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Handling Has Deteriorated Over Last Month

All was going well untill last month the steering started to feel a bit strange, it tended to wonder a little even though I steering wheel was held tight. Also there was a classic wheel bearing hum comming from the front so I checked the wheel bearings for wear and both were worn one side very bad, so I had them both replaced thinking this would cure the problem, the noise has gone but Im still left with this wondering problem! When driving it seems to take quite some effort to keep in a striaght line, also when turning the wheel slighty and letting go(at low speeds) it doesnt snap back to the middle like it did before.

When parked up I wiggled the steering wheel while looking at the road wheels there didnt seem to be much play at all.

I really need to know what it is before replacing expencive stuff like the steering rack ect....

Thanks for any help!

If it doesnt, and you do need to get a new steering rack, try Hot Hatch Heaven, I got a power steering rack for my 16valver for £100 it had only done 10,000 miles, Renault wanted £450 + vat!:eek:

Could be your suspension bushes? Not all that easy to check, but you could start with a crow bar and lever the lower suspension arm against the chassis. Same goes for the anti-roll bar.

I replaced a set on a 12 month old mk2 172, even in 20k miles they had deteriorated enough that a new set felt much improved.

Good luck :)

Check the front oower balljoints. They wore very rapidly on my 1.4RT and caused some interesting handling quirks, including a tendency to wander, and to tuck its nose in suddenly when cornering.

Jack the corner up, then attempt to pull the bottom of the wheel in and out. If it moves it could be the balljoints.

I would def recomend checking the steering rack bushes. I had exactly the same problem on mine and it turned out to be the rack bushes. Got the bushes from Renault for about £22 and got a garage to fit them for around £50. I couldnt believe the differance.


Thanks for the replys, theres quite a few things Im going to check out.

Dazz, how easy is it to check the steering rack bushes?

Is it worth taking it to kwik fit and asking them to do a free steering check, have they got the right equipment and know how to diagnose where the problem lies or should I do it myself?

Forgot to mention that the steering wheel doesnt line up when going in a straight line, it points slightly to the right, this started roughly when it started to handle strangly.

when i owned my clio 16v i had my rack fail, but up to that point there was loads of play ie a big dead zone in the stearing! when moving straight i could turn the wheel about 10 degrees in each direction before it would start to turn, unless that the problem your having then i doubt its your rack...

The Williams and 16v are prone to all of the above .. my bearings went every 20k miles

Ive eliminated the tracking and steering rack today, both were within the tollerences. Next Im going to check the lower ball joints, any idea how much they are to replace?

The balljoints were about £35 per side for my 1.4RT, but unless you are mechanically confident Id take it to a garage (it involves releasing and reattaching the anti-roll bar). A Renault garage will probably charge £100+ per side but an independent garage would undoubtedly be cheaper.

Yeah mine did too untill I had the pump replaced, still makes a few odd noises when turning though, but Ive heard this is quite normal for the 16v/williams. Fluid level is fine, it just seems to leak a little from the breather in the cap.

I pretty confident I can do the lower ball joints myself if there worn, my problem is somewhere to do it, I live on quite a steep hill and there are few parking spaces.

Still havent got to the bottom of the problem!

I took the car to a friends garage today where I gave it a good check over. I jacked up the front end and checked the following:

Lower ball joints, Wishbone bushes, Wheel bearings, Track rod ends, Steering rack bushes, Anti roll bar bushes these were all fine with no signs of wear or play.

The things im not quite sure on are there is a little bit of play in the O/S/F wheel, about 2mm with hands in quarter to three position on the wheel, I had a friend hold the steering wheel on full lock while I saw where the play was coming from, I traced it to the rack as the only thing moving with the play was the O/S track rod with the steering wheel held ridgid. Would this 2mm of play be whats causing the wondering in the handling?, it seems such a small amount of play that I thought it might be something else such as the top strut mountings which I dont know how to check and would they cause wondering?

There is no play on the N/S/F wheel at all.

Any help much apprieciated.

i am having the same problem,i dont know what it is,i have loads of play in the steering,i can wobble the steering and it still goes in a straight line untill i turn it a bit more,its horrible any ideas?:(


Sounds like it is the steering rack to me if theres quite a lot of play, where as mine has a bit of play(2mm ish) but still wonders badly thats why i was unsure if it was the rack in my case.