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White Diamond 2001 STS
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Discussion Starter #1
:want: Sorry, just have to vent, the car is going to the dealer next Monday for the FORTH time on this problem. The initial symptom was a front suspension rattle over bumps. Fairly common, I figured it was the stabilizer bar bushings or links. I should have replaced them myself and re-evaluated, but figured I'd take it in.

On the first visit, they couldn't reproduce the problem.

Shortly thereafter, I took the LF tire off to remove the intake silencer and noticed the strut was leaking. So I took it back with the same symptoms, and also noted that the strut was leaking.

On the second trip, they replaced the strut, noting that it was "leaking and rattling", and did a 4-wheel alignment.

After picking the car up, there was a popping sound and popping feeling in the steering wheel whenever you would turn it past center, either left or right. The steering wheel also wasn't straight anymore. And the original clunking wasn't solved, but I figured I'd just take care of it myself.

So on the third trip, they replaced the "seat" (I assume this is something relating to the coil spring on the strut?). Tech stated "test drove, okay".

The wheel is STILL not straight, but at least the left/right noise is gone. I went yesterday to belly ache about the wheel not being straight and the left/right noise has returned...it appears that that seat broke again, or whatever it is. So I went in, pretty puffed up at this point, and said I wanted the car fixed and wanted a loaner because I can't afford to keep dropping the car off all the time and getting rides to the office.

Then the service writer says, "well as part of the certified program, you're authorized a loaner." OH GREAT...well thanks for telling me on the THREE prior visits! :bigroll:

So...it goes back in Monday. I told them I don't care how long they have it, they can keep it all week. I just wanted it fixed. It's such an enjoyable car to drive other than that. Flawless except for this front suspension issue. And I'm confident that I'll get it back with the subdued rattle still there, and I'm confident that I'll replace the $20 stabilizer bar bushings myself and fix that problem.
 

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1999 Black and Tan STS
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753 Posts
I can not believe they didn't mention the loaners. I was always given another cadillac, usually a Deville when mine was serviced under warranty without fail. My dealer did dent my front fender trying to "reproduse the noise", too bad I didn't see it for a few days, my wife picked the car up that day..

Speaking of struts, I was having the same trouble a few years back, but I could never get them to agree I needed a stut. I suppose they were trying to save money. Did everything but. The car sort of rocked left front to right rear on highway bumps even.

Today I took an hour and removed both front struts myself, then I replaced my third brake lamp LED and replaced my rear suspension compressor. I'm using all factory parts, shopping for the best deals and my mechanic lets me use his GM discount for the remaining parts. I can not wait to regain the ride I purchased way back in Y2K!
 

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2008 SRX
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403 Posts
jadcock,
Describe your noise with some detail about what speed, road condition, etc.
There are only a few things that would rattle on your car and stabilizer bushings are not on the list.
 

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White Diamond 2001 STS
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Discussion Starter #5
Tech:

The clunking in the strut is when you turn the steering wheel past center, either left or right. You can turn the wheel to the left, and it'll clunk (and you can feel it in the wheel) when it goes past center. Then, as long as all your turns are left turns, the strut will be quiet. But as soon as you turn it to the right, it'll CLUNK...and then be quiet again until you turn left again.

The popping sound sounds JUST LIKE stabilizer bar bushings. Had that problem on my '97 Seville. Had it a few times on my '03 Grand Caravan. It's a low-toned rumbly noise when the tires are going over broken pavement. You can feel it slightly in the floorboard, but mostly you can just hear it. Sort of a popcorn-sounding sound, but dull thuds. Only when going slow over very rough/grainy pavement, like turning into the Cadillac dealership (as ironic as that is) or onto my neighborhood street. It doesn't do it much when traveling at speed, like over railroad crossings, but will occasionally.

Any insight? Thanks very much.

Edit: Dooman, the last time it was in, they replaced what they call a "Seat". I assume that's a spring seat...probably the same part as the spring pad about which you're talking?
 

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'98 STS (RIP @ 206,xxx miles)
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4,854 Posts
Jason, if this was happening to my car I would be checking on two items that need to be eliminated as possible sources of the noise.

The first one would be the steering rack to cradle mounting bolts.

Second would be (what the GM parts catalog calls) "insulators" on the strut assembly. The insulators are molded rubber pads intended to prevent the spring from making metal to metal contact with the "strut mount" at the top and the spring perch at the bottom.

This picture is the strut mount with the top insulator on the left, the thrust bearing in the center and the mounting plate on the right. http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i101/JimDphotobucket/DSC01734.jpg

This picture (sort of) shows the bottom insulator between the spring and the spring perch. The dirt might make it hard to identify the rubber. http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i101/JimDphotobucket/DSC01730.jpg

When the dealer replaced your leaky strut, they might have used the original insulators. Standard policy is to not replace them unless needed. The bottom insulator is the one to suspect; the top one takes very little abuse. The strut assembly has to be removed and disassembled to replace any of these pieces.

The best of all possible worlds would be if the dealer could duplicate the noise on a test drive.
 

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White Diamond 2001 STS
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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Jim.

I'll specifically ask about both pieces. I'll also look to see if the lower spring insulator appears new or not. Do you know what the "Seat" is? That's the exact name of the part that they last replaced to fix the left-right popping sound/feel. And it did work, initially. It's actually been quiet today (the left-right popping noise anyway). I'm hoping that it's as apparent next Monday as it was yesterday.

The dealer has been able to verify the noise. However, they must not have been test-driving it after they fix it. The first time I picked it up after the strut replacement, it made a loud clunk as I turned the wheel to back out of the parking space. And when I called after bring it back, the service writer said the guy definitely heard the noise, and was "disassembling" the strut to try to find it. I now realize that simply meant disassembling the spring/strut assembly, rather than tearing into the strut cartridge itself. I was concerned when I thought that they were tearing into the strut itself.
 

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2008 SRX
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403 Posts
Jadcock,
It sounds like you're describing an intermediate steering shaft problem. This part, when the slip part of it doesn't move freely, will make a dull pop/crunch noise and feel. You would feel it a little in the steering wheel mostly at low speeds just off center and braking lightly or rough road. Your dealer should be VERY familiar with this, so it might be something a bit more elusive. This condition can also be affected quite a bit by temperature making it come and go. Good luck. Keep posted.
 

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White Diamond 2001 STS
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Tech. I do have the service history of the vehicle (still under warranty), and the intermediate steering shaft was replaced 08/24/05, at 47,970 miles (just over 60,000 miles currently).

Are these parts known to go bad repeatedly? I should note, if I didn't make it clear before, that the left-right pop started immediately after the strut replacement, so I'm fairly confident that it's related to the strut, but I could certainly be wrong. If you're talking about the low rumbling noise on grainy pavements, then it HAS always done that since I bought it, but it seems to have gotten worse lately, which is why I'm just now having them address it.

I'll report back with anything I find out next week. Thanks again.
 

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2008 SRX
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Make sure they write it up on the next visit as two separate noises. Clarify that there are two different noises in different conditions, if it is the case . They may have created something while replacing the strut and you may have one or even two other problems. There is an even newer, more improved (ha-ha) version of the intermediate shaft. A bulletin regarding the shaft has been revised about 5 times since 8/05 and yes, they go bad repeatedly - poor lubricant issue. Low rumbling noise is probably the lower column bearing - old style is green housing and the new one is orange. There are no repeat failures with this.
 

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White Diamond 2001 STS
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Discussion Starter #11
Make sure they write it up on the next visit as two separate noises. Clarify that there are two different noises in different conditions, if it is the case.
I am giving them a 1 page Word document with this service visit, clearly documenting everything that I'm hearing.

There is an even newer, more improved (ha-ha) version of the intermediate shaft. A bulletin regarding the shaft has been revised about 5 times since 8/05 and yes, they go bad repeatedly - poor lubricant issue. Low rumbling noise is probably the lower column bearing - old style is green housing and the new one is orange. There are no repeat failures with this.
Is there a way for me to visually (externally) spot an orange vs. a green lower column bearing? And would you be so kind as to post the TSB number for that intermediate shaft? I'd like to include as much information as I can in my letter.

Thanks again for your assistance.
 

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2008 SRX
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403 Posts
Bulletin # 06-02-35-010
Subject: Clunk Felt/Noise Heard From Steering Column, Steering Gear and/or Front of Vehicle During Maneuver and/or Steering Wheel Rotation (Replace Intermediate Shaft) #06-02-35-010 - (05/09/2006)

Models: 2001-2004 Cadillac Seville -- with RPO JL4

2001-2003 Oldsmobile Aurora

2000-2005 Pontiac Bonneville

Condition
Some customers may comment on a clunk type noise coming from the front of the vehicle while driving during a turning maneuver. This condition may also be felt through the steering wheel when the vehicle is stationary and the wheel is rotated from steering stop to steering stop. Some vehicles may only exhibit the noise once for every 360° of wheel rotation. On all other vehicles, this clunk noise will be noticed during low speed acceleration or deceleration, typically in light turns of the steering wheel.

Cause
This condition may be caused by inadequate lubrication of the steering intermediate shaft which results in a "slip stick" condition possibly resulting in the clunk noise.
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The other issue, lower column bearing, can be verified looking under the dash with the insulator panel removed. 3" green or orange plastic bearing bearing housing at the base of the column, orannge is good.


Subject: Clunk/Rattle Noise from Lower Steering Column Area When Traveling Over Road Bumps (Replace Lower Steering Shaft Bearing Assembly) #02-02-35-004 - (05/22/2002)

Models: 1998-2002 Cadillac Seville Built Prior VIN Breakpoint 2U284658
Replace the existing lower steering column shaft bearing with P/N 26100500 and install a new retainer, P/N 07847029
 

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1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham
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4,414 Posts
Thanks for the explanations .I assume '01-04 Devilles also can have the same problem considering they share same steering wheels and its components .
 

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02 STS
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Common problem on LOTS of FWD GM cars... Not just Caddys

Tech is right... GM has changed their minds at least 4 times in as many years with what to do with this...

1) Grease the Stock shaft
2) Replace the stock shat with a new stock shaft
3) No wait, don't replace the shaft, just grease the stock shaft with special grease
4) No, never mind, replace the stock shaft with a re-designed one...

My poor 02 had all of the above done under warranty (by the previous owner) ... Step #4 Finally fixed the problem

I can attest that the new shaft looks like it is machined from chromium steel... It is a really nice looking piece!
 

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1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham
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4,414 Posts
Well, Deville majorly seems more reliable then despite the same engine then
 

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Crimson Pearl 2001 STS
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I'm fairly confident that I have this steering intermediate shaft issue on my 01 STS, the description fits like a glove. By the way, sorry for jacking your thread jadcock. Does anyone know (Tech) what this would cost to fix at the dealer. We will be pulling the engine in the future for the TCC but that can wait and id rather get this fixed up now as it is annoying. :bigroll:
 
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