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cris_thomas 05-18-2008 03:31 PM

Help diagnosing suspension/steering problem.
2001 Saturn SC2 Manual 167,000 PS No ABS

Severe Bump steer when going over bumps. Steering wheel will actually move in hands. Worse when cornering and turning.

No unusual noises when turning. Original struts. There doesn't seem to be any play in the wheels. I jacked it up and tried to see if there was any play in the front wheels but everything seems to be pretty solid. I recently replaced the outer tie rod ends and that seemed to help for a day or two but now it is worse than ever.

What are the odds that I just need new struts? How can I tell for sure that it isn't something more serious like the LCA or something in the steering linkage? Thanks.

keith122 05-18-2008 03:46 PM

Re: Help diagnosing suspension/steering problem.
I had the same problem with my SL2. It bounced all over the road when you hit a bump. I installed out tie rod ends, which did help some. I was going to install inner tie rod ends, but the cost of the ends, and the needed tools to install them, was almost as much as a re-man rack. I ended up buying a used rack for $40.00, installed that and now it drives just fine. I did it in the driveway. Not a big deal really....especially if it's a manual rack.


Kappa24 05-18-2008 03:48 PM

Re: Help diagnosing suspension/steering problem.
with 167,000 miles on the OEM struts....i'd venture to say that they are probably NOT helping the situation

BarnOwl 05-18-2008 04:33 PM

Re: Help diagnosing suspension/steering problem.
cris_thomas let me first say that I found your guide very helpful when it came time to do a clutch.

For lack of a better thing to say. I'm going to say inner tie rod ends. You can borrow the tool to do them at Advance or Autozone. I've never ran across a bad one. So, I could easily be wrong. Here's a quote from a site I found about them

[QUOTE]Inner Tie Rod End: Symptoms of bad inner tie rod ends include looseness of steering, severe torque steer, and a "clunk" at full or near full-lock parking lot maneuvers. Inner tie rod end symptoms are worse when the car is loaded with people and luggage. Those who've commented on the condition of the inner tie rod ends have stated that the end was lacking in lubrication, suggesting that the factory either had not lubricated the end or that the end had at some point dried out.

Inner tie rod end wear is more difficult to detect than is outer tie rod end wear. The best way to check the tie rods is to remove the ends from the steering knuckles and push/pull on them towards the steering rack to check for wear. Helm's states that the inner tie rod end should have around 10 lbs. of resistance with the outer tie rod end disconnected. [/QUOTE]

Use your own judgement and thanks again for the guide.

madpogue 05-19-2008 01:05 AM

Re: Help diagnosing suspension/steering problem.
At 167,000 miles, I'd also look carefully at the strut-top mounts. Open the hood and bounce the car on the suspension while observing the mounts. If you see any movement between the "layers" of the mount, stick a fork in it, it's done. If you're also doing struts, it's zero extra labor.

cris_thomas 05-19-2008 10:05 AM

Re: Help diagnosing suspension/steering problem.
The struts and upper strut mounts will definitely be replaced. Probably this weekend. However, I'd rather not take the suspension apart twice or have to get more than one alignment.

Is there any way to check the status of the Lower Control Arm, inner tie rod ends, or anything else that might cause the bump steer without taking the whole thing apart?

prioris 07-21-2011 10:42 PM

Re: Help diagnosing suspension/steering problem.
My original struts (on 1999 saturn sl1) were pretty shot at over 210K and that was mostly highway driving. They should have been replaced long before that. my struts didn't feel that bad either. no excess bouncing although ride became subtly more fatigue. when they were taken off, and i pushed down on them, the struts did not spring back up.

At 167K, i would be looking at condition of the struts if they have that much mileage.

my rear brakes were worn down to thin metal also. the brake drum had to be taken off to see that. just recently, i think the bad struts i replaced before the struts caused a newly installed control arm to go bad.

oops, i didn't see the date ... couple years old ... oh well

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