What's a bushing good for?

steering

#1

Hi everyone! Finally, a reason to post on here. I’ve lurked for ages hoping for something CarTalk worthy.

Yesterday coming home, completely unprovoked, my steering wheel began making a terrible clicking noise when I turned it. After some quick investigation I discovered at the base of the steering column, a piece of metal was out of place and hitting the sides, causing the sounds.

I learn about cars as the pieces fall off of mine, so this was something already out of my expertise. I took it in this morning and the mechanic told me it was the bushing in the steering column and all he did was remove it. He had no idea how I could have damaged it as it is an enclosed and protected area. He did not replace it with a new one.

So here’s where I ask you guys. What’s that bushing for? If I don’t put a new one in, will my car start falling apart? How in the world did it randomly pop out of place?


#2

Please describe more exactly where the part was located - inside the car? Where the steering goes through the firewall?


#3

If you can get a photo link someone might be familiar with the bushing. My first guess is that it is not a bushing, possibly it is one of the band clamps that hold the boot around the base of the steering shaft.


#4

When car makers risk lives to save a couple of bucks on each car you can bet they put it there for a good reason.
Bushings are used to hold something in place.
In this case it might just be to prevent a rattle in the passenger compartment.
If I couldn’t get an exact replacement I’d do some kind of work around; hopefully that’s what your mechanic did.


#5

A Bushing: 5 young girls…ages 14 to 16 on a road trip that lasted longer than they ever would have imagined. With no towns, gas stations, or stores in the last 30 miles and none of the girls used the rest room when they filled up for gas. They finally find a little patch of woods and a nice full lilac bush for cover.


#6

@Yosemite, you have an active imagination.


#7

Don’t spread that around…somebody will ask me a question!!!


#8

"What’s a bushing good for?'
Oh, usually about ten years…


#9

Other than a factory defect, maybe a hard jolt at some point in time due to a large pothole, etc caused the steering rack to transmit a bit too much force into the column and knocked it loose.


#10

It was made of rubber, wasn’t it? It’s kind of a device to prevent road shakes and bumps from going into the steering wheel. It also allows some slop so that the steering column doesn’t flex and make noises. Maybe it has a lot of other uses. If it was made of metal I don’t know what it was.


#11

The OP said it was metal.


#12
So here's where I ask you guys. What's that bushing for?

I was drilling a hole in a 3/16" metal bar this morning, and as the bit turned and wore away the metal it made a loud screeching noise. Metal against metal. If you don’t want to hear that sound, and don’t want metal parts to wear away, you need to install a plastic or rubber bushing inside any hole that a metal rod goes through that rotates. Steering components are a primary location for bushings. The exception would be inside the engine, where the problem is solved not by bushings, but by the oil pump pumping oil though the oil passages.


#13

What’s a bushing good for? Between 80 and 250k miles. In my experience car manufacturers do not waste money on un needed parts.


#14

I’m so sorry for disappearing on everyone! I come crawling back after forgetting this thread (and subsequently how to find this thread) for longer than is appropriate.

"Please describe more exactly where the part was located - inside the car? Where the steering goes through the firewall?"
I don’t know the terminology on these things, sorry. I learn my car parts as they break off. At the very base of the steering column inside the car (at the base where the pedals are) there was a bunch of stuff which appeared to connect to the other parts. This was right at the top of that section.

" My first guess is that it is not a bushing, possibly it is one of the band clamps that hold the boot around the base of the steering shaft."
Aha, I looked up a picture of a band clamp and came up with this.
That looks a lot like what was causing the problem. From what it looks like, the part that was causing the noise was the excess metal at the end. Could it be possible that it got tighter at some point and the extra at the end was just snipped?

“I was drilling a hole in a 3/16” metal bar this morning, and as the bit turned and wore away the metal it made a loud screeching noise. Metal against metal."

This wasn’t a metal on metal sound, I was able to diagnose it and determine it was the metal of this mystery bushing (or whatever it actually was) thwacking against something else whenever the steering wheel turned it.