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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2000 auto gt. As the title says, something in my steering is messed up. Driving is relatively smooth, no excessive shaking or over steering at any speeds. However, when I make a U-turn or turn out of a parking space, once I make a full 360 degree turn with the wheel (either way) just as I get to 11 o clock or 1 o clock on the wheel, I hear a pop sound from the suspension and the wheel turns itself the rest of the way and stays there (no return). I can turn it back, but it doesn't return itself like it should. I also noticed when turned all the way to either side, my engine drops about 200-300 rpm and I hear a "gasy" sound.

I believe this is also causing another issue I have which is when I brake, some times my car shifts back and forth a little (kind of like it's trying to turn itself). Also when I brake and begin to turn, my car likes to turn it self a lot (worse at higher speeds)

The U-turn thing I can deal with, but when having to break on the highway things get kinda sketchy.

ANY help would be greatly appreciated. (Looked in the repair manual and it has about 12 total possibilities, just looking for maybe some kind of "easy" fix or explanation).
 

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Regarding the "car turning itself when braking", that sounds like the front brakes, only one of them is working properly. Could be as simple as seized slider pins on one of the calipers. Check the caliper on the opposite side the car turns. So, if your car turns left when you brake, check the right caliper and brake pads. I'd check both of em to be safe. Could also be air in the lines.
 

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probably have a ball joint or tierod about to fall apart....any knocking or popping when driving?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@Method. That was my first thought to, I checked my pads and they had the exact same wear. Just in case I got new pads and put them in, it's been about two months and the new ones are exactly the same. While braking, sometimes it will turn itself one way and sometimes it will slightly turn itself one way then back the other way, alternating for awhile.

@Bitter. That's what I originally thought as well but I get no noise over bumps or anything like that so I don't think it's a ball joint. Tie rod or cv joint is what I'm leaning towards. As I said, there is no popping or any noise over bumps or turns. The only noise comes when I turn it one way past 360 degrees. It's a kind of loud pop and it only happens when turning the wheel to the side (right or left) not when returning to center
 

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I also noticed when turned all the way to either side, my engine drops about 200-300 rpm and I hear a "gasy" sound.
Just as an FYI - this (the quote from your original post) has nothing to do with your other suspension issues. The engine drops RPM and makes that noise because of the load your power steering pump is putting on the engine at full lock.

Do you have any suspension modifications?

-Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Alright. I wasn't sure so I figured I'd include everything I noticed. I have tried this without the sway bar endlinks and the noise still occurs so I've ruled that out.

Other than new shocks and springs, I have no suspension mods.
 

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Maybe take the wheels off and put blocks or jacks under the front knuckles to keep the suspension loaded and turn the steering wheel and see if anything's making contact?
 

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I think either a bolt or bolts or something else in your steering rack is loose or broken. A broken steering rack has a classic symptom of "self-turning" as well as no return. The pop makes me think its a broken bolt moving around when you turn.

Your issue with braking would be explained by this as well. And the fact that you have replaced your pads and checked your tie rods, ball joints, sway bar endlinks and hopefully the rest of the suspension (control arms, sway bar bushings, shocks (where they mount to the knuckle) makes me think it's for sure something to do with your steering rack.

could it be a cv axle?
I highly doubt it, but it never hurts to check. A broken axle would prevent power from getting to the ground on that wheel. Easy to check, jack car up, inspect axle, turn car on, put in gear, give it a bit of gas and look at the wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #10

I have play in both CVs in direction of the arrows (about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch). I'm not sure if I'm supposed to but it also makes a clunking sound when moving towards the wheels on both sides.

The axle itself also has play and makes a clunking sound when moving back and forth

When I twist the axle to simulate drive and reverse, when I switch directions there is a loud clunking sound and vibration near the tranny. This also happens when I drive, such as when I reverse out of a parking spot and then go into drive, but only with the wheel turned. Also happens when I start drifting back on a hill and then hit the gas

http://youtu.be/IHppAjJHvDc

That is the video of the noise
 

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Play in the axle in the direction of your first picture is fine in the amount you wrote. That clunking noise is from your steering rack. I actually have my drivers side axle out atm, I will take some pictures and show you what would be the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I put a load on the driver side control arm and checked the ball joint and tierod and then did the same on the passenger side. There was no play or noise at all. I am now down to either the cv axles or the rack. The cv's look good but I have no idea how to inspect the rack or what I'm looking for. I want to get this fixed b/c I do a lot of highway driving and I've been having to avoid it b/c the car turns itself some times. Anyone know how to go about diagnosing this and trying to make certain that it is the steering rack? Or should I just take it to a shop and see what they say?
 

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Ye dude, I'm about 99.99% sure its your steering rack. I made a video for what you need to check, I'm uploading it to youtube atm. Check back later for the link.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I've looked for any kind of guide with no luck. Does anyone know of a guide to replacing the steering rack? I found a rack out of a 2005 that only has ~42k on it for $60. Does anyone know if they have the same steering racks and also how hard it is to replace by yourself?
 

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They are very difficult to change. I wouldn't even attempt it. At the moment, I can't upload the video, my SD card adapter stopped working during the upload, so atm I have no way to copying the video to my pc. However, here is a step by step guide from alldatadiy that tells you how to replace it.

Steering Rack
 
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