Monday, July 22, 2024 Detailed Auto Topics
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You are rolling slowly in a parking lot, with slight turning pressure on the steering wheel. You feel a disconcerting knock or clunk in the steering wheel, chances are good that you are driving a General Motors product.

Clunk or knock felt in the steering wheel of General Motors vehicles

The sensation is much like slack in the steering. A very annoying clunk or knock that you feel more than hear. For many years this problem has persisted. Even after the 2007 vehicle redesign the problem remains. Several car models also experience the same steering knock, but the GM truck and SUV have made it "legendary."

GM states the problem is the lower intermediate steering shaft. First they offered to sell a lubrication kit. This was a temporary remedy at best and the noise was soon back. Next they stated removing the shaft and working it in and out with lubricant would help. Again the problem soon returns. Next they offered a "redesigned" replacement shaft at significant cost. In a few instances this seems to work, but often the noise returns.

The steering column is attached to the body of the vehicle. The other end of the column connects to the steering gear, which is mounted on the vehicle frame. The body mounts to the frame with rubber cushions that dampen road noise. These cushions also allow the body to move, relative to the frame.

General Motors intermediate steering shaft 

The movement is accommodated by a slip joint in the lower intermediate steering shaft. When the body moves, the joint slips. When the joint binds there is a clunk, felt in the steering wheel. Unfortunately this is only part of the problem.

Lower steering column bearing or bushing on GM SUV and Truck 

The intermediate shaft attaches to the lower steering column and is supported by a bearing. The bearing allows the shaft to rotate as the steering is turned. Since the bearing is made of plastic, it does not take long to wear. Once the bushing is worn the lower shaft knocks or clunks in the steering column.

We have found a more permanent repair often involves replacing the lower steering column bearing. In our experience the noise is more often solved by this repair, than replacing the intermediate shaft.

If the vehicle is still under warranty the dealership will most likely replace only the intermediate shaft. When the noise persist, you may have to be quite persistent to get the lower column bearing replaced. Millions of vehicles with this problem are also now out of warranty.

At AGCO we have had great success stopping the clunk by replacing the lower column bearing. If your vehicle has a clunk in the steering, take it to AGCO. AGCO, it’s the place to go.



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