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Randall C
Randall C, ASE Master Tech
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 12803
Experience:  ASE Master, L1, 32 years, Diagnostic / Electrical Specialist
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I have a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu LS, there is a clunking noise

Resolved Question:

I have a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu LS, there is a clunking noise when the vehicle is put in reverse, or stopping or starting suddenly, turning corners, etc. This was fixed by the previous owner at 44,035 miles. It shows test drove the vehicle and found the rattle from the front end is caused by the lower torque sensor in the steering column. Replaced the steering column assy. reset all steering column sensors and test drove and found no noise. The previous owner said it came back. Another note shows R&R Intermediate steering shaft. Lube. Test drove and found the intermediate steering shaft clunking around turns. Shaft needs lube. I had a mechanic look at it this week since I just got the vehicle this week and he thought it was the motor mounts but found it was not. Tried a new drive shaft an that didn't work. It seems like there is play in the transmission where the shaft goes in. Any ideas?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Randall C replied 7 years ago.

Hello, how many miles on the car now?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
There are 70,000 miles. She said the noise came back but she never did anything about it. It is a very apparent clunking noise.
Expert:  Randall C replied 7 years ago.

Thanks. Not being there does not help so iIcan only send info as it is. Yes, there was a very clear problem with sterring coupler. See below. We do not really know what was done. It is possible yopu need to upgraded part. Also, GM is aware of noises. i put that TSB below. It basically at the ned states it is "normal" . lastly, I have run into several cars with bad or tight sway bar links. See last below. #17 in th pic. they can not be lubed and really have to come out and be worked by hand. If paly or tight, that will cause many front end noises. i have put all the noise info below.



Bulletin No.: 06-02-32-007E

Date: March 09, 2009

Clunk, Knock or Rattle Noise From Front of Vehicle While Driving or Turning Over Bumps at Low Speeds (Diagnose Noise and Perform Outlined Repair)


2004-2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx
2004-2008 Chevrolet Malibu Classic
2008-2009 Chevrolet Malibu
2005-2009 Pontiac G6
2007-2009 Saturn Aura



This bulletin is being revised to update the models to 2009 and to update Cause # XXXXX Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 06-02-32-007D (Section 02 - Steering).

Condition 1

Some customers may comment on a clunk noise heard and felt in the steering wheel while driving at slow speeds and turning. The clunk noise may appear to be directly in front of the driver. Hitting a bump while turning can produce the clunk noise. Sometimes the noise may be duplicated when the vehicle is sitting still and the steering wheel is turned 90 degrees in either direction before initially centering the steering wheel.

Cause 1

The clunk noise may be caused by a slip/stick condition between the inner and outer components of the intermediate shaft.

Revised design intermediate shafts went into production in the 2009 model year and are the only design currently available through GMSPO since approximately September 2008. Since any model year vehicle could have had a second design shaft installed, it is critical to identify it before proceeding. The revised design intermediate shafts will NOT tolerate any type of lubricant per the following instructions. Adding lube to the second design shafts will cause a clunk noise in a very short period of time. Use the following pictures to identify which design of shaft you are servicing.


Electric Assist Power Steering

Hydraulic Assist Power Steering

In the unlikely event that the source of the noise is identified as a second design shaft with black painted tube, it must be replaced.

Correction 1 (Only for First Design - DO NOT USE FOR 2ND DESIGN)

Lubricate the intermediate shaft with steering column shaft lubrication kit, P/N 26098237.

1. From inside the vehicle, remove the instrument panel insulator panel left side panel to gain access to the intermediate shaft.

2. Remove the intermediate shaft to steering column attachment bolt.

3. Remove the intermediate shaft from the steering column.

4. Extend the intermediate shaft all the way. Using the intermediate shaft grease kit, P/N 26098237, inject the grease into the gap between the inner shaft and the outer shaft as you are collapsing the shaft. This will draw the grease into the shaft.

5. Cycle the shaft up and down several times to distribute the grease.

Remove original thread locker material from the bolt and apply Loctite(R) 242 (or equivalent) to the threads of the bolt and reinstall intermediate shaft bolt.


6. Install the intermediate shaft to the column.


^For electronic power steering, tighten the bolt to 49 Nm (36 lb ft).


^For hydraulic power steering, tighten the bolt to 62 Nm (46 lb ft).


7. Wipe off any excessive grease on the intermediate shaft to avoid damage from drips on the carpet.

8. Install the instrument panel insulator panel left side.

9. Verify that the noise is no longer present.

Condition 2

There may be interference between the clamp and the steering gear input shaft. The clamp is beveled and if forced down on the input shaft too hard, it may cause a loose fit with the intermediate shaft to input shaft joint.

Correction 2

To correct this condition, perform the following steps:

1. Loosen the intermediate shaft pinch bolt at the steering gear end.

2. Pry the clamp up using a pry bar to position the bolt into the upper part of the groove as shown above. This will position the clamp off the bevel.

3. While keeping the clamp in the upper position, tighten the bolt.

Apply blue LOCTITE medium-strength threadlocker 242(TM)


Tighten the bolt to 49 Nm (36 lb ft).

4. Verify that the clunk noise is no longer present.

Condition 3

This condition ONLY applies to 2004-2007 Chevrolet Malibu/Maxx and 2005-2007 Pontiac G6.


Some customers may comment on a knocking or rattling type noise from the front of the vehicle when driven at low speeds and over bumps. The noise only occurs when the steering wheel is in the straight ahead position and sounds like the noise is in the left suspension of the vehicle or directly in front of the driver.

Correction 3

1. Ensure the noise is not caused by Condition # XXXXX

2. Determine the source of the noise. Install the chassis ears at the following locations:

^sway bar link - one side at a time


^upper strut mount - one side at a time


^steering gear near the pinion area


^base of the steering column housing


^Radiator surge tank


3. If the noise is coming from the upper strut mount or sway bar link, replace as necessary and retest.

4. For 2004-2006 Chevrolet and Pontiac model year vehicles, the noise may be coming from the radiator surge tank area. (The 2007 model year vehicles use a different style radiator surge tank refer to Step 9.)

5. If the noise is coming from the radiator surge tank, release the two retaining tabs holding the radiator surge tank and reposition the tank away from the attaching bracket and isolate with closed cell foam.

6. Cut three pieces of closed cell foam, P/N P46515 (or equivalent), into 25 mm (1 in) by 102 mm (4 in) pieces.

7. Cut two pieces of closed cell foam into 25 mm (1 in) by 6 mm (1/4 in) pieces.

8. Install the three pieces of foam to the attaching bracket starting at the top center inside the bracket and proceed down across the fuel lines, then at the inside of the bracket at the left and right positions of the center piece of foam. Finally, install the last two pieces of foam to the inside bracket at the left and right extended sides behind the retaining holes as shown above.

9. Reposition the radiator surge tank back onto the bracket and seat the two retaining tabs on the tank.

10. Drive the vehicle to verify that the noise is no longer present.

Parts Information

Warranty Information






Bulletin No.: 99-04-20-002E

Date: June 06, 2008

Information on Driveline Clunk Noise When Shifting Between PARK and DRIVE, PARK and REVERSE or DRIVE and REVERSE


2009 and Prior GM Passenger Cars and Light Duty Trucks (including Saturn)
2009 and Prior HUMMER H2, H3
2009 and Prior Saab 9-7X



This bulletin is being revised to add model years. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 99-04-20-002D (Section 04 - Driveline/Axle).

Important: The condition described in this bulletin should not be confused with the following previous bulletins:


^Info - Discontinue Flushing and Replacing Transfer Case Fluid Due to Bump/Clunk Concern (Corporate Bulletin Number 99-04-21-004A or newer).


^Clunk, Bump or Squawk when Vehicle Comes to Complete Stop or Accelerating from Complete Stop (Replace Rear Drive Shaft Nickel-Plated Slip Yoke) (Corporate Bulletin Number 01-04-17-004B or newer).


Some owners of vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions may comment that the vehicle exhibits a clunk noise when shifting between Park and Drive, Park and Reverse, or Drive and Reverse. Similarly, owners of vehicles equipped with automatic or manual transmissions may comment that the vehicle exhibits a clunk noise while driving when the accelerator is quickly depressed and then released.

Whenever there are two or more gears interacting with one another, there must be a certain amount of clearance between those gears in order for the gears to operate properly. This clearance or freeplay (also known as lash) can translate into a clunk noise whenever the gear is loaded and unloaded quickly, or whenever the direction of rotation is reversed. The more gears you have in a system, the more freeplay the total system will have.

The clunk noise that owners sometimes hear may be the result of a buildup of freeplay (lash) between the components in the driveline.

For example, the potential for a driveline clunk would be greater in a 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle than a 2-wheel drive vehicle. This is because in addition to the freeplay from the rear axle gears, the universal joints, and the transmission (common to both vehicles), the 4-wheel drive transfer case gears (and their associated clearances) add additional freeplay to the driveline.

In service, dealers are discouraged from attempting to repair driveline clunk conditions for the following reasons:

^Comments of driveline clunk are almost never the result of one individual component with excessive lash, but rather the result of the added affect of freeplay (or lash) present in all of the driveline components.


^Because all of the components in the driveline have a certain amount of lash by design, changing driveline components may not result in a satisfactory lash reduction.


^While some owners may find the clunk noise objectionable, this will not adversely affect durability or performance.




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