumpy.


Suspension:
- Annex ClubSpec Pro Coilovers
- SPL short end links
- SPC adjustable rear camber arms

- 10k miles on car (30% track, 70% street)

Ideas:
- top hat bearings? I didn't actually hear noise coming from the top hat when I had a friend turn the wheel, but it's hard to tell because the noise wasn't as bad that day.


I brought the car in to a mechanic who was unable to find anything wrong (at least cleared me safety-wise) but I do want to fix it




Last edited by abyssFT86; 11-04-2023 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 11-04-2023, 02:29 PM   #2
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Sounds like it is resonating through the chassis. I'd rule out the end links based on that sound for now. If the sound is resonating through the chassis when the wheel is rotated, I'm voting that the top hats are where the sound is being transferred to the chassis. When you turn the wheel, it can load up the springs on the coilovers *if* the springs don't have thrust bearings. Can you get someone to physically hold the spring on the coilover while you move the steering wheel to see if there's vibration coming from the spring?
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Old 11-04-2023, 02:57 PM   #3
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Sounds like it is resonating through the chassis. I'd rule out the end links based on that sound for now. If the sound is resonating through the chassis when the wheel is rotated, I'm voting that the top hats are where the sound is being transferred to the chassis. When you turn the wheel, it can load up the springs on the coilovers *if* the springs don't have thrust bearings. Can you get someone to physically hold the spring on the coilover while you move the steering wheel to see if there's vibration coming from the spring?

Thanks. Re end links, the mechanic ruled those out too so think you are right. The sound does also happen when just driving at low speeds too if that adds anything to the data.


Re someone else moving it - I unfortunately don't have access to a lift or much in the way of tools so can't do that easily.
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Old 11-05-2023, 11:18 PM   #4
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I have a very similar sound on my car. Mine is for sure coming from the front left so i can rule out the EPS gear in the steering column. I also swapped endlinks and some of the sound went away. The endlinks were spherical bushings like the top hat so my suspicion is the top hat, like whataboutbob said. It's just a noise right now so Im not planning to do anything more about it until i rebuild/upgrade my coilovers
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Old 02-20-2024, 08:28 AM   #5
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I've now had two shops look at this and had the top hat bearings in the coilovers replaced. The sound is unfortunately still there.

It is usually quiet at startup and driving around the neighborhood, and then shows up 10-20 minutes into a drive. Usually shows up when I slow down for a stoplight or getting off the highway and getting into lower speed driving. It can happen a bit while driving in a straight line but is most pronounced when turning the wheel at low speed or standing still.

Recap of what's been done so far.
1. Full inspection of suspension, end links, coilovers, and re torquing all bolts
2. Replacing top hat bearings entirely with new ones


Anyone have ideas what to do or what might be causing this if not the top hat bearings?
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Old 03-08-2024, 10:17 PM   #6
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Try this: inject good slick oil(Remington gun oil works great) down into the narrow passages on your Intermediate steering shaft, you’ll have to be in an uncomfy position for a little bit under your dash. Use a a very thin needle to squirt it down there. What happens is the Oem grease inside starts drying up after several years and the shaft literally sticks, its most pronounced at low speeds and turning the wheel. I’m not saying this is exactly your cause; but this is a very common issue with ALL makes and models today, even high end vehicles. I recently did my 2011 Rav4 as it was making all the same noises as both of you and its all gone now. You may have to reapply a couple times over a couple weeks time for the oil to loosen up the Oem grease + fully creep down into the splines of the steering shaft. Its a shame when people have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars replacing every component in their front suspension for the same noises to still exist and then find out it was just a dried out ISS. I hope i helped you guys out!!
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Old 03-09-2024, 04:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by abyssFT86 View Post

Anyone have ideas what to do or what might be causing this if not the top hat bearings?
Several years ago, my 1956 Ford pick up truck had annoying creek somewhere underneath the vehicle. After doing a lub job, the sound still persisted.

Soooo, I fired up my pump-em up sprayer and put 1 gallon of kerosene in it and sprayed everything under the truck (except the brakes) that moved or was supposed to move.

The sound went away.

Did I mention that this was back in my drinking days?

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Old 03-09-2024, 08:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humfrz View Post
Several years ago, my 1956 Ford pick up truck had annoying creek somewhere underneath the vehicle. After doing a lub job, the sound still persisted.

Soooo, I fired up my pump-em up sprayer and put 1 gallon of kerosene in it and sprayed everything under the truck (except the brakes) that moved or was supposed to move.

The sound went away.

Did I mention that this was back in my drinking days?

Lol awesome man, we’ve all had “hey hold my beer and watch this” times, and yea Kero/Diesel, etc actually make great lubricants and good for cleaning metals and some other things. From what i’ve heard over the yrs is back in the 20s/30s people would put a light coating of diesel all over their vehicles to help prevent rust.
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Old 03-09-2024, 09:15 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by HotlavaFRSGT86 View Post
Lol awesome man, we’ve all had “hey hold my beer and watch this” times, and yea Kero/Diesel, etc actually make great lubricants and good for cleaning metals and some other things. From what i’ve heard over the yrs is back in the 20s/30s people would put a light coating of diesel all over their vehicles to help prevent rust.
Yep, that was redneck undercoating -
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Old 03-12-2024, 05:43 PM   #10
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Haha yes indeed, and it certainly does work.
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Old 03-19-2024, 08:09 AM   #11
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Finally figured this out. The passenger side sway bar bushing was the culprit. The overpipe runs right over it and it heated the bushing up enough that it deformed and became loose. At cold start it was fine but after the engine heated up a bit the bushing would loosen grip on the bar and it would creak and clunk like crazy.


Was tricky to spot because the bushing looked intact, what tipped me off was the spots of grease / oil dripping out of the bushing. Once I got in there and removed it I could visibly see that the bore of that bushing was a couple mm more than the driver's side, and once replaced the sound went away.



I was looking in the wrong place because I expected my aftermarket parts to be the culprit, this one surprised me. Turns out OEM stuff can fail too. Unfortunately replacing the coilover bearings wasn't cheap, wish I'd thought of the bushing first!



Thanks for all the help!
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Old 03-19-2024, 11:06 AM   #12
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That would actually make a bunch of sense. I have this same noise issue and my passenger side sway bar bushing has been "leaking" for a while now. I'm going to replace my bushings as well.



Thanks!
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Old 03-24-2024, 05:04 PM   #13
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That would actually make a bunch of sense. I have this same noise issue and my passenger side sway bar bushing has been "leaking" for a while now. I'm going to replace my bushings as well.



Thanks!

No problem! Unfortunately I started getting noise starting again yesterday. There are two distinct noises - one that sounds more rubbery like a bushing and one that sounds more like spring bind. The spring bind noise came back, bushing noise is gone.


I am thinking the spring bind noise may related to the end link clunking and resonating down the sway bar. I am wondering if maybe the bushing failure lead to excess movement in the sway bar which also damaged the lower end of the endlink (does seem to audibly clunk when I flex the sway bar a bit).


The slog continues...
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Old 03-24-2024, 05:06 PM   #14
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I've replaced my endlinks in an effort to diagnose it. One of the spherical joints was bad so that was part of it. Im on coilovers and still have my stock suspension so ive thought about tossing the stock strut back on to see if it goes away. would mess my alignment up though, which is why i havent done it yet.
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