Binding of wheel when turning with new struts

I’ve changed struts on a handful of cars in the past and have never had as much trouble as this car has given me. I’m here to seek gear head community feedback from multiple perspectives rather than pay some mechanic for rework and end up with no positive results since this problem is probably this guy capable. I figure I just need guidance and some expertise.

Also, this is the wife’s car so Murphey’s Law apparently is aware of conditional needs for things to go smooth and thus presented me with just the opposite since I have nothing better to do than ponder over strange noises coming from cars :slight_smile:

Both front struts and rear shocks were replaced. I didn’t notice any rubber rot in the upper strut mount so I reused them both. I also renewed the grease in both upper bearings and cleaned any outstanding dust that had bonded to escaping grease. I did have one particular problem with one of the two struts that was 100% my fault, but seemed harmless at the time. I used an pneumatic impact tool to break the nuts from the old struts free and also used the same tool to place the new strut’s spring retention nut back on. I found that the material of the strut or the nut were not as strong as previous struts I’ve worked with and I ended up stripping the nut. I promptly ground down another nut to reduce its size and placed it on top of the stripped nut to ensure strength and prevent the possibility of slipping off. Then I expanded the spring and installed both struts.

I can speculate on what the problem is, but I’ll save that for last. These are the symptoms. Hitting of smaller bumps and travelling straight reveals nothing is wrong. Hitting really large bumps while turning slightly or semi-sharply or turning sharply then the game changes. At about 70 or 80% full turn travel the wheel will suddenly jerk about 2 to 5 degrees either multiple times or one large jerk into the direction the car was being turned and makes a localized to front of car rubber on rubber kind of binding noise. It happens on both sides of the front of the vehicle and is almost always guaranteed in sharp turns. The condition doesn’t improve or get worse if the car is in motion or sitting idle. Turning the wheel under any condition produces the same sound and jerking of the tire.

My suspiscion due to visually viewing the strange problem is that someting is binding in the strut, but I’m puzzled as to what it could be. In the upper mount there appeared not to be any rubber to rubber looking joints. The only thing I can really think of is that the upper mount is torqued down to tight, but even that doesn’t make sense to me since the bolts only keep the mount in place and really shouldn’t cause any binding in my opinion.

Could it be that I applied to much torque in the upper nut that keeps the strut in contact with the spring and upper mount bearing? I wasn’t aware that this could be possible since the core of the upper mount bearing is a solid piece of metal and void of rubber.

Also, if anyone has advice for getting out stripped nuts in a recessed environment please let me know. A dremel probably won’t work in this case. I’m thinking maybe if I need to cut it out I can use an pneumatic chissel like cutting tool.

My thinking is that the problem is where the upper spring cap touches the upper strut mount, that part of it is dragging on the rubber or the outer race of the bearing. I haven’t worked on one of these so I can’t give you any more help, but that is where I’d start.

Possibly the shaft of the strut has a flat on it that has to align with a slot in the upper spring cap. I have seen this where the flat is not lined up with the slot and it causes binding.

I wonder if you just need to align it. I’ve always had to align mine afterwards no matter how careful I was and alignment issues can do some strange things while turning. If you cross threaded the nut, why didn’t you just use the old nut? Why double up? If you wrecked the threads on the strut though, hopefully air impact wrench would spin it out if it needs to come out again.

You might remove the struts and rotate the upper mounts to confirm that they are free to rotate and look up into the strut towers for indications that the strut might be dragging when the spring nears bottoming out. But the patch up on the strut shaft is likely the basis for the problem. Were you unable to get the strut spring securely compressed when removing and installing the mount?

And yes, it will need to be aligned when the repair is complete.

@keith, I’ll look for this when I take one off to inspect today. I’m not sure about that flat being out of position, but I was fairly certain that I was extremely careful to ensure that flat was lined up during assembly. Worth a look though.

@Bing, I gave removal of the nut my best shot. The strut threads also appear to be shot on just the one. I think my only option is an air chisel. A nut splitter won’t work because it is recessed.

@Rod Knox, I’ll do a hand inspection. Weird thing is that both, not just the strut with the stripped nut are doing this. I had the spring compressed to remove and install, yes. I used the assistance of a few vice grips to hold the ends of the springs in the areas where they were previously located so that when the spring expanded they landed perfectly snug.

I haven’t had the car aligned yet. I was thinking this problem would need to get fixed first before doing so, but if this problem is caused by needing an alignment then I suppose I should make an appointment to get that done.

Seven paragraphs and the OP never mentions the Make, Model and Year of the vehicle…Even more astounding, none of the responders bother to ask…

So we must assume all Macpherson strut designs are exactly the same…

Its a Hyundai.

If you have flats, then you should have a hole on the cap, about 1/4" diameter. With the springs compressed, you stick a screwdriver through the hole to keep the cap and shaft from turning while you run down the nut at the top of the shaft.

@Caddyman, Year=2004, Make and Model are asked for when creating a forum entry and applied as Tags to the initial entry.