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Old 06-06-2014, 09:01 AM   #1
trottida
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Wrench Front end creaky groan with knock sound

I'm trying to figure out is causing a new noise in my 2001 SL1 MT with 360,000 km. I've had my mechanic look at it a few times now and they can't figure it out either. As of yesterday they've resorted to throwing parts at it.

The noise is in the front end and sounds like it is down low. When I accelerate I get a creak or moan with 2 or 3 knocks. I can reproduce the sound by engaging the clutch slowly to accelerate. It happens as I work through the gears under acceleration as well. I don't think it is the clutch; it feels good. It seems to be less noticeable when the weather is cool. Something is worn somewhere.

Last fall I replaced the sway bar to frame bushings with OEM, in December I replaced the front struts with Munro Quick Struts and this spring I just replaced the right lower control arm that was banging over bumps with Moog. Tie rods and the left LCR are tight.

Two weeks ago both spindles, hubs and bearings (under warranty) were just replaced along with rotors. I've been going through bearings quite fast and we figured it was a result of the spindles being worn or bent. Pressing the hub into the old spindles didn't take much effort. The replacement spindles were used and much tighter. Rotors had a pulsation and I replaced them under warranty while we were in there. We also replaced the new right strut under warranty as it was noisy in the strut tower. The new noise was there before all this work.

Yesterday my mechanic just replaced 4 year old OEM dog bones with after market which didn't resolve the issue. I'm not too happy about that. The upper mount and transmission mount are good. They were also replaced within the last 3 years and pass inspection. Lower trans mount is OEM and the upper is aftermarket but not a frowny.

Any ideas?
...
1999 SL2 MT (287,130 km @ 10/2019)
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 06-06-2014, 11:28 AM   #2
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2001 SL1
Default Re: Front end creaky groan with knock sound

Since they have eyeballed the visible stuff in the front end and you can simulate the moan and knocking noise by letting the clutch out s l o w l y, has anyone considered something amiss with the clutch throwout bearing?
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Old 06-06-2014, 12:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: Front end creaky groan with knock sound

Clutch was mentioned and discounted by the shop but you never know. The noise can be heard while cruising too when you step on the accelerator without any clutch engagement involved.

I looked up "throw out bearing noises" and noise described is more like a chatter. There was a recent post that mentioned constant chatter while idling; I think the comment was made by Special Forces if I recall correctly. It is also noted that it is best to wait until the clutch goes and do them together.

I'll keep this in mind. Any other ideas?
...
1999 SL2 MT (287,130 km @ 10/2019)
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 06-06-2014, 03:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Front end creaky groan with knock sound

When you replaced the sway bar bushings did you guys use grease on the bushing to bar surface? If not that could cause creaking. But i don't know about a knocking..hows the cv axle?
...
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Old 06-07-2014, 07:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: Front end creaky groan with knock sound

No grease on the swaybar bushings. Is that a requirement from the service manual?

CV Axel; doesn't that usually result in a clicking noise on rotation when turning? As far as I know it has never been replaced but I've only owned the car for 65K km or 5 years.
...
1999 SL2 MT (287,130 km @ 10/2019)
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 06-11-2014, 02:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: Front end creaky groan with knock sound

Bump. So is it required to grease the sway bar bushings? Both bushings; at the frame and LCA? The LCA is new and it was not greased when changed. I primarily followed Richpin's video step by step. The sway bar to frame bushings were replaced last year and were also not greased.

This noise started a few weeks after the right LCA was changed but I was having multiple issues at the time (right strut and bearing issues).
...
1999 SL2 MT (287,130 km @ 10/2019)
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 06-11-2014, 04:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: Front end creaky groan with knock sound

Quote:
Originally Posted by trottida View Post
Bump. ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by trottida View Post
...So is it required to grease the sway bar bushings? Both bushings; at the frame and LCA? ...
My understanding is the O.E. bushings are supposed to "squirm" and they do not require grease. The polyurethane bushings are more or less solid and they need silicone assembly paste.

Whatever bushings you use, silicone paste will prevent a dry layer of rust from forming at the interface.

No hard feelings if someone out there completely disagrees...
...
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Oil use is 1 ounce per 100 miles with ~230,000 miles on the engine
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: Front end creaky groan with knock sound

If I had any DC 111 on hand or the actual assembly lube I would use it.
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:01 AM   #9
trottida
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Default Re: Front end creaky groan with knock sound

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
If I had any DC 111 on hand or the actual assembly lube I would use it.
So DC 111 is Dow Corning 111? Wouldn't MolykoteŽ G-5881 be a better option as it states metal to rubber in the application list.
Selector Guide for Automotive Lubricant Applications
You lost me on the Assembly Lube; what is the manufacture and product name?

Regardless, I don't believe I have either on hand. I have a 30+ year old tub of axle grease, cold weather lithium grease (snowmobile chassis) and white lithium grease. Any of those suitable for metal to rubber?

Would I have to disassemble or do you think I could work it in somehow?
...
1999 SL2 MT (287,130 km @ 10/2019)
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)

:canada:

Last edited by trottida; 06-12-2014 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 06-12-2014, 01:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: Front end creaky groan with knock sound

Last summer I had a similar creak/groan from my sway bar bushings. While I was trying to figure out where the noise was coming from I worked some wheel bearing grease into the bushing and the noise went away and has been gone for a year. I think you should be okay without having to take anything apart.
...
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Old 06-12-2014, 04:05 PM   #11
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Default Re: Front end creaky groan with knock sound

Make sure the LCA to subframe bolts are properly secured and there is no gap between the LCA and the "box" on the subframe. I had a similar frustrating issue; it seemed like it would clunk or rattle down low any time i would go on and off the power. (releasing clutch, starting braking, etc.)

You won't be able to feel any movement because the swaybar tension takes up all the play.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:55 AM   #12
trottida
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Default Re: Front end creaky groan with knock sound

Just to follow up on this problem, I determined it was the upper motor mount. I found this out unintentionally while doing upgrades.

Last month I replaced my top motor mount with an OEM. The existing one was still fine but was a DEA and I had an opportunity to pick up an OEM for a decent price. The DEA had been in there for 4-5 years and was installed by a shop.

Anyways, when I went to replace the mount I discovered that the 3 studs had loosened off and there was movement between the mount and the timing cover. Visually you couldn't really see it until all the dirt and oil was cleaned up at the base of the mount. The 3 nuts on the studs turned easily as the studs were turning out of the timing cover. You can see where it was moving on the timing cover.

The end result was that the offending noise disappeared and the engine has a smoother feel to it.
...
1999 SL2 MT (287,130 km @ 10/2019)
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 10-04-2015, 09:47 AM   #13
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Default Re: Front end creaky groan with knock sound

I neglected my mounts and ended up with a bad situation. I always check that top mount at every hood opening now. I have the DEA solid mount in there but need to replace it soon. Cannot stress enough the importance of checking/replacing worn mounts all around. My source of all problems was the doggone on engine/passenger side. Totally blown out bushing allowed motor to torque and cause top mount failure.

Lesson learned and would have been easy fix to avoid helicoiling timing cover and all that drama.
...
Bill from Extreme Southern North Carolina
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