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Thread: Cracking Noise When Steering

  1. #1
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    Cracking Noise When Steering

    Hi guys. I have a 1997 840ci with 92K miles on her. I've been hearing more often this cracking noise when I'm puling out of the driveway. Sounds and feels like it's coming from the suspension. But could it be the steering box or steering rack? Shocks have never been replaced. Nor the control arms etc... Any insight would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    -Jorge

  2. #2
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    Pelican Parts is online now Senior Member Supporting Vendor
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    Hi Jorge - I would definitely go over the suspension. Does it sounds like metal on metal? If so, the bushings may be gone and need replacing. Please let us know if you have any other questions and we'll be happy to assist.
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  3. #3
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    No, it doesn't sound like metal on metal. Hard to explain. Kind of a popping noise. I know, kind of strange and vague. Does it at slow speeds, like when I'm leaving a parking lot of the house.

  4. #4
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    Could be plastic touching the wheels, especially if it mostly appears when turning/breaking or if you have none standard tire dimensions and who doesn't.

    I'd check if the plastics in the wheelwell are correctly mounted, I had the airduct moving back and forth on mine for a while touching the wheels.

  5. #5
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    Bad shocks or a bushing makes those noises.

  6. #6
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    Took another listen to it today. Trying to pin point it. It just occurs when I'm turning the steering wheel, very slow speed. Like when you're parking the car. It seems to coming from the steering wheel or column? It's not sounding like suspension to me.

  7. #7
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    Like a CV boot type of noise. I'm baffled.

  8. #8
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    Pitman arm? If you can see it, I would also inspect the steering u-joint. I had some binding and poor return to center issues and it ended up being the u joint.
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  9. #9
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    Have you tried putting car on jack stands and listening for noise while under the car with someone turning the wheel?

  10. #10
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    look at your front shock towers under the hood... if you see the ball bearings all over the place in the round seat, thats your issue...
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  11. #11
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    I also have the same problem bit it only makes the sound when i turn right at low speeds. I can feel the steering wheel vibrate very softly. I will try to film it next time i drive me e31.

  12. #12
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    radlaw is offline SoCalEights Member BMW CCA Member
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    I too have the same problem. I've eliminated control arm & ball joint issues. I'm beginning to believe it's from the dash steering mechanism. I'm going to replace the steering clock spring, when I get around to it.

  13. #13
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    Does it sound like creaking/popping timbers from a pirate ship? If so, 100% this is your steering box. I spent nearly a year changing every suspension component (underneath plus shocks and strut tops) steering column and bushes, steering wheel, changing and bleeding fluids etc etc, trying to eliminate possibilities one by one, paycheck to paycheck. Finally bit it and sent the steering box away for refurb, no probs since. There was no affect to the steering whilst the problem was there, just the horrid noise.
    If I had a penny for everytime someone commented on my poor fuel economy, I'd have enough to get it to the petrol station.

  14. #14
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    Braincat, did you notice any slop/play with your steering wheel before you had the steering box refurbished? By refurbish, what was done. Can you share some details?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by braincat View Post
    Does it sound like creaking/popping timbers from a pirate ship? If so, 100% this is your steering box. I spent nearly a year changing every suspension component (underneath plus shocks and strut tops) steering column and bushes, steering wheel, changing and bleeding fluids etc etc, trying to eliminate possibilities one by one, paycheck to paycheck. Finally bit it and sent the steering box away for refurb, no probs since. There was no affect to the steering whilst the problem was there, just the horrid noise.
    In my situation, whenever turn right at low speeds it makes my steering wheel vibrate and i can hear a buzz coming from somewhere below. It makes me really anxious and I haven’t driven it hard into a corner since I bought it.

  16. #16
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    There was no noticeable affect on the steering at speed, but parking/turning at very low speed and it felt tight before popping and cracking sounds occured. I got the whole box sent to a refurbishing specialist here in the UK (I found them on ebay); what they did I don't know, I'm guessing they just took it all apart, replaced anything that needed it and put fresh oil in.
    If I had a penny for everytime someone commented on my poor fuel economy, I'd have enough to get it to the petrol station.

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