: Need suspension help



lawnpatio
02-21-06, 03:04 PM
Hi everyone,
Okay, so I just took my cat to a local tire/body shop to run a diagnostics on my struts. They said that all my struts were fine. However, anytime I go any bumps at a higher speed (35 mph and up) I hear at scraping sound after the bump. I just assumed that it was worn struts. Does anyone have any idea what else it could be? Or has anyone experience something similar? The tire shop quoted me at $950 to fix (even though they didn't know what was exactly wrong)! Thanks

guardian
02-21-06, 05:09 PM
Get the car up on a lift and get under there and push/pull on everything you see . . . the exhaust system components for example and everything else. Something may be loose and shift or move when you hit a big enough bump, making the noise.

Take the car out on the road with a helper or assistant. Find a spot where you can make the noise happen without difficulty. Open the windows. Let your helper try to better pinpoint the noise, to see if he/she hears anything with head out the window. Have your helper sit in seveal different places in the car, including the back seat, and listen in an effort better to pinpoint the source of the scraping.

I would not entrust the car to the shop you mentioned. Try first yourself to get a better handle on the source of the noise, front or back, left or right side of the car. Also see if you can make the noise happen with any other trigger. In a large parking lot try swerving and try stopping the car abruptly. Try anything you can think of to make the noise happen. Report outcomes to a good shop.

lawnpatio
02-21-06, 09:52 PM
Thanks guardian...I'll let you know what I find...

97cateraowner
02-22-06, 10:11 AM
Hi everyone,
Okay, so I just took my cat to a local tire/body shop to run a diagnostics on my struts. They said that all my struts were fine. However, anytime I go any bumps at a higher speed (35 mph and up) I hear at scraping sound after the bump. I just assumed that it was worn struts. Does anyone have any idea what else it could be? Or has anyone experience something similar? The tire shop quoted me at $950 to fix (even though they didn't know what was exactly wrong)! Thanks


My wife was complaining of noises in her Cateras front end. She could not describe the exact noise. I had the struts replaced and "that noise" was still there. Replaced the sway bar links and "that noise" went away. However "another noise" was still there when you hit bumps and that went away when I had the shop replace the strut bushing/bearing. Raise your hood and look at your strut top support plates. If there is a gap between the support plate and the strut towers the bushing replacement will fix that.
The Catera drives like new.:)

Lcsolutions
02-22-06, 01:16 PM
My wife was complaining of noises in her Cateras front end. She could not describe the exact noise. I had the struts replaced and "that noise" was still there. Replaced the sway bar links and "that noise" went away. However "another noise" was still there when you hit bumps and that went away when I had the shop replace the strut bushing/bearing. Raise your hood and look at your strut top support plates. If there is a gap between the support plate and the strut towers the bushing replacement will fix that.
The Catera drives like new.:)

Similar problem here - I checked my strut plates under the hood and noticed a gap between the plate and the body housing itself (the "humps" under the hood). Is this the gap you are referring to?

Joe
2000 Catera

97cateraowner
02-22-06, 02:56 PM
Similar problem here - I checked my strut plates under the hood and noticed a gap between the plate and the body housing itself (the "humps" under the hood). Is this the gap you are referring to?

Joe
2000 Catera

Yes it is. The "bump" noise that I would hear would occur when you pulled into a driveway that had curb or if you hit a pot hole. It is nice and tight now and no noise. Wife is happy and I don't have to buy here a CTS just yet.
259K miles and it drives like new.:)

PS: what does LCsolutions stand for?

Lcsolutions
02-22-06, 07:48 PM
259k??? Ah, you've just made my latest aspiration! I'll be checking into the bushings tomorrow. As for the name, LCSolutions was an old company I started about 13 years ago producing custom computers and performing repairs, etc - that was before computers got so inexpensive and my exclusive market disappeared! "Laberge Computer Solutions". I've kept the name around in case I ever aspire to try a go at self-employment again!

Thanks again - I'll keep you advised.

Joe

lawnpatio
02-23-06, 03:11 PM
Hey guys, I just popped my hood and saw that there is around 1/4 inch gap between the plate and the body. Should the plate be flush with the body? Also, when I go to replace the bushing where and what exactly do I need to purchase? Thanks!

brandonbyrd
02-23-06, 03:19 PM
yeah the bushings are a bitch to replace too lol

lawnpatio
02-23-06, 03:24 PM
Brandon, did you already replace yours?

97cateraowner
02-23-06, 03:52 PM
Hey guys, I just popped my hood and saw that there is around 1/4 inch gap between the plate and the body. Should the plate be flush with the body? Also, when I go to replace the bushing where and what exactly do I need to purchase? Thanks!

The plate should be flush. The entire strut assembly will need to be removed, spring compressed, retainer nut removed, and remove bushing.
After reassembly the wheel alignment will need to be adjusted. Because of the last step I had a tire/alignment shop do it.

The bushing can be bought from the dealer or other vendors such as Rockauto.com
When I looked for the bushing it is listed sometimes as a strut mounting kit or bearing plate.

$950 is way too high.

Example: Monroe Sensa-Trac Struts part# 71503 $62.79 each $125.58 for the pair
Monroe Strut-Mate Bearing plate part # 903932 $73.79 each $147.58 for the pair (bearing & bushing)
Monroe Strut-Mate Boot kit part # 63619 $11.93 each $23.86 for the pair

Labor to install $50 side $100 total
Alignment $100
Total $447.02 + tax

I had to pay the the $100 labor twice because the bushing/bearing was replaced later. They didn't charge for the alignment the second time. The shop ordered the struts the first time. I supplied the rest of the parts the second time. If I had known of this problem I would of specified all the parts the first time.:rant2:

The sway bar ends are a dealer only item and list for I think $105 each. I bought for $95 each

Some shops don't like to install user supplied parts but the Catera is usually not in a lot of catalogs so you are saving them the headache of finding the parts. Talk to them first.
The independant shop I went to actually used rockauto.com as a supplier.

lawnpatio
02-23-06, 05:24 PM
97cateraowner,
Thank you so much! You just saved me a lot of headache! Is there any way to tell if the sway bar ends are bad?

97cateraowner
02-23-06, 05:45 PM
97cateraowner,
Thank you so much! You just saved me a lot of headache! Is there any way to tell if the sway bar ends are bad?

When they were on the car they seem tight. When you jack up car it takes the tension off of them and you may detect some defect. If you pull them off and play with them they showed signs of wear in at least one joint. It is hard to describe.

lawnpatio
02-23-06, 05:51 PM
When you they were on the car they seem tight. If you pulled them off and played with them they showed signs of wear in one joint. It is hard to describe.


If I get everything fixed but the sway bar end and I find out that the noise still continues, would everything have to disassembled and realigned? (I'm just trying to save on some labor costs)

Also, would fixing this issue solve the feathering problems on the tires??

97cateraowner
02-23-06, 08:21 PM
If I get everything fixed but the sway bar end and I find out that the noise still continues, would everything have to disassembled and realigned? (I'm just trying to save on some labor costs)

Also, would fixing this issue solve the feathering problems on the tires??

The sway bars ends can be changed at any time without alignment. I don't remember the chart on tire wear so I am no help there.

lawnpatio
02-24-06, 09:09 AM
oh, it was the lower control arms that were causing the feathering, right?

97cateraowner
02-24-06, 02:18 PM
oh, it was the lower control arms that were causing the feathering, right?
I've never had to replace mine. Alignment is usually the culprit for most wear patterns. Bad shocks cause a different pattern. Tire stores usually have a chart that shows different wear patterns and the causes.

overplayed
02-25-06, 07:07 PM
I have a sway bar link that is bad and it makes a popping noise when I hit a bump. A few months back, I took the car to an alignment shop to get my tires rotated and see what was making the noise. The way they found and demonstated the issue was to lift the car on a platform lift with the wheels still bearing the weight of the car and have a person bounce the front end of the car. I could see the ball joint of the link shift and pop. You can do the same thing in your driveway by lying down and get your hand on the sway bar link and have someone bounce the car. Check the top and bottom ball joint of the sway bar link, they are the same.

lawnpatio
03-04-06, 10:02 AM
UPDATE:
Okay, I thought I'd give everyone a quick update. I found a reliable shop who didn't try to screw me like the one before. I found out that my tie-rod end was completely shot and the bushing on the right front lower control arm. I can't believe how tight my car drives now. Wow. Anyways, I found out what was making the scraping sound. About a month ago, one of my family members backed up into my car denting in the driver's side fender. So whenever I was driving over 35 mph and hitting a large bump, the tire was rubbing against the bented-in fender. I know, not good at all! So I'm just gonna hammer it out until the insurance company pays for the body work to be repaired.

caddlovers
03-07-06, 03:48 PM
So many opinions....Good. Dear original asker: If you haven't replaced sway bar links after $60,000 ml you should do it now - 95% sure your distarbing sound comes from there...Good luck

Cadilltera
09-10-06, 10:56 AM
http://img169.imageshack.us/img169/3919/caterastrut002oo5.jpgI posted a few pics of the bushings/plates from my 98 Catera, does this look like the same problem, both sides of the car look like this, about 1/2 inches between the plate and the body of the car. I am having a loud clunking noise going over bumps as well as very bad steering wobbling when accelerating and braking or hitting bumps while turning. I had the upper control arm bushings checked, those donít seem to be the problem!

R-Caddy
09-14-06, 10:39 PM
my idler arm has gone bad, causing a rattling in the front end :rolleyes:

todd2fst4u
09-16-06, 12:42 PM
http://img169.imageshack.us/img169/3919/caterastrut002oo5.jpgI posted a few pics of the bushings/plates from my 98 Catera, does this look like the same problem, both sides of the car look like this, about 1/2 inches between the plate and the body of the car. I am having a loud clunking noise going over bumps as well as very bad steering wobbling when accelerating and braking or hitting bumps while turning. I had the upper control arm bushings checked, those donít seem to be the problem!
mine looks like that too. is that how its supposed to be? or is that a problem?

catera4me
09-18-06, 08:46 AM
I am currently hearing a noise from the front of my Cat after going over bumps, well after crawling around the underneath I found out that it is a drivers side sway bar end link, any one have tips on replacing them?

Also I did notice that there is a gap between the body and the top strut plate, but its not creating the noise and would think that if there wasn't that gap that when you turn the wheel that it would scrap against the body. Are the pictures posted above normal or does the pictures show that the bushings are worn and need replacing??

I have 54k on my 97 catera....

97cateraowner
09-21-06, 11:20 PM
The bushings are worn. There is a bearing plate integrated in the bushing assembly that allows you to turn the wheel. If this was my car i would replace them. Sway bar links are easy to replace and can also cause strange noise when defective. I use two floor jacks. One to lift car to take wheel off and the other to lift lower suspension to take tension off bushing.

Cadilltera
09-28-06, 06:36 PM
Turns out that my problem with the loud clunking noise was a bad idler arm as well!

catera4me
11-13-06, 09:04 PM
Just an FYI for everyone....You can buy Sway Bar End Link Kits at Advance Auto Parts (Parts America) and they are only $25 compared to $130 that the dealer wants to rip you off with....identical part. Its TRW 18396.....

Thanks for all your help. I am currently replacing the upper strut bushings and the End Links.......You all help a lot on this site.....