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Old 04-04-2011, 02:54 PM   #1
paulo
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Default clunking noise in front end

1997 Saturn SL with 205,xxx miles. I have replaced both front wheel bearings and I replaced both front struts and I replaced both outer tie rod ends and had an alignment after those parts were replaced. When I removed the wheel knuckle to press out the old wheel bearings, the lower ball joints seemed okay, but obviously not as tight as a new ball joint. When I drive over a rough road I hear clunking noises coming from the front of the car. Almost as if there was play between two parts. Is there a common part that wears out on these cars with this milage? How would I go about checking these parts for play or looseness? Thanks

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Old 04-04-2011, 06:23 PM   #2
Frankd1
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1998 SL1
Default Re: clunking noise in front end

Did you replace the front strut top mounts as well?

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Old 04-04-2011, 08:12 PM   #3
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1997 SL1
Post Re: clunking noise in front end

Replace sway bar to control arm end bushings and the clunk will go away. I had the same problem on my 1995 SL1. The new bushings are 2 piece and not too hard to install.

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Old 04-04-2011, 08:39 PM   #4
VUEmaniac
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1997 SC2
Default Re: clunking noise in front end

You've covered some of the bases. There are other areas that can cause a "clunk."

1. Ball joints. Requires you replace the lower control arms. I'd do this first. For $30/side you can get them with the sway bar bushings already installed too.

2. Inner tie rods. You want to get under the car with the front wheels unloaded and see if you've got any "wiggle" in the tie rods. Try up/down and in/out.

3. Steering rack. Sometimes it's just a bad rack. Get the car up on a lift or on jack stands and have someone turn the wheel lock to lock and listen for the clunk.

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Old 04-05-2011, 08:16 AM   #5
paulo
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Default Re: clunking noise in front end

Thanks for your replies. I did not replace the top strut mounts when I bought the new KYB struts. The lower ball joints are the original ones that came with the car. I will check for play in the steering rack inner and outer tie rod ends.
Would you purchase the lower ball joint part that includes the bushings from Rock Auto Parts and if these parts are replaced, do you need a new alignment done?

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