very noisy steering motion

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very noisy steering motion

Postby Pascal » Tue 10.03.2015, 13:22

Hello everyone,

Although I already found some informations in the forum about this, I call for your recent experience :

1° when steering, especially at low speed (parking), especially rear, I have now a loud hissing noise - pump noise (Well ... not really hissing, it is more like my Mother in Law sleeping in front of the television - this description is accurate but likely not useful to all people who don't know my MiL).
I don't see any leakage.
Last year, my mechanics placed a special Bardahl liquid that is suppose to improve the rubber o- rings or gaskets efficiency, but i did not feel a real improvement.
Also I feel the steering is harder than before.

2° Second trouble : I have more and more 'gap (likely not the proper word) when turning, approx : 3° . Trajectory becomes a bit loose.
- - - - -
1° I read in a thread that a steering rack refurbishment can raise up to 1200 GBP ? Is this the solution ? At this cost ?

2° rotation gap : can this be refurbished ? Is this hard work ?
- - - - -
Is there any interest in buying some second hand stuff ?

Thanks for helping.

Have a great day, Pascal - France
2019 May - Ieper Lotus Day ! I'm not ready ! I need a hair cut ! Pascal - North of France - 1991 SE Turbo Calypso (faded to pink) Red and an additional Elise somewhere in the garage
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Re: very noisy steering motion

Postby chrisP » Tue 10.03.2015, 13:27

Hi Pascal
I can only comment on your first point, I would say what you are experiencing is completely normal. When moving at low speeds there is a noise that you describe and the steering is heavy (It can feel as though it is unassisted)

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Re: very noisy steering motion

Postby timlot » Tue 10.03.2015, 18:29

Hi Pascal, both my Elan's had & have hissing steering, seems to be normal. Mine had play in steering, although it passed MOT I wasn't happy with it, it wandered around and needed correcting even on a straight road, when stationary there was quite a bit of play. My car went to Mark at M100Hoods in Norwich recently for a number of 'issues' .....the steering was one of them. My car has only done 40k miles but it needed a refurbished/exchange steering rack £270.00, and now its totally transformed the car. Pin sharp steering with much better road holding so I would say maybe you should consider the same unless someone else knows better ?
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Re: very noisy steering motion

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Tue 10.03.2015, 21:10

Pascal: I am assuming that you checked the fluid level to make sure there was adequate fluid?

The pump has been known to be a bit noisy especially when the rack is under a lot of load: making turns at very low speeds.

Here is a section of the service manual addressing the track rod ends, gaiters and inner ball joints as well as pump tests.


Here is a picture of the basic rack and the areas I circled could all contribute to excessive play in the steering.


You will need to find a way to have someone steer back and forth through the range of free-play or slop while you or another technician watches each area to see of motion is being lost due to wear or other issue.

See this post regarding the inner ball joint causing play in the steering: viewtopic.php?f=108&t=23523#p303501

Here is a picture of an inner ball joint (inside the steering gaiter)


You can't see this unless you slide the gaiter off the ball jount, but you can check to make sure there is no play in the outer track rod end as well as the upper and lower ball joints. If the lower ball joint is going bad, you will get excessive free-play in that axis and if it is starting to rust up internally, it will inhibit rotation so you have to steer harder and constantly correct as it takes more force to return the steering back to center.

If there is steering motion loss inside the actual rack and pinion housing, then a full rebuild or replacement is in order.

To test the ball joints, you jack up that corner and put a stand under the Lower Arm (TCA) out under the ball joint and then let the jack down enough to add weight to the spring but not damaging the TCA.

Articulate the wheel in and out at the top and bottom while watching for play in either ball joint and also rotate the wheel through the turn radius and "feel" for any tightness or grinding caused by the ball joint rusting.

If this is a bit more than you want to do yourself, an alignment shop or front-end specialist can do these tests for you and advise if you have any issues.

Lower Ball Joints, Track Rod Ends (outer tie rods), upper ball joints and steering rack gaiters are all still available from Lotus.
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Re: very noisy steering motion

Postby HJ2 » Wed 11.03.2015, 08:51

Hi Pascal!

Check your front wheel bearings as well.
I had about the same complaints and renewing the bearings solved it!

See you at Ypres :-)
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Re: very noisy steering motion

Postby Pascal » Mon 20.04.2015, 14:14

the steering play could be a worn out rack (pinion) trouble.
Do you know if it is possible to fit second hand components of a RHD on a LHD , especialy this main part : the alloy housing/assembly with the pinion and the hydraulic valves/controls ?

Hissing' Pascal
2019 May - Ieper Lotus Day ! I'm not ready ! I need a hair cut ! Pascal - North of France - 1991 SE Turbo Calypso (faded to pink) Red and an additional Elise somewhere in the garage
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