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Old 04-25-2018, 04:34 PM   #1
sedativechunk
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Default 98 SL2 serious noise/vibration issue, now with video!

Hey folks!
Well since my last post, valve cover gasket issue is fixed; Saturn is running great except for one thing. For the past several months, I've been getting a serious vibration issue in the front-end that has gotten nothing but worse. Here is a clip I just took and uploaded to YouTube (skip to around 50~ seconds after I'm done sitting at a turn, lol):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHW4xK-No10

These a loud rumbling sound coming from the car, VERY loud. Here's everything I've done so far to get rid of this noise:
- Got four brand new tires this week and balance
- Got alignment done
- Several months ago bought a spindle/hub off a used Saturn, didn't fix the problem
- Tried different rotors as I thought maybe a warped rotor

I'm running out of ideas (and money) to keep throwing at this thing. Does anyone have a clue what could be the issue with my SL2? Maybe the used spindle/hub a bad bearing. Or the CV axle is bad? I tried driving in circles with the windows down, and didn't hear that distinct clicking noise to indicate that.

Before getting my new tires, the front left had wear on the inside of the tire, maybe like it was rubbing/making constant somehow. I'm just running out of ideas at this point what the heck could be causing this god forsaken noise.

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Old 04-25-2018, 08:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: 98 SL2 serious noise/vibration issue, now with video!

Vibration AND that noise?
Vibration in the steering wheel? Didn't notice body shaking or the steering shaking.
Noise? Is it present during idle or just while moving down the road?
If you haven't modified the exhaust system, it sounds like some exhaust leak up front...exhaust manifold, down pipe, missing an O2 sensor maybe?
Might want to look at the engine at idle, then pull on the throttle and get the rpms up to 2K and watch engine movement....or even video it for us here to view too.

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Old 04-25-2018, 08:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: 98 SL2 serious noise/vibration issue, now with video!

Worn upper motor mount (TAM)? Search for threads and how to examine it. One quick method would be someone revving the engine while you look at the engine moving in its mounts.

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Old 04-25-2018, 09:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: 98 SL2 serious noise/vibration issue, now with video!

^^ Sure would cause vibration, but not the noise heard on the video!

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Old 04-25-2018, 09:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: 98 SL2 serious noise/vibration issue, now with video!

That's the reason for asking. No presumptions made while leaving it up to sedativechunk to examine motor mounts and other suggestions.

Loose exhaust heat shields? Exhaust system touching chassis instead of free floating on rubber noise isolation hangers?

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Old 04-26-2018, 05:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: 98 SL2 serious noise/vibration issue, now with video!

Hey all, thank you all very much for the advice/suggestions. I will take any help I can get at this point because this issue is driving me up the wall. I also don't trust any mechanics locally to help me test this, so many of them have ripped me or my family off in the past which is why I try to learn these things myself. ANYWAY... very interesting on the motor mount suggestions, I was wondering if that could be the issue. At this point, I have not ruled ANYTHING out yet. However, I was more so leaning towards this being a suspension-related issue. Here are some important notes:

- The car does NOT make any kind of noises at idle, nor when revving the engine in idle. I spent enough time under the hood testing to make sure my gasket was sealed tight and had no more oil leaks. The engine sounds totally healthy to make me think there is a motor-mount issue.
- Several months ago when this noise very first started, I put the front-end up on jackstands and ran the car in drive; the noise/rumbling could not be heard then when the wheels were off the ground. Then again, it was not as bad during that time as it is now.
- The noise occurs when coasting; it doesn't matter if I am stepping on the gas pedal or not, nor the brakes. Breaking or stepping on the gas doesn't seem to change the noise at all.

When I turn the car on a right turn, the noise goes away, like, when the pressure/weight of the car are removed from the left side. Furthermore, the noise become then times more prominent/constant after getting my alignment done the other day. My left tire, before getting my new ones, had cupping on the inner part of the tire, it looked almost exactly like this (this is not my tire but one from the web that looks similar in the same location):
https://mbworld.org/forums/attachmen...6-09.32.27.jpg

Now, here is some more suggestions as to what could be causing this. Here is a picture of the left rotor/suspension on the left side:


First of all, shocks and strut looks awful; the shocks are literally rusting away thanks to the salty winter roads where I live. I tried pushing down on the car earlier and heard a clicking noise in the front-left every time I did it from the shocks, and I barely even had to push down on it to get the noise.

Problem number two; look at the wear pattern on my rotors. Is it me, or does it look weird? Now, this has new brakes put on in September. And, as I said, I also put a new rotor on (I thought maybe the rotor was warped). That didn't solve the issue. Like I said, throwing money away at this point trying to figure out what the cause is. These could all be indicators of a problem, and maybe it's not. Ideas?

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Old 04-26-2018, 08:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: 98 SL2 serious noise/vibration issue, now with video!

Did you replace the front wheel bearings yet? One good wack with a hammer, to remove a stuck rotor or something, will wreck bearings.
Buy a set of used front steering knuckles from Arizona and then install them with new struts. The Arizona wheel bearings might even be good still. If they arenít, at least the Arizona knuckles will be rust-free and the bearings will be relatively easy to change.
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Old 04-27-2018, 04:47 AM   #8
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Default Re: 98 SL2 serious noise/vibration issue, now with video!

Hey guys,
Per some of your recommendations, I started to do some digging with the motor mount being the cause of the vibration. I like to follow my own advice when it comes to cars; check the stupidest thing first. And the stupidest thing that could be causing the sound is the motor mounts.

I watched RichPin's video on checking the upper motor mount using a ballpoint pen, seeing if the pen can fit in-between the space on the upper mount. Sure enough, it does, big time; I can almost fit it completely through! Furthermore I seen some comments on his videos about people that have gone through changing everything to fix sounds in the Saturn, eg. struts/shocks, bearings, controls arms.I don't want to be one of those people.

So there, I now found something that is most definitely wrong that could lead to vibrations in the car. I went ahead and ordered the Westar engine mount many people have purchased on Amazon, worth a shot for $16 bucks. I just don't know if that would cause that much vibration, but maybe if it's that bad. I also checked the dogbone mount under the air filter; it's in fair condition, some rust, but doesn't look horrible. Some of the aftermarket ones I've read iffy things on, so I think start with the upper mount and see if that cures the problem any. I can't tell on the one by the passenger side wheel.

As for bearing; as I said, I bought one off a junkyard Saturn, a whole spindle/hub assembly for the front-left (I didn't have a press to put a brand new one in, additionally the original spindle was rusted beyond belief, I couldn't even get the spindle out to try that). It made the exact same noise as before after replacing it with the junkyard one, an utter waste of time and money (seriously, I drove like three hours round trip to that stupid junkyard for that). That was back in October~. I also never took a hammer to the rotor or anything, that's nuts. If anything ever needs whacked around the suspension, I usually resort to a rubber mallet. I don't recall my rotors even being stuck when I replaced them, either.

So yeah, running out of ideas, still. I'll try the motor mount, should be here Monday~. If that don't fix it, I think I'm gonna have to find a good mechanic to help diagnose the issue before I keep throwing time and money at it.

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Old 04-27-2018, 11:22 AM   #9
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Default Re: 98 SL2 serious noise/vibration issue, now with video!

When you spend the time to ask on forums and keep an open mind, you're past the stage on relying on repair shops. As you found out, you can make diy repairs.

Other than state inspections where every garage by law must inform a car owner of what failed and hopes to have the work done right there, my guess is most repair shops aren't going to give opinions and let business drive off for another opinion. You do more to search online, becoming a member on a car forum that sometimes give more info to help than repair shops since repair shops operates on 'time is money' principles. Since no one here gets paid for sharing info, free advice comes with good and bad suggestions. It's always on you to make an informed decision.

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Old 04-27-2018, 12:35 PM   #10
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Default Re: 98 SL2 serious noise/vibration issue, now with video!

The noise goes away when you LOAD the bearing, not when you UNLOAD the bearing. Check out the passenger side wheel...

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Old 04-27-2018, 02:43 PM   #11
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Default Re: 98 SL2 serious noise/vibration issue, now with video!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
When you spend the time to ask on forums and keep an open mind, you're past the stage on relying on repair shops. As you found out, you can make diy repairs.

Other than state inspections where every garage by law must inform a car owner of what failed and hopes to have the work done right there, my guess is most repair shops aren't going to give opinions and let business drive off for another opinion. You do more to search online, becoming a member on a car forum that sometimes give more info to help than repair shops since repair shops operates on 'time is money' principles. Since no one here gets paid for sharing info, free advice comes with good and bad suggestions. It's always on you to make an informed decision.
Hah, guess you are right! I am beyond the point of the repair shops. Gosh, this place up my road really screwed me hard a couple years ago. Charged me about $2,000+ for parts + tires to fix a traction issue on my mom's Chevy Impala. Never fixed the issue. I ended up fixing it last year with a new wire that only costed me $30 bucks on amazon! I started doing all of my own mechanical work because I hate these shops. I don't believe all mechanics are crooks, but the good ones are hard to find. And yeah, inspections... don't even get me started on those idiots for that. They often fail things that aren't wrong and overlook things that are actually serious.

ANYWAY, update on the car. I cancelled my Amazon order cause I'm impatient, bought an upper motor mount at Advance for about $10~ bucks more. I had to drill out the holes a bit more on it to fit on, but I got it on, torqued to spec. I am sad to say the car is still making the noise. But, there is ever so slightly a difference in the car now. There was less vibration in the car and things seemed smoother, but the noise is still in the wheels. In fact, really smooth at times. It needed to be done regardless of the noise. Upon taking out the old mount, the rubber padding inside was completely broken and cracked.

Yes, the right wheel. I have been wondering if that is an issue, something in the right. I have not touched that bearing, but perhaps I should try that next.

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Old 04-30-2018, 08:04 AM   #12
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Wrench Re: 98 SL2 serious noise/vibration issue, now with video!

From your video and based on my experience- it certainly sounds like a wheel bearing, or both of them need to be replaced. I've had experience with Low Road Growl Noise which turned out to be a bad wheel bearing on the left front wheel. The bearings have to be pressed out and new ones pressed in.

Here is fairly lengthy video.

Not my video- but it does show the proper steps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVRqJEV60Ck

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Old 05-04-2018, 04:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: 98 SL2 serious noise/vibration issue, now with video!

Just an update on the car.
THE NOISE IS GONE AND THE PROBLEM IS FIXED!!!

Yep, it was the right wheel bearing! So, over the weekend I bought a brand new hub/bearing assembly but I couldn't get the old one out of the spindle. The outer race was fused with my spindle from rust/heat over the years (it was a lost cause and I even had a mechanic look at it).

I ended up getting a new spindle/hub assembly out of the junkyard two minutes up my street, ABS sensor included (the bolt for that was even rusted in...). It's guaranteed 90 days. I installed it, put everything back together, grease and new books on the ball join and tie rod ends, and taking my time, torquing everything correctly (which I don't normally torque stuff), including the axle nut.

Just test drove it down the street, gunned it hard, no noises at all. Dead quiet. It's completely gone. And with everything greased, torqued to spec, the new engine mount, and new yes, yes it's driving like a new car now.

Lessons learned this time: if a noise is coming from one side of the car it doesn't mean it's that side causing the problem.

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