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

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 torn.
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!!!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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 need.
Lane [ lane (at) evilplastic.com ]
--
Visit my Saturn Car Audio and Performance Page at http://www.evilplastic.com


< snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net> wrote in message
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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!
Lane wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
it is definetly the UPPER strut mount!. Hae someone turn the whee for you and open he hood and listen for yourself snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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 fix.
p snipped-for-privacy@goochs.com wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Lane wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Lane,
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!
Alex
Lane wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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.
Terry snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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


< snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net> wrote in message
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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 it.
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.
Lane wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.