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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Piloteers - 2007, LE, 165k miles. I have noticed that I have some play in my steering wheel going from center to left or right. Seems to be fine after about 11 or 1 oclock on the wheel just in the center. Is this worn out rack and pinion? tie rods? What steps to diagnose? The only steering/suspension components new to the car are the Struts and shocks. Thanks!
 

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To check if its the tie rods, wiggle the steering wheel 10 oclock to 2 oclock and listen/feel for clunking noise.
If you feel clunking...to further pin point the source.
1) open your drivers window all the way down
2) step out of vehicle
3) close the door
4) place you left hand on the tire and wiggle the steering wheel with your right hand.

if you feel unusual movements on the tires more than you do on the steering wheel, there's a good chance its your tie rods.
 

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I think your mileage is about right for tie rod end replacement. Mine are on their way out at 140k miles.
 

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Don't forget ball joints are also a major player check them also when checking the tie rods. @165k if they are still oem then check them to be safe :)
 

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Did you find out what was causing the play?
With the "test" that I posted..if you feel the unusual movement more so on the steering wheel it might something between the P/S rack and steering wheel. There's I believe two u-joints there.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Haven't found the culprit yet and won't have time so I am gathering information. I will check this for sure. I am doing a lot of educating myself on FWD steering and suspension. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I jacked each side up and checked the tie rod, steering, and every other connection (used a pry bar against the control arm) and all they seemed tight as a tick. There is definitely some play in-between 10 and 2. It only happens when you go from 12 to one side or the other and the play is only at the top and very minimal, but definitely there. It's not terrible and will ask NTB at next rotation to see if they can identify it.
 

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get them to check the rack and pinion
 
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