My car is transformed.

A few weeks ago I decided my car just didn’t feel safe when it’s cold and wet. I was tempted to blame the A048 tyres, but I decided to get the suspension and steering checked. The guys at Nick Whales replaced the steering rack, the track rod ends, the rear tyres, and the rear toe link ball joints.
The car feels fantastic. Previously it felt great on a dry road, but scary in the wet. It felt loose and twitchy, randomly switching between under and oversteer. Now I feel comfortable pushing it into small slides out of 60mph corners in the wet. What a change! It’s odd how easily you can forget how good the car is supposed to feel.

However… there still seems to be a little bit of play in the steering. I don’t really notice it when driving except when it’s very bumpy; I can feel and hear a knocking through the steering. When it’s parked, I can feel about 1mm of free play in the wheel rim. I can hear a definite knock when it move it back and forth. I presume this is wrong? Anybody got any suggestions for the likely culprit?


Maybe they didnt tighten the universal joint at the bottom of the steering column tight enough - you can feel that by moving the wheel and holding the joints ( ok … maybe you need two people for this )

Brendon,I must begin by pointing out that I’m no mechanic,and certainly don’t know proper names for components but…I felt I had a small ‘knocking’ coming from the steering area.Upon a routine service,I asked the technician to investigate this and he pointed me towards a pinch bolt that needed tightening.The best way I can explain it is: If you put your left hand on the steering wheel,move your right hand down towards the area where the steering rack/linkage dissapears thru the end of the footwell (by the clutch pedal),where you’ll find a linkage.If you then gently rock the steeering wheel from side to side,the linkage shouldn’t move.If it does,the pinch bolt might need tightening,(not too much tho’).The linkage is splined,and basically they wear.If You need to replace the whole part,I think it’s about �150.
Hope this helps.
P.S. If anyone can explain what I’ve just described,I’m all ears !!


Yes its the universal joint between the steering rack and steering column

DOH !!! …Just spent 15 mins trying to explain what AndyD has done in 2 mins flat !! Moral,leave it to the pro’s

It almost certainly sounds like steering wheel/column/rack play - if the rack is brand new then as said above you need to have the connecting joints checked.

Take it back to Nick Whales and they should sort it out if its only a few weeks since you had the work done.

Thanks guys,
Just by the feel and sound of it, I suspected it might be that universal joint.
I hadn’t realized it could be tightened. Is it easy to do?


Easy - well I think the pinch bolt is m10 and should be tightened to 35n/m - - but getting to it is the fun part - Feeling your way is best


Have you got a removable steering wheel? Sometimes they give a little play.

How many miles has your car done and what did the work cost?

Cheers, Ian

Thanks Andy. I’ll have a play tonight.

Ian, yes I have a removable wheel. That was the first suspect just because it was easy to rule out. No problem there.
The car’s only done 18,000 miles so it seems a little early to replace so much stuff, but there are some very bumpy roads round here.
The work came to something like �1,600 with a few other minor bits and pieces.

Well, I went out a bought a torque wrench specially to check out the universal joints. I’ve checked the bolts on the lower joint, and the lowest bolt on the upper joint and they’re fine. Can’t get to the highest bolt because it’s buried too far up in the dash. I’m thinking now that there’s a problem with the new rack.
Guess it’s back to Nick Whale’s

This is getting odd. We’ve replaced the UJs, and the problem hasn’t gone away. If anything, it’s just getting worse. We now suspect the upper column (the collapsible section). As the movement has increased, it’s easier to diagnose, and it definately seems to be between the boss and the UJs. Has anybody else had any trouble with this part?

Bet it’s your carbon fibre steering wheel that’s faulty

Only kidding

Leave my steering wheel alone. It’s luvverly.

If I was you, I’d suspect my creaky old wrists

If I was you, I’d suspect my creaky old wrists

There’s nowt wrong with my wrists - they are used regularly

Maxda RX8 springs to mind

I was just about to ask if you’ve got something again RX8 drivers, but I’ve just caught on. Laughed so hard I spat my tea out