clunking sound in steering rack

glacier9

Active member
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Location
so. Wis.
TDI
03 Jetta TDI wagon, (2) '96 Passat TDI wagons, (2) '84 GTI's; '86 RX7; 2010 Ram 2500 Cummins Turbo Diesel
2003 Jetta TDI Sportwagen: When I turn the steering wheel left or right, I hear one (and sometimes two) clunks. This only happens when the car is stationary, with engine running. I don't hear it when the car is moving (forward or reverse) while turning in either direction. Otherwise, the steering feels great, and everything else appears to be solid as well. Any suggestions as to what could be the cause?
 

Gvr

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 13, 2022
Location
Romania
TDI
'01 Alh Golf Mk4 Wagon
Order some shock mounts aswell since you'll be in there..
 

glacier9

Active member
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Location
so. Wis.
TDI
03 Jetta TDI wagon, (2) '96 Passat TDI wagons, (2) '84 GTI's; '86 RX7; 2010 Ram 2500 Cummins Turbo Diesel
The struts and bearings are fairly new (Bilstein HD) and they are quiet, even with a stethoscope pressed on them. There seems to be a bit of play in the steering wheel with engine off and steering wheel unlocked, and there should be no play. We can definitely hear the noise coming from the steering rack area. I'm going to bring it to my mechanic who does the things that I can't do, or don't feel confident doing. Actually, I should say "we" won't do--My buddy who got me hooked on TDI's knows way more than I do.
I've got to get this right because I taking it to Autobahn Country Club on June 5 for a track day. The first time I went there, I drove up to the Tech Barn and it was deserted. Someone told me that if you're not confident in your own car, you shouldn't be there. That place is a BLAST: 3.56 mile 19 turn road course. It sure beats a country club built around golfing.
I'd post a couple (boastful) pictures if I knew how...
 

burpod

teh stallionz!!1
Joined
Nov 27, 2004
Location
cape cod, ma
TDI
82 rabbit vnt ahu, 98 jetta vnt ahu, 05 parts car, 88 scirocco.. :/
it might be the u-joint bolt has loosened. i had the problem once in a car.. it had somehow come loose, causing play in the steering wheel along with some clunkiness
 

03TDICommuter

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2016
Location
So. Cal
TDI
01' NB, 5spd
it might be the u-joint bolt has loosened. i had the problem once in a car.. it had somehow come loose, causing play in the steering wheel along with some clunkiness
I had that happen on a Grand Marquis that I rented from Hertz in MN. The clamp wasn't tight on the splines on the steering shaft. Took it back and got another car.
 

ts888

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2023
Location
PNW US
TDI
03 ALH
I'd start with checking the fasteners that mount the rack. Not a common thing to be loose, but it happens. Also check the antiroll (sway) bar, they are a common source of clunks and other noises. Sometimes helps to go at it with a pry bar, as the weight of the car is holding things so just grabbing and shaking may be insufficient to reveal a fault.

Beyond that, could be inner or outer tie rod ends, could be lower ball joints. I wouldn't suspect control arm bushings, those usually make noise when braking or accelerating, and you might feel shimmy or see cupping in the tire tread.

We did have a BEW wagon a while back that had a broken spring, and it would make a popping noise when turned in one direction.
 

JB05

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Location
Il.USA
TDI
Golf,2005,anthracite blue
Check for broken front springs. Had this happen on my Golf.
 

glacier9

Active member
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Location
so. Wis.
TDI
03 Jetta TDI wagon, (2) '96 Passat TDI wagons, (2) '84 GTI's; '86 RX7; 2010 Ram 2500 Cummins Turbo Diesel
Will be taking a very close look at it on Thursday. Thanks for the suggestions so far
 

glacier9

Active member
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Location
so. Wis.
TDI
03 Jetta TDI wagon, (2) '96 Passat TDI wagons, (2) '84 GTI's; '86 RX7; 2010 Ram 2500 Cummins Turbo Diesel
Snug up rack & pinion bolts, that was it. We pried on the sub-frame/rack area while the car was on the lift and the attachment seemed fine...should have put a wrench on the bolts. Ready for Autobahn CC on Monday!
 

burpod

teh stallionz!!1
Joined
Nov 27, 2004
Location
cape cod, ma
TDI
82 rabbit vnt ahu, 98 jetta vnt ahu, 05 parts car, 88 scirocco.. :/
Snug up rack & pinion bolts, that was it. We pried on the sub-frame/rack area while the car was on the lift and the attachment seemed fine...should have put a wrench on the bolts. Ready for Autobahn CC on Monday!
nice :) easy peasy
 
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