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Old 01-14-2023, 08:54 PM   #1
MrAndersonGCC
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Default A whine and a clunk

Calling all Sherlocks.

2002 SL2, manual.

The Clunk

Occurs under 10 mph when turning, but only occasionally. Cannot replicate on demand. Control arms, tie rods ends, struts, and cv axles have all been recently replaced. I can’t recall if I replaced the strut mounts or not, but I must emphasize that the clunking does not occur when normal driving over bumps. Only thing I can think of is perhaps the sway bar itself. I replaced the bushings not long ago. But my understanding is our sway bars contain a “mirror” bar inside the sway bar that can come loose and clunk against the inner wall of the “big” bar, if that makes sense.

The Whine

Not a squeal, not super high pitched. Replaced the ps pump, water pump, belt tensioner, and belt itself all in the last week.

It gets slightly better as the car gets warmer, which made me sure it was the belt, but it obviously wasn’t. I tried listening using the old hose trick but that really didn’t narrow it down. There’s only the alternator and idler pulley left (I have an ac compressor but it makes the noise while it’s off). Before I go changing those, is there anything not belt-driven around the passenger side of the engine that could make such a noise? It does increase with rpm‘s, and in neutral sitting still.

Thanks

- Anderson
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Old 01-14-2023, 09:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Can you make the whine go away by removing the serp belt?

I don't think the sway-bar has an "inner" bar; it is tubular except at very ends where the threaded studs are pressed/welded in.

PS: The A/C pulley is still turning, even if compressor is not. Could still be a bearing in there squealing.
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Old 01-14-2023, 09:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Can you make the whine go away by removing the serp belt?

I don't think the sway-bar has an "inner" bar; it is tubular except at very ends where the threaded studs are pressed/welded in.

PS: The A/C pulley is still turning, even if compressor is not. Could still be a bearing in there squealing.
Ah, kicking myself for not running it without the belt when I changed it earlier. Iíll try that next, thanks.
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Old 01-14-2023, 11:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

When you replaced the PS pump, did you ensure you bled all the air out of the system? PS pumps will whine at various pitches/volume depending on how much air is in the system.
...
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1993 SC2 5 speed - 200k - Unfortunately sold
2002 Silverado Z71 - 185,xxx
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Old 01-15-2023, 12:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by 93twincam View Post
When you replaced the PS pump, did you ensure you bled all the air out of the system? PS pumps will whine at various pitches/volume depending on how much air is in the system.
I did the typical lock-to-lock method and added fluid as the level dropped. Iíve leaned my head towards the ps pump and the noise actually decreases back there.
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Old 01-15-2023, 11:26 PM   #6
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Well I ran the car with the belt off and it was quiet. Almost 100% certain itís the idler pulley.

The clunk is driving me nuts though. Usually happens when going in reverse, turning sharply, and going over a bump. Is there anything Iím missing that could cause this?
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Old 01-15-2023, 11:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Iíll add that if I lock the wheel either left or right and continuously move forwards or backwards, there isnít a clunk. Itís pretty much when there is a combination of turning AND a bump, and at low speed. I can confirm when I did the struts I didnít do the strut mounts. Could those be the cause of this? I would think bad mounts would make noise all the time when going over bumps, but my this noise is so specific.
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Old 01-16-2023, 01:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

What ever the strut spring(s) "swivel" on, lube it. The end of the spring coil may be hopping in/out of its seat in the swivel if the swivel is binding.
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Old 01-16-2023, 09:59 AM   #9
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Maybe a worn powertrain mount has some play.
* *

The ABS makes an odd dragging sound followed by a small clunk, only
when first moving off at speed less than 10 mph.... sounds like a ghost in a horror film sliding along a wooden sound board before engaging a huge 'skeleton' key.
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Old 01-16-2023, 10:43 AM   #10
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomM96 View Post
Maybe a worn powertrain mount has some play.
* *

The ABS makes an odd dragging sound followed by a small clunk, only
when first moving off at speed less than 10 mph.... sounds like a ghost in a horror film sliding along a wooden sound board before engaging a huge 'skeleton' key.
I like your description but it doesnít sound like ABS. I replaced all engine mounts in the last few months. Didnít do the transmission mount but this would be a very bizarre symptom of it was the transmission mount.
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Old 01-16-2023, 10:45 AM   #11
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
What ever the strut spring(s) "swivel" on, lube it. The end of the spring coil may be hopping in/out of its seat in the swivel if the swivel is binding.
Thatís a good idea. I may replace the strut mounts while Iím at it - can you suggest any good brands? I was going to get kyb but Iíve read a lot of bad things.
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Old 01-16-2023, 02:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Sorry, no suggestion on brand. My "94/95s only have 250+K miles on them; never had to fuss with struts.
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Old 01-16-2023, 03:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Sorry, no suggestion on brand. My "94/95s only have 250+K miles on them; never had to fuss with struts.
250k and never has struts???? Maybe you know something I don't know, but I've never heard of a strut lasting that long...
...
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Old 01-16-2023, 11:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Recorded a short video of the clunk: https://youtube.com/shorts/DCotbPqjUfk?feature=share
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Old 01-17-2023, 12:42 PM   #15
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAndersonGCC View Post
Recorded a short video of the clunk: https://youtube.com/shorts/DCotbPqjUfk?feature=share
That sounds like your strut mount is binding. There is a bearing in the strut mount and when if fails the spring resists until there is enough force and creates a pop noise like you're hearing. Replace the strut mounts or if the strut has some age just go ahead and replace the strut assembly. It'll save you some time and effort.
...
1999 SL2 MT (311,300 km @ 01/2023)
2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

Past Saturns
2001 SL1 MT (438,500 km 11y)
1993 SW2 AT (10y)
2001 LW200 MT (3.5y)
1992 SL2 MT (5y)

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Old 01-17-2023, 01:48 PM   #16
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by trottida View Post
That sounds like your strut mount is binding. There is a bearing in the strut mount and when if fails the spring resists until there is enough force and creates a pop noise like you're hearing. Replace the strut mounts or if the strut has some age just go ahead and replace the strut assembly. It'll save you some time and effort.
Ok thanks. Are you able to suggest decent strut mount brands? Thereís not a lot of options and kyb mounts have a bad reputation despite making great struts.
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Old 01-17-2023, 04:37 PM   #17
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAndersonGCC View Post
Ok thanks. Are you able to suggest decent strut mount brands? Thereís not a lot of options and kyb mounts have a bad reputation despite making great struts.
I've always replaced the entire assembly rather than doing piecework. Last time I bought them I went with Monroe QuickStruts and I have no complaints. I couldn't speak to just replacing the strut mounts. Someone else should chime in.
...
1999 SL2 MT (311,300 km @ 01/2023)
2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

Past Saturns
2001 SL1 MT (438,500 km 11y)
1993 SW2 AT (10y)
2001 LW200 MT (3.5y)
1992 SL2 MT (5y)

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Old 01-17-2023, 05:25 PM   #18
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

I recently replaced my struts with kyb but left the mounts alone.

After doing some research I opted to order two new acdelco mounts.
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Old 01-21-2023, 12:01 AM   #19
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

Ok the whine has been taken care of, was the idler pulley. Interesting thread on that one, billr was a great help.

Just replaced both strut mounts and I believe I heard a clunk on the first drive, though it was a short one.

What in the world could I be missing? The only suspension part that hasnít been changed in the last couple thousand miles is the sway bar itself. This is nuts. And it is 100% coming from the front.
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Old 01-21-2023, 01:45 PM   #20
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Default Re: A whine and a clunk

I finally listened to the video in reply #14. Is that whine from the idler, and gone now? A new video may help. I would do it with the engine off, even though whine is gone. Also, try it with one wheel, and then the other, and then both off the ground. See if there are any changes.

Do you have a helper to turn the steering wheel, so you can watch/video everywhere under there while the is happening? Let me rephrase that... you must have a helper to do so, or this may never be solved without a whole lot of parts-swapping!

We may even have to go to the "grease sandwich" to track this down.
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