My 96 LeSabre started to make a noise when we turn. It is on both sides but
worse on the right side. First thing I thought was ball joints. I jacked it
up and no play in the wheels. I greased them just in case. While it was up I
had my wife turn the wheel and found the sound was coming from where the
spring and the strut attach on the top side.
Can this be lubed or is it time to change the struts?
Seems I remember a similar noise on turns, but the car had to be going
at least 5 mph ... it was the front brakes. In December 2006 a front
brake job stopped the noise.
I do not keep my records itemized: In April 2007 I had a new air
conditioning condenser put in, 2 front struts, and a wheel alignment
at 106,892 miles for only $797.46. I had the front struts put in
because it is my son's car and I was afraid he would loose control in
an emerengy situation.
In September 2007 I had new rear struts,all wheel alignment, and a new
fuel filter at 112,457 milies for only $544.50.
This is on a 97 LeSabre, all 4 struts were the original struts of the
car. I guess the point is be prepared to pay more than a car with
The struts are probably worn out, no matter what the primary problem is.
You didnt say what kind of noise is present, but it is not inconceivable
the CV joints have also "gone South".
It could be a lot of things, Tim.
There are end cap bearing plates up there. They deteriorate over time.
They need to be replaced. You'll have to pull the struts and have a shop
with a spring compressor compress the strut in order to remove the bearing
plate. This is a very common problem.
On top of the struts are sealed bearings. If they make noise while
turning the wheel,
then they are worn out. IMO, struts should be changed every 75k miles
max and the
bearings checked at that time. The bearings are usually good for about
3 sets of struts.
I have done a couple of those within the last year or so, but cant picture
now exactly what the top plate looks like. Neither of them had anything
looked like a bearing, nor was there any place for mechanical wear, outside
of some foam bushings which are more for cleanliness and sound deadening
than anything else. Maybe I am just having a senior moment.
They are dead easy to do if you have an impact wrench and coil compressors,
but the OP should know that if he does it himself, he will have to have the
end aligned afterwards.
What I can see from looking in the wheel well is a yellow plastic looking
ring that the springs sets into. I will look again to see if I can see the
bearing now I know what I am looking for.
I think AutoZone has a spring compressing tool, but I have never tried
changing a strut. Not sure if I should give it a shot or not.
Stop! There has been all too much mis-information in this thread, about
changing these bearings. You cannot just get a spring compressing tool and
change these. Struts have to be placed in a compression rig in order to
compress the springs. These are extremely high spring compression rates and
to attempt to pull these springs down with clamp type compressors is beyond
unsafe and well into the realm of stupid.
You can get the strut out of the car with no difficulty at all. Take the
struts to a shop with a real compression rig, and let them do it. The
bearing plate is the plastic plate that you can see (barely) at the top of
the spring. It is maybe 1/8" thick (maybe a little less), and about 6" in
diameter or so. It has bearings molding into it which you won't see from
looking up at the top of the strut.
These bearings are common failure items in GM struts. It's common for them
to wear out anywhere from 40,000 miles on up, but generally they fail at
much higher mileage. Best to do both sides at the same time. When they are
done, you will typically notice a nice absence of groaning when you turn the
steering wheel, and even better, you will notice the steering wheel
neutralizes better after turning.
If you have very high mileage on the car and the struts are the factory
originals, you might want to look into just replacing the entire strut.
Prices vary depending on location, but I know I can buy the entire strut
assembly from GM for around $120 each. Yank the old ones out, throw the new
ones in. New bearings, new shocks, and new springs (though the springs
*never* fail). Bolt it all together and send her off for a front end
alignment. Aftermarket prices probably won't vary an awful lot from that GM
news:78fa$47d7d896> Stop! There has been all too much mis-information in this thread, about
I agree that these things can be dangerous if you are incautious.
But I dont agree that you cannot remove them safely with a strut spring
tool. Naturally, you need good clamps, not a cheap piece of crap. But it
done very safely and easily.
It is very true that you need no compression tool of any kind to remove the
assembly from the car. You only need a compression tool, of whatever
to take the assembly apart once you have it out of the car.
I'm always ready to learn something new, but I've never seen a compression
tool for struts. I've tried years ago, to use a conventional coil spring
compression tool and it wasn't even close to useable. But - maybe there is
something out there now.
I'll tag on to my own reply - which is a sign of a really bad mind... I
really should have said that I've never seen a set of strut compressors that
I thought were worth a crap - safe. The conventional style that pair a set
of threaded clamps offer a high risk of release if not used properly and can
allow for creep along the coil. I don't really like them and sure would not
recommend them to someone, especially if that person is not fully aware of
the risks when dealing with loaded coils.
I have two different sets of compressors designed for struts. One is better
than the other.
In some cases I find it easier to use three clamps on an assembly rather
than just two.
With an impact wrench, I can pull them down quickly and evenly, and they
onto the springs so that they cannot slip off. Should they break, that
would be a
different matter, but they are robust and have never given any indication
are near their limit.
It takes me about 1.5-2 hours to remove, refit, and replace the front struts
from a Buick LeSabre of the 1990-2000 era. That is, from the time I jack
them up, I can be through
about two hours afterward.
I cannot align the wheels (or really, dont want to go through the string
I reset the struts using a bubble angle gauge. In this way, I can get the
front end back
together within 0.5-1 degree of what it was when I took it apart. (That may
far off, but is better than nothing). The customer can then take it to an
shop, or I can do it, without any real consequence.
When a beginner does this sort of work, he has to mark everything, be very
of how things came apart, and be careful in reassembly. But he can do it if
his time, marks everything, and reassembles carefully.
The first and worst job I ever did was the rear end of an 84 Fiero. I
it in the road to get it to the alignment shop. Everybody has to learn.
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