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Old 02-12-2012, 10:02 PM   #1
seanriker
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Sad Front End Clunking

I'm hearing a clunking/popping noise that sounds like the front driver side. It's barely audible until about 30-40 mph.

I just replaced both the driver and passenger wheel bearing in the last 18 months. I was convinced by the troubleshooting guide in my Haynes manual that it was a CV joint so today I replaced the whole Driver side CV Axle. No dice . I have new 3rd Tier Cooper tires too. I Rotated the tires as well today and the noise did not change. Spinning the tires while up on my jack stands does not seem to tell me anything (I'm guessing I'd have to have them spinning at about 30 mph+ to hear anything).

Any ideas? If not, any more tests to further diagnose?

Thanks.

Info: 2003 Ion-1 165k miles.

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Old 02-12-2012, 11:22 PM   #2
2006 ion2
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Default Re: Front End Clunking

why would a wheel bearing or cv axle pop/clunk? you're completely off, look around on here and you'll find better culprits fast.

...
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2003 Chevrolet venture lt

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Old 02-13-2012, 05:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: Front End Clunking

Have the front suspension checked by a technician.

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Old 02-13-2012, 09:56 AM   #4
GreatCars
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Default Re: Front End Clunking

I just bought a 2006 Ion Friday, I'm a car dealer.
I noticed the clunking noise when driving at speeds under 20 mph.
Especially noticed when turning right to left or going over a bump
Stopped the vehicle and pushed up and down and rocked the vechicle side to side and I was able to duplicate the noise.

After some research on the web I came up with a few possible solutions.

1) Inspect the sway bar bushings. They apparently will either "shrink" or wear beyond service limits. This can cause the noise. They should be tight with no over swelling or under swelling. I've always found sway bar bushings to be a bit hard to diagnose, since they may not appear at first glance to be ripped or broken. The main reason for failure is the material wears out around the bar and is not always noticed at first glance.

2) Lower control arms bushings. Specifically the rear was mentioned. It was noted that the bushings would deteroriate and produced metal to metal rubbing. This should be easy to determine by a visual lnspection of the area for shinny metal areas and missing rubber material.

3) The steering column's "Intermediate Shaft"
This is a bit more involved to check. You must access from under the dash and remove the shaft. This shaft travels thru the firewall and connects to the rack and pinion. Once removed you would check the shafts Ujoints for play. The shaft also requires lubing as it floats between the upper and lower shafts. A lack of lube will also contribute to a noise.

4) The connection at the Power steering motor could be loose, especially if someone replaced the motor. You may want to double check to position of the shaft and collar. Most have a slotted keyway to assure proper positioning, but when I was viewing mine, it appeared to be not engaged completely on the collar. If this is wrong, it could cause the noise as well.

5) Upper Strut Bushings or Strut Bearings could cause the noise as well. This is a bit harder to diagnose, as it requires removing the strut to inspect.
Another issue with the assembly is that the coil spring has a rubber plate that it rests against, both top and bottom. Sometimes you can spray Silicone on this area and get some relief, but the cure is to remove and apply the gel Silicone as a lube around this area.

6) Another cause of creaking noise is the plastic casing inside the coil springs that protects the shock rod from dirt. This shield in cold weather gets stiff and sometimes doesn't move the way it should and it rubs against the springs or the rod. This problem is not something you can't fix, you have to live with it. Most vehicles will experience this depending on the type of plastics used in the shock. Rubber is the best shield, but most don't use rubber and use plastic because it's cheaper. Spray Silicone has given some temporary relief.

7) There are also front ends parts to consider, such as inner tie rods, outer tie rods, and lower ball joints, and as mentioned earlier control arm bushings, and sway bar bushings.

8) Drive axles will also produce noise, but this noise is usually associated with turns and produces a very rythmic noise that is usually consistent when the wheels are moving. Most of the time the boots are blown out and have allowed the CV joint to become contaminated with dirt, water, and dust.. This leads to a loss of grease which usually is found slung onto the frame and other front end parts.

9) The Steering Rack: This could be a problem especially if the car has been in a accident. But time will wear on steering racks as well. This issue is usually the last on the list, after checking all the above.

Added:

10) Brakes: A loose caliber or caliber housing could cause the noise as well.
You can check all bolts around the brakes, and including the Main Axle nut. Sometimes these bolts can be overlooked in any job. My motto is always double check all suspension bolts and lug nuts, etc whenever you have had work done to your car. Even good mechanics can make a mistake. The Space Shuttle explosion taught us all how simple little things can lead to tragic endings.

The key is when you hear a noise there is always a reason, ignoring it won't make it go away, but a second look just might save you a lot of heartache.


A qualified mechanic can determine in most cases what the cause is, but make sure you are clear about your description of your problem.
I hope this helps you to better isolate your problem.

I will let you know what mine turns out to be.

Last edited by GreatCars; 02-13-2012 at 10:08 AM..

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Old 02-13-2012, 10:41 AM   #5
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2007 ION-3 Quad Coupe
2006 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Front End Clunking

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatCars View Post
I just bought a 2006 Ion Friday, I'm a car dealer.
I noticed the clunking noise when driving at speeds under 20 mph.
Especially noticed when turning right to left or going over a bump
Stopped the vehicle and pushed up and down and rocked the vechicle side to side and I was able to duplicate the noise.

After some research on the web I came up with a few possible solutions.

1) Inspect the sway bar bushings. They apparently will either "shrink" or wear beyond service limits. This can cause the noise. They should be tight with no over swelling or under swelling. I've always found sway bar bushings to be a bit hard to diagnose, since they may not appear at first glance to be ripped or broken. The main reason for failure is the material wears out around the bar and is not always noticed at first glance.

2) Lower control arms bushings. Specifically the rear was mentioned. It was noted that the bushings would deteroriate and produced metal to metal rubbing. This should be easy to determine by a visual lnspection of the area for shinny metal areas and missing rubber material.

3) The steering column's "Intermediate Shaft"
This is a bit more involved to check. You must access from under the dash and remove the shaft. This shaft travels thru the firewall and connects to the rack and pinion. Once removed you would check the shafts Ujoints for play. The shaft also requires lubing as it floats between the upper and lower shafts. A lack of lube will also contribute to a noise.

4) The connection at the Power steering motor could be loose, especially if someone replaced the motor. You may want to double check to position of the shaft and collar. Most have a slotted keyway to assure proper positioning, but when I was viewing mine, it appeared to be not engaged completely on the collar. If this is wrong, it could cause the noise as well.

5) Upper Strut Bushings or Strut Bearings could cause the noise as well. This is a bit harder to diagnose, as it requires removing the strut to inspect.
Another issue with the assembly is that the coil spring has a rubber plate that it rests against, both top and bottom. Sometimes you can spray Silicone on this area and get some relief, but the cure is to remove and apply the gel Silicone as a lube around this area.

6) Another cause of creaking noise is the plastic casing inside the coil springs that protects the shock rod from dirt. This shield in cold weather gets stiff and sometimes doesn't move the way it should and it rubs against the springs or the rod. This problem is not something you can't fix, you have to live with it. Most vehicles will experience this depending on the type of plastics used in the shock. Rubber is the best shield, but most don't use rubber and use plastic because it's cheaper. Spray Silicone has given some temporary relief.

7) There are also front ends parts to consider, such as inner tie rods, outer tie rods, and lower ball joints, and as mentioned earlier control arm bushings, and sway bar bushings.

8) Drive axles will also produce noise, but this noise is usually associated with turns and produces a very rythmic noise that is usually consistent when the wheels are moving. Most of the time the boots are blown out and have allowed the CV joint to become contaminated with dirt, water, and dust.. This leads to a loss of grease which usually is found slung onto the frame and other front end parts.

9) The Steering Rack: This could be a problem especially if the car has been in a accident. But time will wear on steering racks as well. This issue is usually the last on the list, after checking all the above.

Added:

10) Brakes: A loose caliber or caliber housing could cause the noise as well.
You can check all bolts around the brakes, and including the Main Axle nut. Sometimes these bolts can be overlooked in any job. My motto is always double check all suspension bolts and lug nuts, etc whenever you have had work done to your car. Even good mechanics can make a mistake. The Space Shuttle explosion taught us all how simple little things can lead to tragic endings.

The key is when you hear a noise there is always a reason, ignoring it won't make it go away, but a second look just might save you a lot of heartache.


A qualified mechanic can determine in most cases what the cause is, but make sure you are clear about your description of your problem.
I hope this helps you to better isolate your problem.

I will let you know what mine turns out to be.

The conditions listed above are listed in the technical service bulletins for the Saturn Ion in AllData (technician database).

The most common of the issues from my experience are the control arm bushings, end links and strut mount.

...
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Resurrected 12/29/11

OZ Allegerita Wheels, FE5 Suspension w/ adjustable end links, Eibach Pro Kit, Progress Rear Sway Bar, TWM Short Shifter

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Old 02-13-2012, 12:43 PM   #6
seanriker
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Default Re: Front End Clunking

Now that my thread has been hijacked I would like to get back to my car issue.

If you haven't a clue what a CV Axle could do with a clunking then you've no business giving out advice. Especially advice that says to go look elsewhere for advice. Had I been able to find anything in the forums I would not have posted.

No this is not the prevalent suspension problem. This is a clunking/knocking that is relative to the speed I am driving: hence something in the drivetrain.

If anyone has any ideas I would still appreciate them.

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Old 02-13-2012, 01:29 PM   #7
2006 ion2
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Default Re: Front End Clunking

Cv axles usually tick, not knock or clunk. Bearings whine. My cv axle was silent, but clearly bone dry for many miles before I noticed the grease all over the inside of my wheel. Don't act like I'm the clueless one. Cv joints don't typically clunk, or knock. I suppose anything is possible, just not likely. It's far more likely to be the bushings, brakes, flywheel

...
2007 Saturn Ion 2
2003 Chevrolet venture lt

trifecta dealer for the U.P. and WI. There is no two door ion. Proudly driving one of the last saturns produced before gm killed the brand.

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Old 02-15-2012, 02:12 AM   #8
GreatCars
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Default Re: Front End Clunking

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSpectre View Post
The conditions listed above are listed in the technical service bulletins for the Saturn Ion in AllData (technician database).

The most common of the issues from my experience are the control arm bushings, end links and strut mount.
Never consulted the above resource for information.
Most of what I did share comes from my own experience and the reading that I've done.

To say that experience has taught you things is good, but basic knowledge of what parts are, and how they go bad is useful as well. And experience counts

When you have a 150K on a vehicle, every thing is in question.
Without a visual inspection of the vehicle you are guessing, and at best giving an educated guess based on previous experience.

Any good mechanic will always leave himself room for options.

PS:

My issue, after inspecting, turned out to be the Sway Bar Links, and a Right rear Lower Control Arm Bushing. Will replace the Sway Bar Bushings while I'm in there.

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Old 02-15-2012, 02:36 AM   #9
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Default Re: Front End Clunking

Info: 2003 Ion-1 165k miles.[/QUOTE]

With this many miles and normal wear and tear, you should have someone else check out your vehicle. Especially in light that you won't take practical advice given. When someone takes time to answer your questions, you should be respectful enough to respond without all the brow beating.

I took time to give you 10 items to inspect and you didn't respond to any of it. But you took offense when someone corrected your understanding of how a CV joint reacts.

Any vehicle with 165K on it deserves a professional going over.
You have been given pointers to look at, until you've investigated these areas you shouldn't have any response to make, saving questions regarding the pointers.

There's an old saying, and it still holds true:
Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

You came here looking for answers, keep looking, and be respectful at the same time.

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Old 03-05-2012, 08:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Front End Clunking

My 05 ion with 105,000 miles on it has had the clunking noise since about 60,000 miles. It started off on the drivers side only and seemed to only occur driving over rough roads at speeds of 20-35 mph. It got progressively worse, spread to the passenger side and was clunking over the most minor of road imperfections. The car never pulled to one side and the wear on the tires was even, so I was really unsure of what the problem was.
After reading this thread and others on this site, I decided to install new sway bar bushings and end links last week. Instant fix! The job took me all of an hour and a half, and I'm a very novice mechanic.

Thank you to all that have posted their experiences on this site, the information is extremely valuable.

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Old 03-05-2012, 10:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: Front End Clunking

The front end of the Ion is a POOR DESIGN.....
I have clunking at 27K miles...that's ridiculous.
There are so many different issues that cause 'clunking' that it becomes hard to diagnose the problem...

Last edited by NYB77; 03-05-2012 at 10:20 PM..

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