Hearing Noises, checklist would be nice!

Hearing Noises, checklist would be nice!

Postby gman [OP] » July 30th 2020, 8:50am

Hello everyone.
So my 1999 A/S recently started to make noises when going over large speed bumps and it now happens whenever I turn.
It never did it before, started doing it occasionally, and now it pretty much happens every time.
NO CLUNKS or popping, steering is dead arrow straight, and there is no play or drift in the wheel at all when I'm driving.
It feels completely normal other than the noise.
I recently pumped all of the fittings full of grease.
I don'tknow much about suspensions, but when I looked at it, I noticed just a couple of oddities:

-One of the lower "Grease holder" bubbles (for lack of better word) is "popped", meaning the grease just goes right through almost immediately after I put it in (but still retains some grease), and the bubble doesn't inflate.
The other one does.

-The sway bar bushings are metal on metal, and I already bought replacements and will be putting them in soon.
I thought that this was causing the noise, and it very well may be, but it just sounds too loud, and seems to move with the travel of the suspension, so I'm not depending on it fixing it, but it wouldn't hurt to put them in.

The conditions under which it happens are as follows:

- Turning when PARKED OR MOVING SLOW ONLY. Sounds like a creaky door. If I'm moving fast, there is no noise.

- Going over LARGE speed bumps (sometimes small ones that really make the suspension articulate) causes a long drawn out old mattress noise that FOLLOWS the suspension travel, and immediately stops after it's done bouncing.

REALLY seems like the shocks too, but why would I hear that noise when it turns?
Could be two separate problems, but it seems to come from the same source.

So it's probably hard for someone to just tell me based on those facts (unless they fit exact descriptions that other owners had, and that's till not a guarantee),
so I was wondering.... Is there a checklist that anyone knows about, that I can kind of go through to track down the noise?
I'm really REALLY hoping that I don't have to take the control arms apart or do a ball joint, but from what I've been reading, I don't have any of those symptoms.

I'm alone, so I can't get a helper to bounce the car for me as I'm under it, so I was hoping that someone could give me some kind of other method of tracking down the problem.
Thank you!
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Re: Hearing Noises, checklist would be nice!

Postby markmitch » July 30th 2020, 3:34pm

Best advise I can give is take it to a tire/alignment place and have them look it over
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Re: Hearing Noises, checklist would be nice!

Postby Bossman » July 30th 2020, 4:03pm

What Markmitch just said.
Also, check the body to subframe mounts.
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Re: Hearing Noises, checklist would be nice!

Postby Rod's Trucks » July 30th 2020, 5:11pm

Gman,
I do not know where you are located, but out WEST, there is a very god chain of tire stores called Les Schwab. They are not the cheapest for service, but are very responsible and fair. They do most steering, front end and suspension work, and have a good reputation. They will also be happy to do inspections for such things as brakes, tire wear and noises.
You will get a list of recommended repairs to do with as you please. Then you can tackle those items as you are able. If the repair requires a subsequent alignment, of course they will be happy to do that.
I had most of the front suspension and steering stuff replaced and still ahd wandering steering, They said it was the worn out steering box ( 200+K on it).
I did not want to take on the job of replacing the steering box on my AWD van, so I had them do it. It was an expensive job.
There is a local company ( RedHead in Auburn, WA.) ) that does steering boxes for the 4x4 and trucking industry, and the tire store only uses that brand. The box that they installed was too tight, but I was told it would 'loosen up after a few miles' . It never did loosen up, so after several hundred miles, so they installed another one.
It was several hours of their labor, and another alignment; and they just handed the keys back and said they were sorry for the inconvenience,...NO Charge!
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Re: Hearing Noises, checklist would be nice!

Postby gman [OP] » July 30th 2020, 10:01pm

Yeah, I can take it somewhere to get it looked at and then do the work myself if it's not extremely involved line requiring a cup press and all that stuff, but it's more just about tracking the problem down at this point, and I'm sure that there is a good checklist to go through.
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Re: Hearing Noises, checklist would be nice!

Postby maximus7001 » July 30th 2020, 10:19pm

Subframe mounts. There are 6 of them. They will get worse. Then the steering will start to pull or wander. Not too hard to change them. There are 6 of them. The center 2 are slightly different than the other 4 and have thicker bolts than the other 4 as well. Doorman makes both kinds now. I got mine ($23 CAD each) when they only made the one kind so I got 2 bigger bolts and used a die grinder to make the holes bigger on the center 2 to fit.
The GM stealer has all of them (delco) but they come in bare metal and here they want $600 CAD for all 6 with the bolts.
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Re: Hearing Noises, checklist would be nice!

Postby Mmusicman » July 31st 2020, 1:13am

gman wrote:The sway bar bushings are metal on metal, and I already bought replacements and will be putting them in soon.

Seriously? You need to FIX this! Metal on metal absolutely WILL make noise!
THEN if noise continues.. keep looking. I always suspect lower ball-joints (since they are under extreme pressure and I've seen a few break).. but that's just me.
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Re: Hearing Noises, checklist would be nice!

Postby gman [OP] » July 31st 2020, 10:23pm

Thanks guys.

After looking at the sway bar bushings again, Some of them aren't metal on metal or as bad as I thought they were, but they are worn, some parts are rubbing weird and the bushings were $10 for moog, so I'm just going to pop them in there.

Thanks especially for the comment on the sub-frame mounts.
I would not have found that by searching "suspension problems", and after looking at videos of it, it does make sense.

After watching the videos, it makes a LOT of sense at the moment, because I REALLY have to articular the suspension to get the noise, and it seems to be getting slightly worse.
Sometimes when I go over just normal bumps (where the wheel is definitely moving), it doesn't make the noise, so it would make a lot of sense that it only makes the noise when the frame is under some kind of stress (eg. REALLY articulating the suspension).

I can't recreate the sound when I just bounce the car myself with my body weight. The WHOLE VAN has to move up and down, so yeah, sub-frame mounts make a LOT of sense right now.
It might not explain the creaking at ONE point of steering, but it could.

I need a set of pry-bars anyways, so I'll buy some, and I will take said bars to the subframe to see if I get any place.

I went to shop, and most of them charge anywhere from $100-$200 just to take a look at it.
That's all I was hoping for, a trained and professional eye to give it a once over and tell me what the problem is.
If I could do that for $50-$75, it would probably be worth it, as I wouldn't be spending days hunting down the problem, but anything past $100, and I'm literally paying for a set of sub-frame mounts, and ball joints.

Then again, I would probably learn a lot about suspension after those experiences (just like I learned a lot about cars from DIYing the other stuff) but I don't have a "helper" that can bounce the car for me, and tracking down the noise alone is just going to be extremely difficult.

So I think I'll tackle the problem in this order:
- Replace sway bar bushings ASAP.
- Get a set of pry bars and poke and prod at the subframe. If I see any play, get a set of sub-frame mounts and do them (seems really easy).
- If any noises continue, do the ball joints.

Ball joint doesn't seem that bad, as I thought that I would have to remove the entire lower control arm (which would be really bad), but some videos show that you can do it with the control arm still on the vehicle. It will just be very time consuming.
Maybe i'll re-pack the bearings if I already have it all out at tha tpoint, but hopefully it's just he sub-frame mounts and that solves all noises.

If it wasn't running and driving so well I would just run this thing into the ground!
But it's still a smooth, beautiful, reliable ride, so I gotta take care of her.

Thanks guys!
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Re: Hearing Noises, checklist would be nice!

Postby gman [OP] » August 1st 2020, 7:37am

So I found some for $27 a piece, which really isn't all that bad.
But I also found a COMPLETE kit for a firebird (all six) for $60.
I don't think that the firebird ones will fit the astro, but I'm going to keep an eye out for some old stock if I can. Otherwise, I'll go for the ones that are $27.
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Re: Hearing Noises, checklist would be nice!

Postby maximus7001 » August 1st 2020, 9:56am

The firebird ones are not going to be correct. The bolts will be bad and need to be be changed. The doorman ones come with new bolts. Ask me how I know about this. Had these changed in a 1977 buick skylark back in 1993. 5 days later one of the bolts snapped. It was not changed and was so skinny from rust that of course it was going to snap any time. The shop was oblivious to this and put it together with a bolt that was 1/4" thick at it thinnest point.
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Re: Hearing Noises, checklist would be nice!

Postby gman [OP] » August 2nd 2020, 6:47am

Haha, yeah I've been in a couple of "ask me how I know" situations with this van so I can laugh along with you.

I actually found them even cheaper at 18.99 a piece, bringing the total to about $100, which is REALLY not bad.

I would get them instantly if it were not for the fact that I'm not 100% sure that it is the subframe.
Prices on these things seem to fluctuate, and I don't want to spend an extra $60 just because I waited.

I guess I can get them, leave them alone I'm pristine condition, and return them if my prybar test turns out bad.
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Re: Hearing Noises, checklist would be nice!

Postby maximus7001 » August 2nd 2020, 8:07am

They are going to need to be changed anyways. Yours are 21 years old already. Mine needed changing at 14 years old. Mine is a 97 bought new.
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