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Old 10-10-2010, 01:39 AM   #1
lost_wreckage
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Default Clicking noise when turning left

I have a '96 Saturn SL1 and have noticed a clicking noise when turning left. I'm sure I need to replace a half shaft on the car, but I was wondering if there is a way to diagnose this problem with the car on jack stands. My CV boots looked fine when I did a brake job a few weeks ago, but it is making noise regardless. I'm not sure how long it's been this way because my new motor mounts recently enabled me to hear something other than the damn windows and door panels vibrating.
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Old 10-10-2010, 01:41 AM   #2
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Default Re: Clicking noise when turning left

Perhaps turning wheels all the way to the left while on stands and spinning the wheels? I haven't had a chance to check it yet, so I thought I'd make use of the awesome knowledge of some of you guys in this forum.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-10-2010, 01:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: Clicking noise when turning left

Can anyone help me with this?
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Old 10-10-2010, 01:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Clicking noise when turning left

almost certainly your axle. only problem is; which one? if you can't see a tear in the boot, it may be very difficult to track down. new axles are fairly cheap, tho. i think the last one i bought was $59 with no core charge...


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Old 10-10-2010, 02:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Clicking noise when turning left

Imagine both cv joints in straight ahead driving and then in a left turn/right turn; left turn will angle the left cv joint more than the right one and vice versa in right turns. The greater the angled cv joint the greater the tendency to cause wear - clicking whether or not the boot is intact to hold lubricant. I would think, after trying locked left and right turns to isolate this, the left side cv joint is worn. Others may have better comments.

My only experience with cv joints were blown boots (@77k miles) on both sides and the characteristic clicking in locked left/right turning. Since no noise appeared in straight ahead driving (the majority of driving) I took the chance of cleaning and repacking both joints (with help) with new OEM boots; they lasted beyond 70k miles (140k) when I donated the car. They still clicked but only in locked turns otherwise were silent in everyday driving and in less than locked left/right turns.

If the noise is there in almost all left turning situations, replace the cv joint. The worst case scenario would be the joint fails altogether (torque transmitted to the wheel) and the car will not move at all; only one cv joint has to fail completely for the transmission not to engage the other front wheel - this is the result of transmission differentials applying engine torque to the non-load bearing wheel which in this case is the wheel with the broken cv joint so this joint spins in place while the good cv joint sits still. The car would have to be towed to a repair shop or your house to replace the broken cv joint.
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Last edited by fdryer; 10-10-2010 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 10-10-2010, 03:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Clicking noise when turning left

Thanks. The problem/noise only occurs during tight left turns, usually when parking or especially when backing up. Normal driving is fine and turning is fine as long as I don't turn the wheels all the way to the left.

If my boots look ok, will it be safe to drive the car? I don't have much (actually any) money right now, but if it is unsafe, of course I will not drive it and will find a way to get money.
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: Clicking noise when turning left

There are at least two camps of opinion; one will say to replace it immediately while the other will say to drive it as is and save up for the money to replace it later since the boot isn't blown and threw out all the grease. If this is the original cv joint and its 14yrs old, you're on borrowed time even though it seems to be OK. No one can tell you when this cv joint will fail. Being cautious will mean replacing it as soon as possible.

As far a being unsafe, a broken cv joint just means no power transfer to drive the other wheel, rendering the car undriveable, not dangerous as steering isn't compromised if the cv joint were to break while driving. Of course, it would be unfortunate to break down someplace away from home that would require a tow.
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: Clicking noise when turning left

Thank you very much. I just happen to be broke at the moment. Daughter's birthday, smog and registration, and then the friggin' holidays to spend money on. I haven't replaced a half shaft before, but I love to work on cars and will attempt to do this myself. Besides, it wouldn't be worth it to pay someone to do it, so hopefully I'll learn something out of it.

You may be seeing posts from me in the near future when I attempt this job. For now, I'll be getting the necessary tools little by little and then buy a halfshaft.
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Old 10-11-2010, 01:08 AM   #9
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Default Re: Clicking noise when turning left

Well, you are in the right place as many here have done their own cv joint replacements with pictures. Spend some time searching for these threads (hint; the paper clip inserted in the post title means pictures, drawings, diagrams, etc., were posted) or look in the How-to library. One entrepreneur has videos on almost everything Saturn related. Even youtube videos are available for a quick tutorial on how to do it.
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