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  1. #1

    Question Steering System

    Haynes Team,

    I'm working on a 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with the 3.8 liter engine and am using manual #24048, as well as your Techbook on Suspension and Steering Systems.

    The car is making a grinding noise that sounds like it is coming from the front left. During the test drive, I noticed that it makes the noise both while going straight and while making turns (in either direction).

    I suspected a bad hub/bearing assembly initially (since the other side went bad last year), but after I pulled the wheel on the left, I noticed that the steering gear boot was torn on that side.

    Based on this information, do you think the rack and pinion assembly could be going bad? I could not find information in either of your books (and not much in the way of research online) on how to troubleshoot an R&P or if a bad one would make the noise I am experiencing. Or do you think my original assumption about the wheel bearing is the best place to start?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    4,850

    Default

    Hey FB,

    The rack wouldn't be making noise like that. Sounds to me more like a wheel bearing. My truck did the same thing; the noise was a little worse on turns, but was bad even going straight. It wasn't more than 6 months or so that the other side had to be replaced, too. Is there any play in the bearing when you jack up the car and wiggle the tire back and forth? Also, if you remove the wheel and turn the hub by hand, a bad bearing won't feel smooth.

    Steering gear boot replacement is in Chapter 10 (Section 16 in your 24048 manual). You should change it so debris doesn't get in and cause the rack seals to fail.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks, admin,

    I appreciate your insight, as always. I actually just test drove the vehicle again last night and tried turning the wheel from lock to lock and didn't notice any looseness, play or noise, so I'm thinking the R&P is good, as well.

    Although, as you said, I do have to replace that one boot. I've already read through the procedure in Chapter 10 and was wondering if it's really necessary to seperate the R&P from the steering shaft and lower the subframe? When I was inspecting the vehicle earlier, I was able to reach the boot on the left-hand side (which was the side that is torn) with no problem. As long as it's easily accessible can I safely bypass the other steps?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    4,850

    Default

    Yes, as long as you can get to both sides of the boot, you'll be ok. Maybe access was limited on earler models that required more disassembly. Not sure.
    Make sure that wheel bearing is good, though. Major safety issue (as I'm sure you're aware . . . ).

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