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!!!