What's wrong here?

89' Sable. Bought it for $350 with a engine light that would come on when warm and idling neutral (but that's not the problem).
* I could always sense a slight "rubbing" (I guess you would call it)
when turning the wheel to the right. At first I thought it was just uneven tread on my left-front tire.
* Last week, I have to yank the wheel hard-right to avoid an accident. I heard a kind of "pop" or "clunk" when I did that (not very loud). Afterward, I noticed the streering wheel stays at about a 30-degree (to the right) angle when the car is going straight. The car doesn't "pull".
* Since that, the "rubbing" is louder, and I'm convinced it's not uneven tread now.
What's wrong here, and what are the cheapest means of fixing it? (Remember, this is cheapo car. I don't care if the steering wheel isn't straight, but the other thing worries me.)
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Hell you ought to be scared to drive it. Does not the thought of "this is not safe" mean anything too you? Does the thought of negligence come into your mind? Does not pull? I'll bet it does. That "rubbing" sound probably was/is the sound of a dry ball socket. Could be a tie rod end or ball joint. Stop driving it and either get it fixed or junk the car.
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What comes into my mind is that I'm reading a post from somebody who has no helpful advice, but does have time to waste bitching at me like I'm some kind of moron for asking a tech forum on the internet rather than going straight to a clip-joint auto-ripoff place and blowing $895 out my ass so they can replace every part in the front end *except* the one that's actually broken. (I already had one guy lie through his teeth to me about it being a strut.)
Now then, did it cross your mind that I might own *two* cars?
Jesus....
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It scares me to think my wife and kids could be driving on the same roads with you. Sounds to me like a broken subframe mount, but whatever it is you shouldn't be driving it. Bob
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Could be one of the rear subframe mounts pulled through and now the subframe is dangling down a couple of inches.
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Please explain how that would account for the symptoms, as I don't see how it would affect the orientation of the steering wheel *or* the rubbing on right turns.
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wrote:

Have you even bothered to look at the rear mounts yet? Or do you just not think a front subframe starting to fall off would affect how the car drives?
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wrote:

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Sounds to me like a spring or strut problem. When you turn the wheel the spring is rubbing on the wall.
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MikeS18xx wrote:

If the rear subframe drops a bolt, then it sits cockeyed to the chassis. If it sits cockeyed to the chassis, the front wheels have to point somewhere OTHER than straight ahead to actually go some approximation of straight. And it can shift on cornering, causing a rubbing sound.
Now, all that being said, it may well be that a strut tower pulled out, the steering rack broke, a bushing disentigrated, or a dozen other extremely hazardous situations. But the question was about the rear subframe, and it defnitely COULD cause the problem.
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[This followup was posted to alt.autos.ford and a copy was sent to the cited author.]
snipped-for-privacy@usfamily.net says...

It might be the steering rack going out. The rubbing going to the right might be the power steering pump having to work harder than normal. The pop or clunk might have been it skipping a gear on the rack, or maybe the steering wheel itself is loose and jumped a notch.
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Something like that happened to my dad's not long before his engine fell out on a right hand turn.
The frame the engine sits on broke away from the body.
Mike 86/00 CJ7 Laredo, 33x9.5 BFG Muds, 'glass nose to tail in '00 88 Cherokee 235 BFG AT's
MikeS18xx wrote:

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sounds like a subframe mount broken to me. when this happend to me car was also pullinjg and made a weird sound when i was braking.
subframe was 69 bucks and a couple days work..
(used)
better be safe then sorry
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I agree, it sounds like the subframe bolts are broken and it has dropped. A visual inspection is fairly simple to confirm. Depending upon which bolts break you can get various symptoms. Sometimes the transmission won't shift properly as the linkage is jammed. Sometimes steering is affected. It will get worse and could cause an accident. The fix can be as little as $200 at a small local shop or $5-600 at a dealer. Ford recalled these for retrofit and I don't think there was any time or mileage limit.
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