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2016 Sorento LX FWD
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm brand new to Kia products. Have a 2016 Kia Sorento LX FWD with about 52K that I bought used from a KIA dealer with 42K about 10 months ago. The CARFAX stated that the dealership had replaced the steering wheel about 50 mi. prior to selling it to me.

I did not notice it during the test drive (city driving / all pavement), but when I got it back home I noticed that on the short gravel road to my house, and even in my gravel driveway, the steering column makes a fairly loud clunking or rattling noise.

When the steering wheel is turned, I'm not feeling any sticking issues or experiencing unexpected steering control issues as have been reported by many at NHTSA site: 2016 KIA SORENTO SUV FWD). Search "Sorento" and "Steering" and that issue is like 99% of the results...surprised that it's not gotten to recall status.

My situation is different. There doesn't seem to be any axial play in the steering column. As long as the wheel is turned smoothly as you would in normal use, where the angle of rotation is fairly significant, you don't hear or feel anything. However, if the wheel is turned somewhat rapidly back and forth ("jiggled") over a very short range of travel, you can feel and hear this rattling sound, and it is definitely coming from the steering column. I did this with the car sitting still, in P. Conceivably, this lines up with the observation that the rattle happens more on gravel roads, because the less-smooth surfaces probably cause very slight angle changes from the tires up through the column as the vehicle goes down the road.

Only rarely will I hear / feel this on concrete or asphalt pavement. But even on relatively smooth gravel roads it's common--almost constant--and even at low speeds the sound and feel of the rattle is fairly intense.

This has me wondering whether it's related to the dealer having replaced the steering wheel (the rattle feels further down on the column). The dealer did not explain why they replaced it. I probably should have asked, but since I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary during the test drive, I didn't make a point of asking.

I know from YT videos that on some Kia / Hyundai steering systems, there's that little $7, 8-point star-shaped rubber / urethane "gear" or "bushing" or "coupler" that sits between the column and the electric power steering motor that gets torn up:


Just makes me jumpy every time I hear it, because I'm not used to a steering column rattling, and all the worst-case scenarios come to mind.

I'm finally getting annoyed enough to take it to my local mechanic. (Nearest KIA dealer is 75 miles away.)

The symptoms do seem very similar to the MDPS (Motor-Driven Power Steering) Coupler problems seen in Kia / Hyundai designs where the "soft" star-shaped coupler gets all chewed up and lets the interfacing metal parts bang into each other instead of occupying the space (backlash?) between them:


So far, it appears that the APDTY coupler P/N being replaced in those videos does not match / fit my 2016 Sorento LX.

I don't know yet whether this coupler design (or something similar) was still being used by the time the 2016 Sorentos were built. But it does appear that the 2016 Sorentos did incorporate MDPS; some models (upper-end trim options) have the assist motor at the rack, some models (like my LX) have them on the column. Hoping to find out if this soft bushing / coupler does exist in my steering column, and if so, what the P/N is.

Facts, experience, recommendations and general input welcome!
 

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2013 Kia Rio Sedan Auto 1.6 Turbo
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I wouldn't discount your train of thought, but I would stress it could be tie rods, stearing knuckle bushings, wheel bearing slop, ect and you are feeling it in the wheel on rapid change. You can disconnect the lowest part of the strearing colom, I think it is a 14mm, and see if you fell it to verify it is only in the colom
 

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2016 Sorento LX FWD
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Discussion Starter #3
Thought I would update this thread with the solution.

It turns out that this particular year / model of Sorento does not have that star-shaped coupler in the steering column. My mechanic found 1/8" of play at the end of the intermediate shaft where the splines interface with the rack-and-pinion assembly. The pinch bolt at that end was tight, and I didn't see any obvious wear on the splines on the part he removed. The attached picture illustrates.

He replaced that shaft, and the rattle is gone. MUCH better.
Cost for the genuine Kia part was $250, and $150 labor to install.

Finally, an interesting note the mechanic mentioned. He's worked on a number of the Kia coupler "rattles," and he said the symptoms / sound on my Kia were basically identical to those.

Thanks to all who gave this a view, and to rio-t for the comments (which were right on). Hopefully it will help others down the road.
 

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