Steering rack coming loose causing clonking - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Old 08-02-10
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Steering rack coming loose causing clonking

A couple of weeks ago I started getting an occasional clonking noise whilst steering. It has just got a bit worse and is now easily reproduceable. I took it over to a mechanic friend who says the steering rack is moving and causing the noise. He hasn't got time to investigate further but I have found others mentioning the same problem so that seems quite likely. Has anyone else experienced this and is it easily fixed? I have read on an old thread that the subframe needs to be removed on the V6 to be able to tighten up the bolts that hold the rack, is that itself a big job?
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Old 16-02-10
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Hi - not sure about the JTS, but on the Ph1 v6, the 2 bolts for the steering rack are definitely through the subframe, and easy to get to from memory from underneath (mind you I had the exhaust off at the time). Just two bolts with 15mm heads.

Last edited by jayarr; 16-02-10 at 12:34. Reason: corrected
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Old 22-02-10
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Thanks for the reply. I've not yet had a look underneath (not very keen on crawling under the car with the weather we've got here at the moment! ). I've also been away so using the car hasn't been an issue. I think I'll have to get it up on a ramp and get it sorted.
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Old 01-03-10
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I took it in and sure enough the 2 (easily accessible on the JTS) bolts through the subframe to the rack were loose. They tightened them up and also noticed that the ball joints on the track rod ends were a bit worn. I didn't notice the clonking for a day after but it is now back so I'm going to get the track rod ends replaced next. Fingers crossed that sorts it.
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Old 07-03-10
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Does anyone know the torque settings for the JTS (presume it's the same on all) steering rack bolts? The rack is loose again so they can't be tight enough, unless there's a bush or something else missing too?
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Old 11-03-10
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Might not help - GTV v6 ph1 43 to 47nm. Very strange that the bolts are loosening up over time. I dont believe there is a washer or spacer between the subframe and the steering rack. Would be work checking that when tightened there is no gap between the two. (page 9, Variants for v6, GTV/spider manual Gearbox section.)

Check that the threads have not been stripped in the rack, otherwise its a helicoil job.
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Old 13-03-10
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Thanks for that, most appreciated. When it's up on the ramps again I'll have a proper look. When they tightened it up last time it wasn't torqued up, just 'tightened' but 47 doesn't sound ridiculously tight so I'm surprised it has come loose again so quickly.
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Old 19-03-10
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Ok, well the GTV has been in the garage since yesterday morning. They fitted the new track rod ends and tightened up the steering rack. I hadn't driven a mile before the rack was moving and clonking again . I took it straight back and they say that the rack bolts were fully torqued up and they suspect that whatever the 2 bolts screw into is damaged causing the bolts to pull loose under the strain of steering. I asked if the bolts looked damaged and they say no. The next step is to remove the steering rack unless there is anything else to try.
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Old 19-03-10
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Have you checked the lower wishbones?

Worn ARB bushes or drop link could also cause a knock.

Cheers
MC
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Old 19-03-10
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Originally Posted by A D Diagnostics View Post
Have you checked the lower wishbones?

Worn ARB bushes or drop link could also cause a knock.

Cheers
MC
Thanks for the suggestion, but you can see the steering rack move as you turn the steering wheel. A friend of mine had noticed the rack moving (looking down through the open bonnet) before I took it to the garage.
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Old 30-04-13
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I don't suppose anyone knows the part number for these bolts?

On eper it looks like it's the bolt labelled 7 but it's showing a nut at the top of it which mine didn't have.

All I know is it's an M10 thread, 15mm head and the screw is 100mm long (90mm from bottom of head)

Really need 2 of these before the weekend but the local Alfa Parts guy doesn't know and Autolusso hasn't got back to me from yesterday
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Old 30-04-13
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I think these are flange bolts so have built in washer, someone called pkr is great with eper so might be able to get you the numbers if you pm him.
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Old 30-04-13
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Originally Posted by Mr_Caine View Post
I think these are flange bolts so have built in washer, someone called pkr is great with eper so might be able to get you the numbers if you pm him.
Cheers mate, yea it's got the washer built in as such but if you click on the eper link you can see the nut (number 6) which mine didn't have
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Old 30-04-13
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I had this same clonking when steering issue about a week or so after I put the subframe back after upgrading the flywheel, I could also see the rack moving as you described. I've been lucky as just tightening them up again has done the trick for me, it's been 6 months now. My plan B though was to take the bolts to my local bearing man and get some longer ones with the same thread so they would come out the other side of the rack allowing a nut to be put on top. To do this I'm fairly sure the thread will need to be tapped out a bit, don't think it goes all the way through.
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Old 30-04-13
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Originally Posted by Trofeo View Post
I had this same clonking when steering issue about a week or so after I put the subframe back after upgrading the flywheel, I could also see the rack moving as you described. I've been lucky as just tightening them up again has done the trick for me, it's been 6 months now. My plan B though was to take the bolts to my local bearing man and get some longer ones with the same thread so they would come out the other side of the rack allowing a nut to be put on top. To do this I'm fairly sure the thread will need to be tapped out a bit, don't think it goes all the way through.
Yea, I was thinking of putting a nylock nut on the top of it after reading through this to ensure it doesn't come out. Going to try one of the local screw suppliers tomorrow to see if he has what I need
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Old 30-01-14
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Originally Posted by jonnogtv View Post
Yea, I was thinking of putting a nylock nut on the top of it after reading through this to ensure it doesn't come out. Going to try one of the local screw suppliers tomorrow to see if he has what I need
Did this work for you with the nut?
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Old 30-01-14
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Had to do this to mine approximately 9 months ago and has been fine since then
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Old 30-01-14
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Originally Posted by 1999gtv View Post
Had to do this to mine approximately 9 months ago and has been fine since then
So you didnt have to replace the physical rack itself? How easy is it to do?

Last edited by monkeybrain1234; 30-01-14 at 21:23.
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Old 30-01-14
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Try some threadlock and as above new nyloc nuts. The bolts are easily accessed as they come straight through the subframe . A spanner from above and a torque wrench from below.

Oops! Just noticed thread is from 2010.
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Old 30-01-14
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Originally Posted by EauRouge View Post
Try some threadlock and as above new nyloc nuts. The bolts are easily accessed as they come straight through the subframe . A spanner from above and a torque wrench from below.

Oops! Just noticed thread is from 2010.
Thanks, I will speak with my Indie tomorrow and see how prepared he is to do this if it will fix it. Fingers crossed this can be done!

Any further advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 30-01-14
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Originally Posted by monkeybrain1234 View Post
Did this work for you with the nut?
I didnt replace the nut in the end. The local screw supplier didnt have the correct pitch and Alfa were going to take a while to get them in so I just went ahead and fitted the bolts.

Car hasnt been on the road yet so can't comment on how its doing
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  #22 (Post Link)  
Old 02-02-14
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A spot of loctite thread locker on each bolt will sort that out.
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Old 02-02-14
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To put the new bolts on does the subframe still have to be dropped?
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Old 02-02-14
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No!
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Old 03-02-14
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Originally Posted by EauRouge View Post
No!
Oh! My garage said it would and would take 3 hours or so to do!
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