1994 Ford Bronco with crunchy steering sound

Kind of an urgent steering question! My wife let me buy a 94 Ford Bronco XLT 302 last year. Anyways since then, I’ve been hearing a clicking, spring stretching, almost crunching sound coming from within the steering wheel. (I don’t hear it from the engine bay or steering pump) Just inside the cab. Every now and then while turning it will feel like some phantom grabs the wheel firmly but loose enough to let you pull it through.

I am not sure what to check but this is where the urgency comes in. My wife won’t let me bring it to the beach for off roadding during the family beach trip if i can’t fix the steering issue… any help would be appreciated.

Sounds like the clock spring mechanism. That requires removing the airbag and the steering wheel. Do you intend to do this yourself? Do you work on cars at all? If the answer is “not very” and “sometimes”, then you should leave this to a pro. The link below is what it looks like for your Bronco.



Well, I think i can do it. I’ve flushed and done all the fluids, replaced the mlps wiring harness and a few other things. I think i might be able to do this too. Any tips, warning, things to watch for before i start it up?

Also do you think this could be what’s causing the wheel to kinda lock up randomly too? The noise has been happening for a few months the locking started about two weeks ago.


I strongly urge you to heed Mustang’s warning and let a pro look into it. If the airbag does need to be removed and it isn’t done properly it could blow up in your face. That could be a very painful and very expensive mistake.

The comment about the wheel locking up randomly suggests that the problem might be in the rack or tie rods rather than the clockspring. But, since you clearly lack the expertise to diagnose this possibly dangerous malfunction, I recommend that you bring this to a shop too.

Yeah, right, blame the innocent wife. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Haha By her allowing me to buy it, I am now in this situation! :smile:

Anyways, I think you may be right. That is the only thing that worries me is the airbag exploding in my face.

It should. Even if you don’t get seriously injured, and you very well might, replacing the airbag will put a large dent in your savings account.

The first place I’d check out is under the dash. You say that this is where you hear the noise.

Follow the steering shaft down and there will be a U-Joint on this shaft. grasp the shaft half that is closest to the engine and wiggle the steering wheel back and forth. If there is play in that joint…replace it.
If that U-Joint fails you will lose all control so check this ASAP.