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2013 CTS Premium Sedan
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all-

I have a snapping/popping noise when braking and turning the wheel from the drivers side front. I am at my wits end with this - I am $15,000 deep into this car in 18 months and have replaced most, if not all components that would likely cause this. (Power steering rack, control arms front upper&lower both sides, front and rear shocks, tie rod ends, wheel bearings, brake pads, brake rotors resurfaced). I have had both the dealer, an independent shop, and a Firestone tires look over it, drive it, and offer little feedback- they assured me that the brakes were good, all bushings were good, and there is no play in the suspension or steering, as well as all bolts are tight. My last visit to the dealer had them recommend the tie rod ends for $680, and no fix. Took it back today and they wanted to replace all 4 control arms (again) and the sway bar bushings for $3,000. I don't want to spend another $3,000 on this car. I feel like I can't rule out anything at the moment, but I don't want to keep throwing parts at this. A bit of info and background about this issue:

  • Only occurs when in drive / very occasionally reverse - will not occur in park.
  • Mostly when I press down on the brake while stopped, but also occurs when turning the wheel or driving at low speeds
  • Most pronounced when doing tight turns (such as in a parking garage, or airport departures traffic) from my recent experiences
  • Gets more pronounced over time as the car has been driven for a longer period of time- ex. took a trip to West Palm Beach and after the 2 hour drive, the front end sounded like a bowl of rice krispy treats.
  • I have attached a YouTube video of the issue, as well as a picture of my repair spreadsheet with dates and mileage of repairs. The control arms I used were aftermarket, as were the wheel bearings- and the power steering rack was remanufactured. All other parts currently on the car are GM genuine/OEM.
-The popping noises can be noted in the YouTube video at 0:19, 0:26, 0:30, 0:35, 0:40, 0:44, 0:47, 0:50. You can hear me pushing down the brake, and the snapping noise occur right after.
Font Parallel Pattern Electric blue Symmetry

Rectangle Font Parallel Circle Electric blue



Any help with this is much appreciated. I am literally losing my mind. Please let me know if there is any more information needed- I have tried to document everything I can.


Thank you.
 

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2014 ELR
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Double check that the bolts on the steering rack to frame are tight. Mine were a little loose after a lower control arm swap and made noise.
 

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96 FWB
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I've nowhere near your model / platform / architecture, but sim. to above I had an '80's G-body, and a '90's D-body with a hogged out elongated upper control arm hole. And a more n more pronounced clunk with take-offs and brakes (especially the brakes in reverse) until finally discovering the cause on the first one.
 
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2011 CTS4 Coupe, 2014 ELR, 2018 XT5 AWD
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Check all the bolts that hold the brake booster to the front of dash and the ones that hold the master cylinder to the brake booster.
 

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Go ahead, blame me. Everybody does 🙄
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I can't help but wince at the $635.46 for plugs.
We've discussed this before as far as your location and available shops, but man...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the ideas. Will relay to the dealer on Monday with the video and hope for the best. They told me the control arms were the cause of the noise, as stated above, but I asked them to check to make sure all bolts were tights and all ball joints and rubber components were sound, which they both apparently are. Not sure how a control arm can cause noise if the rubber isn't busted or if it's not bolted down right, but okay.
 

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2009 CTS 3.6L DI Premium, 2014 CTS Vsport
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Thanks for the ideas. Will relay to the dealer on Monday with the video and hope for the best. They told me the control arms were the cause of the noise, as stated above, but I asked them to check to make sure all bolts were tights and all ball joints and rubber components were sound, which they both apparently are. Not sure how a control arm can cause noise if the rubber isn't busted or if it's not bolted down right, but okay.
Hope you get it figured out. There are only certain parts that can cause this, if you've changed them all then one of them is still suspect. New does not mean good, and then there is installation. There is an argument to be made for spending the money to get good-quality parts from the start. It isn't a 100% guarantee, but it helps.

Control arms can definitely cause the noise you're hearing. With most suspension components, wear and damage is only visible in extreme cases. Problem components often can't be identified visually.
 

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Hello all-

I have a snapping/popping noise when braking and turning the wheel from the drivers side front. I am at my wits end with this - I am $15,000 deep into this car in 18 months and have replaced most, if not all components that would likely cause this. (Power steering rack, control arms front upper&lower both sides, front and rear shocks, tie rod ends, wheel bearings, brake pads, brake rotors resurfaced). I have had both the dealer, an independent shop, and a Firestone tires look over it, drive it, and offer little feedback- they assured me that the brakes were good, all bushings were good, and there is no play in the suspension or steering, as well as all bolts are tight. My last visit to the dealer had them recommend the tie rod ends for $680, and no fix. Took it back today and they wanted to replace all 4 control arms (again) and the sway bar bushings for $3,000. I don't want to spend another $3,000 on this car. I feel like I can't rule out anything at the moment, but I don't want to keep throwing parts at this. A bit of info and background about this issue:

  • Only occurs when in drive / very occasionally reverse - will not occur in park.
  • Mostly when I press down on the brake while stopped, but also occurs when turning the wheel or driving at low speeds
  • Most pronounced when doing tight turns (such as in a parking garage, or airport departures traffic) from my recent experiences
  • Gets more pronounced over time as the car has been driven for a longer period of time- ex. took a trip to West Palm Beach and after the 2 hour drive, the front end sounded like a bowl of rice krispy treats.
  • I have attached a YouTube video of the issue, as well as a picture of my repair spreadsheet with dates and mileage of repairs. The control arms I used were aftermarket, as were the wheel bearings- and the power steering rack was remanufactured. All other parts currently on the car are GM genuine/OEM.
-The popping noises can be noted in the YouTube video at 0:19, 0:26, 0:30, 0:35, 0:40, 0:44, 0:47, 0:50. You can hear me pushing down the brake, and the snapping noise occur right after.
View attachment 610574
View attachment 610575


Any help with this is much appreciated. I am literally losing my mind. Please let me know if there is any more information needed- I have tried to document everything I can.


Thank you.
Check the Upper Strut Mount Bearings located in the Upper Strut Tower mounting area visually seen on the Frame area under the hood at the top of Strut Tower. Usually mounted in with Three (3) bolts and to plastic locator pins. I had these fail at about 120,000 miles on my 2001 Cadillac Seville STS. The failure maybe the rubber between the bearing inner & outer metal part of the bushings. Inspect for cracks in the hard rubber surrounding the inner “race” of the bearing or bushing, I use the term bushing / bearing interchangeably in the aforementioned terminology. Costs about $50 per bushing for each part. Might be worth a shot.
 

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'12 CTS Performance Sports Wagon AWD
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Stop going to the dealer for #1... Find a respected mechanic and your bills will be cut nearly in half... Plus might actually get your issues fixed....

Could be bad engine mount as well...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's hard to find one here. Had several bad experiences in the past few years and the money spent is worth the headache saved at the dealer. Also, I've had the engine mounts replaced not even 15K miles ago. They usually last 50K mi from what I've heard.

I dropped it off today, left the dealer with the video and the advice here. They're investigating and actually digging deep this time... will update with hopefully good news.
 

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Good luck and let us know.
 

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Black/Black 2013 CTS Sedan 3.0L RWD (108k miles)
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Man I have this exact same situation! I figured it was just my car giving me unique problems.

It happens especially when making a tight turn and you brake at slow speeds (like when you u turn in the residential street), it sounds like something is going to break off. It seems to be more prevalent when it is colder temperature too.

Its interesting you mention that you had stuff replaced but this happens. In 2016 I also had the following replaced (by warranty at 40k miles):

  • front shocks
  • rack and pinion
  • steering wheel bushing
  • upper control arm and bracket
  • lower arm control and bracket
  • sway bar
  • sway bar links and bushings

Please let us know if you find the cause (and solution). I've also told the dealer every time I go in for an oil change and usually I can't replicate it but once I did and they checked out all the front shock area and said everything is strucutrally good and sound and safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Picked up today from the dealer. Sway bar bushings replaced, another $400 spent, no change. They assured me they drove it and could not reproduce the noise, but as soon as I get in the car and drive off it's very audible. The invoice states all connections/bolts on the front suspension and steering system were checked and were ok, as were the shocks and shock mounts. I am actually thinking it's a control arm as I am starting to get a more pronounced clunking/snapping noise when sharply stopping or after driving brick roads- similar to when the bushings went in my '10 on the lower control arm. I've got another shop recommended to me by a relative that is working on an Acura of mine currently- will take it to them after they're done with that and see if they can figure it out.

Frustrating when you go to a dealer, spend over $1000 for literally nothing, they tell you it's the control arms but are unable to ascertain which one it is and just want to replace all four- then say they can't even hear the noise anymore when it's clearly audible.
 
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