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#2085673 - 11/24/10 07:08 AM HHR steering column problem
Roscoe10 Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 65
Loc: Alabama
Have an 06 Chevy HHR with annoying thumping, popping sounds coming from underneath the front floorboard. Mechanic says it's the steering column. A check of internet forums on the HHR confirms a significant steering column problem with these cars,as well as the Cobalt, Chevy Malibu and certain Pontiac series. Has anyone had to deal with this problem? If so, what was the cost. Service manager at local Chevy dealer says new steering column and labor runs about 700.00 to 800.00. Is repair very complicated and beyond the capacity of average DIY'er?

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#2085703 - 11/24/10 07:46 AM Re: HHR steering column problem [Re: Roscoe10]
qdeezie Offline


Registered: 08/10/10
Posts: 840
Loc: Charlotte, NC
I thought GM had a recall on the steering column. You might want to check on that. I have a friend that has an Impala around that year range that had a recall.

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#2085712 - 11/24/10 07:57 AM Re: HHR steering column problem [Re: Roscoe10]
Roscoe10 Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 65
Loc: Alabama
GM replaced tons of these under warranty and have sued the manufacturer of the steering columns for 30 million which they claim to have spent on warranty replacements. They do have a recall on the electric steering motor for some cobalts but not the HHR. I'm out of warranty so the cost is on me.

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#2085720 - 11/24/10 08:06 AM Re: HHR steering column problem [Re: Roscoe10]
SaturnIonVue Offline


Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 582
Loc: New Orleans, LA
It sounds as if your issue has been over diagnosed a little. The problem usually in several GM vehicles is not the steering column itself but the intermediate shaft(s). These are the "U-joint" like linkages on either end of the steering column where it goes through the firewall. One, or both may be making the noise. You can figure which one is the problem by having a friend move the steering wheel in a way to make the sounds, while you listen for it under the dash or under the car.

GM, for some reason can't seem to master making and using these things right and the issue has been around for a long time. That popping-thumping sound that you hear is not dangerous but it is very annoying! Please don't get taken for a ride by a repair shop because I would bet a dime against a doughnut that that is the problem. GM often recommends (at least for my Aura) that the shaft be lubed with some "magic lube" and not to replace the part! YMMV. I wouldn't try a repair myself. It won't be cheap at a dealer.


Edited by SaturnIonVue (11/24/10 08:08 AM)
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#2085779 - 11/24/10 09:18 AM Re: HHR steering column problem [Re: SaturnIonVue]
Roscoe10 Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 65
Loc: Alabama
Did the magic lube work to reduce/eliminate the noise?

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#2085827 - 11/24/10 09:57 AM Re: HHR steering column problem [Re: Roscoe10]
FowVay Online   content


Registered: 06/02/02
Posts: 2174
Loc: Southeastern USA
My mom's Impala had a clunking sound and it was the little u-joints on the steering shaft. I crawled under the dash and squirted some Penetro-90 on both of the joints and it's been noise free for about 3 years now. I had to remove a under-dash plastic cover to gain access but otherwise it was a easy task.
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#2086572 - 11/25/10 03:48 AM Re: HHR steering column problem [Re: Roscoe10]
SaturnIonVue Offline


Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 582
Loc: New Orleans, LA
Actually, I don't know if the "magic lube" actually worked or not to fix the problem. As I recall, it was a bullitin saying not to replace the intermediate shaft but to lube the shaft with a specific lube and gave the GM part number.
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`08 Saturn AURA XE, 4Cyl 2.4L
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#2086584 - 11/25/10 05:30 AM Re: HHR steering column problem [Re: Roscoe10]
JustinH Offline


Registered: 04/17/04
Posts: 3175
Loc: Texas
LOL. There is no magic lube. It is chassis grease applied with a zerk needle into the fitting.

My ion has the same problem. It is the intermediate shaft, about a $120 part from the dealer. Mine has required grease about once a year for two years now, then the problem goes away.

It is a little U joint that connects part of the steering shaft together.
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#2092094 - 12/01/10 12:17 PM Re: HHR steering column problem [Re: Roscoe10]
bigmike Offline


Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 3239
Loc: Florida
The intermediate steering shafts are a problem for a bunch of vehicles. My dad's Malibu sounds awful, but he just lives with it. My truck had the shaft replaced with an upgraded or newer model, via a TSB. It still makes noise but not as much.

They're just greasing the splines. It probably won't last all that long, maybe 6 months to a year? Depends on the grease used and how long it takes to work out of the splines. It's a bandaid fix.
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