Yes, I've mentioned this before, but I've gathered a more complete view
of the symptoms, and wanted to see if they add up to something specific.
It's a bit of a pain to take vehicles in here - they'll keep the vehicle
for a day or two to start, just to sort out what's wrong, THEN ask you
to bring it back to get the thing fixed. That's just too long to be
without wheels (and AC) in this climate; Oz auto shops don't do loaner
cars. Riding a bicycle sucks in this weather. And, as will become
clear in a minute, it wouldn't do me any good to wait until cooler
weather to have them look at it.
So, that's why I'm hoping y'all can help. You've accurately diagnosed
my truck's problems before (well, at least someone usually hits on the
right answer) :) Read all the way to the bottom, 'cause there's what I
expect is an important clue down there...
2001 Dakota, 4x4, standard 5-speed. Was in the UK for 3 years, so it's
got more underbody rust than it should. Now it's in the Australian
Outback, subject to rather extreme hot and dry temperatures. No
adjustments were done to compensate for the climate- don't know if
something should have been done...
The noise is sort of, but not quite, a cross between a clunk and a
grind, depending on what else is going on... It is heard and felt in the
steering column/wheel - my impression is that it's under the dash.
Ok, so the symptoms are sometimes a noise or two when turning, that as
the air temperature increases, becomes more like a grinding - same
noise, just more of 'em.
Also, today I noticed that shifting while turning at low speed, will
cause a single iteration of the noise as I shift, that I may be able to
feel in the stick (pretty faint tho, could be my imagination). Since
when I'm turning I'm also shifting and braking, it's been a bit
difficult to try to narrow down exactly what's happening when, but when
I came home today, the noise was clearly happening as I shifted AND
turned. Normally there's nothing abnormal about how the truck's
The steering also makes the noise but more like a rattle, when going
over bumps and such. I first noticed this when going down washboard
roads. It sounds like something's loose under the dash, but I can grab
the steering column under there, and there's no play. There's also no
play in my steering wheel. It doesn't seem to particularly want to
track along road irregularities or such.
Here's the clincher: during a stint of cold weather (for here & now), I
discovered that the symptoms *disappear completely*
when the temperature
dropped into the 70s. No noise, no feel, just normal driving. So it
seems that my initial impression that it was getting worse wasn't
correct, except that the problem gets worse as the temperature
increases. Since the truck's been in the UK the last three years, even
if there was a problem, there was no symptoms 'cause it was too cold.
Seems to be temps over about 80f that starts to show symptoms. Lately,
it's been around 100f every day (for weeks now)...
It occurs to me that perhaps the temperatures are simply exceeding the
Dak's design spec, and there's nothing actually wrong, just metal
expansion in the heat, creating movement where there was none before.
If that's not the case, what should I look to, to help narrow down what
the problem is - if any?
Thanks, guys, for your help!