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Discussion Starter #1
My sincere apologies if this is a already solved issue. I just bought an 07 Focus, 118k miles.
I've got this odd clicking coming from the steering column/wheel area. It can be felt (very lightly) in the wheel.
The tie-rods, ball joints, struts, swaybar links and bushings are all tight and in good shape. The wipers, turn signals, hi/low switches all work as designed.
The weird part is that when I release the tilt lever on the wheel, the clicking disappears. When I lock the tilt back in, the click returns, regardless of the tilt angle.
If someone could please enlighten me as to where or what is causing this (it's not in the engine bay), I'd be very grateful. I'm going nuts trying to pinpoint the origin of the sound.
Thanks one and all,
Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Really?? The weird part is, the clicking only occurs after the car has been driven a little while. Then, the "clik-clik-clik" is heard when turning the wheel.
Also, it disappears when I unlock the tilt mechanism. It's DEFINITELY coming from behind the steering wheel. Could this be a clockspring?
I'd be very grateful for any other advice and expertise.
Thanks,
Ed
 

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If you've never had the s/w off it shouldn't be the clock spring. Sounds like something to do w/ the locking lever. If you hold the wheel down w/ it not locked in is the noise gone? btw if you want to lower the column down more you'll need 3 big spacers & a longer bolt. I used 3 thick nuts for spacers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The tilt lock lever definitely affects the noise! When the cabin temperature increases, the click is audible. But when I unlock the tilt lever, and let the wheel "swing" free, it's dead smooth/quiet. Is there a fix for this; can I pull apart or adjust/tighten something to eliminate this?
Thanks for the responses so far, help is appreciated!
Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Is it possible that the temperature is causing something to expand somewhere in the column assembly? This noise is directly behind the wheel, most noticeable when it's warmer inside the car. As soon as the tilt is unlocked, no more noise...
think I may pull the column apart just to see if something's contacting somewhere. I really want to find the source of the sound.
Thanks,
Ed
 

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Is it possible that the temperature is causing something to expand somewhere in the column assembly? This noise is directly behind the wheel, most noticeable when it's warmer inside the car. As soon as the tilt is unlocked, no more noise...
think I may pull the column apart just to see if something's contacting somewhere. I really want to find the source of the sound.
Thanks,
Ed
Best to remove the cover & see before remove the column. Its a split cover top/bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks!
I'll try that. The noise is driving me bat**** crazy, but has zero effect on driving. I'm gotta find out what's causing it. It's apparently temperature sensitive, and is eliminated by the tilt lever.
(I fly rc as a hobby, so tracking down noises and vibrations is somewhat familiar to me.) I've been working on my own cars for almost 20 years, but this problem is new to me.
Thanks again,
Ed
 

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Thanks!
I'll try that. The noise is driving me bat**** crazy, but has zero effect on driving. I'm gonna find out
Just need to be patient & take your time when reassembling the two covers together.....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Alright, I apologize for any confusion. It's not temperature related. Got into my car after my shift today, and the clicking was present, after sitting outside all day.
The noise definitely emanates from the top side of the steering column, almost sounds like a u-joint click. Gonna pull all the covers when I get a chance and determine the source.
 

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Oscillation from road force wobbling at the tilt u-joint to rattle the rachet mechanism in its' play. Could be the joint or the mechanism. If so it won't do it unless car is actively moving, likely not at idle. But if it does at standing idle then lightly turn wheel to load the joint and see if again noise goes away.

Load the wheel down (while NOT turning it!) at 12 o'clock and then lift up at 6 when tilt still locked and driving and see if it changes with either test. Might wanna do the same at 3 and 9 too.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the response.
I did try "loading up" the wheel at various positions, tilt locked and unlocked. It clicked whenever tilt was locked (no ratchet on tilt, it just "pinches" angle in place.

When tilt was unlocked, the column had lots of play, no clicking. I'm wondering if I can disassemble and grease either the tilt lock mechanism, or the u joint that the noise seems to be coming from (it sounds like it's originating from that exact spot).
Thanks for all the responses so far, I appreciate the knowledgeable replies.
Ed
 

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The u-joints are commonly ungreasable and get loose to rattle. You likely destroy it to get inside of it. Of course it could be something silly like u-joint coming loose, maybe there is a setscrew in there to locate it and easy fix. Might possibly be further down too, often there is a fixing point where the column attaches to the rack input shaft stub sticking up through the floorboard, a bolt there often used to affix the two together. Seen those loose before.

Yes, some use a clutch rather than a rachet to lock the angle in place.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'll look at those possibilities. My father in law had a Pontiac G6 that had the exact same clicking; he said the dealership greased a joint in the column and the noise disappeared. It's nothing more than an audible nuisance, but the mechanic in me is determined to find the source.
 

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Hi,

I would like to know what you found out about the clicking noise. I also have Ford Focus 2007 SES that I bought over a year ago. I bought it with 70,000 miles on it. The clicking started sometime late this Spring with one click with about 120,000 miles. I would tell people or mechanics about it but no one could hear it but me. Later in the summer it went two clicks. Then I had someone clean the plug to the airbag in the steering wheel cause the airbag light would not go off. That made the clicking worse. I have had the clock spring changed, clicking not resolved. I read your post and tried the tilt and locked tilt. Same result as you.

Just like you, I am in tuned to every sound with my car.

Thanks.
 
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