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Steering column chatters when in drive?

Posted By: Scrojira

Steering column chatters when in drive? - March 06th 2019 4:07 pm

Here's my current dilemma:

My van has developed an amazingly annoying high-pitched chattering/squeaking sound that I've been chasing for weeks. At first I thought it was the speedo cable but now I'm thinking that's probably not the case.

It only happens when the transmission is in drive and when I ease up on the gas. In other words, dead silence when I'm accelerating but when I take my foot off the pedal, the chatter immediately starts. Push down on the pedal again, even very slightly, and the noise goes away. It does not happen at all if the transmission is in any other gear, including coasting in neutral.

I also just realized yesterday that I can stop the noise by slightly holding my shift lever up, which leads me to believe it's coming from inside or around my steering column.

What the hell could be causing this racket???
Posted By: Doone

Re: Steering column chatters when in drive? - March 15th 2019 5:05 pm

What kind of van is it, how many miles?

It is the speedo cable about 12 bucks at advance and a simple fix you dont need a lift for.

Just be careful not to lose the drive cog on the transmission end when you disconnect the old one otherwise you wont have any speedo at all.
Posted By: Dyno_Dave

Re: Steering column chatters when in drive? - March 16th 2019 10:53 pm

"Steering column chatters when in drive"

I had a girlfriend like that once.
Posted By: Astrocreep66

Re: Steering column chatters when in drive? - March 17th 2019 1:16 pm

Had a steering column fall apart ..lol definitely sounds like speedo. Disconnect from the speedo head if possible. Process of elimination.
Posted By: Scrojira

Re: Steering column chatters when in drive? - March 17th 2019 2:55 pm

'78 Chevy G10, 350/350.

I've found that if I wedge something in between the steering column and the shifter sleeve while I'm driving (like a small pierce of corrugated cardboard), the noise goes away immediately. This leads me further to believe it has everything to do with something going on in the column.

If it it's the speedo cable, why wouldn't it happen in all gears and why would the noise stop as soon as I touch the shifter?
Posted By: Meanmachine

Re: Steering column chatters when in drive? - March 17th 2019 4:07 pm

Sounds like there is possibly a bushing or collar that is inside the shifter sleeve that has worn or broke that separates it from the inner column components and the shifter sleeve rides or rotates on. Pull the steering wheel and you should be able to look down inside to further diagnose the problem. Steering wheels can be a pain in the butt to remove, you will need a puller.
Posted By: Doone

Re: Steering column chatters when in drive? - March 18th 2019 3:52 pm

Originally Posted by Astrocreep66
Had a steering column fall apart ..lol definitely sounds like speedo. Disconnect from the speedo head if possible. Process of elimination.



+1......easiest way for elimination of speedo, however I would disconnect bottom so the cable isn't turning. If it is the speedo change the cable out altogether as lubing it is practically the same job as you have to pull the inner cable out to lube and a complete new one is less than $15 and lubing is just a temporary band aid if it works at all. Watch out for that cog I mentioned earlier.
Posted By: Scrojira

Re: Steering column chatters when in drive? - March 22nd 2019 6:31 am

Disconnected the speedo cable, same results. It is definitely not the speedo cable.
Posted By: kursed

Re: Steering column chatters when in drive? - March 29th 2019 12:21 pm

Remove the shifter, insert a little bearing grease into the cup the shift arm rests in, replace shift arm.
Posted By: Scrojira

Re: Steering column chatters when in drive? - March 29th 2019 1:51 pm

Yup, done that. Still noisy as all hell.
Posted By: kursed

Re: Steering column chatters when in drive? - April 21st 2019 1:24 pm

Dangit. Well if you weren't on the opposite end of the country I'd come over and check it out for ya. Wife wants to visit family in Portland, but that'll probably be a while away yet.
Posted By: Scrojira

Re: Steering column chatters when in drive? - April 24th 2019 1:42 am

Finally got a real chance to crawl under the van and investigate further. Turns out is wasn't coming from the column at all.

I cleaned and lubed up all the pivot points on the transmission linkage rods and the chattering is gone. Phew!
Posted By: kursed

Re: Steering column chatters when in drive? - April 24th 2019 10:32 am

NICE!
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