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Old 04-18-2021, 04:11 PM   #1
Nigey
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2007 AURA XE
2002 SL2
Default clunking while braking, occasionally on steering

I have a 2002 Saturn SL2 (5-speed manual, 70K miles) that recently has started to intermittently make a front end clunk and make a spring spraining like noise.

The spring spraining like noise happens when I occasionally steer, and when I brake I sometimes get a single clunk. It seems to be more prominent in colder weather. The clunk on braking happens far more consistently than the spring spraining noise.

One of the problems I've had is that I can't make it happen when I'm trying to diagnose. Looking at previous forum posts on this subject, I think the following could be the culprits:

1. front suspension mount/bearing
2. possible worn sway bar bushings
3. axle bearings (yikes!)
4. tie rods/LCA

I should add I put in new tie rods and LCAs about 3-4 years ago, and I've done about 40K miles since. I've jacked the car up, grabbed the wheels and tested to see if the wheels wobble, but they feel fine to me. I've tried to steer with both front wheels off when it's jacked up, and still can't get any issues. I've tried turning the steering wheel both ways with no apparent problems when the car isn't jacked up, but no luck. I've tried to move the wheels when the brakes are on, in the hope I can hear a similar noise... no luck. Thinking it could be the sway bar bushings, I've looked at them (probably for far too long) and can't see any evidence of them moving, plus while they don't look brand new, they don't look bad. I've inspected both struts and at where they go to the upper mount, and both look the same, so nothing obviously bad.

It seems the only way it happens is when I'm driving and steering with weight on the front suspension, and braking. And even then I can't make it happen with any consistency.

I could of course just start replacing the cheapest components first until I hit a solution, but that could still get to be very expensive, though replacing the sway bar bushings could be a relatively cheap gamble. Has anyone got any advice on anything I can do to try to hone in one the possible issue that I haven't done? Or maybe even help exclude what isn't an issue?
...
2007 Saturn Aura XE 3.5 L LZ4 V6
2002 Saturn SL2 1.9L (manual)
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Old 04-19-2021, 03:17 PM   #2
C52
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1997 SW2
Default Re: clunking while braking, occasionally on steering

I have found the best way to proceed on problems such as these is to get a free front end inspection at a shop such as muffler man.

When I had such problems they showed me the play in my bad parts as they wiggled or applied a pry bar.

Instead of throwing money at parts that "may" be bad, I knew exactly what needed replacement having seen the bad parts with my own eyes, and the best part? It was free!
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Old 04-25-2021, 04:21 PM   #3
Nigey
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2007 AURA XE
2002 SL2
Default Re: clunking while braking, occasionally on steering

Thanks C52. I'm going to use your idea -though I'll go to a local garage. It's going to be interesting to see what the mechanic there comes up with.
...
2007 Saturn Aura XE 3.5 L LZ4 V6
2002 Saturn SL2 1.9L (manual)
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Old 05-01-2021, 09:04 PM   #4
TomM96
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Default Re: clunking while braking, occasionally on steering

Alignment shop guys are also very tuned in!
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