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Old 08-08-2013, 05:41 PM   #1
agroom
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Default Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

I have a 2002 Vue 2.2L, 4cl manual w/ ~200k Miles. I purchased it 2009 with 105k miles and so far have only replaced the front wheel bearings. I do not know what, if any, work the previous owner had done. But essentially I have 2 current issues I'm looking to fix:

1. "Clunking" noise in the front-end when going over bumps.

It's been doing this for probably 2 years now. It gradually got worse, but it's probably been about the same for the past 6 months now. I can hear it on both the driver & passenger side, but it's most prominently on the passenger. It's extremely noticeable at low speeds, but likely because there's less road noise. Whether this means anything or not, it also does not seem to be related to turning, or more specifically turning doesn't induce the noise when driving on a smooth surface. I don't know if this is a safety concern, but it's definitely annoying and I would like to fix it before it becomes a safety issue.

I've searched the forums here and this same issue seems pretty common, especially with the first-gen Vue. Here's just a few I've come across that seem related:Based on these posts though, it sounds there could be several causes:
  • Strut mounts/plate
  • Stabilizer shaft links @ control arm
  • Sway bar bushings/end-links
  • Ball joints
  • Worn/damaged u-joint
  • Inner tie rods
  • Control arm/bushings
Unfortunately I'm a complete automotive novice and don't know where to be begin looking. Given the mileage though, I suspect the front suspension system is in need of a tune-up anyway, but I don't want to just throw money at replacing everything. At the least I do plan on replacing the struts and probably the mounts though.

Personally, I think my first choice is the stabilizer shaft-control arm link since it sounds like the most likely cause. Plus it sounds inexpensive and and not too difficult. That coupled with new struts and mount kit, I'm hoping this will do the trick!

However, I want to see if there's any other thoughts or suggestions? I also checked out Rock Auto and Dave's Discount Auto Parts, but I'm not clear on exactly what part(s) or kit this is, so I'd greatly appreciate any help linking to what I need. I'm leaning on Moog, since people gave it rave reviews.

2. Metal-on-metal scraping noise in front end.

It sounds nearly identical to when you need your brake pads replaced, though not always so high-pitched. I know your first question is to ask about the brake pads, but I just had the wheel bearings replaced this summer and was told they still have ~40% wear left. Plus, it IS NOT only when I brake. I'll have my foot completely off the brakes and still hear it, and for long periods between braking. It often sounds more like rusty metal plates scraping too than the typical higher pitched screech from warn pads. It also comes and goes; I might hear it for an entire day, then not again for 3-4 days.

My suspicion is a warped rotor, but if that's the case I'd think it would sound all the time, not just intermittently. Would my calipers need replacing or an adjustment? Is this somehow maybe related to my first issue? This one I couldn't really find any related posts, so I'm rather lost.

Thanks everyone for reading, and given my automotive skill level, if you could please post links to specific parts when referring to them, it would help out a lot! Suggestions on brands and suppliers would be greatly appreciated too!
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by agroom View Post

2. Metal-on-metal scraping noise in front end.
Check your dust shields behind the rotors. One way knowing for sure if it is the dust shield is a groove going around the back of the rotors. Or just take
a screw driver and pry back the dust shields and go for a ride.
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

It's a good bet that struts(&mounts), bushings and links are all original so , do replace all of them.

They are toast long before 200K miles.

Note: it helps to know the diameter of the front swaybar( for the proper size poly bushings) so dig up a cheap caliper and measure it down to the millimeter.


ENergy Suspension has their poly bushings sorted by size at some 4x4 shops. I believe that's where I picked mine up. It's a generic shape so cross application is easy if you just know the size of your swaybar.

THe mating surface on the frame where the sway bar bushings sit ( on my Vue) was very uneven and dented in. I used some JB weld to "spackle" it smooth before putting in my new poly bushings.
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

Let's back for a minute and assume I know nothing about suspension systems I'm honestly a bit confused and more overwhelmed by the different parts, manufactures and terms used. To help, I found a few parts diagrams of the front suspension system and hosted them here, so I'll be referring to them as we go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by billysvue View Post
It's a good bet that struts (&mounts), bushings and links are all original so , do replace all of them. They are toast long before 200K miles.
Yeah, this was my assumption as well. But I didn't know which parts required replacement due to wear vs which, if any, might not. What about the LCA and/or ball joint?

Looking online for parts, I'm a bit confused though about what I actually need. For example, take the struts & mounts. From different sites I've found struts, strut assemblies, mounts, mount kits, boots and bellows. It looks like boots & bellows are the same thing, just named different. Mount kits I assume are mounts with all the accessories included? Though in most cases these seem to be more than double the price of a single mount, so does a kit include both sides then? Are they side specific (i.e. different parts for right & left)?

I've also read here that mounts should match your factory OEM mounts or they tend to not last as long or are problematic. Does this mean if you're matching them with OEM struts? Should I be buying struts & mounts of the same manufacturer so they fit together best? Or are they all essentially the same?

Also, is a sway bar the same the stabilizer bar link? On Rock Auto, the stabilizer bar link part looks like what is called the sway bar in this image.

Quote:
Note: it helps to know the diameter of the front swaybar (for the proper size poly bushings) so dig up a cheap caliper and measure it down to the millimeter.

Energy Suspension has their poly bushings sorted by size at some 4x4 shops. I believe that's where I picked mine up. It's a generic shape so cross application is easy if you just know the size of your swaybar.
Looking at this diagram, which bushing are you referring to, #7 or #11? Since you said to measure the sway bar, it seems like #7, but that's really 2 different pieces (front/rear) and the part looks like it's very specific design, not something that would be generic across vehicles.

Quote:
The mating surface on the frame where the sway bar bushings sit (on my Vue) was very uneven and dented in. I used some JB weld to "spackle" it smooth before putting in my new poly bushings.
Good to know! I'll keep an eye out for this when I get started on everything.

All-in-all, to reiterate an earlier point, I feel pretty confident about being able to install these myself, but what I lack is confidence knowing what parts I need to buy, which brands to get and more so what accessories (if any) to those parts I need (mounting kits, bolts, clamps, bearings, bushings etc.). I guess I understand this is why we have mechanics, but this is something I would really like to be able to know how to do, not to mention the cost savings.

So I apologize to everyone in advance for all the questions, but sincerely appreciate the patience and help!
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocket321 View Post
Check your dust shields behind the rotors. One way knowing for sure if it is the dust shield is a groove going around the back of the rotors. Or just take a screw driver and pry back the dust shields and go for a ride.
I think that's this thing (green arrow) . . .
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/att...9&d=1337626747
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by agroom View Post
Also, is a sway bar the same the stabilizer bar link? On Rock Auto, the stabilizer bar link part looks like what is called the sway bar in this image.
Sway Bar = Stabilizer Bar = Item 1
Sway Bar Link = Stabilizer Bar Link = Item 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by agroom View Post
All-in-all, to reiterate an earlier point, I feel pretty confident about being able to install these myself, but what I lack is confidence knowing what parts I need to buy, which brands to get and more so what accessories (if any) to those parts I need (mounting kits, bolts, clamps, bearings, bushings etc.).
I would go for the Links first since bad ones usually make noise over bumps, they are pretty cheap and an easy DIY. I went OEM, but Moog probably a safe bet. Btw - Sway Bar Bushings (Item 2) usually cause squeaking.
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Old 08-09-2013, 02:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by agroom View Post
Let's back for a minute



Looking at this diagram, which bushing are you referring to, #7 or #11? Since you said to measure the sway bar, it seems like #7, but that's really 2 different pieces (front/rear) and the part looks like it's very specific design, not something that would be generic across vehicles.
p!
Stabilizer?sway bar bushing is #11.

#7 looks like a LCA bushing.

YOu'll need a good set of allen wrenches. AS I recall, you'll need them for the links when you tighten up the locknuts. 8 mm seems to jump into my memory here...
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazberry View Post
I think that's this thing (green arrow) . . .
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/att...9&d=1337626747
Yes it is. Good photo!
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

For the front struts go with KYB or Monroe and replace the mounts also. It looks like there is a close out special for the Monroe mounts for ~$20 on rockauto. I couldn't find any full strut and spring assemblies, which would be the quickest and easiest to install. The rest of the hardware on the strut assemblies should be fine. Just visually inspect everything before placing an order.

As far as removing the spring from the strut, you're going to need a spring compressor, which can be loaned to you by any auto parts store. Here's a couple links from a member doing a R and R on his S-Series just to give you an idea.

http://www.wecandobetter.com/dnload/...-SW2-1997.html

http://www.wecandobetter.com/dnload/...05-23-09_2.jpg

OEM source for sway bar bushing. Shipping can be expensive. Maybe a local dealer if you go the OEM route.

http://www.trademotion.com/parts/200...iagram=ID02260

MOOG for everything else suspension related. This is a good time to thoroughly check steering and suspension related components. Dust boots, bushings etc...Front and back. After everything is replaced you will need an alignment. It might be good insurance to replace the tie rods and ball joints now and don't have to worry about it down the road.

Also it will be quite helpful to have an impact on hand if you do not already. Harbor Freight has an electric one and the quality really surprised me. It definitely made for an easier job when I did a complete rebuild on my S-Series suspension system.
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:11 AM   #10
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocket321 View Post
For the front struts go with KYB or Monroe and replace the mounts also. It looks like there is a close out special for the Monroe mounts for ~$20 on rockauto. I couldn't find any full strut and spring assemblies, which would be the quickest and easiest to install. The rest of the hardware on the strut assemblies should be fine. Just visually inspect everything before placing an order.
Thanks for the heads up on the sale. I saw that option last week, but didn't know what "wholesaler closeout" meant and probably would have went with the $35 ones, not that it would have been all that bad. Since I'm getting Monroe mounts, I assume the best option is to also get Monroe struts?

The struts have separate parts for right & left, but there is only 1 mount kit. I assume this means they're universal (work on either side) and a kit is only for one side, so I'll need to buy two correct?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocket321 View Post
As far as removing the spring from the strut, you're going to need a spring compressor, which can be loaned to you by any auto parts store. Here's a couple links from a member doing a R and R on his S-Series just to give you an idea.
Thanks for the links! I watched a few videos on replacing both the struts/mounts already too and although removing the spring seems pretty straight forward, I'm probably just going to take them down to a local garage and have him do it for me. The potential for injury seems like it could be high on this for a first timer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocket321 View Post
OEM source for sway bar bushing. Shipping can be expensive. Maybe a local dealer if you go the OEM route.

http://www.trademotion.com/parts/200...iagram=ID02260
Would these Moog bushings from RockAuto be fine? They're actually a bit more expensive, but I assume they're somewhat better quality? I would like to just get one order from Rock to save on combined shipping and be done with it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocket321 View Post
MOOG for everything else suspension related. This is a good time to thoroughly check steering and suspension related components. Dust boots, bushings etc...Front and back. After everything is replaced you will need an alignment. It might be good insurance to replace the tie rods and ball joints now and don't have to worry about it down the road.
From a visual inspection, the boots all seem pretty good. The boots behind the hub assembly look almost brand new, so I assume those were replaced when I had my wheel bearings replaced earlier this year. And the ones on the tie rods are in pretty good shape too.

I'm already planning to replace the ball joints, but should I just replace the entire lower control arm? I can get the LCA with ball joints already included and it looks like the bushings come with it too. Or do I need to buy the bushings in addition to? RockAuto doesn't have Moog, but I'd probably go with the Raybestos since they look a little more solid than the Mevotech.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocket321 View Post
Also it will be quite helpful to have an impact on hand if you do not already. Harbor Freight has an electric one and the quality really surprised me. It definitely made for an easier job when I did a complete rebuild on my S-Series suspension system.
Yep, I do have an electric impact and a good set of socket drivers!
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:14 AM   #11
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocket321 View Post
Check your dust shields behind the rotors. One way knowing for sure if it is the dust shield is a groove going around the back of the rotors. Or just take a screw driver and pry back the dust shields and go for a ride.
I just went out and did a visual inspection of them. There's very small groves around it, but there appears to be micro-sized groves throughout the entire rotor too, so I can't really tell. Passenger side looks like it's actually touching though. I'll have to wait till lunch and try prying them back a little.
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:44 AM   #12
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

So first I want to thank everyone so far for all the help so far. It's quite overwhelming coming into a situation like this with zero experience, but so far I've received nothing but helpful and courteous responses. So thank you again!

I've gotten a preliminary parts list down so far and I want to make sure i'm not missing something. These are all from RockAuto and I've attached a screenshot of my shopping cart too.

Strut/Front Right - Monroe #72217 Reflex strut
Strut/Front Left - Monroe #77218 Reflex strut
Strut Mounts (x2) - Monroe #904919 Strut-Mate mounting kit
LCA/Front Right - Raybestos #5071622 Prof grade w/ Ball Joint
LCA/Front Left - Raybestos #5071621 Prof grade w/ Ball Joint
Stabilizer Bar Link/Front Right - Moog #K80460
Stabilizer Bar Link/Front Left - Moog #K80461
Stabilizer Bar Bushing (x2) - Moog #K200333

I don't know that I need to replace the LCA, but it comes with the ball joint already attached and from the picture it appears the front and rear bushings are included as well. So it would be cheaper (and easier) to replace the LCA than just the ball joints & bushing. Is this correct, or would I also need to purchase the bushings?
Moog #K200783/#K200784.

Is there anything else I would need or should consider replacing?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Shopping Cart.jpg (158.4 KB, 16 views)
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Old 08-15-2013, 12:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocket321 View Post
It might be good insurance to replace the tie rods and ball joints now and don't have to worry about it down the road.
Opps, forgot to ask if you're talking about just the outer tie rod or inner too? How would I know if they are bad/going bad? They look pretty simple to replace, but I don't want to buy new ones unless they are showing signs of needing it.
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Old 08-17-2013, 06:09 PM   #14
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

Personally I would stick with the same brand, but do not know if it really makes a difference since they should be exactly like OEM in form and quality.

Yes they work for both sides and will need to order two.

The Moog bushings will work. On paper they should out perform OEM.

As far as the LCA it's up to you. The bushings inside the LCA are probably due for replacement. I am not sure how those bushings go into the LCA. Do you need a press to press them in? Or do they get pushed/shoved in? Really wish rockauto had pictures of those bushings. I believe the front lower front is just a push/shove in type of bushing and the other one is one with a metal sleeve on the outside of the bushing and a metal tube on the inside where the bolt goes through. That would be a PITA to get in the LCA. It might not be a bad idea to purchase the Moog front lower front ureathane bushing(MOOG Part # K200783) to replace the rubber bushing that comes with the LCA. That rubber will eventually begin to crack and break down after a couple years.

As far as Mevotech or Raybestos for LCAs? They both come with all the bushings. Mevo offers a 5 year warranty and Ray offers a 2 year warranty. Not sure how long you plan on keeping the Vue, but it seems like you're in it for the long haul from all work you will be doing. I believe Raybestos makes the LCAs for Mevo or vice versa.

This is what the groove looks like...



Sorry I was talking about the tie rod ends. If the dust boots are still good then you should be good. One way to test the inner tie rods is to raise it up as high as it will go and let go. If it does not drop then it should be fine.

I would purchase a lifetime alignment from Firestone or any place by you that offers it. It would be a bummer for a tie rod end to go bad 7-8 months down the road or one of the new parts goes bad.
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Old 08-17-2013, 06:28 PM   #15
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

if you have some drive up ramps you can always drive the car in the air and have a large friend shake the wheels while on the ground (or rock the car) if there is movement while on the ground it is most likely a bushing bearing or strut. you should be able to see the movement in whatever part is bad

as for the sway bar keep the car on the ground and turn the wheels to the left go to the passengers side of the car and get the large friend to rock the car it while you monitor the sway bar ends. for the drivers side turn the wheels to the right

It might also be a good idea to suspend the tires off the ground and shake the wheel to see if a wheel bearing is bad they don't always grind sometimes they wobble and make a violent sound when there really bad
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:34 PM   #16
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocket321 View Post
Personally I would stick with the same brand, but do not know if it really makes a difference since they should be exactly like OEM in form and quality.
This is my logic too, but I'd prefer to order everything from one site and Rock doesn't have a Moog LCA

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocket321 View Post
The Moog bushings will work. On paper they should out perform OEM.

As far as the LCA it's up to you. The bushings inside the LCA are probably due for replacement. I am not sure how those bushings go into the LCA. Do you need a press to press them in? Or do they get pushed/shoved in? Really wish rockauto had pictures of those bushings. I believe the front lower front is just a push/shove in type of bushing and the other one is one with a metal sleeve on the outside of the bushing and a metal tube on the inside where the bolt goes through. That would be a PITA to get in the LCA. It might not be a bad idea to purchase the Moog front lower front ureathane bushing(MOOG Part # K200783) to replace the rubber bushing that comes with the LCA. That rubber will eventually begin to crack and break down after a couple years.

As far as Mevotech or Raybestos for LCAs? They both come with all the bushings. Mevo offers a 5 year warranty and Ray offers a 2 year warranty. Not sure how long you plan on keeping the Vue, but it seems like you're in it for the long haul from all work you will be doing. I believe Raybestos makes the LCAs for Mevo or vice versa.
Didn't even notice the warranty, thanks! I think I'll switch to the Mevotech then and for the cost difference I can get the Moog bushings to replace the ones that come with the Mevotech LCA.

Quote:
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This is what the groove looks like...
Oh yeah, mine are nowhere near looking like that. I've been out of town and ill since my last post so I never got to pry them back any, but I might post a pic of them before to see if they are worn or not.

Otherwise, I think I'm pretty confident now in my order. I'm sure I'll be back later on with some instillation questions too though!
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Old 09-27-2013, 06:38 PM   #17
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Default Re: Amateur questions about front brake & suspension issues.

Just thought I'd come back with an update on how things went. I finally got everything installed last night. I ended up replacing the struts, mounts, lower control arm, ball joints and links. I was a bit scared taking it out for an initial test drive, but I drove it into work today and ran a few errands and everything seems to be pretty tip-top. Keeping the driving to a minimum though until the alignment on Monday, but it doesn't feel bad at all.

Pictures of the new parts.

The "clunking" is completely gone! Having replaced multiple parts, it's difficult to say which fixed it, but I assume it was the mounts. The one strut was rusted onto the mount so bad the mechanic broke 2 sockets, even after "heating it up" (not sure what that means). So I'm sure they were all original.

New struts ride like a dream and has considerably increased both acceleration and braking (as much as they can). However, I still notice a "shudder". It was probably there before but just not noticeable with all the other issues, so now that they're all taken care of it is more prominent. It happens when going over bumps, especially if I'm turning. I've also never drove a "normal" Vue, so maybe it's normal or maybe the new parts need to be broken in? Everything else looked and felt pretty solid though.

The metal scraping is also gone. I did adjust one of the dust shields, as rocket321 suggested. The front of it had ample clearance, but the back was questionable. Not touching/scraping, and no noticeable grooves, but I pried it out to where the others were. I also noticed by the end that it was the loudest when turning one direction, mild when going straight and non-existent when turning the other. I know which shield I adjusted, but can't remember which directions provoked the noise. Or maybe taking everything apart and back together did something too. *shrug*

One final concern though was the passenger side lug nuts, 3 of the 5 were a bit...misshapen. I have pictures of one at the end of the album. The holes in the rim were also wore a little funny. Not bad, but you could tell the 3 that had the bad nuts. I put the 2 good ones back into their original holes and made sure they were all good and tight. I'll have the shop check them again when I get my alignment done.

All-in-all though, I'm pretty happy with everything! All said and done, the total upgrade only cost $525. $450 in parts and $75 for swapping out the springs.

Last and certainly not least, I want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone that posted. I don't think I could have done it without you guys! Now onto new shocks for the rear
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Brake And Suspension Questions klever402 S-Series Mods 11 08-17-2006 02:48 PM


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