98 SC1 Loud Noise When Turning Hard to the Left (Steering Issue)

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by ayoung002, Nov 25, 2006.

  1. ayoung002

    ayoung002 Guest

    I purchased a 1998 Saturn SC1 today with 135,000 miles on it. The car
    drives great, the engine is strong, no leaks. It is a 5 speed and it
    shifts perfectly. One thing happened after I got it home and started
    driving it around town for a few errands.

    Basically, when I turn hard to the left whether for a U-turn or just a
    really sharp left turn (More than 90 degrees), I hear a loud clunk or
    clanking noise. It does not do this with an extreme turn to the right.
    Only an extreme turn to the left. I noticed it can be exacerbated over
    bumpy roads or uneven gravel drives.

    I went to a junk yard to pickup a part, and when I had to leave I
    backed up and then made a hard left before making a hard right out of
    the parking lot. It made the loud noise when I was in the parking lot
    turning left, but not right. What was realy strange is when I pulled up
    to the stop light about a mile down the road, I caught a yellow light
    and had to brake harder than normal. It made a "light" clank as if
    whatever was goofy in the steering was shaken a bit by the hard stop.
    While waiting for the light to change I decided to turn the wheels to
    the left and it made a louder "Pop" or clank than what it did when I
    stopped. I then made a left turn at the light and had no problems. As a
    matter of fact I made two more lefts on the way home, but they were
    "moderate" lefts and so there was no Clank or Pop.

    My dad and I changed the Drive Belt, so while I had it up on the jacks
    I cranked the car and turne the wheels both ways and there was no
    noise. My dad did a basic inspection of the steering and axle and saw
    nothing unusual. So obviously the weight of the car is playing a role
    in the popping noise.

    We did a basic look at the strut mount and with the car sitting still
    bounced the car up and down on the right side (Audibly where the noise
    seems to come from when I am turning hard to the left). The strut is
    good and the strut mount appears to be solid. It is definitely not

    The CV Boots on the car appear to be good.

    Is this something in the Rack and Pinion steering system? I am worried
    to death that I bought a great running car with a great transmission
    and I am going to have to replace the whole steering system!! I am
    probably just over exagerating, but I get really paranoid when a car
    makes loud noises, especially under stress. It makes me think I am
    going to pull a U-Turn and the whole front axle is just going to come
    off in the middle of the street!!!!

    Any info would be great!!!
    ayoung002, Nov 25, 2006
  2. ayoung002

    Lane Guest

    I'd suspect a wheel bearing, or a CV/axle. But don't guess - take it to a
    Saturn retailer's garage. They're the experts and the diagnostic fee is
    worth every cent if it saves you from replacing one part that the car didn't

    Lane [ lane (at) evilplastic.com ]
    Lane, Nov 25, 2006
  3. ayoung002

    ayoung002 Guest

    Thanks Lane.

    I asked my mechanic today what he thought it might be and his first
    response was the strut mount. I am 99.9% sure it is not that so the
    other two things off the top of his head he mentioned was a Tie Rod and
    a very remote possibility of a Ball Joint. I have had others mention
    the CV/Axle too. I am probably going to have him diagnose it soon.

    Thanks again and I like you car mods!

    ayoung002, Nov 26, 2006
  4. ayoung002

    p_vouers Guest

    it is definetly the UPPER strut mount!. Hae someone turn the whee for
    you and open he hood and listen for yourself
    p_vouers, Nov 26, 2006
  5. ayoung002

    ayoung002 Guest

    Are you sure? The reason I have doubted this to this point is that I
    have no issues driving the car at highway speeds or normal corning. It
    is only heavy cornering and I thought that if it was a strut mount the
    car would make noises at highway speeds and general turning. I may be
    wrong and that would be great because a strut mount would be an easy

    ayoung002, Nov 27, 2006
  6. ayoung002

    ayoung002 Guest

    ayoung002, Nov 30, 2006
  7. ayoung002

    ayoung002 Guest


    I took the car in to my normal mechanic and it needed a bajillion
    dollars worth of maintainence, it has 135,000 on it and nothing had
    been maintained for a long time!

    Anyway, they told me as far as the noise, that it was just a steer bump
    or stop bump or whatever it is that stops you when you turn hard from
    turning any further. They said it was loose and the bolt just needed to
    be tightened. Well, I drove it home and it is still doing it. They did
    not charge me to tighten the bolt, but I am pretty T'd off they didn't
    diagnose the real problem. They originally said a visual check of the
    Strut Mount looked OK, but when I called back all T'd off because it
    was still making the noise, they told me that it could be a bushing in
    the mount that can only be found if it is disassembled.

    What do you think? Besides taking it to a Saturn dealer which I may do!

    ayoung002, Nov 30, 2006
  8. I have had this problem twice on my 93 SL2 - once at 36K and once at
    218K . In both cases it was a broken motor mount. The first was under
    warranty. The second (at 218K) was not. Good news - motor mounts are
    cheap and easy to change.

    Son_Worshipper, Dec 1, 2006
  9. ayoung002

    Lane Guest

    If it were me, I would take it to a Saturn dealer.

    I normally like to do things myself and don't like paying their high labor
    rate. But for a few oddball problems I've had over the years that I
    couldn't figure out myself, they've been correct in their diagnosis each
    time. Makes me feel stupid for pulling my hair out and not taking it to
    them sooner.
    Keep up on your maintenance!!! It's cheaper than buying a new/different
    car, especially if the current one is paid for.

    Lane [ lane (at) evilplastic.com ]
    Visit my Saturn Car Audio and Performance Page at http://www.evilplastic.com

    Lane, Dec 2, 2006
  10. ayoung002

    ayoung002 Guest

    Absolutely, I am a Dave Ramsey fan... www.daveramsey.com

    Cash only, no credit. My mortgage is the last thing my wife and I have
    to pay off and then we are completely debt free. It's how you become
    and stay a millionaire... Not Carlton Sheets way!

    I paid $1,900 for the car and should have had it checked by a mechanic,
    but here is what I had to have done:

    Both rear master cylinders
    Both rear drumbs and brake pads
    Front Rotors and Brake Pads
    Water Pump and Drive Belt
    Upper and Lower Radiator Hose
    Spark Plugs and Wires
    Radiator Flush
    Top Engine Clean
    Brake Flush
    4 New Tires
    Oil Change
    New Thermostat

    I dropped another $1,900 dollars, but all of it was for Maintenence.
    The engine and transmission are in great shape.

    Here is the deal, when my mechanic checked it out, I don't even think
    they drove it to test for the pop in the steering. I think they just
    got it up on the rack and looked for a problem and found the the bump
    stop or steer stop was loose and tightened a bolt and said they fixed

    They said a visual check of the motor mounts, tie rods, CV joints,
    Strut Mounts, Ball Joints etc... came back fine. I don't know what kind
    of effort they put into checking though. I think the mechanic was
    foaming at the mouth to make some money fixing all the easy stuff.

    I have been googling all sorts of sites and searching them and I have
    found some other distant possibilities for the popping. I found people
    needing work on the steering shaft and the steering rack. The only
    reason I am not convinced those are my problems is people seemed to
    have noise turning the wheel in both directions and when it was a
    steering rack, they had problems turning period. It was difficult to
    turn. Well, my car steers just fine and handles fine, even with the pop
    and the only time it pops is when I turn left.

    Stumped, stumped and stumped.

    It may be the bushing in the strut mount, but if it was wouldn't the
    popping noise happen over hard bumps on the right tire?

    Oh well, my car has a mystery disease and I may just take it up to
    Saturn for a diagnosis.

    ayoung002, Dec 2, 2006
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