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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My steering wheel vibration begins around 55mph and it's very subtle but I notice it. I had already purchased new wheel bearings but hadn't installed them prior to noticing the shaking so that was my first course of action, followed by new tires. The tires were worn down pretty well but the wear was even. While installing the wheel bearings I noticed that there was quite a bit of play in the rack and pinion from the street side but not from the drivers side. I'll try to explain. When turning the steering wheel at high or low speeds the steering is responsive and functions as it should with the exception of the slight vibration at high speeds driving straight. But when the vehicle is jacked up and I grab a tire at 6' & 9 o'clock, I can shake the wheels back and forth easier than I can with any other vehicle I've worked on. When I shake one wheel the other wheel shakes equally. From my observation it did not appear that the rack and pinion housing was moving which leads me to believe that the internal components of the rack and pinion are getting loose. I've had racks fail in the past on other vehicles but they exhibited the typical signs such as squealing or leaking or hard turning but I don't have any of those symptoms. I would imagine that internal failure of the rack would lead to leaks but I can't say that for sure so I'm here to get other opinions. The play in the wheels also follows up the intermediate shaft of the steering column and at the full extension of the slop or play in the wheels as I shake them manually, there is a noise at the intermediate shaft. I found a video on YouTube relating to a worn rivet in the steering column mount and during a visual inspection I did witness some play from the under the dash and that is where the noise comes from but I'm not exactly sure what the issue is in this area because the video was linked to an article but I couldn't find the original article. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. The problem persists after new wheel bearings and new tires. Tire rod ends and ball joints felt solid. Stabilizer linkages are only a few months old.

2009 Chevy Traverse 2wd LT1
 

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2020 High Country
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630 Posts
Sounds like a inner tie rod end is loose on the side with play.
Inner tie rod ends are replaceable, a lot of parts stores will loan / rent you the tool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The inner tie rod was my first thought but when I wiggle the wheel it transferred right through to the opposite wheel. So if i move either front wheel the opposite wheel moves without hesitation or in other words, there I'd no slop between the wheels. It almost feels as though the entire rack and pinion is unbolted and moving freely but it's not. I would say that I get about 5⁰ to 10⁰ play out the wheels before I feel resistance. I'm really thinking that the rack is failing but I have never experienced this sort of failure before so I was trying to get feedback before I started replacing parts unnecessarily. I just don't know enough about the internal function of the rack and pinion to come to a definitive conclusion.
 

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Rack is one piece of steel connecting the inner tie rods together.
With a helper you need to determine if play is in rack or the steering column down to the rack. Also with helper and tires loaded to see if rack mounting bushings are OK.
I'd check this engine off with helper turning wheel for you so you can hear for mechanical issues like clunks.
I'd try holding input shaft of rack with something and helper turning wheel to see if looseness in the intermediate shaft.
Steering checks are usually a two person deal.
 
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