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2004 Subaru Outback Question: noisy play in steering column

 

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04outback, 3.0L 6 Cylinder, Philadelphia, PA, August 26, 2009, 15:02
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firewall where steering column goes through, the rubber grommit or bushing seal is completely dislodged and has 1/4" space around the shaft. I noticed a rattle months ago which has slowly become worse. When you put your hands at 12 and 6 oclock on the steering wheel and wiggle, there is slight play which emits a clunking sound. The whole shaft wiggles up to the nuckle in the engine compartment. I tried to re-insert the bushing but couldn't. I don't know why the bushing dislodged in the first place, or even if that is the cause. HELP!!!

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