GM Sues Steering Supplier
The AP reports that GM is suing supplier JTEKT North America Inc. of Plymouth, MI for faulty steering systems used in 2005 model year and later Cobalt, G5 and HHR models. GM’s suit alleges the JTEKT steering systems exhibited “excessive gear backlash,” causing a variety of noises that the General has spent $30m fixing under warranty so far. “JTEKT contends the components all met the specifications and testing requirements that GM gave it,” says the supplier’s lawyer. “The issues do not affect the operator’s ability to control the vehicle. This is a noise issue.” GM admits that the issue does not affect safety, but claims total repair costs could continue to rise as more vehicles receive upgrades under warranty. Current Cobalts and derivative models have received upgrades, although the AP does not specify when they took place. Keep an ear out for this problem if you’re considering a used Cobalt.
So would that include the 05 and up ION? And what does the noise sound like? Creaking at low speed, thumping, like an intermediate steering shaft ? Already had the strut bushings replaced, does it sound like that? What are the symptoms?
So what about all the other GM cars that exhibit these issues. The Malibu, Impala, G6, Aura, all G-body cars such as the Bonneville, LeSabre and Aurora etc all have sloppy, noisy, clunky steering shafts too. This problem has been going on since the 90's and STILL exhists to this day. I would think that if this were a supplier issue, the problem would have been cleared up long ago. I'm more inclined to think that GM specified a new untested technology that the supplier just couldn't ever quite get right yet they went ahead with it anyway. Notice that no other manufacturer is having these issues with there steering systems. Every god blessed GM FWD car or SUV that I have owned or driven with anything over 20K miles has loose, clunky noisy steering that sometimes sounds like a bunch of marbles floating around in a tin can or a boing pop noise. Intermediate steering shafts are greased, replaced, steering gears replaced, adjusted etc and the problem always comes back. And I'm not even going to get into the electric power steering fiasco that plagued the Malibus, Cobalts, G6's, Auras and Equinoxes from 05-09!
GM is famous for steering component problems. Full size pick-ups and suv's have had intermediate steering shaft problems for about 10 years. The first "fix" was to take the shaft off, pump it full of grease and reinstall it. This made the clunk go away for a couple thousand miles. Now the shaft is replaced. Look up "Pontiac G6 steering problems" for a real eye opener.
I looked at JTEKT's website and indeed they are affiliated with Toyota as "robert.walter" states. Interestingly, Toyota's Camry and Lexus ES cars have had click/pop problems with their steering shafts for a few years (at least 2004-2007).