broken strut mount symptom?: road texture/tapping on steering wheel
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Suspension, Brakes and Tires Discussion, broken strut mount symptom?: road texture/tapping on steering wheel in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; "shudder" or "tapping" is present when coasting anywhere from 4-8 mph, the wheel is either center, or I am turning ...
  1. #1
    mtflight's Avatar
    mtflight is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    broken strut mount symptom?: road texture/tapping on steering wheel

    "shudder" or "tapping" is present when coasting anywhere from 4-8 mph, the wheel is either center, or I am turning it left, from center. I exaggerate with "shudder" but it's really more like a light tap, and it occurs in the travel distance (wheel turn) of maybe a 1/8." Cannot be discerned from irregularities of the street when going faster than 8mph. There is no noticeable play in the steering wheel.

    I go to Pep Boys to have them drive the car and replicate the feeling in the steering wheel (free). They put her up on ramps, and everything is tight, and in good shape.

    Then they brought her down, removed the strut tower cover lids, and had someone steer while they put their hands on the strut ends through the tower covers.... the struts tips move, and "click".

    Diagnosis: Broken strut mounts. Recommended repair schedule A. (RA)

    Cost: price of the part plus $50 per strut labor

    + $54.99 alignment.

    heir price for the strut mounts $85.00 each. That's over $200 . I don't want to do it and then find out it didn't help the situation--has anyone done this repair or had a similar problem?


    Thoughts and opinions welcome, and thanks again for the help!

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  3. #2
    Ghost C's Avatar
    Ghost C is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: broken strut mount symptom?: road texture/tapping on steering wheel

    About 4 months ago I took my car to a shop, and to save everyone from a story, they tightened a strut mount bolt with an impact wrench, which I saw later, tried to loosen it, snap. Had to replace the strut mount on one side - Not too hard of a job. If you're handy you can fairly easily do it yourself, all you need to do is remove the wheel, remove brake line fittings and any other fittings attached to the strut body, unbolt the bolts holding the strut onto the suspension (lots of WD40), then unbolt it from the top. You will need a spring compressor for this job, which can be rented from just about any auto parts store.

    After that, you have to remove the strut-to-strut mount bolt, which is excessively unpleasant unless you have air tools, and will require LOTS of WD-40, vise grips, and someone to help. Tighten the vise grips to where you can't squeeze them on by hand (don't try - hospital trip, ask how I know) and have someone stand on it. It won't hurt the strut, and after that you should be able to get the top bolt off. If not, take the vise grips off, tighten them more, and keep trying. One person stands on the vise grips (I'm not kidding) while the other goes at the bolt with WD-40, a ratchet, and a big breaker bar.

    If you are in doubt of your ability to accomplish this task, do not try it, as I injured myself and my brother no less than a dozen times during the process of replacing one. The plus side is, it only takes a couple hours to do one.

    Edit: Also, check Auto Zone or Advance Auto for the strut mounts, they are usually much cheaper than Pep Boys.

  4. #3
    ewill3rd is offline Cadillac Technician
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    Re: broken strut mount symptom?: road texture/tapping on steering wheel

    mt, it sounds more like it could be an Intermediate shaft.

    This would be noticable mostly under light turning conditions.
    What I do is take it to a parking lot that is a little bumpy and a lot empty.

    Put it into a large turn, maybe 3/4 turn off center. If the vehicle encounters irregularities in the road surface you'll hear and feel a strong click in the steering. It will sound like it's coming from below your feet but could sound like it's in the upper portion of the steering column itself.
    There have been issues since 99 in various models of too much clearance in the I-shaft assemblies and when the lube moves away from the splines you can get this clicking sensation.

    Strut mounts will make themselves heard on straight ahead bumps mostly. If you "jounce" the car really hard (put your knee on the bumper and get it oscillating up and down strongly) you'll hear a bad strut mount. Or the bearings in the strut mounts will grind on turns but rarely if you are holding a turn will you hear noise from either of those.

    Now I wouldn't say that the strut mounts CAN'T be bad, but....

    What year is this car? I'll check for bulletins tomorrow.

  5. #4
    mtflight's Avatar
    mtflight is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: broken strut mount symptom?: road texture/tapping on steering wheel

    Quote Originally Posted by ewill3rd
    mt, it sounds more like it could be an Intermediate shaft.

    This would be noticable mostly under light turning conditions.
    What I do is take it to a parking lot that is a little bumpy and a lot empty.

    Put it into a large turn, maybe 3/4 turn off center. If the vehicle encounters irregularities in the road surface you'll hear and feel a strong click in the steering. It will sound like it's coming from below your feet but could sound like it's in the upper portion of the steering column itself.
    There have been issues since 99 in various models of too much clearance in the I-shaft assemblies and when the lube moves away from the splines you can get this clicking sensation.

    Strut mounts will make themselves heard on straight ahead bumps mostly. If you "jounce" the car really hard (put your knee on the bumper and get it oscillating up and down strongly) you'll hear a bad strut mount. Or the bearings in the strut mounts will grind on turns but rarely if you are holding a turn will you hear noise from either of those.

    Now I wouldn't say that the strut mounts CAN'T be bad, but....

    What year is this car? I'll check for bulletins tomorrow.
    Thanks Will.

    The car is a 98 with now 84K on it. I got it about 9 months ago at 69K, and it had the same thing going on, possibly a little worse.

    During a pre-purchase inspection I was told it needed new tie rod ends--so I replaced them. Later while exploring and replacing an oil cooler line, I found a missing bolt, the one that is parallel to the ground, fastening the steering rack to the frame--under the passenger side.

    Cracked tie-rod ends and a missing bolt in the front suspension could be evidence of a possible incident involving either a curve or another road irregularity--or maybe speeding through speed bumps.

    There have never been any issues brought up during an alignment and subsequent re-alignments during the 6 month warranty period--no play in the wheels.

    The click only happens when the steering is centered and I move it off center to the left. It only feels like a click or a tap--its not audible. A lot of "bumps" do come through the steering wheel when the road is bumpy--which I thought was normal.

    When you say intermediate shaft, do you mean the camshaft intermediate drive shaft? that looks expensive. If that's not the one where do I look it up in the manual (CD version)?

    I haven't found any symptom on struts or steering that would resemble my issue, yet.

    Thanks for your help, Will.

    -Alex

  6. #5
    mtflight's Avatar
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    Re: broken strut mount symptom?: road texture/tapping on steering wheel

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost C
    About 4 months ago I took my car to a shop, and to save everyone from a story, they tightened a strut mount bolt with an impact wrench, which I saw later, tried to loosen it, snap. Had to replace the strut mount on one side - Not too hard of a job. If you're handy you can fairly easily do it yourself, all you need to do is remove the wheel, remove brake line fittings and any other fittings attached to the strut body, unbolt the bolts holding the strut onto the suspension (lots of WD40), then unbolt it from the top. You will need a spring compressor for this job, which can be rented from just about any auto parts store.

    After that, you have to remove the strut-to-strut mount bolt, which is excessively unpleasant unless you have air tools, and will require LOTS of WD-40, vise grips, and someone to help. Tighten the vise grips to where you can't squeeze them on by hand (don't try - hospital trip, ask how I know) and have someone stand on it. It won't hurt the strut, and after that you should be able to get the top bolt off. If not, take the vise grips off, tighten them more, and keep trying. One person stands on the vise grips (I'm not kidding) while the other goes at the bolt with WD-40, a ratchet, and a big breaker bar.

    If you are in doubt of your ability to accomplish this task, do not try it, as I injured myself and my brother no less than a dozen times during the process of replacing one. The plus side is, it only takes a couple hours to do one.

    Edit: Also, check Auto Zone or Advance Auto for the strut mounts, they are usually much cheaper than Pep Boys.
    Thanks Ghost. For something so potentially dangerous, and you mention injury, I'd rather pay the labor which is $50 per strut (my quote). I just want to make sure that will make the problem go away. I appreciate your input, and the reminder that it is a potentially dangerous procedure.

  7. #6
    ewill3rd is offline Cadillac Technician
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    Re: broken strut mount symptom?: road texture/tapping on steering wheel

    I looked through bulletins and it looks like this I-shaft thing is more common on Deville, Seville and trucks. I used to do lots of them on trucks.
    The problem items you found could have been due to poor repairs also, but I wouldn't eliminate an accident as a cause.
    Is this a single click or a noise that keeps happening under certain conditions?
    I am approaching the limits of diagnosing a noise over the internet without being able to actually hear it.
    The Intermediate shaft is the shaft that connects the steering column to the steering gear. It's about 6 or 8 inches long, has 1 or two universal joints in it and what I refer to as a slip-shaft. I posted a picture of one not long ago, but I don't remember where it was. If you look for posts with the words "intermediate shaft" and my user name you should be able to find an illustration.
    Ah heck, let me see if I can find one of your actual car.
    This is from a 2000 Eldo column view. You can kind of see what I am talking about.
    This COULD be suspect but I can't swear without hearing it that it is the problem and I don't see any bulletins calling this out on an Eldo.
    Attached Images

  8. #7
    timothyr's Avatar
    timothyr is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: broken strut mount symptom?: road texture/tapping on steering wheel

    Just to throw in my $.02, I would not count on the strut mounts taking care of it; I have replaced them on my seville twice now, both times confirmed bad/damaged/destroyed etc, both time symptoms the same, like a bobbleing thumping sensation and noice when going over any kind of irragularity, primarily noticable when going straight, not the click when turning you describe.
    Just throwing in thought as I hate to spend money to fix something that is not broken.
    T

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