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2004 CTS luxury package
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300 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've recently done several repairs to my 2004 CTS. (3.6)

I had the lower control arms replaced, along with the shocks, and upgraded to FE2 shocks.

I replaced both swaybar links (just in case, the ones on it were only two years old and seem to be just fine anyway) and replaced the swaybar bushings, which were definitely bad.
(This has CTS-V swaybars, front and rear.)

Despite this work, I get a clunking noise that is heard most often at LOW speed on pavement that isn't the smoothest in the world, but is by no means in bad shape.
It's heard best on a LIGHTLY bumpy surface.

The position of the steering wheel doesn't really seem to matter.

The upper control arms have been carefully checked and they look great.

Bouncing the car up and down (stopped) doesn't cause the clunking. Neither does dry steering.

Does that sound like it really might be the power steering rack? Granted, it has been leaking fluid for a while, but I keep the fluid reservoir topped off as needed.

If it's not likely to be the rack at fault, then I don't really want to spend the money to replace it. I want my money to go to FIXING the problem, not just throwing another part at it.

The problem has not been found by probing the suspension with a prybar.
 

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2004 CTS luxury package
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300 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I've found evidence that the rack is at fault. It'll be changed out on Monday. Then I'll know for sure.
 

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2006 CTS 2.8L - Black/Black
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129 Posts
having the same issue. curious to hear the outcome. im thinking either my inner tie rods or rack is shot. leaking very little and only have to top mine off 2 times per year.
 

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06 CTS Sport/Luxury package
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9,802 Posts
Make sure that you two buy the correct steering rack for your CTS. There are two models out there. One with speed sensitive assist, and one with out.

Best way to find out, probably the only way, is to look at the original steering rack. Along the column that goes up to the steering wheel, there may or may not be a servo motor attached to it with a 24(18 maybe) inch electrical connection. I personally have this feature in my CTS, but it's not mentioned in the build sheet or list of build code sticker.

KOT
 

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2006 CTS 3.6L
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3 Posts
I have the same problem. Replaced the sway bar bushings, brackets and end links , that did not help. The steering rack seems to be the culprit. What was the result of replacing your steering rack?
 

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2004 CTS luxury package
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300 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
It's perfectly quiet up front now, even in hard cornering.

It's so quiet up front now, that NOW I can hear my rear suspension bushings getting loose. They'll be replaced soon, I think.
 

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2006 CTS 3.6L
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3 Posts
Since my car is fairly new to me, I decided to check the power steering fluid that is hidden under the engine cover. It was extremely low and the fluid was dark brown. I did a quick turkey baster replacement of the fluid a few times. Took it our for spin and the clunking is much less but I can still hear it.

Did you replace your inner tire rods also?
 

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2004 CTS luxury package
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300 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Inner tie rods will usually come with the replacement rack. So, yes.

Yes, there are two versions of the rack. One has an electrical connector on it, for the speed sensitive steering feature
which is part of the sport package. I don't know what will happen if you try to use the sport rack in a non-sport equipped car.
 

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2005 CTS/ 2008 DTS/ 2008 STS V8 N*/ 2011 CTS4 ALL W/D Pearl
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688 Posts
Inner tie rods will usually come with the replacement rack. So, yes.

Yes, there are two versions of the rack. One has an electrical connector on it, for the speed sensitive steering feature
which is part of the sport package. I don't know what will happen if you try to use the sport rack in a non-sport equipped car.
Did you have to get an alignment done with the job? Could I be so bold to ask how much the rack cost you and how much was labor (hours). Thank you in advance.
 

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2004 CTS luxury package
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300 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
The rack was 423 dollars. An alignment is required whenever you remove, replace, or adjust any part of the steering and suspension system
and that certainly includes the rack.

You might get the rack for less. That's what my mechanic charged me.
 

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2004 CTS luxury package
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300 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Personally I wouldn't buy a used one. It may be just as bad as the one you want to replace. Not a good gamble in my opinion.
 

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06 CTS Sport/Luxury package
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9,802 Posts
Remanufactured or used, not much difference in them at this point. And I highly doubt you'll find a new one for the first gen CTS.

I had mine replaced back in 2009 or 2010. 5 or 6 years later and 80,000 plus miles. The used rack is still going strong.

KOT
 
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