My truck is making a noise again. It's worse now though. It's a sort
of metal-sounding tic, that I can hear and feel through the steering and
sometimes brake and clutch. Used to only happen when I turn left, now I
feel/hear it accelerating and braking. Might have a frame component,
'cause I've heard it when the front tires go over bumps (but not always).
In the past, this was a seasonal thing - it gets better when the weather
Any idea what this could be?
Oh. Truck is a 2001 Dodge Dakota, 4x4. Sometimes I forget we're not
all regulars here :)
Actually, I think the noise is more of a short creak. It's definitely
heat related in some way, when we got underway this morning & it was
relatively cool, hardly any creaks, but as the day and the truck warmed
up it was more noticeable. And it happens when the truck first starts
moving too (like from a stoplight).
I would like to have some clue what to suggest to the mechanic when I
bring it in. Will be a new shop (essentially, since it's been 5 years),
and like to go in sounding like I know something, so they don't take
advantage 'cause I'm a grrrl. I'd like to avoid some Jiffy Lube wannabe
telling me my flux capacitor needs to be replaced :)
Suddenly, without warning, jmc exclaimed (7/30/2008 6:24 PM):
Jodi, have you tried bouncing the front end? Hop on the bumper and see if
you can get it to make the noise. Where it's a 4X4 you might need hubby up
there as well to compress things. Sounds like it might be a suspension deal
brought about by weight transfer. You could always grab a can of silicon
spray and start at the bottom and spray a component at a time and see if you
get it to stop. Does it have a front stabilizer? If so, I'd start there.
Suddenly, without warning, Roy exclaimed (7/31/2008 5:57 PM):
We could try that... though hubby's not much bigger than me. Together,
we hardly make a Denny... ::looks around:: did I say that? I didn't say
I think it does have a front stabilizer, but I'm not sure.
Suddenly, without warning, PeterD exclaimed (8/1/2008 10:20 AM):
No it isn't. It's a single creak, or series thereof, no relationship to
tire revolutions(I'd have mentioned it, if it was). It happens in
response to something, though since I'm generally doing multiple things
- steering, braking, clutch, shifting - I'm not 100% sure which one(s)
is/are causing the noise.
I had a similar sounding clunk on my 2004 Dakota quad cab, 4.7 w/
manual trans... I also felt it through the steering wheel and brake
and clutch pedals. The dealer ended up replacing the secondary
steering shaft, which fixed the problem. My clunk was most noticible
when taking off from a stop, especially if I had to turn the wheel.
Suddenly, without warning, LarryD exclaimed (8/1/2008 5:01 PM):
That sounds about right. My Haynes manual is still in transit. Would I
be able to get my hands on the secondary steering shaft, and how would I
I did have a TSB done a while back, something about the steering column
slipping off a bracket or something. Made no difference. There's no
play in the steering wheel, I can't move it from side to side or anything.
Was that an expensive and/or time consuming repair?
It didn't cost me anything as it is still under warranty. Although I
suspected it, I didn't try to tell the service manager what I thought
it was. I just told him the symptoms. He said it was most likely the
stabilizer bar busings or the secondary steering shaft. As I said,
they ended up replacing the secondary steering shaft. I do have the
factory service manual. In the Diagnosis and Testing section, under
"Steering Noise", it lists under "Rattle or Clunk":
1. Gear mounting bolts loose (correction is to tighten bolts to
2. Loose of damaged suspension components (correction is to inspect
and repair suspension)
3. Internal gear noise (correction is to replace steering gear)
4. Pressure hose in contact with other components (correction is to
5. Loose or damaged intermediate shaft or column (correction is to
inspect and repair or replace)
So, as you see, it lists possible causes for the noise, but it does
not have procedures for diagnosing the particular components. I think
they chose the most likely candidate and then just replaced it. At
any rate, it describes the procedure for replacing the steering
shafts. for the lower steering coupling, is says:
1) disconnect the negative battery terminal
2) raise and support the wheels
NOTE: The steering column on vehicles with an automatic transmission
may not be equipped with an internal locking shaft that allows the
ignition key cylinder to be locked with the key. Alternative methods
of locking the steerin wheel for service will have to be used.
3) Lock the steering wheel with the tire in the straight position.
4) Remove and discard the upper coupler pinch bolt (Fig. 9).
5) Remove and discard the lower coupler pinch bolt (Fig. 9).
6) Remove the lower steering shaft coupler (Fig. 9)
1) Install the lower coupler to the steering rack and pinion (Fig. 9)
2) Install the upper coupler to the lower (Fig. 9)
NOTE: New pinchy bolts must be used for reinstallation
3) Install teh lower pinch bolt (Fig.9) and tighten to 57 N-m (42 ft.
4) Install the upper pinch bolt (Fig. 9) and tighten to 57 N-m (42 ft.
5) Lower the vehicle
6) Reconnect the negative battery cable.
7) Unlock the steering wheel
Now, you may be wondering why I put in this verbatim, including the
references to "Fig. 9", which I obviously couldn't type in. I did
this because, even with the picture, it is scant help. The part
descriptions in the figure do not match the part descriptions in the
above procedure. "Fig. 9" refers to the following parts:
1) Lower coupler bolt
2) Lower coupler
3) Toe plate
4) Toe plate mounting nuts
5) upper coupler mounting bolt and nut
6) upper steering coupler shaft
7) rack and pinion
I hate to say it but the factory shop manuals I have for my Toyotas
(89 PU, 2000 Camry, 92 Tercel) are MUCH better than the Dakota
manual. Luckily I have not had to use the Dak manual much as it is
still under warranty (its a 2004 with only 16K miles on it and I have
an extended warranty).
Sorry, but you now know pretty much as much as I know about the
secondary steering shaft diagnosis and replacement.
Suddenly, without warning, Denny exclaimed (8/1/2008 9:27 PM):
200? Heck, knock 1/3 of that off and you'll be closer... Vertically
challenged, we are.
I can handle the Dak just fine, thank you (I had steps installed).
Getting into Hubby's new Jeep before he installed the steps was a bit
more challenging :)
Lol, I had a coworker a while back who was barely 5' tall (yes, even
shorter than me) and he drove a huge Ford pickup - 350 I think. Made my
Dak look tiny. We used to suggest he install an elevator :)
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