Question about 1999 Ford Windstar

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Steering wheel movement

The steering wheel moves from side to side especially at low speeds. The vehicle drives straight but there is some noise at higher speeds. Is this a bad tire or could it be a wheel bearing, ball joint or CV joint, or even the rack and pinion? How can I check it?

Posted by Michael James... on


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Could be your tie rods coming out of the rack and pinion and attached to the wheels. Grasp the tie rod near where it attaches to the wheel and see if you can shake, twist or move it. If you feel any play or looseness at all in the tie rod joint, then it is worn badly. Both outer tie rods at each wheel should be replaced. If the outer tie rods are tight, you can't move them with your hands, then have a shop check your inner tie rods for wear. Have them check the ball joints for wear, also. Or you can raise the wheel off the ground. Be safety conscious. Grab the tire at top and bottom. Can the tire move in and out, feel play in the lower ball joints? Any side to side play in the wheel? Maybe you can spot the looseness at the tie rod or balljoint. Maybe you'd better let a shop look at it.
A CV joint wouldn't have those symptoms. A wheel bearing possibly, but usually accompanied by a grinding noise. Have it checked out.

Posted on Jun 20, 2012



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This kind of problem can be any moving part of the steering gear, that would be tie rod ends and of course the Rack assembly and the steering shaft that operates it. The wheel bearing would make a loud rumbling nose or roar if really bad but would not cause play, this also is true for the front tires. Most front end shops at tire retailers will do a free inspection of the front end, I suggest you have this done ASAP as driving with this much play in my opinion is not a very good idea safety wise.

Posted on Jun 20, 2012


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SOURCE: 1998 ford explorer font end

Has the car been in an accident? You may have to replace the upper ball joints as well. And you will have to get an alignment after that. I would get the tire set correctly before I started changing bearings. Of course it may be that the bearing is so bad that that is what is causing the wheel to lean so badly?
With the car jacked up, can you move the wheel laterally - it should be very tight.

Posted on Aug 10, 2008


  • 88 Answers

SOURCE: I drive a 2005 ford escape. The steering just will

how long have you had the car do you no the history? im asking this to elminate the possibility of it being a repairable right off,because in what you describe if the car has been in an accident and the chassis was damaged it may have been put on a straighner machine that pulls the twist out of the chassis this at times does not always bring the car back to original driving condtions therefore making the car steering out by a few degree,s

Posted on Jun 05, 2009


  • 532 Answers

SOURCE: 2004 expedition, when brakes applied steering wheel vibrates

check the idler arm on the steering drag link

Posted on Nov 15, 2009

Testimonial: "Thanks I been busy I'll check it out this weekend and get back to you."


  • 1244 Answers

SOURCE: 2000 Ford Focus LX steering knuckle/ball joint

theres 2 ways too fix that!! one is get some brass shiw stock it comes in a roll get about .005 thick! wrap several layers around the knuckle pin where is goes into the socket and then tigthen it up that will remove the play also you can heat the socket with a torch and then take a hammer and shrink the hole opening but if you call beards salvage in tulsa okla they can and will sell/ship you one

Posted on Jan 22, 2010

Testimonial: "Good idea about wrapping the pinch bolt. thanks for the confidence boost on using a BFH to beat it tight, I thought it would work."


  • 94 Answers

SOURCE: 4 wheel drive not engaging


Posted on Dec 03, 2010

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1 Answer

I have a lot of "play" in my steering. Driving on a straight road, I can move the steering wheel almost a quarter turn to the left or right. It was like that when I purchased it. How do I fix that?

First thing to check is the Tie Rod ends.
- Jack up the vehicle so the front tire is off the ground and grab the tire at 9:00 o'clock and 3:00 o'clock. Shake the tire. If you have excessive play in the tire side to side, stop driving it.
After that, check the Drag Link and Idler Arm.
- Have an assistant sit in the driver's seat and move the steering wheel side to side. You follow the steering components under the front end to see if there is any sloppy movement at the ends of the steering connection links.
If any of these components have excessive wear, it takes more steering wheel movement to turn the wheels.

If all of that checks out, I would look at the steering gear box.

You should take the vehicle to an alignment shop and be prepared to spend some money. They can inspect the vehicle, tell you what is wrong and give you an estimate for needed repairs. You definitely want get an alignment after all of that.

Also, look at the tires on the front axle. Are they worn on the outside / inside more than any where else? This is a sign of a toe in problem / toe out problem.
Are the front tires cupped? BAD SHOCKS
If your vehicle is equipped with a sway bar, those bushings should be replaced too.

Sounds like you are getting ready to put a lot of money into the front end of this vehicle.

Jan 07, 2018 | Mazda Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Steering wheel and front end shakes with knocking noise

easiest check struts for leakage or if the top nut came loose.
next Ball joints support bottom of lower control arm and try to move tire in and out on the bottom.
next check bearing plate for movement by trying to move top of tire.
last check tie rod ends by moving as in right turn left turn.
do both sides. if one side is bad replace both sides so you don't have to tie up vehicle in a couple months.

Jan 30, 2013 | 2000 Chevrolet Impala

1 Answer

2004 dodge ram 1500 power steering problem

this problem is evident in vehicles that have a strut suspension
at the top of the strut there is a plate that is the top plate for the suspension coil spring
above that plate in the rubber bush is a bearing
if that bearing has failed then the plate will not turn and when you turn the steering wheel the power steering is in effect winding up that coil spring
that makes low speed turning very heavy on the power steering system especially at low rpms
have the front suspension checked for that bearing failure ( both sides ) by an accredited suspension specialist shop
standing stationary and turning the wheel you may even hear a creaking or groaning noise as the spring is flexing on the strut
if you do not have a strut suspension , take it to a power steering specialist shop for a proper diagnosis

Apr 11, 2012 | Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

I njust noticed my steering wheel in my 2000GMC 1500 is now rotated about 100 degrees when the truck is going straight. My mech. says tie rods and tierod ens are tight and everthing seems normal...he did...

a bad idler arm/pitman arm, You will have a hard time trying to keep the car going straight, it will wander all over the road.
  1. Road walking. When the vehicle wanders back and forth in the direction of travel and it is difficult to keep it straight.
  2. When sitting still, there is considerable play in the steering wheel. It can be moved considerably with no resistance.
  3. When sitting still, and with the front wheels off the ground, it is possible to move the wheels side to side without the steering wheel moving. If there is to much play in the steering wheel or side to side movement of the wheel when the vehicle is stopped could indicate there is a problem with the idler arm.

Apr 22, 2011 | GMC Sierra 1500 Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Hard low speed turns

Crawl under the truck and look at the steering linkage. You may have to have someone turn the steering wheel while under. Do not crawl under without supporting the vehicle and placing chocks in front of the wheels. While someone turns the wheel look for binding where there are moving parts. Look at your tie rods and steering arm. Does it turn hard in one direction only? If so look at the side your turning into. Is this a four wheel drive? You may be in four wheel drive? Low speed turns with four wheel drive can cause torquing on dry pavement.

Dec 01, 2009 | 1998 GMC Sonoma

1 Answer

I own a 2001 RX300 and am noticing a bit of free play in the steering wheel when wheels are straight and the vehicle is moving. Also feel a vibration when driving around 70mph. The tires are ok and...

It sounds like a worn steering rack bush in the steering rack,as this explains the play youve mentioned,the vibration is caused by the wheels moving very slightly through the play in the rack bush,theres 1 letf and 1 right side bush in the ends of the steering rack that would need checking for play or movement

Nov 10, 2009 | 2003 Lexus RX 300

1 Answer

2003 BMW 325i will start but making noise

It might be a faulty power steering pump. Try checking the level of the power steering fluid. It is probably best you have your power steering system checked by a mechanic.

Does the noise occur only when the vehicle is moving?

Try moving the steering wheel from side to side, while stationary (but don't do it too often, or you might damage something). If the noise is still present when the car is stationary, then it probably is the power steering system.

If the noise only occurs while the vehicle is moving, it could be a problem with the differential/final drive, or even wheel bearings.

Apr 16, 2009 | 2003 BMW 325

1 Answer

In 4 wheel drive front wheels wobble bad

i had the same problem,i endend up changing the hub bearings and ball joints and front u joints the main problem was the hub bearings

Feb 20, 2009 | 2000 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

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