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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

So my new to me 2006 MDX has had this issue since I purchased it....I assumed it was likely the worn out tires and/or likely bushings but thats not the case...

Problem:

Vehicle drives straight and has a straight steering wheel...however, any bumps or road imperfections will cause the vehicle steering wheel to turn and call pulls heavily...I previously owned a Jeep Wrangler and it's very similar to what they call "bump steer" where the vehicle basically drives itself into a rut and requires constant steering correction.

What's been done to vehicle since I've owned it:

  • 4 new tires
  • New front sway bar bushings
  • New front stabilizer links
  • New lower control arms w/ new bushings and ball joint
  • New Inner Tie Rods
  • New Outer Tie Rods
  • Tire Balance
  • 4 wheel alignment

A part of me was thinking perhaps its the struts but don't want to throw any more money at the problem until I can fully confirm its the issue.

Any ideas or things to try?

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello,

So my new to me 2006 MDX has had this issue since I purchased it....I assumed it was likely the worn out tires and/or likely bushings but thats not the case...

Problem:

Vehicle drives straight and has a straight steering wheel...however, any bumps or road imperfections will cause the vehicle steering wheel to turn and call pulls heavily...I previously owned a Jeep Wrangler and it's very similar to what they call "bump steer" where the vehicle basically drives itself into a rut and requires constant steering correction.

What's been done to vehicle since I've owned it:

  • 4 new tires
  • New front sway bar bushings
  • New front stabilizer links
  • New lower control arms w/ new bushings and ball joint
  • New Inner Tie Rods
  • New Outer Tie Rods
  • Tire Balance
  • 4 wheel alignment

A part of me was thinking perhaps its the struts but don't want to throw any more money at the problem until I can fully confirm its the issue.

Any ideas or things to try?

Thanks
So I've had two places look at it today and they both claim it's due to a worn out steering rack - also showed me some slight leakage into the bellows boots - they claim those should be bone dry.

Estimates to fix at both locations was 1300 and 1600 - seems crazy expensive. They said the exhaust, cross member, and other components have to be removed and the sub frame dropped. If all that has to be done I'd be more comfortable with the dealer doing it - any estimates from an Acura or Honda dealer doing steeeing rack replacements?

I don't feel comfortable doing it myself without a lift.

Thx
 

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It's certainly possible your rack is loose, though it's also possible that it could have very small leaks and still be OK for many thousands of miles. I'd suggest having someone you trust crank back and forth on the steering wheel while you're laying underneath looking for for something wrong. The likely suspect will be the part that you see noticeable input before any output starts happening. Could be the rack, for sure... I agree that it would be a bear to replace, but don't have a clue about the cost of doing so.

And FWIW, my own MDX with all the same parts / things done, with the exception of the sway bar links which are still fine - developed a little looseness / shimmy in the front end. I thought I was probably looking at a bad axle (still originals at 218,000 miles). That is, I did until I crawled under and tried to turn each front tire by hand. The left one was solid as a rock - the right one move about 1/4" or more, due to a very loose outer tie rod end (only lasted 40,000 miles or so). I'd really (!) recommend doing a good bit of due diligence looking for something loose under your front end before dropping that kind of money on a big repair (one that could result in collateral damage to other parts / lines / hoses that are in the general area).

And FWIW, I have a method of dropping your subframe down without a lift if you're interested. I didn't get a chance to try it when I did my power steering hose (the threaded rod got delivered late) but it should make it pretty trivial to drop the subframe down at least 4-6 inches (assuming you've disconnected all the stuff that would prevent that from happening safely, like exhaust, cables, hoses, etc.). Drop me a line if you'd like a parts list to do that (not much in the way of $$$, and not that hard to put together).
 

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1. I agree that you want multiple opinions before you commit to a new rack. If you have any specialized alignment shops in your area, that might be a good bet.

2. You can do it yourself if you have a full assortment of hand and air tools. I did it with the help of a lift. It would be a lot more difficult without one, IMO.

 

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A few suggestions on things to check and then my experience with a leaky rack.

When you go over a bump, does the X rattle or clank? That could be the sign of a worn strut. Another sign is if it's streaked/wet with oil.
You could turn your tires outward on each slide and inspect the struts.

Re the rack, my 03-06 factory service manual states the limit for rotational steering wheel play is 10mm before the wheels turn. So you set the wheels straight, rotate the steering wheel back and forth, and have someone call out when the tires move. More than 3/8-1/2 inch means the rack adjustment should be checked. There's a lock nut and 3/8 square recess on the body nearest the driver where the pinion enters the rack.

The looseness could also be the tie rod ends.

As others have said a competent shop should be able to check all of these things (and more.)

Re the rack leak, I have an 08 TL and at 105K miles, the rack started leaking and it got so bad it was leaking the entire reservoir in about 500 miles. During that time I never felt looseness or excessive looseness like you described. The pinion is a gear that fits the rack so I suppose it's possible to wander if it's excessively worn (or needs adjustment so the rack fits tight against the pinion.) As others have said, you might want to get a second opinion before replacing. The leaking with mine just made a mess everywhere I parked and the constant refilling was nuts so I replaced it. That was 3 years ago. The local Acura dealer quoted $1200, a local brake and tire shop around $850. I ended up doing it myself but had to do it 2x! The first replacement was a remanufactured unit that lasted about 5 months/9K miles. RockAuto stood behind the warranty. I got a full refund and went with a new, Acura part. The new rack has about 52K miles on it and no problems. It took about 5 hrs each time and it was a lot of work. Similarly had to drop the subframe. I made my own extra long bolts with all thread, a jam nut, and welded a nut on the end. There's a lot more room in the X but thinking it's still a big job.
 

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Similarly had to drop the subframe. I made my own extra long bolts with all thread, a jam nut, and welded a nut on the end. There's a lot more room in the X but thinking it's still a big job.
That's exactly what I did (though never got to try mine out because the threaded rod showed up after I did the job). How far were you able to drop the engine subframe before hoses / exhaust / wiring harnesses got tight?
 

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Well, I disconnected everything like hoses, wires, heat shields, brackets that would get stressed or get in the way - what a pain. Although I made my bolts about 8 inches planning for a 6 inch drop, I was only able to drop the subframe on the TL about 3-4 inches. The left and right engine mounts are attached to the inner fender so they limited downward movement. I recall having to wedge a 2x4 in between the subframe and near the firewall to tilt it down enough to clear the steering gear.
 
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