Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Creaking Rack and Pinion

I’ve been getting a lot of noise out of my rack and pinion in my 03 Eclipse. What would cause this noise? It happens when I’m sitting still, driving straight, or turning. It has gotten worse as the weather has gotten warmer. All fluid levels are good. Any suggestions?

Thank you!

One of the articulated joints in the steering or suspension system is failing, or you have a dried/cracked/shrunken bushing. Ther are numerous possibilities from tie rod ends to ball joints to a simple anti-sway bar link bushing. The only way to find out is to get the car up on a lift in a reputable shop. I’d do this post-haste, because it you lose a tie rod end or a ball joint while driving you are going to be in serious trouble.

I got up under the car with a mechanic yesterday and we checked out the different bushings around the tie rods and other parts around the wheels. We listened to the rack and pinion with a… chassis scope?.. and isolated the sound to an interior component of the rack and pinion. Does that eliminate the items you suggested as potential culprits?

One thing I failed to mention in the OP is that the car has 178K miles. Any other parts that I should check?

Yup, it effectivelly eliminates the items I suggested as potentials. The “chassis scope” was likely just a “mechanic’s stethescope”. They do work for pinpointing many noise sources.

Unfortunately, your only solution is to replace the rack. Sorry.

or live with the noise.

What risks does the noise pose to the functionality of the car? It seems that if it was functioning correctly the noise would not have appeared in the first place.

Also, thank you for the hasty replies.

You are correct, a noisy rack can not be called one that is functioning correctly. If action needs to be taken to remedy this noise depends on exactly what has failed to cause the noise. If it took a mechanics chassis ear to even link the noise to the rack it is a safe bet that the noise is simply a nusiance, but a nusiance that also is not going to heal its self in all likelyhood.

Since the car has been inspected by a mechanic I do conclude that a good physical inspection of the rack was made and no looseness or leakage is present. Was the area the method the rack is fixed to the body or sub-frame inspected and did it recieve an “all clear” apprasial? I am thinking of some type of broken body weld that is allowing the body to flex and make a noise.

As I mentioned in your other thread noise from the front of these Eclipse’s has generated several TSB’s, you should take a look at them.Perhaps your car falls out of the range that was initally included in the TSB but manufactures do get things wrong in regards to what range of vehicles to include in their TSB’s.