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V8 steering clunk apparently solved!

In a message dated 8/10/98 1:06:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
scottmo@teleport.com writes:

<< > >Anyhow, after checking out my front suspension for a clunk from the
 > >front  that occurs usually when backing out of a parking spot and turning
 > >wheel, I must say I havn't really found anything.  
 You might try adjusting the preload on the steering rack,as this was
 causing a clunk in my front end when I would first back out of the
 driveway. Tightening up this steering rack preload also reduces the
 tendency for the vehicle to jump left or right when driving over road
 There is a 10mm bolt that should be turned clockwise in 1/8 turn
 increments. More details and a photo of the adjustment bolt can be found
 on my web page. Go to
 Scott Mockry >>

Exactly, Scott.  

For a while now (2 years) I've thought the steering wheel shock too much on
rough roads-replaced struts, still same problem.  The V8 had a very firm
steering wheel when I first bought the car with 96k, but I first noticed the
lighter feel when I had the hydraulic pump replaced at 120k?  And then this
annoying clunk lately when turning the wheel, usually when backing up.
Control arms?  bushings? ...

First things first, had the "new" SP8000s installed up front this morning
(slicks no longer needed:-).  Well, as soon as I got home from work today I
located the preload set bolt as Scott Mockry described so well--not easy to
get to on the v8 (you'll need to either have one long extension or combine
extensions to 10-12" so you can clear the brake fluid reservoir.)  Tried
clockwise 1/4 turn+, got in the car, drove around a bit, making sure to do a
few lock-to-lock turns and brought it back to do same again.  

Result:  Definitely firming up without binding: Steering wheel returns to on
center without fuss.  Drive on nearby gravel road.  What a feeling!  No more
bouncing steering wheel- feel is secure without jarring my hands, inspiring
confidence once more.  Get home and try to duplicate suspension unloading
clunk --ever so slight.  Turned bolt an additional 1/8 turn and test drove
again without incident.  Will test drive more fully tomorrow.

Thanks everyone for your input, and especially Scott Mockry.  The most
beneficial fix I've performed in some time (and spending ZERO $$$ in the
process.)  Feels like new again!  Gotta love this list.

-Ingo Rautenberg
90 v8q 202,000 miles