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Old 06-07-2019, 11:50 PM   #1
2001S
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2001 SL1
2001 SL1
Default Front end rattling noise that goes away when braking

I own two 2001 Saturn SL1s both with the SOHC engine. My higher mileage one with 222,000 recently developed an annoying rattling noise in the front end when driving over bumps. The noise goes away when the brakes are applied.
This started happening right after I had the front brake calipers, rotors and pads replaced. The Meineke shop that did the work said it has nothing to do with the brakes which actually do work perfectly fine. I did take apart the brake pads and calipers thinking it might be loose pads or missing grease on the caliper slides but everything looked fine and tight from my observation.
They said the car has a lot of rust and it's the front struts that when the brakes are applied the car nose dives and compresses the springs so I don't hear the rattle. However, when I ride the brake with steady pressure from my left foot and accelerate at the same time, I don't hear the noise. I did replace the struts 3 years ago at 180k (wish I had not done so but after going back to the shop 4 times they finally got it right and those new strut noises went away).
Another shop said my rattle noise is the wheel bearings. Recommended I replace both front sides. I do hear a very faint humming noise when I am turning slightly right at about 20-30 mph or when slowing down just before complete stop. However most people say if it's a wheel bearing, you will hear it all the time and I don't.
I don't want to spend money on wheel bearings if that's not the problem so looking for advice here. Thinking it might be the engine mounts I just changed the lower left transmission mount and the upper engine mount. I did those myself and have an auto trans so that was a pain but several posts here helped me out so I didn't have to cut the bolt and other unnecessary things. Any help or advice anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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Old 06-08-2019, 12:50 AM   #2
focusofheart
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1998 SL2
Default Re: Front end rattling noise that goes away when braking

Recently, I heard an odd noise coming from the front end of my Saturn when I would slow down and slightly turn right. I took it into my mechanic and it ended up being a loose inner fender liner which rubbed against the tire when turning. Hopefully your problem is that simple to fix.

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Old 06-09-2019, 05:01 PM   #3
Saturn Night
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Default Re: Front end rattling noise that goes away when braking

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2001S View Post
I own two 2001 Saturn SL1s both with the SOHC engine. My higher mileage one with 222,000 recently developed an annoying rattling noise in the front end when driving over bumps. The noise goes away when the brakes are applied.
This started happening right after I had the front brake calipers, rotors and pads replaced. The Meineke shop that did the work said it has nothing to do with the brakes which actually do work perfectly fine. I did take apart the brake pads and calipers thinking it might be loose pads or missing grease on the caliper slides but everything looked fine and tight from my observation.
They said the car has a lot of rust and it's the front struts that when the brakes are applied the car nose dives and compresses the springs so I don't hear the rattle. However, when I ride the brake with steady pressure from my left foot and accelerate at the same time, I don't hear the noise. I did replace the struts 3 years ago at 180k (wish I had not done so but after going back to the shop 4 times they finally got it right and those new strut noises went away).
Another shop said my rattle noise is the wheel bearings. Recommended I replace both front sides. I do hear a very faint humming noise when I am turning slightly right at about 20-30 mph or when slowing down just before complete stop. However most people say if it's a wheel bearing, you will hear it all the time and I don't.
I don't want to spend money on wheel bearings if that's not the problem so looking for advice here. Thinking it might be the engine mounts I just changed the lower left transmission mount and the upper engine mount. I did those myself and have an auto trans so that was a pain but several posts here helped me out so I didn't have to cut the bolt and other unnecessary things. Any help or advice anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Does the rattle occur only when hitting bumps?

Probable causes are worn struts that are leaking
Bad ball joints
Bad tie-rod ends
Bad LCA bushings

I would have a thorough suspension inspection performed.

I had a thudding noise on my right side, replaced the LCA and no result.

Replaced the leaking strut assembly and all is right in the world of Saturn.

...
"What does a Saturn owner do, at the gas station?"

"He checks the gas, and fills the oil....."

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Old 06-22-2019, 06:30 PM   #4
2001S
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2001 SL1
2001 SL1
Default Re: Front end rattling noise that goes away when braking

Does the rattle occur only when hitting bumps?

Probable causes are worn struts that are leaking
Bad ball joints
Bad tie-rod ends
Bad LCA bushings

I would have a thorough suspension inspection performed.

I had a thudding noise on my right side, replaced the LCA and no result.

Replaced the leaking strut assembly and all is right in the world of Saturn.



Yes, the rattle on occurs over bumps or rough pavement. What are LCA bushings? Front struts were replaced 2.5 years ago. Wish I had never done so after learning about all the problems with "quick struts". Thanks

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Old 06-22-2019, 10:16 PM   #5
TomM96
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Default Re: Front end rattling noise that goes away when braking

> What are LCA bushings?

I think... Lower Control Arm
{as in upper/lower "A-Arms", earlier suspension type}
Possibly referring to the Controlling Arm bushing, either at the Steering Knuckle, or at the Subframe.

I don't remember outboard attachment (Knuckle/Strut) configuration...
but the outboard attachment is where all the acceleration/relative movement is.
Applying brake invokes PreLoad, that stabilizes (removes play) at the joints.

On the older suspensions, when rolling over 'bumps', the attachment of the bottom of the shockabsorber to the lower controlling arm would rattle If the bushing (or attachment bolt+nut) had worn Loose.

Maybe check outboard attachment of controlling arm & stabilizer(anti-sway) bar, for security/torque.

Last edited by TomM96; 06-22-2019 at 10:18 PM.. Reason: fergat un

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Old 06-24-2019, 01:30 AM   #6
can0fspam
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1999 SL2
Default Re: Front end rattling noise that goes away when braking

Make sure you have anti-rattle clips on your inner brake pads.

I have an old pickup truck that had the exact same problem -- hitting a bump would cause both front wheels to start rattling super loudly, and the noise would immediately stop when I touched the brakes.

I took the calipers off to find both sides' inner brake pads with no anti-rattle clips present. 50 cents on RockAuto and the noise never happened again.

I have yet to delve into the brakes on my SL2, but I bet it has a similar enough anti-rattle system and your problem sounds all too familiar to me.

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