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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-24-2018, 06:42 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Spline Shaft Rattles In/out of Transmission; is It a Problem?

while driving with the steering wheel at top dead center, there is a rattling coming from the driver side wheel. I’ve tried to narrow down the problem and noticed the axle spline shaft is rattling in the transmission. With my hands I’m able to push and pull it in/out of the transmission on the driver’s side. I know some play is normal but this mimics the sound I hear.

I’ve inspected the control arm and sway bar bushings and the original bushings appear in good shape (no bulging, major cracks, and look same as passenger side). There are not the usual signs of a bad rear CAB, There is no clunking going over bumps. More of a “clicking” while going straight at 20mph+. No vibration in steering wheel and tire wear seams regular.

While driving, if I keep the wheel pointed left or right in any direction and the rattle goes away.

Is this a worthwhile problem to fix? Is it wearing down anything that would cause more money to fix after it breaks? If it eventually “breaks” what would break and would it be catastrophic and dangerous?

I changed the tranny fluid and didn’t find abnormal amount of metal shavings. There is some oil coming from the axle seal.

‘07 Cobalt, 80k miles.

5 years ago this started as a faint rattle going over RR tracks but in last 3 years this has been pretty consistent and gets slightly worse each year.

This is my rear CAB for reference in case you think it is causing the problem.

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-07-2018, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Took it to a shop today and mechanic said it was the upper strut mount causing the problem. The rubber seal between the strut and the strut mount has worn away and is causing metal-on-metal, thus the chatter I hear. Said I can continue to drive it around and it's not causing a safety issue, i.e. like a wheel to fall off. I'll keep an eye on the three bolts holding the spring assembly at the top, ensure they don't rust away. Otherwise, I'll forego the $711 estimate to replace. He suggested replacing the whole strut assembly on both sides. Said it would cause alignment problems if only one assembly was replaced and suggested replacing the whole thing because the struts are worn and damage to them may be incurred in the replacement process, might as well get new ones while he's in there.

Hard to stomach the repair bill on the older car, that otherwise runs great. I would replace myself with the $24 part if everything I read about replacing strut assemblies didn't make it sound like such a PITA. Although I wouldn't mind an excuse to buy an impact wrench and air compressor.

Any opinions out there to just ignore the rattle and have a safe ride?
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-07-2018, 01:04 PM
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If you have some mechanical ability, replacing a full strut assembly with another strut assembly is real damn easy.

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