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2004 Ford Focus Clunk When Steering....in Desperate Need Of A Diagnosis

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Hi there

I'd be grateful if anyone can offer me some advice. Posting on this forum will be my last resort before phoning as many FORD dealers as i can to get their advice.

I've seen that there have been a few discussions previously with a similar topic but wanted to see if anyone can relate!

My 2004 Automatic FF started 'clunking' when steering over Christmas, The only way to describe it is a knock/clunk when turning or steering at 9 and 3 on the wheel ( if that makes sense). I took it to a family friend mechanic who was a bit baffled by it, but thought it was the steering rack. He replaced this, found that it made no difference, so resold the one he bought and then replaced the steering arms. He said to drive it for a week or so and see if it made a difference. It didn't.

I then got a second and third opinion by going to another father/son mechanic team. They were adament it was the steering rack, replaced it with a reconditioned one and the car was perfect for about 2 weeks. No knocking when turning or resistance from the wheel.

Suddenly the wheel started knocking again (great) but this time at 10 and 2, so in different places. I took it to a third mechanic. He couldn't work it out either..... He said that what confused him was the the wheel only clunked and resisted when the engine was on,. He said he understood why the previous mechanics thought it would be the steering rack, but he didnt think it was.

Back to square one with a clunky car. Annoyed and frustrated!!! I've seen on forums that people think it could be the CV joints etc. My issue here is that a ford focus is made for its simplicity and reliability... how has this problem now confused 4 mechanics..........

If anyone has had a similar problem, or can easily diagnose the cause of the clunks i would be REALLY grateful for some advice, getting extremely fed up.

Many thanks,



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Welcome to the family Rhiannon!

CV Joint is certainly a probability! is it only the left hand or right hand side when you are turning that you are hearing the clunks?

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No, they clunk at about 10 and 2 on each side when turning in either direction.

My dad has been doing some research and someone mentioned it could be the Anti-roll bar links?!?!?!

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drop links, CV joints, boots, it could be any of those but its difficult to diagnose for definite over the phone.

All of which if you replace yourself can be done cheap enough so are always worth doing.

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I was thinking cv joint too. Have you inspected them thoroughly? Check gators are not torn. If torn you'll lose the grease from them rapidly and they be shot quickly. Normally get a grinding/clonking on lock with these.

Drop links also. Check bushes. I'd have thought though that if your drop links are shot they would clunk going over bumps and not necessarily on lock.

Check everything that puts pressure on any bushings when the wheel is turned. I'm very surprised a competent mechanic has found your fault yet.

Hope you get sorted soon..

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Thinking about it a bit more, you state the new rack was ok for a few weeks. This points towards knackered bushes.

I'd hedge a bet that when they mucked about under there they may have tightened everything back down nicely, then a few weeks later the bushes have perished further and the knocking returned.

Check lower arm/track rod ends etc.

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I've got exactly the same issue, absolute nightmare! My Focus 1.6 TDCI has been an absolute pig in regards to steering, the guy I bought it from was a trusted family dealer/mechanic, car was fine for around 2-3 weeks loved driving it then the locking steering happened took it back and he couldn't work out the issue as he had done alot of refurbing on the car. Including new bushes which makes me think about the job he's done on them, Interesting! Anyway he's spent alot trade value on new parts (rack, power steering pump + new wires, 3 sets of new discs) 2-3 weeks later guess what started all over again! He took it to a Ford garage and they've said its something to do with the ball joint its quite comon so I thought I had it sorted with this new part on. My Focus has the 3 steering settings and in sport it still locks like a ***** but in Comfort its barely noticeable and now ive got wobble at 60mph+ and clunking noise when turning at low speeds? Just want it sorted! Hope this helps anyone with same issue!

(P.s my breaks also caused steering wobble upon breaking but that seems to be fixed now so something must have helped lol)

Sent from my GT-N7100 using Ford OC mobile app

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