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2003 Cadillac CTS
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3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Wadda do.
Back in July 2019, my Uncle gave me his 2003 CTS over a poker game. I didn't win but he still gave it to me because he needed room to buy a lexus for his graduating son. It is currently floating around 180K miles and survived the drive from Minnesota all the way to Florida where I stay. I am not super knowledgeable about the mechanics of a car but being my first personal car I would like to take matters into my own hands. I haven't driven it so far this year and that could already pose some issues, but a persistent problem I've been having is the steering wheel would slow drift right. It's kinda uncomfortable having to fight with it and I'm not to sure how to fix it or if its fixable. Probably gonna spend more time with the car over the next few months and would be coming back to this forum for help. I would like to know if there is anything to improve its handling or anything I should be aware of.
In the future I will post pics of the car wrapped either "Black Demon Ghost" to match my brothers BMW F80 or just gloss black.
 

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2007 CTS 3.6 >131k miles
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705 Posts
While you have the wheels off, check the sway bar links and bushings too. These often fail around the same time as tie rod ends.
 

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06 CTS Sport/Luxury package
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9,814 Posts
Lift each side and repeat the following test on both sides...

Place your hands at the 3 and 9 o clock positions and wiggle the wheel back and forth. It should be solid, if you feel a clunk each time you wiggle it. Tie rod and/or bearing is bad. Now, place your hands at the 12 and 6 o clock positions. Repeat the wiggle. If it's solid, then the previous test had clunks then it's the tie rod. If this second test produces the clunk too, then most likely bearing. However, it could be a tie rod as well as the bearing.

I am not sure about checking the seals of the tie rods like RyanY said, but wouldn't be a bad idea either. I just never done it myself.

Also check for abnormal wear on the tires. If they are worn unevenly, then replace those then get the alignment.

KOT
 

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2007 CTS 3.6 >131k miles
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I am not sure about checking the seals of the tie rods like RyanY said, but wouldn't be a bad idea either. I just never done it myself.

KOT
Just to clarify, the sway bar links and tie rod ends can go bad with no visual signs. Check the tie rods and bearings as KOT suggested.

When checking the sway bar items, I usually squeeze the rubber seal with my fingers. If they feel collapsed or otherwise devoid of grease, or have cracks, they are likely at the end of life and should be replaced. Sway bar bushings should fit snugly around the sway bar with no free play. If any gap exists they should be replaced.
 

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2003 Cadillac CTS
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Discussion Starter #7
Just to clarify, the sway bar links and tie rod ends can go bad with no visual signs. Check the tie rods and bearings as KOT suggested.

When checking the sway bar items, I usually squeeze the rubber seal with my fingers. If they feel collapsed or otherwise devoid of grease, or have cracks, they are likely at the end of life and should be replaced. Sway bar bushings should fit snugly around the sway bar with no free play. If any gap exists they should be replaced.
Today I had time to quickly jack up only the front of the car, and wiggle the wheels. On both fronts there is some play when tugged 9 and 3, 12 and 6 on the front left wheel has play as well but I can't tell if it's coming directly from a bushing or from the broken tie rod. I also didn't check the sway bars but it's safe to assume they'll need to be replaced soon. I'll look into getting whole new suspension if that is the issue and hopefully by June be able to afford the parts and get help. Tomorrow I will try to lift the car again and take off the wheels to see for myself.
 

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2007 CTS 3.6 >131k miles
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705 Posts
It's always nice to find the problem(s) quickly! Fortunately sway bar links/bushings and tie rod ends are pretty easy. Bearings and are a little more time consuming, but not too bad.

Just a suggestion...if you get new sway bar links don't get MOOG unless you want to wrestle with the grease gun...the coil springs are pretty close to the grease fittings so you have to be creative. They are heavy duty, though.
 
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