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Hi guys!
I have a 2009 Cobalt
I’ve replaced the steering shaft and the RF outer tie-rod.
When I turn the wheel left and right quickly it makes a clunk/rattle noise (much like a sway bar link - which have also been replaced a few months ago and are still tight).
It will only make this noise when the wheel is changing directions.

it feels like backlash of gears, anyone had any issues with something like this?
 

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Steering rack possibly. Also there are sway bar bushings. get the car on jack stands and have some turn the wheel for you while you look and listen for it.
 

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I had to replace my steering rack a few months ago due to the steering feeling loose when changing directions. The pinion in the steering rack had vertical play when not under load, it would only be noticed when changing directions, specifically on curvy highways. It didn't make much of a noise for me, but I could easily see this type of failure making a noise.

Watch the pinion to steering shaft connection while someone else turns the steering wheel back and forth, if you see the pinion going up and down you probably need to replace the rack. Alternatively, I was able to just grab the steering shaft right above the rack and move it up and down. That's the only similar issue I have run into.
 

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I changed the intermediate steering shaft last fall and I also just changed the steering rack in my cobalt just this past weekend because I had a combination of play in the steering (the wheel felt loose and I'd have to turn it 20-30 degrees before I got a steering response) so I mostly had it parked because of safety concerns until I could get it fixed. In addition to the play it was also making a clunk/crunching noise when turning. Everyone describes the sounds differently in text so I did record videos of what I'm describing and will post them in the near future. After changing the steering rack including inner/outer tie rods the steering is 100% responsive now and the prominent noise is gone when turning.

I still do hear a bit of a less prominent but faint clunking occasionally when turning and I suspect it may be in the steering column. I suspect the damage to my steering system is my own fault because I had a stuck caliper (which has since been replaced) and was driving the car for a significant amount of time ignoring the problem and just making things worse and stressing the steering components because it was pulling to the right.
 

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If your sure it's coming from the steering the column has a known issue of light clunking, it's inside about half a foot down from steering wheel, If i remember right it's where the electric steering controls shaft, gears i think, nothing to worry about unless it's really bad. But if it's coming from something else try googling front control arm bushing. They go bad alot and make a lot of noise but mostly on bumps. Two people are needed for steering noise, one moving steering wheel one person trying to track down exactly where the clunk is coming from. Like people said above could be rack, hell could even be bad strut mounts, loose rack bolts, or sway bar to frame bushings.
 

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Hi guys!
I have a 2009 Cobalt
I’ve replaced the steering shaft and the RF outer tie-rod.
When I turn the wheel left and right quickly it makes a clunk/rattle noise (much like a sway bar link - which have also been replaced a few months ago and are still tight).
It will only make this noise when the wheel is changing directions.

it feels like backlash of gears, anyone had any issues with something like this?
I had a clunking noise on my son’s 2008 Sport and it was the strut top mounting plate. I replaced the steering shaft first but the noise was there until I replaced the struts. I hope this helps.
 
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