Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!
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Suspension, Brakes and Tires Discussion, Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end! in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; Simply put, our '93 Fleetwood is REALLY starting to get on my nerves, especially when compared to our '92 Roadmaster ...
  1. #1
    caddycruiser's Avatar
    caddycruiser is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    Simply put, our '93 Fleetwood is REALLY starting to get on my nerves, especially when compared to our '92 Roadmaster that has double the Caddy's mileage but has been much less problematic and still feels about 100x more solid...

    Regardless, the latest issues all stem right to the front end. Until about the last few months, the only issue I had with the front end of the car was when I'd turn the steering wheel completely to either lock and move the car, which would make the front end knock and bang up and down. But, still, that was only when at the locks, so I never really minded it much.

    NOW, however, something has really gone bad, because it not only still knocks and bangs at the locks, but pops and clunks really loudly at different times throughout the entire range of the steering. Today, for example, I stopped at a stop sign and upon starting to move and go right, I barely turned the wheel an inch or two right and got a loud pop I both heard and felt. The worst, though, is if, say, I have to manuever through some tight spots in the driveway and have to keep turning the wheel back and forth, during which I basically hear and feel so many bad clunks, bangs, pops, and clangs that it sounds like the damn front end is about to just explode and drop the car.

    The OTHER problem, which I've now had for some time, is a very loud creaking sound (like walking on the floor in a really old house) coming from the right front end area that I hear both when I get in and out of the car, and, mainly, when I brake and the front dips and then when I accelerate and it rises. I was in some stop and go traffic today and barely was inching forward, but everytime I hit the gas or the brake causing even a little change in the front end's elevation, it creaked like an old POS.

    Any ideas on these problems? Lately, this car has been making so many bad noises, you'd swear it was some sort of high mileage beater and not the pampered Florida baby it really is. Still can't believe how MUCH the Roadmaster puts this car to shame....

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    caddycruiser's Avatar
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    Re: Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    Anyone?

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    The Ape Man's Avatar
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    Re: Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    That vehicle needs to be jacked up and inspected by someone who knows how to inspect the front end. All that noise could mean a ball joint or 2 getting ready to seperate. Get it checked and don't drive it. You could lose control.

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    caddycruiser's Avatar
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    Re: Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    That's what I've been thinking, especially since it just passed 12 years and 100k miles. Furthermore, the steering has always felt a little more loose than it was designed to be, and all these noises are just the icing on the cake.

    Any visible way to tell how bad the ball joints are?

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    The Ape Man's Avatar
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    Re: Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    Some ball joints have a wear indicator. This involves looking at the flat area where the grease fitting is compared to a new unit. Never found this to be any help. The car needs to be jacked up. You can put a floor jack under the lower control arm and lift it just enough to clear the ground. You then grab the tire at 12 and 6 and rock. That should be a good check for upper ball joints. Also put a 2 X 4 or some other lever under the tire while jacked up under the lower control arm and have an assistant move the tire in an up and down direction allowing it to not be supported at all when down. This will show up lower ball joint slack. THEN have the assistant sit in the car with the service brake on and muscle the tire by trying to turn it. That will show up any severely worn out upper A arm bushings. Those can still be bad even without seeing much slop. Look for squeezed out rubber.

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    N0DIH's Avatar
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    Re: Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    The FSM shows it, the grease fitting will start to recess into the balljoint. There should be a shoulder around 1-2mm showing, and it will go away once worn.

    My 94 FWB creaks on steering when it is locked left or right, else is quiet. Most oil change shops today are so lazy checking for fittings I would be it wasn't getting greased if you didn't do it yourself. Cars in the late 80's and early 90's started getting "lubed for life" fittings (mainly FWD cars, cheaper ones like Lumina's, Cavaliers, etc) so they started not checking more and more. Your car has 11 fittings on it. Any good oil change shop should be able to look at your car from the parking lot and tell you exactly how many. I know, I was the pit guy for a while, you learn every car fast. But that was in 1988..... GM RWD w/o struts, 11. My 80 T/A, all 77-96 RWD B/D cars, 11. 4 tie rod, 4 control arm, 2 drag link and 1 idler arm. The low control arms are often harder to get as they can be blocked by the rails at the shop, and the uppers need to be done by the top guy, who doesn't like to get dirty.... So they often blow them off.

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    Re: Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    Mine pop left to right during hard turns, but not through turning. I was told I would need new idler arms some time soon, dont know if this could be related to your problem.

    Ball joints that I have leak grease.

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    Re: Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    Definately more to think about. I should clarify, at the times it's popping and clunking pretty much throughout the steering range, it's all at low to very low speed (i.e., parking lots, driveway, just starting to move, etc.).

    On another note, and a weird one, just as we're talking about the suspension and ball joints etc., I had a bad feeling yesterday that it was probably something like that causing the noises and I should be a little more cautious when driving the car "in case" something bad were to go wrong and let loose.

    So, yesterday, after I had given the car a bath, I decided to make the 15-min run to Wal-Mart for something and all was well, not even a single noise from the front end. Then, on the way home, when I was only a few miles away, I started noticing that I had to keep holding the wheel more and more to the left to stay in the lane. Pretty soon, I was holding it completely to the left, but barely going straight and turned the radio off, only to hear a grinding sound that was getting louder as I pretty much lost all steering control of the FW. Was able to get it off to the side of the road and coasted into a parking lot as the grinding got very loud and thought "Oh, shit--there it went", thinking something really had just let loose in the front end.

    Then I got out and realized, in fact, the suspension was fine, but the right front tire had literally exploded in at least 5 places on the sidewall and I had, in fact, been driving on the rim with just the shredded rubber remaining between the aluminum and the road.

    It was terrible to see, but at least it wasn't the suspension as I had immediately thought. Oh well, just thought I'd share that bit of my "exciting" 4th of July....

  10. #9
    caddycruiser's Avatar
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    Re: Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    This front end noise is REALLY starting to get on my nerves and I think I figured out what it really is. From day one, there's always been the banging when the wheel is turned completely to the lock and you hold it there and move the car.

    However, lately, there has been A LOT of loud creaking, which seemed to be only at low speeds (...should have figured this out before :rolleyes2 ...) when turning the wheel to ANY point off center and moving. Before, I noticed the front end of the car would creak like the floor in an old house sometimes when I'd get in and out, but I never realized it was the same noise it makes when I'm starting to move, stopping, or slowing down and turning at the same time.

    So, what's the problem you might ask? That's a very good question. My father seems to think it's the A-arms or, more specifically, the bushings on them. Anyone had this problem yet or familiar with it and know how to stop the damn noise ? He seems to think he can find a way to lube them b/c he said it's more of a major thing to tear into them than I apparently though, and he's deadset on not having to take it to the shop again.

    Then again, I can't figure out why the creaking seems to correspond so much with turning the wheel.....

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    brougham is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    Just take it to a garage and get someone to look at it. That's the only way you're ever going to find out what's wrong with it.

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    Re: Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    What he said.

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    Re: Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    Mine does it as well, I haven't found it myself yet, but it does it so rarely (tight turns, which I tend to avoid anyway) I haven't got too worried. My only concern is the rare see a full size 77-96 on the side of the road with a broken lower ball joint...

    I have had it feel like it almost skips or slides slightly when turning tight into a parking space.

    The at lock creak is often the control arm and spindle contacting each other. Grease the hard pad on the control arm liberly. You will see the wear point there.

    Mine creaks at slow speeds at tight turning, but not lock, if I find it I will let you know.

    Upper control arms are easy to pull, lower, a little harder but not too much. Uppers can be pulled safely with the wheel supported and the car lifted a bit. I did my T/A to put new bushings in years ago.

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    Re: Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    Quote Originally Posted by N0DIH
    Mine does it as well, I haven't found it myself yet, but it does it so rarely (tight turns, which I tend to avoid anyway) I haven't got too worried. My only concern is the rare see a full size 77-96 on the side of the road with a broken lower ball joint...

    I have had it feel like it almost skips or slides slightly when turning tight into a parking space.

    The at lock creak is often the control arm and spindle contacting each other. Grease the hard pad on the control arm liberly. You will see the wear point there.

    Mine creaks at slow speeds at tight turning, but not lock, if I find it I will let you know.

    Upper control arms are easy to pull, lower, a little harder but not too much. Uppers can be pulled safely with the wheel supported and the car lifted a bit. I did my T/A to put new bushings in years ago.
    Same thing here, it pops, and it feels like its slipping as you said, to me I would say it is a wobble, but both good descriptions of what its doing.

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    Re: Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    Dude, collect the $1000 from the California government for your POS, and just move the **** on... jesus. :drinker

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    Re: Clunking,banging,popping,creaking...and that's just the front end!

    Thanks for the replies. Mine, like most it seems, pops and "slips" at full lock, but it's the creaking I'm getting when not at full lock that is driving me crazy.

    Like I said, still not sure if it's the A-arms/bushings, something in the steering, or both, causing the occasional noise when just off center (but not even close to the lock), but hope to figure it out soon...

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