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Please help diagnose this steering noise in my 4S (video included)

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The car has been doing this recently. Only when hot after being driven for a while. Doesn't do it as soon as I start it up in the morning. 



My guess is wheel bearings, tie-rods or steering column itself. But curious to see what you guys think. Car has 45k, lowered on PSS10s, new front strut bearings at 30k. 

Edited by xxaarraa
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Sorry, your video is marked "private".


Hi Loren, so sorry, didn't occur to me to check youtube privacy settings. I fixed it now, please let me know if you can take a look. Only 14 seconds long.

Edited by xxaarraa
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Sounds like the trembling of the suspension spring, is the top bearing of the strut still intact? 


Thank you for the thoughts. I thought the strut bearing was sealed and could not be inspected with the naked eye? Is there a way to visually inspect it? 


Also, I ordered a teflon lubricant spray (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003UTX0R8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) and plan to clean and lube the bushings and joints. I saw that the 986 guys inject some grease into the control arm bushing with a grease needle, I might do that also. There are no zerks anywhere in the front-end correct? I would need to improvise with the lubing?


Anyone got any other ideas as to what this could be? 

Edited by xxaarraa
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  • Moderators

You can see and feel if the spring moves smooth, or jumps with shock at left-right steering wheel movements. The condition of bearing is indeed difficult to assess without removing and dismantling the strut.

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  • 1 month later...

Hey guys,
Still having this issue, hoping for some ideas.

Symptoms: after driving for a while on a hot day (45 minutes + on highway) and coming to a stop, even moving the steering left and right causes a 'clicking' or binding type of noise. No suspension travel necessary, just moving the steering wheel seems to cause it.

Here are things I have tried, but to no avail:
1. lubed the tie rods - stuck a grease needle through the boot and pumped with synthetic grease
3. Replace a torn boot in right side sway bar drop link.
2. Sprayed teflon lubricant at top of front struts
3. Had my shop inspect everything in front end. He even had the car for a week and drove it home. Couldn't replicate the problem and said everything in the front end checked out.

Noise is still there. Mysteriously, only happens in afternoon. I drive it to work 70 minutes in the morning and it doesn't do it, even if temperature is in the mid-60s. Only does it on the way back home after the same exact drive.

Here are two videos I shot from this weekend. I was in the middle of a road trip and the car was nice and warm when I shot this. Standing in neutral and just turning the wheel left and right.

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It's the front springs on the struts binding or its a bearing plate top of the struts either way replace both


Thanks for your thoughts - can you clarify? "bearing plate" - are you referring to the strut bearings? you also suggesting I replace the entire front springs?

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Alright guys here's an update. All joints have been greased in the front suspension (with a grease needle), mechanic who inspected everything says everything in front end is solid. Car is still making the noise when warm.

a) I can now replicate the noise even when it's cold by holding the brake down while turning the wheel. It sounds like a binding noise, as though the brakes are trying to keep the wheel from turning.

b) Funny, this past winter, I started to get some pulsing under braking and figured it was time for a brake job. But in a few weeks, the pulsing just went away and it hasn't returned.

Putting a) and b) together, I am wondering now if my steering noise is due to a front caliper sticking? Maybe one of the pistons isn't retracting properly when it's hot causing it to stick every so slightly when the car is parked and wheels are turning?

My brakes feel fine now though, so would rather not do a full brake-job just yet. Is there merit in taking it apart and making sure my caliper slider pins are not rotted? Should I throw new brake pads on there while I am at it? I'm at 46k miles,

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey guys, I wanted to post this for the benefit of anyone else looking for this information in the future. There is a lot of discussion on rennlist and here about how best to take off the front struts from inside the wheel well so that we can take them apart and replace the strut bearings. My research revealed two common DIY approaches. They both agreed up to a certain point - remove calipers and rotors, disconnect sway bar end links from the upright, unplug all the speed sensors and wires, remove the three bolts at the top of the struts in the frunk. Both said you need to modify a ball joint separator tool to get underneath the LCA ball joint.Then they diverged:

  • One said to take off the half shafts from the transmission side.
  • The other said there was no need to take off the half shafts

I took on this project this past weekend armed with all the DIY threads from here, 6speedonline (special thanks to Chris Hamilton at 6SPO, he spent a lot of time with me giving me tips) and Rennlist. I had a very skillful friend to help me and we found an easier way.


We never separated the lower ball joint. Instead, we disconnected the diagonal thrust arm from the wheel carrier. This gave us more than enough room to snake the strut out of the wheel well. HOWEVER, I am running PSS10s that are set to be at least an inch lower than stock (previous owner got PSS10 to lower the car), so that may be the difference. I am unable to say if stock struts will have enough room to come off this way, but wanted to share this in case anyone did a google search in the future.


Now the bad news is that even after new strut bearings, my car makes the same exact noise as shown in the videos above. So back to square one. Oh, I also want to say that I found these aluminum jack stands that are AWESOME. Super light, they stack up and store easily and hold up to 6000 lbs each. Worked perfectly for the C4S and a good addition to my tool box. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000760FWU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Here are some pics.








Edited by xxaarraa
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Hey there,


this is Chris from 6OS. I just sent you a follow-up message but I figured I would post here as well. Check your message over there as I left you my email address as well.


Kind regards,




Got it and sent you an email Chris. Thanks for your help on this.

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  • 2 months later...

I had this 120k miles, steering would "knock" but only when the car was hot. Especially bad after a track day.


I too replaced almost everything in the front suspension, everything except the steering rods (track / tie rods)......


Seems when the steering fluid and rack got hot, the worn inner steering arm balljoints (under the rack boots) must expand a little and allow some play.


Fairly easy to do and about £120 for TRW parts for both sides including new outer track rod end ball joints.



Edited by wasz
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