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Old 04-05-2012, 06:30 PM   #1
atakordie
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2004 ION-3 Sedan
Default Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

Just an FYI post for anyone searching this issue...

2004 Saturn Ion 3 sedan with AF23 auto tranny at ~100,000 miles. Noise began a year ago or so, and it was evident that it was tied to suspension in some way, as there was a light "hammer tap" thump coming from front of vehicle when going over a bump...rather irritating. Some have said it was the sway bar links on each end, but I had a sway link noise in my other car, which I fixed by tightening the link mounting points. I could tell that the issue in this Ion was not sway bar link related because with the suspension unloaded and hanging, I could not get a clunk out of either link, nor could I get any play. I had read that the sway bar bushings could go bad, so I started there since they are cheap.

Bushings are what the problem turned out to be, more or less. Here is a pic of the Ion bushing:



The old ones were a bit smooth from years of use, but no real huge visible difference. Where I think the true problem lies is in the bushing brackets themselves. Here is a picture of the bracket shape (albeit not the same, as these go on my other car) that clamps down over the bushing:



The pic above is beefier than the Ion's bracket, but more or less a congruent profile. As you can see, there is a bolt hole end and a tongue end. The tongue end fits into a groove on the Saturn Ion's subframe just below and behind the sway bar itself. I believe that the bushing gets compressed slightly, which allows a small amount of clearance between the top of the tongue on the bracket and the mating surface of the subframe. This clearance allows the bracket to hit the subframe when going over bumps or the chassis is twisted in some way and the sway bar flexes. That was the source of my noise. Perhaps there is a way to cushion the blow so that it isn't heard in the cabin, but you would probably lose some tightness in sway bar to subframe mounting. Putting a new bushing in is a tight fitment; it took me a lot of grunting and yelling to get those bracket bolted down. So if you have this problem, you may want to change your bushings. All you have to do is remove the front tires and reach back there.

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Old 04-06-2012, 10:32 AM   #2
psionicsin
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2003 ION-1 Sedan
Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

I find this utterly amazing as i was at Belle Tire yesterday and after making them check 3 times in a row...they could find not a thing wrong with my car. I then come home and login to this site and...what do you know....

Do you know where I can get the part? What's the actual name of it? And have you found a solution to dampening the sound?

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Old 04-06-2012, 02:29 PM   #3
atakordie
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2004 ION-3 Sedan
Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psionicsin View Post
I find this utterly amazing as i was at Belle Tire yesterday and after making them check 3 times in a row...they could find not a thing wrong with my car. I then come home and login to this site and...what do you know....

Do you know where I can get the part? What's the actual name of it? And have you found a solution to dampening the sound?
I got mine from here:

http://www.partswebsite.com/autopart...imagecallout=8

The bracket's connecting tongue cannot be seen from above or below the subframe with it installed, so if this is your problem, they probably weren't able to move the sway bar far enough or fast enough to get audible feedback for the noise.

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Old 04-11-2012, 02:40 PM   #4
lilmandy357
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2006 ION-2 Sedan
Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

I had this same issue about a year ago now, I took my car into Car X and they knew what the problem was right away, my bushing was cracked and they just replaced it, and I have had no problems since. The mechanic says he sees this all of the time in Saturns and Cobalts.

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Old 04-17-2012, 09:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

I replaced the sway bar bushings and the clunking noise is gone.
The old bushings didn't look that bad but clearly they had aged enough to allow the clamps to move in the slots creating the noise.
Thanks ATAKORDIE. You fixed my car.

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Old 04-20-2012, 12:15 PM   #6
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2007 ION-3 Quad Coupe
2006 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

I've been looking for aftermarket poly versions of these for YEARS. Anyone know if they exist?

...
2007 Saturn Ion 3 QC - "The Silver Spectre"
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 04-21-2012, 03:13 PM   #7
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2002 SL1
Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSpectre View Post
I've been looking for aftermarket poly versions of these for YEARS. Anyone know if they exist?
Me too aren't there any performance bushings out there? Don't we share the parts with the cobalt and the HHR?

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1995 SL1 oil burner school commuter looks nice...1997 SL1 Gold 5-speed with new junk yard wheels and tires just got 40.4 MPG....2002 SL1 sometimes 45 MPG on a spring highway drive

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Old 04-21-2012, 03:19 PM   #8
2006 ion2
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Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

Not the hhr, it has a different suspension.

...
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 04-23-2012, 12:29 PM   #9
SilverSpectre
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2007 ION-3 Quad Coupe
2006 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

I did find these from Moog:

http://www.moog-suspension-parts.com...MOOG%2DK200046

I take it that these are a bit better than OEM? I know that at least for the VUE, Moog makes much heftier end links.

...
2007 Saturn Ion 3 QC - "The Silver Spectre"
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 05-01-2012, 04:55 AM   #10
buckeyegirl
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2004 ION-1 Sedan
Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

I replaced the bushings last week. It helped reduce some of the knocking sound. But there are still alot of knocking sounds coming from up front, especially when going slowly through a parking lot. Inspecting and replacing the control arm bushing is the next project.

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Old 05-13-2012, 11:34 AM   #11
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2007 ION-2 Sedan
Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

Nice info!!!
I too, suspect that my bushings are bad. I had that light tapping noise and replace all 4 struts as well as bearings and mounts, and while the car drives much better the tapping noise is there.
When I had the sway bar disconnected from both struts, I moved the sway bar violently and it made the same noise!!! I just did not understand how those bushing could make that noise but you explained much better.

I went to auto zone to buy these and they have lots of sizes. Is there a way to know what size belongs to my 07 Ion 2 aside from measuring the diameter? Thanks.

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Old 05-13-2012, 09:41 PM   #12
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Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

Call a GM dealer with your VIN and they can tell you which size your car was manufactured with. I bought mine from the dealer. They weren't very expensive, about 8 bucks each.

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Old 05-19-2012, 02:10 PM   #13
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2006 ION-3 Quad Coupe
Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by buckeyegirl View Post
I replaced the bushings last week. It helped reduce some of the knocking sound. But there are still alot of knocking sounds coming from up front, especially when going slowly through a parking lot. Inspecting and replacing the control arm bushing is the next project.
Replace the struts...

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Old 05-19-2012, 02:12 PM   #14
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Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenbeer View Post
Call a GM dealer with your VIN and they can tell you which size your car was manufactured with. I bought mine from the dealer. They weren't very expensive, about 8 bucks each.
If you don't want to go through this again, replace with eurathane...

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Old 06-20-2012, 09:40 AM   #15
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Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

I also had noisy bushings in my 2005 Ion. I found out after changing the struts, mounts, control arm bushings, sway end links and....intermediate steering shaft (and still having the noise). Now, 3 months later, the intermediate steering shaft (that was replaced) is making noise.
What's really frustrating is that there was nothing wrong with the one that I changed.
Why does the Ion have so many front end noise possibilities (issues)?

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Old 06-20-2012, 12:46 PM   #16
2006 ion2
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Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

every car has the same number of possibilities. the ion's usual issues are only the bushings and endlinks.

...
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 06-21-2012, 04:51 PM   #17
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Default Re: Fixed knocking front suspension noise.

Great! One more rattle/knock to scratch off the long list of noises!

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