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Old 10-10-2017, 05:31 PM   #1
sedativechunk
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Default 98 SL2 front/left noise when making turns + rattling

Hey everyone,
Well I got some bad news for my '98 SL2. It's starting to have some anomalies both related to noise coming from the car. I do a lot of my own mechanical work, but I wanted to pick all your brains as to the problems here because at this point I have absolutely NO idea what is causing either problem.

Problem 1 - this has been happening for many months now. I hear a loud rattling under my car when in drive (mines an automatic transmission). I hear it the worst at fast food joints when I'm close to a wall or something it resonates loud. It doesn't do it in park; it's when the car is in drive (including lower gears 1-3). Basically, it sounds like someone rattling coins in a tin can, and is most noticeable when I'm stopped. I thought maybe a loose exhaust shield but upon checking it out last night, the shield doesn't seem loose anywhere. Any ideas of what could be causing this? It's got a new belt and tensioner, not sure it's related to anything under the hood but it's getting awfully LOUD and annoying.

Problem 2 - more serious than problem 1. A couple weeks ago I noticed my car started making noises on left turns. It seems to only do it at higher speeds. I'll be going 30mph+ and when making left turns (even moderately), I heard a kind of rumbling, vibrating sound coming from the front-left side of the car, kind of like the noise you hear when you run over those noisy things on the lane dividers to alert you you are going over the line. I put new brakes and rotors on a couple months ago so I don't think that's the problem. Tires are only a couple years old and not too worn down. I'm thinking a bad bearing. I jacked the front of the car up last night though, and attempted to find the issue. But I don't see or hear anything when it's jacked up. I spun and shook the wheel around by hand as well and everything seems perfectly fine. Still doesn't mean it's not the bearing, though? It's getting worse, I mean I barely turn left even a hair and hear this noise now. I'm worried it's going to get worse or damage something if not repaired soon. It's not super loud, but loud enough for me to worry about it.

Anyone got ideas on these noises? I hate to buy parts when I don't know the exact problem. Especially because replacing bearings will cause me to have to get it realigned and spend even more money. And I also don't know about doing just the bearing or the hub.
I love my Saturn, it's a custom, but I don't want to put a whole lot more money into it. It's almost 20 years old now and I just hit 138k miles. I'd (sadly) rather start saving for something a big newer rather than keep pouring money into this car. I've had to replace/repair a lot of things over the past 4~ years.

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Old 10-10-2017, 06:25 PM   #2
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Default Re: 98 SL2 front/left noise when making turns + rattling

Hi, you said you replaced the brakes and rotors?
Check out the left caliper flexible brake hose....perhaps it is routed improperly and is just rubbing itself on that tire whenever you are in a left turn.

Rattling .. if not exhaust shields or broken exhaust hanger, it still might be the serpentine belt tensioner....where did you purchase the one you recently put on? Was it AC DELCO or someother brand? Might be newish, but still be bad.

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Old 10-11-2017, 02:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: 98 SL2 front/left noise when making turns + rattling

Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
Hi, you said you replaced the brakes and rotors?
Check out the left caliper flexible brake hose....perhaps it is routed improperly and is just rubbing itself on that tire whenever you are in a left turn.

Rattling .. if not exhaust shields or broken exhaust hanger, it still might be the serpentine belt tensioner....where did you purchase the one you recently put on? Was it AC DELCO or someother brand? Might be newish, but still be bad.
Thanks for the reply. I'll have to check out the brake hose, I don't think that's the issue though but it doesn't hurt to look. I didn't disconnect the caliper or anything when I did the brakes, I just hung it off the suspension with a zip tie.

One thing I want to mention, I didn't want to make my initial post too long. But last night when I turned the wheel all the way to the left, the tire was hitting part of the frame! And I thought that was the problem, and I buzzed off a tiny piece of the frame sticking out and it quit making contact. But I am wondering if something is still hitting/making contact somewhere on the road when the car isn't jacked up. More concerning is how it got to that point, I mean it didn't come out of the factory that way. I don't know how it got that way either, if the suspension is going or the tie rod is bad or something. So many things it's making my head spin. My dad said over time it could have gotten just a hair off if something wore down over time.

The tensioner; I was wondering the same thing in the back of my mind either that and the timing belt could be bad. It was changed 3-4 years ago by a friend before I got into working on my own cars. The guy absolutely knows his stuff and did it right, but you're right; the part may have been junk if it wasn't a genuine GM part. I unfortunately don't know the brand that it was. It also seems my A/C underperforms (which could be a problem in itself and it does leak) but a sign of it being weak could be related to the tensioner and components not getting enough juice from a bad belt, tensioner, or both. I should take the belt off in the day and feel it.

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Old 10-11-2017, 06:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: 98 SL2 front/left noise when making turns + rattling

Just for clarification, you mentioned timing BELT was changed....you probably were referring to the serpentine belt seeing that your car has a timing CHAIN.

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Old 10-11-2017, 09:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: 98 SL2 front/left noise when making turns + rattling

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Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
Just for clarification, you mentioned timing BELT was changed....you probably were referring to the serpentine belt seeing that your car has a timing CHAIN.
You're right, it was the serpentine belt, it's been a long week...

Anyway, I decided I'm gonna change the hub and bearing assembly as far as the problem #2 noise goes. I don't know, but gut is telling me it's the bearing that's bad. It's awfully noisy and getting worse, and I don't think the break line hitting would be making it as loud as it is.

I picked one up at advance today, had to make a special trip to another location only one in the whole city had one in stock. Saturn parts are starting to get rarer!

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Old 10-19-2017, 05:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: 98 SL2 front/left noise when making turns + rattling

Hey everyone,
I'm resurrection my post. I regret to say my Saturn is still making this annoying rumbling noise from the front left. Same thing as before, subtle to sharper turns going left and I hear noise like something is making contact somewhere.

Tuesday, I drove 120~ miles round trip to get a replacement spindle/hub assembly off a junkyard Saturn. Regreased and put new boots on all the joints, put everything back together (also making sure the brake cable was out of the way).

Car is running great and even turns a little smoother with the new spindle and greasing. But the sound still exists when turning left. Only when I go above 30~ MPH is when the noise starts. I'm so incredibly baffled and annoyed I can't find the exact cause of the issue.It's not super loud nor shaking the car or anything, just this noise.

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Old 10-30-2017, 07:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: 98 SL2 front/left noise when making turns + rattling

Hey!
This is a bit old now, but have you considered your issue being a wheel bearing...? My 2002 SL2 had a similar issue on the passenger's side. Was a wheel bearing. I think my driver's side bearing might be going now, as well...

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