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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys, I'm getting some car work done soon and I'm going to ask the garage to try to solve the following mystery:

When I back out of a parking space, then turn sharply right or left, put it in Drive and start moving forward, I encounter a loud clunk coming from somewhere toward the left front tire. I can feel a slight jolt. Kind of like the transmission is slamming into gear (but I don't think it has anything to do with the transmission). It will only do this once. Like cracking a knuckle. No noise while driving or on bumps.

If I don't turn sharply right after pulling out of a parking space, then drive around some, then do a similarly sharp turn, no noise or jolt. As if some rubber or bushing or something got warmed up and the problem sorted itself out.

Known problems that may not be related: I have some steering slop (which I'm getting diagnosed and fixed; believe this jolt thing predates the slop); shocks are old; damper is old.

Guesses: Bad bushing in a control arm, bad rubber in sway bar link, CV joint, bad ball joint, or maybe bad idler/pitman arm or tie rod end.

Sound familiar to anyone? Thanks a lot.
 

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96 FWB
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I've replaced several 1/2 shafts on my Rivieras. All good guesses, but I thought of two even before finishing the second sentence:

[scotteldorado]
Guesses: Bad bushing in a control arm, bad rubber in sway bar link, CV joint, bad ball joint, or maybe bad idler/pitman arm or tie rod end.

Bonus thought: Hold out for a shop that'll let (almost invite) you see it up on the lift to eyeball general situation with the whole front suspension. For any other split/rotted boots just install a glue type replacement or that whole 1/2 shaft too.

Nice car.
 

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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks a lot, FTSS. Appreciate it. Yes, I'll try to get a look while up on a lift. I'm not as daring as I used to be with getting under this car. But I did look and saw no obviously torn boots etc. I don't know what I'm doing... but I thought the telltale on bad CVs was regular noise while driving?
 

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I've had them seem like everything from loose lugnuts and missing control arm bushing, to a motormount and exhaust hitting frame. That's why important to "be there" when it's up and more eyes (the mech's and yours) can catch one or more things that might be suspect. I had mine all around 20 years ago, so I have to think EVERY part of the susp. should be replaced by now just on general principle as "long overdue" if it already hasn't been in the last 15 years. LOL Hell, it could be a steering ragjoint, but nobody's that lucky.

If t'wer me I'd get it up in front and have someone keep running the steering hard stop-to-stop and you look for anything noisy or not moving right. Then you can be a smarter listener when the mech. is talking showing off his intelligence.

I believe the left is the power side of a FWD, so don't discount the tranny getting into the mix too, which BTW would make having a set of FSM dam near gold just for the diagnosis charts alone.

Parting thought: about the only 'instant catastrophe' would be balljoint(s). If/when it's in the air specifically do a visual and the common prybar test to eliminate at least that eh.
 

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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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1,033 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the good advice, FTSS. I ran through the suspension troubleshooting charts in the FSM. Nothing conclusive but got some ideas and learned some things. I'm gonna get under there before I drop it off and see if I can figure anything out before hand.
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
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my money is on a worn outer CV joint -
 

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2005 Base CTS work at Pullen solenoids Glass Factory for 36 and a half years
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Jack up one side of the front of the car while keeping the other side on the ground and then grab the wheel top and bottom and see if there is movement which I believe indicates bad ball joint and then try to wiggle it front to back and I believe it if there's movement that indicates tie rod but I could have that backwards. That's the easiest thing to check without having to get underneath the car. You can give that information to the mechanic if you do find anything.

Roy
 

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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks TA Coupe. I intend to do that too, and first. I haven't checked it recently because last time I was at the shop I asked the mechanic to check that while lifted. And he said he did and it was fine. But maybe he actually didn't.
 

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When you go to the track and they do a tech inspection they always keep one wheel on the ground so I don't think you would get a good conclusion out of having it up in the air.

Roy
 

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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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Discussion Starter #12
Update: Shop called. Tires switched out (that was the main motivation for the garage work, nail in one tire, all of them getting old) and steering problems diagnosed. $80. No alignment/balancing yet.

Garage desk guy says, second hand: Mechanic says 3 out of 4 ball joints are going bad and causing the slop. Didn't make it sound like I was in risk of immediate death. One or two ball joints appear original, because of rivets. (I didn't realize that).
CV and arms and ends reportedly okay. Both shocks are bad and need replacement. Some parts must be ordered, but said the parts are relatively cheap through their sourcing.

Total estimate for 3 ball joints and front shocks: $1800, parts and labor. "How much of that is ball joint labor?" I asked. "Like 99%." I said I want to see the paper estimate, which my brother will grab when he picks up the car in an hour.

But there's a greater than 99% chance I'm not paying that. My instinct is to do it all myself, then pay a shop to get it aligned/balance. 4 higher-end ACDelco ball joints are like $100. I need to replace the front brake pads/rotors anyway, and I was also going to buy a grease gun for steering parts maintenance.

I can drill out rivets; ball joint replacement looks pretty straightforward in FSM, but I've never done that before. I'm not a mechanic, but a decent parts changer.

What should I do? Thanks!
 

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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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Discussion Starter #13
p.s. My regular mechanic, btw, is reliable and surely would be much much cheaper. But got this nail (too near sidewall to repair) while visiting family, so went to a relatively close shop. The one who gave the estimate is a small regional chain. Not a national franchise.
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
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19,658 Posts
Update: Shop called. Tires switched out (that was the main motivation for the garage work, nail in one tire, all of them getting old) and steering problems diagnosed. $80. No alignment/balancing yet.

Garage desk guy says, second hand: Mechanic says 3 out of 4 ball joints are going bad and causing the slop. Didn't make it sound like I was in risk of immediate death. One or two ball joints appear original, because of rivets. (I didn't realize that).
CV and arms and ends reportedly okay. Both shocks are bad and need replacement. Some parts must be ordered, but said the parts are relatively cheap through their sourcing.

Total estimate for 3 ball joints and front shocks: $1800, parts and labor. "How much of that is ball joint labor?" I asked. "Like 99%." I said I want to see the paper estimate, which my brother will grab when he picks up the car in an hour.

But there's a greater than 99% chance I'm not paying that. My instinct is to do it all myself, then pay a shop to get it aligned/balance. 4 higher-end ACDelco ball joints are like $100. I need to replace the front brake pads/rotors anyway, and I was also going to buy a grease gun for steering parts maintenance.

I can drill out rivets; ball joint replacement looks pretty straightforward in FSM, but I've never done that before. I'm not a mechanic, but a decent parts changer.

What should I do? Thanks!
===============
I can drill out rivets
I hope you have a VERY strong drill and HIGH QUALITY drill bits -

we used to heat the rivets up cherry-red and zap them with an air chisel -
drilling them WILL take time -
 

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2005 Base CTS work at Pullen solenoids Glass Factory for 36 and a half years
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I would do all four ball joints just so you know they're all equal. Pull your control arms off and completely rebuild them with all new bushings also. The parts are usually not all that expensive. Buy a kit from Harbor Freight for rebuilding them also. Look at anything else that you can change out while you're doing this that's relatively easy to get to. Always like putting in new bushings everywhere because they are generally pretty cheap and don't take that much longer to replace. When you get new rotors you're probably going to have to get new bearings and seals also so look at that while you're buying parts. If you go to RockAuto they have numerous options for ball joints. Good place to get your brake parts also. We got all the parts for my nephew's 84 Firebird from them and replaced everything in the steering, suspension and brakes. It was a great time to teach him about working on cars but unfortunately he passed away three years ago from cancer. The car will now go to his brother as he just got out of the Marines last year.

Roy
 

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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Roy, that makes a lot of sense about the control arm bushings. I'll look into what that practically involves and whether I can borrow the press. You mean something like this, right? Ball Joint Service Kit for 2WD and 4WD Vehicles On sale for $60 now.

Already placed an order at Rock Auto for the ball joints. Got the ACDelco Pro line for pretty cheap. Brake pads, rotors, shocks I already have on hand.

Sorry to hear about your nephew. My condolences.
 

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2005 Base CTS work at Pullen solenoids Glass Factory for 36 and a half years
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Yes that's the kit that I bought. Thanks for your condolences. We started building an almost 3,000 sqft garage and man cave and the third day in is when we found out about his cancer. 4 months later it was my wife but she's okay now. Here's is a link to my YouTube channel showing the building of the garage.


Roy
 

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Quick! Cancel, amend and change your order to RA. Get fully loaded control arms all sides. Extremely reasonable price considering what's included , and the labor cost, aggravation and especially time saved. The new bushings will be heaven. Remember final torque only with suspension full weight.

[EDIT] What a revolting development. No go on entire loaded arms checking RA, Carid, Caddy Daddy, CarParts, Ebay. Must have gone to 'Part NLA' heaven. So Rosanne Rosannadana ::Nevermind::

I did new lowers on wife's Tribute last week to pass inspection = too easy.
 

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Yes that's the kit that I bought. Thanks for your condolences. We started building an almost 3,000 sqft garage and man cave and the third day in is when we found out about his cancer. 4 months later it was my wife but she's okay now. Here's is a link to my YouTube channel showing the building of the garage.


"....... All of it ......."
Roy
Condolences. And as you're doubtless already aware, memories of those who've passed keeps them right alongside you and living.
 
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