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Old 06-24-2015, 02:44 AM   #1
Rochester
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Default Metallic noises from rear of car

This week, I have noticed some strange noises coming from the rear of my Saturn. It sounds like it's in the rear right area, but my hearing is not the best so I'm not certain.
I would describe the noises as dull, metallic bangs and creaks/clunks, and some intermittent light metallic rattles. They started suddenly two days ago, and they are worst in the first 30 or so seconds after I start the car after it has been sitting awhile. I also hear them while braking and when the car hits a bump, very rarely at other times.
I have done only a cursory examination so far - looked under the car before I left work earlier, and saw that the muffler is not loose, no obvious damage to the springs or anything else under the car. None of the junk in the trunk appeared to be making the noise, either. I intend to take the rear wheels off and inspect the rear brakes tomorrow before work.
My hunch is that something in one of the rear brakes broke, on the grounds that (1) the noise happened for the first time when I set the parking brake on Sunday afternoon, (2) I haven't worked on the brakes, front or rear, for a long time - they've been almost freakishly long lasting, (3) there might be a connection between a cold, broken or damaged part getting hot and the noises easing up after the first few seconds, and (4) I can't imagine anything else that could make the noise, except the suspension - can't rule that out! - but the struts are only a couple years old.
On the other hand, I have noticed no continuous scraping or grinding noises, nor has there been any noticeable change in the performance of the car or the brakes.
I'll know more when I take the rear wheels off, but does anyone have any ideas on what to look for, or what the next thing to check should be if I find nothing wrong with the brakes?
Thanks
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Old 06-24-2015, 06:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Metallic noises from rear of car

maybe suspension issues with the stabilizer bar and links. Get it stable on jackstands/front wheels blocked and try to move stuff by hand to duplicate sound.
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Old 06-24-2015, 07:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: Metallic noises from rear of car

Look at the exhaust heat shields
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Old 06-24-2015, 09:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Metallic noises from rear of car

^ This.... ^

The Heat Shields have a tendency to come loose over time; and when they do, it sounds like you are dragging a pile of aluminum cans behind the car...

You can try to re-attach them, or discard them.

I was going to say Rear Sway Bar Links, but seeing that you have an SL1, you most likely don't have them on the car.

Check the Rear Drums as well (FUN )...there may be something in there that along with the Parking Brake that is getting ready to rear its ugly head.
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Old 06-24-2015, 05:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: Metallic noises from rear of car

^^^^^ Loose heat shield/s and/or loose muffler would be high on my suspect list.
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Old 06-26-2015, 12:53 AM   #6
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Default Re: Metallic noises from rear of car

check the rear exhaust pipe where it goes over the crossmember. the space there is very tight from the beginning, & when my rear muffler strap let loose the pipe started to rattle against the rear crossmember & made an exact noise like you described. i didn't know the rear strap was rusted through & broke because it let go on top of the muffler where you could'nt see it & the bottom of it looked pretty good & tight, but it was severed on top where you could'nt see it causing the muffler to hang lower that it's supposed to...

my muffler seemed tight also even with the broke strap, so check this out good, don't take it for granted that the strap is ok just from the bottom view....
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Old 06-26-2015, 10:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: Metallic noises from rear of car

As others have said I would definitely check the heat shield. My car was making the EXACT same noise as you described and that what it was. I fixed it with a 1/2" self-tapping screw and some washers to support the broken chunk that fell off because it ripped where the rivet was. Mine was broken right below my gear shifter but yours could be broken anywhere from the rear to where I described.
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Old 06-27-2015, 05:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Metallic noises from rear of car

Thanks everyone. I think I've got it narrowed down to the right rear brake. I went to take the thing apart. Both sides so that I could compare them. I had to use a pry bar and a hammer to remove the drums, but I had to beat on it 20 or more times on the right side, and only 3-4 times on the left side. I think the right one was sticking. I tried taking it apart and putting it back together, dialing the adjuster down a few turns. I'm going to go for a short drive now, and see if there's any improvement.

I'm going to have to do a brake job in the not-too-distant future, I think. I noticed the brake shoes seem to have worn irregularly, with the bottom of each rearward shoe being thicker than the top, but the difference was more noticeable on the right side, and on both sides was more obvious on the rearward shoe than the frontward shoe. I also notice that the lowest and thickest part of the rearward shoes, and therefore presumably the parts with the least wear, were discolored compared to the rest of the shoes. Not sure why, unless it has to do with their getting less friction than the rest. The difference is more obvious on the right side.

At least now that I've taken it apart and reassembled it, I know I'll be able to do it again when I replace the shoes.

Fingers crossed that this worked!
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Old 06-27-2015, 06:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: Metallic noises from rear of car

Aargh! No, it didn't work. I'm still getting the noises, and if anything they've gotten worse as the week progresses. I accomplished nothing except making my brakes softer. Guess I'm going to have to take the wheels off again and tighten those adjusters back to where they were.

The muffler and the heat shields don't appear to be loose, nor are they touching the rear cross bar.

I noticed over the last couple days the metallic clunking is now almost a bang, worst when I back out of my driveway, and I can feel the vibration through the brake pedal if I happen to be using it when it happens.
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Old 06-27-2015, 06:29 PM   #10
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Default Re: Metallic noises from rear of car

HOLY COW I AM AN IDIOT. While tinkering with the thing this time, I noticed that there is a metal bar, longitudinal to the car, that runs from the rear wheel to the frame in front of the wheel well. It's broken clean off right above the wheel. Don't know what it's called. I was so interested in how the brakes worked that I never noticed it the first time.

I guess I'm not doing any more driving until I fix it. Hope I haven't done any permanent damage by driving this past week

Maybe I should replace the one on the other side, too.
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Old 06-27-2015, 09:30 PM   #11
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Default Re: Metallic noises from rear of car

Track Bar Snapped, They usually rott right in that area, Replace with a junkyard unit as GM no longer has stock, If the other side appears ok leave it alone for now. Replacing parts that are still working is a waist and not cost effective.
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:44 AM   #12
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Default Re: Metallic noises from rear of car

Trailing arm. I think you can buy new of rock auto

https://www.rockauto.com/catalog/raframecatalog.php?ck[ID]=0&ck[idlist]=0&ck[viewcurrency]=USD&ck[PHP_SESSION_ID]=sh0blf1fdpjc05ujmag434fkv3
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