Drivetrain Grinding behind steering wheels?

Smokedawg

Founding Member
Jul 6, 2001
2,260
2
48
1990 GT
Last night I had my steering catch on me a couple times like the wheel didn't want to turn. Got home and turned the wheel back and forth a few times and there is grinding behind the steering wheel? I took the two plastic covers off just behind the wheel and verified the grinding/scraping noise is coming from behind the wheel and not down further in the column. At one point when turning I heard like a small snap if plastic and it sounded like that piece fell out but I couldn't find it. Anyone have ideas what's behind the wheel that could be causing this? I've owned the car 20+ years, never had the steering wheel off.
 

Smokedawg

Founding Member
Jul 6, 2001
2,260
2
48
1990 GT
Last night I had my steering catch on me a couple times like the wheel didn't want to turn. Got home and turned the wheel back and forth a few times and there is grinding behind the steering wheel? I took the two plastic covers off just behind the wheel and verified the grinding/scraping noise is coming from behind the wheel and not down further in the column. At one point when turning I heard like a small snap if plastic and it sounded like that piece fell out but I couldn't find it. Anyone have ideas what's behind the wheel that could be causing this? I've owned the car 20+ years, never had the steering wheel off.

Pulled air bag off, kinda sounds like it's the clock spring area. I haven't pulled the steering wheel yet. Not sure if the clock spring could somehow break and cause the steering to catch.
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
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Likely the bearing has come apart, in the tilt column there are two, one at the bottom of the tube and one at the top, the air bag column may also have two but I don't have one handy to check.
i replaced the one on the dump truck, similar air bag column, long time ago so the memory is corrupted, common sealed bearing, didn't have to be pressed on or anything just massive column disassembly, fixed for maybe 12 bucks parts.
 
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Mstng93SSP

You have a nice rear end there Dave.
15 Year Member
Nov 29, 1999
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If it is the bearing the shaft will be able to be moved up and down and feel loose. If it is the clock spring it shouldn't move. Does the horn, cruise etc. still work?
 

manicmechanic007

5 Year Member
Sep 26, 2017
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The general is right
Your column bearings are shot
You will be glad it is not a tilt when fixing it
I have fixed thousands of these
Pretty easy for a pro
Quite bitchy for a beginner but doable be prepared to grind a punch or two into a small chisel
 

manicmechanic007

5 Year Member
Sep 26, 2017
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There will be no excess bearing c;learance until a few balls pop out of the bearing
The column will lock up first followed by bad panic.
When you yank the wheel is when a bearing or two will pop out
You will be able to pull the inner races off the shaft with just your fingers
Use the modified punches (chisels) you made to punch out the races
I have funny stories to tell about these bearings working at the dealer
 

Smokedawg

Founding Member
Jul 6, 2001
2,260
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48
It ended up being the clock spring. It has the two pieces and after pulling the wheel, when you spin the smaller center piece, it drags hard and makes a scratchy noise. Ended up tossing the clock spring in the trash for now and put the steering wheel back together and went for a quick drive. No problems now.
 
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7991LXnSHO

wanna catch the space herp
10 Year Member
Sep 1, 2010
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It ended up being the clock spring. It has the two pieces and after pulling the wheel, when you spin the smaller center piece, it drags hard and makes a scratchy noise. Ended up tossing the clock spring in the trash for now and put the steering wheel back together and went for a quick drive. No problems now.
I hope you clipped off and saved the wires for when you need to customize and use a Morormite Help replacement.