View Full Version : Bad handling and noises

shay marriott
11-05-2017, 12:44 PM
Hello there everybody - first post on here so please go easy!

I am having some issues with the handling and steering on my 2008 3.0tdi Quattro (90k miles).

The symptoms are somewhat variable, and don't always seem to present themselves - some only when the car is warm, some only at certain speeds, and others all the time. I suspect they are in some way related, as they have all become noticeable around the same timeframe. I am predominantly using my work truck and motorbike at the moment but getting to the point where I'd quite like to sort it out as I've sort of realised I'm avoiding driving it.

So here is a list of the symptoms...

- Clunking noise - when the car has been driven a bit (anything over a few miles really), low speed and stationary steering causes a clunk noise from the front (possibly drivers side?). This (I think) can be felt through the steering wheel as a slight fractional resistance.

- Tram lining - Not on all roads, but certainly enough for me to anticipate lines or areas of unevenness on roads and slow down/manoeuvre to avoid them. I have tried to pinpoint which side of the car tramlines worse but there doesn't seem to be much difference.

- Straight line and higher speed stability - my previous car was a 1 Series Coupe, which would sit at 130 or so very happily (closed road of course, officer) without any steering correction needed. The Audi requires constant vigilance to keep it from drifting out of line. It almost feels like the front wheels are a bit loose - and it really doesn't feel at all 'solid' to drive. This obviously makes longer journeys somewhat tiring and can make twisty NSL A-Roads a bit of a nuisance due to the unpredictability of the steering,

- Generally poor handling - I know that Audis are renowned for a slightly numb steering feel, but I had always thought it should be precise. I've driven a 2014 A7 with the same engine and it felt really confidence inspiring, even on uneven road surfaces.

- Steering (wheel) - The car steers, I won't deny it that. However, over uneven surfaces the steering wheel jerks around like my old Defender's used to - it's like the steering wheel is more at the mercy of the road than it is under my control! This seems to happen regardless of which ADS setting it's on.

I'e been suffering with these problems for a good few months, and nothing specific comes to mind as a trigger or cause for them. It had its MOT at the end of March and I asked them to keep an eye out for anything relating to steering or front suspension but they came back with nothing other than a little superficial corrosion on one of the rear springs. The car has Drive Select, including damping options. However the ride is great even in Dynamic and I wouldn't think theres anything wrong with the shocks as presumably it would impact the ride quality. I have had a recent full (Hunter) alignment which showed everything properly in spec. and have the printout somewhere if it helps. New Pirelli P7 Cinturanos all round about 500 miles ago, although the handling issues were present before that. Here are some things a bit of googling hinted might be at fault - I'm no mechanic so may have completely the wrong end of the stick...

- Track rods - could these/related bushes be worn and due replacement?

- CV joints - I understand these may cause the 'clunk' noise, but would this potentially also have an impact on handling?

- Ball joints - Again I'm not sure on what these really do...

- (Worst case scenario...) Steering rack - I've read some stories about replacement racks being necessary, even on lower mileage cars due to the clunking noises. I've also read about the steering rack bolts coming loose and causing the clunking noises. I had the car up on a jack recently and there doesn't seem to be any play (although in honesty I don't really know what I'm looking for...) and there doesn't seem to be slack in the steering (i.e. If I move the steering wheel I get an immediate response). I don't really know what the symptoms of a dodgy or failing rack are.

- Someone said "wheel bearings" to me - however I've not heard the whirring or felt the vibration that I understand typically comes with wear of the wheel bearings. Not sure if this can cause handling issues...!

- Tyres(?) - Can particular tyres really screw with the handling? I'd have thought higher end tyres like Pirellis would be fine and I've not read many bad reviews of them.

So, if you made it this far, thanks for reading - and any advice would be greatly appreciated. I can hopefully afford to fix it at non-dealer prices but I feel going in knowing as much as possible about the symptoms might save me getting ripped off for lots of extra investigation work. If I can narrow down the problem enough my sister's partner is a mechanic with a proper workshop so he might be able to do the work even cheaper. A little part of me thinks I should just sell it on, take the hit, and buy something else - but who knows what problems I could be buying with another car... and having said that I can't think of a car I'd rather have than the Audi.... when it all works properly!

Thanks - Shay.