PDA

View Full Version : stiff steering - is it a common problem on smarts?



Leeloo
29th April 2010, 19:52
Just taken our '04 smart for its service, at a reputable garage, although not a smart specialist.

Over the past few weeks the steering has become very stiff and heavy; the garage's recommendation is to replace the full steering column, at a cost of 130 + VAT for the part and 115 labour. It is booked in to have this done next week. :icon_sad:

They have freed up the steering but you can still feel there is an issue. One thing the garage told me, which he was told by Smart Bournemouth, is that this is a common problem.

Two questions:

How common is the problem?

Having read some old posts about replacing UJ joints - would this be an easier (and cheaper) option than replacing the whole steering column?

Thanks if anyone can help or has any thoughts!!

:icon_neut

uyn178
29th April 2010, 20:58
Hi,

Stiff steering due to stiff universal joints is a know problem with 4/2 Smarts. Usually it is possiblle to lubticate the U/J's to get round the problem. If they have done so on both U/J's and you can still feel a stiiff point in the lock to lock movement of the steering wheel then it is likely one or other of the U/J's is damaged and will need replaceing. If the garage is quoting you 130 for a bit, find out what it actually is!
Hopefully, the garage will get it corrct when they put it back together as getting the steering wheel set straight is important as the ABS / ESp will go crazy otherwise.

John

TheAlmostInvisibleMan
30th April 2010, 10:43
How common is the problem?

yes fairly common




Having read some old posts about replacing UJ joints - would this be an easier (and cheaper) option than replacing the whole steering column?


The correct lubrication will save you buying a new column.

That's after you use penetrant to get the joint moving , it's crucial to use some proper lube afterwards

Acester
30th April 2010, 21:46
I had this at 93k miles...I was hoping to get to 100k with no mech or electrical problems...corroded ball joints...and the figure you quote was round about it a couple of years ago...subsequently about 30k miles later wishbones now replaced...Regards ACE

Guinnessian
30th April 2010, 22:33
Having read some old posts about replacing UJ joints - would this be an easier (and cheaper) option than replacing the whole steering column?I am sorry, but I cant get my head around this question. You cant choose wich way to fix it. You need to isolate the failed component and repair /replace that component.

Your question translated to another scenery: I feel my car dont stop as fast as it did before. Whats the best way to fix it ? New tyres or new brakes ? The obvous answer is to check out the overall status of things and replace whats worn.


Usually it is possiblle to lubticate the U/J's to get round the problem.
Oy. Hold on here. You may be able to 'hide' the problem for a while, but bear in mind the original problem is still there. If the steering has gone stiff because of dry balljoints, I can promise you the lack of lube has caused damage /worn it. Not ideal in the long run...

Yes I have had a stiff and quirky steering on my -99. Two new balljoints took care of it.

If the ball lets go of the joint you are in for a ride. Been there, done that in a 'not smart' car. Not fun at all..


:kid:

Acester
30th April 2010, 22:51
...to add to Guinessian says...I was hoping to overlook it till 100k...then I saw sense as although it seems OK on a fast road as soon as you really have to steer you force the wheel over and then it loosens and you don't have any real control as to how far the steering will go and you are a danger to yourself and more importantly everybody else...and as fixes go it is not a high price to pay...Regards ACE

uyn178
30th April 2010, 23:10
It really depends on how long the "problem" has been happening for. If the steering has on just gone stiff, then lubrication will "rescue" it within the tolerances of the parts involved.

Obviously, the best "cure" would be to replace the damaged unit with a new one, but that is not always necessary. If the problem was with the ball joints then the forces that are involved are different and the tolerances which are acceptable are different.

John

elliottknks
11th May 2010, 14:10
I had the same problem on my 2002 MCC Pulse (71000 miles)and had the steering column replaced for the same price you were quoted . I had to have the tracking done also to align the steering wheel. I still have a problem with the airbag light remaing on and I believe I need to have this reset at either a Smart garage or Indi who has a Winstar machine.