Intermediate Steering Shaft Repair/Replacement

This page documents the removal and lubrication process for GM's design flaw that effects a lot of their cars.

Problem: Clunk Noise From Front Of Vehicle During Turning Maneuver/Steering Wheel Rotation

Solution: Lubrication. Do not replace the shaft.

Models: A lot including:

  • 2001-2002 Buick Regal
  • 2000-2002 Cadillac Seville
  • 1997-2002 Chevrolet Cavalier
  • 2000-2002 Chevrolet Impala
  • 2000-2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
  • 2001-2002 Oldsmobile Aurora
  • 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue
  • 2000-2002 Pontiac Bonneville
  • 2000-2002 Pontiac Sunfire
  • The dealer fixed my Monte Carlo once under warranty. That lasted about 20,000 miles and it started clunking again. Out of warranty now, I decided that since this has to be done so often, I would do it myself. This page is my documentation.

    You can pay the dealer $100 to do this or you can do it yourself for a quarter.

    Parts Needed

  • Steering Column Shaft Lubrication Kit, P/N 26098237. You need this for the cork but after the first time you simply need 25 cents worth of lube.
  • First aid kit
  • Gloves (it's a messy job)
  • Jack and one jack stand
  • A luxurious creeper is nice
  • 11 mm socket
  • socket wrench and long extension
  • torque wrench
  • 1.5 hours
  • Here's the part that you need:
    Part
    That black thing is a cork.

    Procedure

    Start by using the first aid tape to tape your knuckles unless you like to bust them open. Then put the surgical gloves on. Click on any of these pics to get full size:
    Gloves

    First thing to do is remove the cover underneath the steering wheel. It's supposed to have one nut on it but mine did not, the result of sloppy dealership work. I had mine off in under 10 secs:
    Panel

    Next you need to peel back the intermediate steering shaft seal which is kind of like a giant sized wire loom without the channel in it. If you peel it back you will see an 11 mm bolt. Before you unbolt this, make sure your wheel is straight. Once you remove the shaft, your wheel will be free to turn. If you turn it too much you can snap the air bag wire:
    Wheel

    Next you need to jack up the driver's side of the car, secure it with a jack stand, and remove the tire. You can't get to it without removing the tire so don't bother. You can touch it from the top of the engine but getting a wrench on it from there is impossible so start jacking.

    Once jacked and secure, whip out your luxurious creeper and go underneath. Here are a couple pics of what it looks like:
    Below
    Wheel

    You'll need a long extension to get to the lower bolt. Remove the bolt and the shaft should fall off without much effort.

    Now go back inside the car and pull the shaft out. Mine was frozen on so I had to put a screwdriver in to spread the pinch bolt clamp out a little. A couple hits with a hammer and it was off.

    Wheel
    Here is the shaft just after removal. Notice all of the old discolored grease. The new grease is actually white. Wipe the old crap off.

    Next thing is to fully extend the shaft and inject the grease into it:
    Wheel

    Now you need to cork it:
    Cork
    Here I'm pushing the cork in with my thumb. It's hard to do this while taking a pic.

    Next turn the yolk to force the cork in:
    Corked

    Now you need to collapse the shaft 10-15 times. I whipped out a couple of studs and set them up so the pressure was on the yolk and not on the bearings:
    Push

    After this you simply remove the cork and put the shaft back on the car. Attach the lower bolt (underneath the car) first and then attach it at the wheel. One trick to use is when you are attaching to the wheel, turn the wheel slightly to line it up. Torque bolts to 35 lb ft.

    Done. Now you're a certified GM shafter.

    134633 people have been shafted since 10/05.