2004 Lexus ES 330 - Clunks and rattles

Bought a proverbial cream puff from a deceased woman’s estate sale. 2004 Lexus ES330 in mint condition with 48K miles. Like new condition all around but the steering wheel & column, when executing a turn, make a funny clunking, rattling sound. Lexus dealer had no idea and suggested a new rack–not happening by the way, and mechanic checked it and has no idea. It sounds like the knuckle is loose down near the rack but all is tight and sound. Helpful service rep said “it’ll get worse.” HELP

It’s a known problem. TSB ST001-05 APR 05 Steering - Clunk/Pop/Knock Noise Turning. You’re correct that it’s the intermediate shaft (“knuckle”) in the steering column.


Good thing you didn’t take their advice, as it would have cost you a lot of money and not solved anything

Unfortunately, this is one of the things that stump you until/unless you’ve experienced it yourself as a mechanci

Like @davepsinbox_157004 in says . . . classic case of bad intermediate steering shaft

if it’s any consolation, this is a fairly common problems on lots of different vehicles of various makes


Heck, I’m not even a mechanic, as @db4690 will attest. I found the answer on a Lexus forum. I’ve done enough handyman projects to appreciate the value of research.


I visited the Lexus site before and also read this diagnosis…so my Mechanic dismantled some of it but found nothing wrong with the shaft. He wanted to take the entire column out and examine and dismantle the assembly but at $100 an hour, I passed on it.

Sounds like with the column assembly bolted in place, this faulty “intermediate” shaft doesn’t “wet the bed” because of tension still on it. THANK YOU, all for your opinions

Did they check the cradle/sub-frame bushings for wear?


They’re located at each corner.


Cv joint can cause similar symptoms but noise usually seems to be coming from outside the pass compartment. But if sound is most evident during slow speed sharp angle turns like turning from a stp sign keep cvs in play.

Dorman 425-454 . . . that is the number of the part you need

Look on rockauto, partsgeek, or something along those lines

If you’ve got tools and are mechanically inclined, you can take care of this yourself

The mechanic would waste his time taking the steering system apart

The steering shaft won’t be falling apart . . . it only clunks and makes noise under a load