Steering feels loose???

I have a 2001 Bonneville SE, 42000 miles. I just put two tie rod ends on it. Now when I turn the steering wheel to the left it feels like something is loose or like the bearing in the steering column is bad. But it does it
mostly when I turn the wheel to the left. Feels like a "clunk, clunk, clunk", as I turn the steering wheel. It is easy to feel in the steering wheel. I can't imagine it being related to changing the tie rod ends. Could it be the top bearing on the strut?
It drives excellent going down the road, and bumps do not make the same noise, actually bumps make no noise at all, like I said it drives and handles great.
Any one have an idea what it could be?
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I think this could be the intermediate steering shaft. You might have to take this in to get the ISS lubed. I had the same problem a few months ago (01 impala). It looks as though you are out of warranty so expect to pay around $100 to get it lubed at the dealer. Vince

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I disconnected the tie rods today and the noise and rough "bump-bump-bump feel is still there. I can see no problem with the bottom u-joint on the steering shaft, pulled the plastic boot up and watched and felt it while turning the steering wheel through the bump noise. Is there another u-joint in the steering column? How many bearings are there in the column? Was wondering it any of the techs on this NG has remembered seeing any service bulletins on this subject? Also, what precautions should one take with the airbag when I get time to look at and possibly lube the bearings in the column. The problem is either in the steering column or in the rack and pinion itself.

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"pm" < wrote

I think that you should re-read Vince Markarian's post. He has the answer to your problem. See below:

Ian
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OK Well and good, buy what specifically is to be lubed on the ISS.

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"pm" wrote

Here.....let me just quote the bulletin and you can go do the work.
Clunk Noise from Front of Vehicle During Turning Maneuver/Steering Wheel Rotation (Lubricate Intermediate Shaft) #01-02-32-001C - (09/12/2003) Clunk Noise From Front Of Vehicle During Turning Maneuver/Steering Wheel Rotation (Lubricate Intermediate Shaft)
Some customers may comment on a clunk type noise coming from the front of the vehicle during a turning maneuver. This condition may also be felt through the steering wheel when the vehicle is stationary and the wheel is rotated from steering stop to steering stop. Typically, the clunk noise will be heard once for every 180 of steering wheel rotation in either direction for J-cars (Cavalier and Sunfire). However, some vehicles may only exhibit the noise once for every 360 of wheel rotation. On all other vehicles, this clunk noise will be noticed during low speed acceleration or deceleration, typically in light turns of the steering wheel.
Cause This condition may be caused by inadequate lubrication of the steering intermediate shaft which results in a "slip stick" condition possibly resulting in the clunk noise.
Correction Remove the intermediate steering shaft from the vehicle and lubricate the shaft with a Steering Column Shaft Lubrication Kit, P/N 26098237. Follow the service procedure listed below
Remove the steering intermediate shaft from the vehicle
1.. Fully extend the intermediate shaft by pulling the two shafts apart. Apply the grease supplied in the Steering Column Shaft Lubrication Kit in the aluminum end of the yoke opening. Direct the syringe tip as deep as possible into the yoke and dispense the full content of the syringe. Install the rubber stop plug from the Steering Column Shaft Lubrication kit into the yoke opening. Secure the rubber plug by swinging the upper yoke 90. One ear of the yoke should press the rubber plug in.
2.. Important 3.. Make sure the intermediate shaft is being pressed over the ears of the solid shaft. 4.. 5.. Use a hard surface to ease the collapse of the intermediate shaft. It is best to use a pumping action when collapsing the shaft. Collapse the shaft as far as possible. 6.. Remove the rubber stopper plug from the yoke end of the shaft. Slowly extend the intermediate shaft apart.
7.. Inspect the intermediate shaft for a minimum of 5 mm (0.2 in) (a) of grease on the shaft splines. 8.. Repeat steps 4-9 if less than 5 mm (0.2 in) of grease is on the shaft splines.
Important Before installing the intermediate shaft in the vehicle, make sure to stroke and extend the intermediate shaft at least 15 TIMES to completely lubricate the internal surface of the slip joint.
9.. Reinstall the intermediate shaft into the vehicle
Hope that works for you. Note: the front end guys in our shop use the press that be able to get the grease into the shaft. You may need to do something like this.
Ian
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