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Plz help... 2011 Malibu popping noise when turning right.

matthew73matthew73 Posts: 6
edited May 2017 in Chevrolet
I have a 2011 Chevy Malibu LS 2.4L. When i turn the steering wheel right I hear alot of popping sounds. It seems like the sound is coming from the other side of the steering wheel. I can also feel the little pops in the wheel when I'm accelerating from a stop. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Here's a video if that helps

Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 63,024
    This sounds like the chronic Malibu steering disease...so many reports about this....IF this is the typical Malibu issue then it is apparently related to the splines within the steering shaft's u-joint. Various fixes have been tried, including greasing the joint, but apparently replacing it seems to work the best (for a while anyway). Always good to check if this is the problem and not something more serious. This particular noise is apparently not a safety issue.

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  • matthew73matthew73 Posts: 6
    Thanks for the info, what part would i need to buy to replace it?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 63,024

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 63,024
    edited May 2017
    /Sorry but there is no simple answer---and this is why so many owners get a "repair" done and it doesn't work--because they addressed the wrong thing. The GM TSB outlines how to diagnose this issue.

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 22,752
    edited May 2017
    matthew73 said:

    I have a 2011 Chevy Malibu LS 2.4L. When i turn the steering wheel right I hear alot of popping sounds. It seems like the sound is coming from the other side of the steering wheel. I can also feel the little pops in the wheel when I'm accelerating from a stop. Any help is greatly appreciated.


    There are a couple wear problems that happen to the intermediate shaft on those. You can look for signs of dry bearings like in this video on a G6


    BUT first, I'd like to have you park the car on grass or on gravel where the wheels can turn more easily with less friction rubbing on the ground than on a pavement area. Then have someone turn the steering wheel in the way that generates the noise and you hold your hand on the spring or strut above the tire. If you feel the rubbery slipping vibration that I think I hear in the steering, it may be the bearing in the strut that carries the weight of the car but allows the strut to turn. The bushing is a nylon like plastic with grease on it when it's originally installed.

    If yours is not slipping freely, time for new front struts and rears too.

    http://www.ebay.com/gds/What-a-Strut-Mount-is-and-Why-it-is-Important-/10000000178356922/g.html

    http://www.rockauto.com/info/904/905909__ra_p.jpg

    You should also turn the steering to the right and then drive the car slowly and listen for noise from the axle joints. Then repeat with the wheel turned full left.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • matthew73matthew73 Posts: 6
    Thank you, I can't try that until this weekend but I was able to put my hand on the drive shaft just like in the video and I can feel the popping on the shaft, do you think that it could still be the struts?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 63,024
    Given what you say, it doesn't seem to be the first possibility. But it's a good suggestion.

    Can you observe or feel (careful!) the u-joint?

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  • matthew73matthew73 Posts: 6
    When I turn the wheel and feel the steering shaft right above the brake pedal I can feel the popping like noise on the shaft itself
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 22,752
    edited May 2017
    My suggestion to check the strut bearings that let the springs turn easily with the wheel and strut may be off, but the sound I was hearing in the video reminded me of that kind of sound. Because the resistance to slipping in the bearing lets go it makes that sound then the friction builds up tension and the bearing lets go again and slips.
    You would feel that in the steering wheel.

    Having noise only when turning the wheel to the right makes me wonder if it's in the universal joint or not. I'd think a loose and worn joint would give symptoms turning both ways.

    I had intermediate shaft play on my Cobalt and I could wiggle the steering slightly and generate the sound of looseness in the joint shown defective in the video. Also our town has brick crosswalks edged by concrete to hold the bricks. Driving slowly over those causes rattling sound as the wheels wanted to move left/right going over the slight changes in the pavement at low speeds. Covered by extended warranty in my case, so I didn't do much diagnosis. I actually had also thought my axles were worn and noisy but I was checking them with the car jacked up which was wrong. My dealer explained to me they were actually in good shape, but the steering intermediate shaft was replaced.

    Are you able to see the yoke for the univeral joint as shown in the video and see if there is any dry residue indicating wear on the bearings inside the universal joint? If you can see the joint, can you see any play when someone else turns the steering wheel slightly or when you move the steering wheel part of the shaft above the joint?

    Check the springs while turning the steering wheel. It's all in the diagnosis to avoid replacing things that aren't bad. I have replaced the wrong things occasionally.

    Good luck.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • matthew73matthew73 Posts: 6
    So i jacked up the car today, first when both wheels are off the ground the sound does not appear at all (perfectly quiet) but as soon as i drop the car back down it reappears (again only when turning right). I checked all the boots and rubber fittings and everything seemed perfect. Nothing was loose and had any wiggle, all boots were sealed ans in great shape. So you guys still think its probably the strut mounts? Make me feel better before I spend this 400 bucks lol....
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 22,752
    edited May 2017
    That is one guy thinks... LOL
    I don't "know," but I would start checking there.

    Do not jack the car up. With the weight of the car on the wheels, preferably parked on grass or gravel which lets the tires rotate in place easier, have someone else turn the steering wheel to the right while you hold your hand on the top of the tire or better on the coil spring in the strut beyond the tire. Do not jack the car up which takes the weight off the strut mount. You MAY feel the spring "give" as the mount builds up tension and lets go as the wheel and strut try to rotate on it.

    The fact that the noise was one directional made me more suspicious. I'd think a bad universal in the steering gear would be rough turning in both directions--such as turning the wheel back to center from the full right turn, not just when the gear is working hard twisting the wheel to the right from center.

    When I had a mount go bad on a 2003 leSabre, it would resist turning to the right, then the spring would let go after twisting a little with a scrunch sound. Did not do it turning the wheel back to center. I remember the first time I heard it make a sound and it scared me because I could hear and feel the car actually shudder as the tension stored in the spring because the mount didn't slide as the spring and wheel and strut all turned.

    In fact, drive the car after having had it up and rotating the wheels left/right. The noise may be gone or lessened for a while after changing the weight on the mount and on the grease that was originally between the surfaces that move.



    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • matthew73matthew73 Posts: 6
    Yea i jacked up the car after i did what you recommended, i had my buddy turn the wheel while my hand was on the spring (on both sides) you can definitely feel the popping but you can feel the popping on both springs... its just hard to pin point the sound
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