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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All!

I have been fortunate enough to have owned my MDX since 2001 and it has been the best car I've ever had with no major problems until now. Yesterday I made a hard left turn into my parking spot and heard a couple of popping noises. I ignored it until this morning when I was going to go out with the family for a Sunday funday, but I suddenly noticed that my steering wheel would not control the tires and kept spinning like a Wheel of Fortune! What happened? There is no resistance whatsoever! I'm going to inspect the steering column tomorrow morning to see if it spins, but I'm afraid to remove the steering wheel because of the airbag.

Does anyone out there have any insight on my situation or any suggestions?

PLEASE HELP!!!
 

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Just be very, very happy that this happened where it did. Something in the couplers in the steering column has given up the ghost, apparently. It won't be too hard to figure out but you will have to drop the under-dash cover that keeps you from peering up to the steering column. You'll know you've found the problem when you can see one side of the part moving and the other staying put.

I'd (seriously!) suggest disconnecting the battery before taking apart the steering wheel / air bag area... Best to pull the negative battery terminal, and THEN touch it to the positive terminal to make sure there's no residual voltage in the system.
 

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WOW! Didn’t think that could happen - thought it would be fail safe!

I’d start with inspecting the 2 u-joints in the column that may have come loose or broken. The link shows them at #4 and 5.


If both I joints turn, then it might be shaft of the steering gear (the part the the lower u-joint connects to. (Seems super remote that, that could fail.)

When the steering wheel turned more that the 2 1/2 or 3 usual turns lock-to-lock, the clock spring may have also broke so might need to replace it. It’s separate but part of the airbag system. Your airbag light or check engine may come on. If you’re not sure how to replace, you’re probably best off taking It to a shop.

If you’re going into the area, definitely disconnect the negative battery terminal and wait at least 30 secs to avoid setting off the airbag.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just be very, very happy that this happened where it did. Something in the couplers in the steering column has given up the ghost, apparently. It won't be too hard to figure out but you will have to drop the under-dash cover that keeps you from peering up to the steering column. You'll know you've found the problem when you can see one side of the part moving and the other staying put.

I'd (seriously!) suggest disconnecting the battery before taking apart the steering wheel / air bag area... Best to pull the negative battery terminal, and THEN touch it to the positive terminal to make sure there's no residual voltage in the system.

Thanks for the awesome advice! I will check it out today and keep you posted.(y)
 

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WOW! Didn’t think that could happen - thought it would be fail safe!

I’d start with inspecting the 2 u-joints in the column that may have come loose or broken. The link shows them at #4 and 5.


If both I joints turn, then it might be shaft of the steering gear (the part the the lower u-joint connects to. (Seems super remote that, that could fail.)

When the steering wheel turned more that the 2 1/2 or 3 usual turns lock-to-lock, the clock spring may have also broke so might need to replace it. It’s separate but part of the airbag system. Your airbag light or check engine may come on. If you’re not sure how to replace, you’re probably best off taking It to a shop.

If you’re going into the area, definitely disconnect the negative battery terminal and wait at least 30 secs to avoid setting off the airbag.
Thank you so much for the advice an the link! I'll let you know what happens. Thanks again!(y)
 

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Easiest thing to do is pop the black plastic cover off the bottom of the steering column, against firewall, behind brake pedal, and inspect movement when turning wheel. If good, you need a steering rack. If no good, just get a boneyard column and be done with it. Past experience tells me it's the rack, because columns usually never go bad on these models, but the power steering pumps sure do. Don't assume, though. Find the problem, then replace. If it happens to be the steering rack, check your fluid carefully for any signs of Metallica.
 

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Thanks for the awesome advice! I will check it out today and keep you posted.(y)
Just took a look at the steering column. I popped open the cover and I saw that the bolt on the bottom u-joint came loose. Do you have any suggestions on how to put it back on? Should I just tighten back on, or buy a fresh new bolt? Would you happen to know the torque setting on this?

Also, I'm pretty sure that the clock spring broke because I heard a cracking sound on the steering wheel. I'll probably do some YouTubbing, but any tips on the clock spring?

Any advice would be much appreciated!!!
113953
113954
 

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Nice pics, glad you found the problem with ease. First thing I would do is check the splines on the rack and column joint. The joint should slide very snug onto the rack shaft. If not, the column joint is the softer of metals, so those splines may have been compromised - meaning joint replacement. As for the bolt, if sourcing from Acura or Honda is feasible, go that route for both of 'em. Also possible the threads on the joint are worn from the bolt slowly loosening, but regardless....get the bolts, try installing them. Personally, I would run to the hardware store (my garage) and get a hardened bolt, minimum grade 8.8, a star lockwasher and some red locktite. The locktite is really required on the threads.

It was mentioned above by LeftOver that your clockspring is broken. Requires air bag, steering wheel and column cover removal to get at it. Not too bad. Might be other threads dedicated to that, but if not, start a new one for the clockspring and throw a link up on this thread too.
 

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Prob better to buy a new bolt for such a critical joint.

Yup that tearing sound is probably the clockspring. I found out the hard way a while back doing a DIY repair.

Be sure the tires are centered, and center the steering wheel with the ignition lock. Once you get the pinch bolt tightened, you’ll have to rotate the steering wheel and count turns lock-to-lock to see if it’s actually centered. Having it centered is important for when you replace the clock spring. It might only have a half turn extra per side in the winding. If not centered, you’ll have to remove the joint and turn the wheel until the splines line up. Might take a couple tries so take your time and double check. Use the thread lock when you’re sure. Don’t mount the new spring until you are absolutely sure the steering wheel is centered or you could break the new spring.

Re bolt torque, not near my factory manual but this link from AZ will give you an idea. Look up the pinch bolt. You might find a specific guide for the mdx if you search.


Good luck!
 
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