Crunching noise in 2000 Mercedes sedan steering

My 2000 Mercedes sedan 430S is making a terrible crunching noise in the steering wheel or under the steering wheel when you turn the wheel or in revese. When you drive the car straight, it only makes a few random squeaks, but as soon as you begin a turn it makes a dreadful “crunching” like noise - it sounds like the wheel is going to fall off! My husband’s car mechanic who is a Chevy guy, has replaced several “arms” parts on the steering linkage as well as some of the packing, but the noise only went away for a few miles, then was back even worse. The mechanic has assured me it is safe to drive, but I am concerned and don’t want to hurt the car.

Has anyone experienced this phenom? The car is in excellent condition otherwise with about 75K miles. Until recently it was serviced by the Mercedes dealership in another city, and there was a problem in the past with the “lift” on the car, whatever that is.

I’d be so tickled to hear from anyone who might be able to give me some insight as to whether or not this is a serious problem or just a harmless, irritating noise. Thanks. CJ

If you can feel the crunching in the steering wheel as you make your turns my first thing to look at is the bearings in the steering column, then the clock spring (that is part of the airbag system) You may have some interference inside your steering column, wires or cables hitting the steering shaft. A more dangerous situation may be the steering lock mechanism is slightly catching the locking plate. You don’t want your steering wheel to lock up driving down the highway. I’d get looked at until it is fixed.