Creaking Noise - Steering Box

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Styria

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For years, I have been puzzled by a "creaking noise" that seems to emanate from the Steering Box/Inner Chassis Rail and, quite frankly, I have been at a loss to determine its cause, the source and the exact location. It usually occurs when endeavouring to turn the steering wheel, with engine idling, and the Power Steering pump at slow revolutions. Has anyone else experienced this situation, and do they know what the likely causes are ?

Okay, here now is my theory. How many of you have replaced the front anti-sway bar bushes ? You know, the ones,especially the one under the power brake booster, that is obviously out of sight, and therefore out of mind, and an absolute 'bugger' to replace ? Or how about the flexible coupling connecting steering column to shaft on steering box ? Or some of the other bushes that are part of the upper suspension link that connects to the swaybar end ? Or has anyone ever noticed that the creaking noise NEVER appears on the passenger side ? Naturally, you only have an idler arm doing its job on that side, and not the steering box. Well, I think the culprit is the rubber bush/mount (it's really a mount) under the booster.

I recently replaced that mount on a 6.9 with some noticeable play in the steering box. There had been some rust in that area that needed rectifying, and part of that repair entailed the removal of the sway bar mounts. Since the replacement of those mounts, the box has regained (or lost) probably about 70% of its free play, with the steering feeling much more positive and no creaking noise - well, I haven't noticed any since that repair. Incidentally, the sway bar is not bolted to the firewall itself (the bush rests against it though), but to a bracket that's welded to the firewall. This brings back (to my mind) the stiffening plate that I rescued from a 6.9 at the wreckers - a plate made and part catalogued by Mercedes themselves, and that I have advertised in our for sale section previously. Anyone like to comment on my thoughts ? Regards Styria
 

Tony66_au

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An issue I have faced with Chryslers Styria, a make that suffers terribly from Cracked and rusted drivers side chassis rails.

My guess is that its the Crush tubes within the rail under stress if its not a bushing or rubber.

With Valiants the cure is to section the rail with the engine and K frame out and to re gusset and fit new crush tubes and then weld the side back on the rail.

Tony
 

Oversize

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Make sure everything's tight and then grab a can of silicon spray. Spray the bushing that you think is the culprit and see if it stops, or changes tone. Once located, replace the bushing, as the effect of the spray won't last long.

It's a bit like using that drive belt anti-squeal stuff.... Works for a minute, then the belt squeals worse than ever!!! :mad:
 

SEL_69L

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I have just checked for the amount of free play in my car with the engine off, so there are no other sounds.

Result? About 1 inch free play at the steering wheel, and a slight clicking sound, which seems to be emanating from the steering box area.

The next trick is to do the same thing with a long shafted screwdriver, blade pressed against various objects, handle against the ear, under the same text conditions, to locate the exact site of the noise.
 
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Styria

Styria

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I have just checked for the amount of free play in my car with the engine off, so there are no other sounds.

Result? About 1 inch free play at the steering wheel, and a slight clicking sound, which seems to be emanating from the steering box area.

The next trick is to do the same thing with a long shafted screwdriver, blade pressed against various objects, handle against the ear, under the same text conditions, to locate the exact site of the noise.

David, I'm afraid you'd have 'buckleys' trying to trace the noice by the method you described. It is not constant, nor continuous, so that option is out. The clicking noise and free play that you refer to will always be in evidence when the engine is shut off. It may not be that it should be so, but perhaps that's an additional facet other members may wish to comment upon, i.e. agree or disagree. Regards Styria
 
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Styria

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Hi Mark, I know what you mean by spraying lubricant, waiting for it to work, and then the symptoms return again. However, there is not much to grab in the area of the upper link and also the sway bar, because it is just all so solid. However, interested in your opinion concerning my remark or perhaps theory regarding the reduced amount of free play (from side to side) after the fitment of the bushes. Regards Styria
 
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Styria

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An issue I have faced with Chryslers Styria, a make that suffers terribly from Cracked and rusted drivers side chassis rails.

My guess is that its the Crush tubes within the rail under stress if its not a bushing or rubber.

With Valiants the cure is to section the rail with the engine and K frame out and to re gusset and fit new crush tubes and then weld the side back on the rail.

Tony

Hi Tony, I certainly could not dismiss your theory regarding the crush tubing - then again, how could you successfully test that ? I suppose one could remove one steering box retaining bolt at a time, spray some lubricant in that area and repeat the process with the other two bolts. I guess it'd be worth a try. Regards Styria
 

Michel

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I sent my 500SL AMG to get a general service and check (brakes, suspension, oils, etc)

When I got it back it had developped a creak in the front. :mad:
 

Tony66_au

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Hi Tony, I certainly could not dismiss your theory regarding the crush tubing - then again, how could you successfully test that ? I suppose one could remove one steering box retaining bolt at a time, spray some lubricant in that area and repeat the process with the other two bolts. I guess it'd be worth a try. Regards Styria


Styria I didn't think for a moment that you had and hope that I am 100% incorrect, Diagnosing this was done initially by an elderly mechanic I knew years ago who picked the issue and then explained what and why to me.

The sound was caused by the tubes which were tacked into the rail coming loose and then rubbing on the inside of the rail where they touched and as the design itself was flawed he had seen it a lot and often ignored in favour of other possible reasons.

A mechanics stethoscope (Fairly cheap these days BTW) fairly quickly diagnosed that the click and metallic noise was indeed coming from the rail when placed on the rail from under the car and repaired with some welding if the rail was ok (Which sadly they often were not)

The cause was/is dry steering placing undue stress on the steering box mounts and flawed design on what was initially a left hand drive car which uses a K frame for strength in the front end and of course old age.

It also shows some play as the box flexes slightly at the mounts which causes the click creak, a fairly unique sound.

Cheers,
Tony
 

Helmet

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You should try replacing the steering box bolts, if this does not work I would fit the factory reinforcement place that stops the chassis flexing. If you look at a w126 you will notice they moved the steering box bolts to the outer of the chassis rail to stop the flex problem.
 
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Styria

Styria

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Helmet, thanks for your input. The creaking noise I have referred to is the first time that I have mentioned it and looked for opinions, on topklasse or any other site. I am not familiar with the set up on the Ch. 126 models, but I would imagine that the method of mounting the steering box would be the same, or at least very similar.

Now, the plate you are referring you - I have brought this up previously on a coupke of occasions, and if memory serves me correctly, I have advertized one of those plates for sale in our "For Sale" section. When I removed that plate, it had been fitted to a 6.9, and I know it was a Mercedes part because it still had the Benz Parts sticker on it. Various opinions expressed seemed to favour the scenarion that the plate was only fitted once the mounting locations became damaged. I know that's been a problem with 6.3s, but I have not witnessed any damage on the 116s. My contention is that the 'stiffening plate' could well be fitted to improve steering behaviour and provide more assured handling. Regards Styria

N.B. You may wish to peruse these photos and posts -http://www.topklasse.net.au/forums/search.php?searchid=90130
 
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Styria

Styria

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Tony, you won't find them in a hurry. I discovered mine in a breaking yard on a 6.9. I made a phone call to Marshalls at one time, and the Parts Manager, with quite extraordinary knowledge of our cars, recalled the plate as a service item available in the '70s at a cost of $700.00 - don't know if that included fitting.

I have the one original, but have had timber templates made for both left and right hand drive - alas, not a single person has ever displayed any interest in purchasing one. It's a plate well designed and well made, and it'd probably take a bit to manufacture one - plus, the special bolts would not be all that cheap either. BTW, I've come to realize that my selling price could well be subject to revision, especially as I never had any quotes from my Engineering Shop to make them. Regards Styria
 

Oversize

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I've yet to look for the plates on any of my cars, but the time is coming very soon. And the weekend weather is looking good! Yay!
 

Helmet

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Helmet, thanks for your input. The creaking noise I have referred to is the first time that I have mentioned it and looked for opinions, on topklasse or any other site. I am not familiar with the set up on the Ch. 126 models, but I would imagine that the method of mounting the steering box would be the same, or at least very similar.

Now, the plate you are referring you - I have brought this up previously on a coupke of occasions, and if memory serves me correctly, I have advertized one of those plates for sale in our "For Sale" section. When I removed that plate, it had been fitted to a 6.9, and I know it was a Mercedes part because it still had the Benz Parts sticker on it. Various opinions expressed seemed to favour the scenarion that the plate was only fitted once the mounting locations became damaged. I know that's been a problem with 6.3s, but I have not witnessed any damage on the 116s. My contention is that the 'stiffening plate' could well be fitted to improve steering behaviour and provide more assured handling. Regards Styria

N.B. You may wish to peruse these photos and posts -http://www.topklasse.net.au/forums/search.php?searchid=90130

Tried the link but it says no matches found ?

I would always try new bolts first, I know they are expensive but a lot cheaper than fitting the plate
 

Helmet

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Thanks Tony, and yes that looks like the factory mod. its a bitch to fit but makes the chassis rail super strong. One wonders why MB didn't recall all cars to have it fitted ?
 

Tony66_au

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Thanks Tony, and yes that looks like the factory mod. its a bitch to fit but makes the chassis rail super strong. One wonders why MB didn't recall all cars to have it fitted ?

The same question entered my mind as well, probably for the same reasons Chrysler Australia didnt rectify their design fault until its dying days as every Valiant from the early 60's to 1980 have poorly designed chassis rails that fracture where the steering box bolts up.

I do wonder if this was an issue with the left hand drive versions though?

I suspect not.
 
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Styria

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I do have some more news on this subject. Even after fitting the two firewall bushes, new bushes for the top and bottom triangular link, this creaking noise can still be present. So one would think that, firstly, a replacement of the steering box bolts may be needed, or alternatively, the noise could be in the steering box itself - but I do have some reservation concerning the last named. However, there is one other possibility - I am sure we all know that a low oil level in the power steering pump will produce all kinds of quite disturbing noises - thus, could it be a hydraulic issue ? I mean, you really only hear the noise when manouevring slowly, at low revs - say barely much above idle, and it can be present whether moving forward or when reversing. On the other hand, how about THAT plate I have referred to and that Helmet is familiar with ? It could well be worth a try, although it'd be no cheap solution. Regards Styria
 
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