1997 honda noise on right turn




I agree with you about EMPI . . . I think the company has high quality parts


The Answer - Took it in to a different mechanic. He says the right front tire was damaged in many ways that made it at risk of a blowout - and that that was what was causing the noise on the right turns. He’s changing the tire now - we’ll see. He also said the hose to the rack & pinion was leaking fluid but thats going back to the first mechanic


A damaged tire will not generally make any kind of noise like what you described. It doesn’t fit your symptoms. So if it was damaged, then whatever is making the noise must me damaging it. Or it was damaged in some other way and is coincidental. So hopefully this person will check that out or you’ll be right back in the same spot. Either way you need to know how the tire was damaged.


Thanks for the feedback ISAH. The right front tire was damaged & causing the noise on right turns? I guess that is possible, on right turns the right front tire gets slightly unweighted (the weight tends to get thrown the left side of the car on right turns) and something about this unweighting might cause a damaged tire to make a noise when turning but not when going straight. As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that the turning right isn’t what is damaging the tire in the first place, as the geometries change and the tire could be hitting something is shouldn’t, which could be dangerous. Let me ask you this: Is the tire size you have on there now exactly the same tire size as when the car was newly purchased? Or have you changed the tire size in the interleaving years?


@keith , @db4690 … with the EMPI half-shafts, is everything on them new then? Including the axel itself? I looked them up for my Corolla on the website you mention and they are priced only a little more the others posted there, $50 ea for the EMPI vs $40 for the least expensive. I guess if one can be assured they’ll work without causing problems it makes sense to purchase two new axels for $100 rather than taking apart and rebuilding the existing ones.



That’s a hard call to make

Personally, if my axles aren’t noisey and/or worn out, but the boots are torn, I’ll thow boots on it and call it good

Other people might not see it that way, especially if they have to pay labor

I looked on the EMPI website, and it seems like the axle might be reused, but everything else is brand new. And the best part is, the company is in Anaheim, so you’d be supporting not only a US company, but a California company!


Well, I don’t know the answer to your questions about tire sizes and so on. I bring it in, let them do whatever they say needs to be done in a general sort of way - e.g. change the tire I understand, what size is the tire, is already beyond my sphere… But I will say that after the new tire went on, the noise is like totally gone. Whether it will return in a few days I will find out.


For a while, EMPI was welding new outer CV Joints onto old factory axles, then adding new inner joints. Now they just make the whole thing new and its is cheaper that way.


Update. Since replacing the right front tire, the noise on turns did go away. However, there was a new noise and rattling of the steering wheel when idling. So, the Bronx mechanic said to ignore it, it’s an old car it makes noise. The LI guy said he didn’t see anything wrong, and since the only thing he couldn’t see is the timing belt, I should change that by process of elimination. So I decided it was time to take the car to Honda. To double check I mentioned the right hand noise that had recently disappeared. They did not hear the noise on testing.

Honda determined the car needs engine and transmission mounts. they said all mounts were broken except one.

Bronx mechanic said, thats ridiculous he would have known if the engine mounts were broken, and if I like Honda so much,let them do the work…

LI guy says he can fix engine mounts cheaper than Honda, but I’d first have to bring it in for a test, because he cant tell if the engine mounts are bad by looking at them, he has to test them.

Honda said theres no such thing as a test for engine mounts, you look at them, and that the two mechanics having the car up on the lift and not noticing that the mounts were all broken, when a client is complaining about vibrations in idle, is unbelievable, he doesnt know how they could have missed it.

So I had Honda do the work, and the steering wheel stopped rattling and the noise went away. However, Honda also told me the axle boots are leaking and that they dont just replace boots they do the whole axle. They also said that the timing belt should be replaced at 65,000 miles, even though the drivers manual says 105,000. They also charge at least double what either the LI or Bronx guy charge. On the other hand, they did the diagnosis that worked.

I am now questioning whether the car really needs a new timing belt now, whether it is better to replace the whole axle or bring it to someone for just the boots, and what to make of both the LI and the Bronx mechanic missing that the engine and tranny mounts were broken.

Any thoughts?


There’s something to be said about the Honda guys . . .

If a motor mount is visibly broken, there’s no point in testing it. If motor mounts are broken or deteriorated, the engine will have excessive movement, which can cause weird noises and vibrations

Here’s my opinion about the axles . . .

Getting new axles from Honda is the best option . . . they’re not going to install crap

Replacing all 4 boots (both axles) is the second best option (as long as they aren’t noisey). The only problem with that is the labor charge will be higher versus replacing the axles

Under no circumstances would I install cheap Chinese new axles


I had a 97 Accord up till December of this year. It is a very reliable car. The boots split open on mine at about 10 years old. It did not take very long to ruin the CV joints. I had done an oil change a month earlier and inspected the boots as I always do with every oil change, they were good, inside a month, the axles were clicking badly.

I replaced them with new Honda axles which I got from a Honda dealer over the internet. They were about half the price of the axles at my local dealer, still over $500 for the pair. They do not come with new inner CV joints so I had to remove the old inner CV joints and install them on the new axles. The new axles did come with the new inner boot, grease and clamps. The car was only 10 years old at the time but I swore that if I had the car at 20 years, I’d go EMPI the next time.

I only got rid of the car because my wife, due to an injury, cannot bend her left knee and ankle enough to get by the door. I just had the second timing belt service (14 years) done at the local Honda dealer for $735. That included the timing belt, balance shaft belt, water pump, all oil seals including the oil pump seal that was $10 extra, new coolant, valve cover gasket and serpentine belt. I considered that a bargain.

If you chose to have an independent mechanic do this service, Make sure he knows how to time the rear balance shaft, it is not marked. You have to remove a bolt at the rear of the engine and insert a 4x100mm screw in the hole through the balance shaft to position it with the engine at TDC. Also the crank pulley needs 186 ft lbs of torque so he needs a 3/4" drive torque wrench.

BTW, the timing belt interval is 7 years or 105k miles, which ever comes first. If the timing belt service was done at a Honda dealer, any Honda dealer, then any other Honda dealer can look up the maintenance record by VIN and let you know when it was last done. You can ask your local dealer to check. It will not show if it was done by an independent.

Any mechanic can remove the valve cover and upper timing belt cover and look at the belt. This is not a definitive evaluation of the belt, but it can help. If the belt is real loose and cracked, then you will know that the service needs to be done ASAP. Here is what my second belt looked like after 8 years and 75k miles.


BTW, I owned that Honda from new. I did all the maintenance on it except the timing belt service because I could not get the crank pulley bolt off and I owned the factory service manual for it.


In this case it sounds like the Honda guys, while more expensive, are worth using. Unfortunately, you don’t seem to be surrounded by good shops in your neighborhood.

The boots are a part of the axle assembly, often referred to as the “half-shaft”. Replacing only the boots is impractical for a couple of reasons.

  1. The boots protect the Constant Velocity joints. Once a boot is ripped, the CV joint’s lubrication gets expelled, dirt can get in, and wear and/or damage begins. Once a ripped boot is discovered, the CV joints can be considered ready for replacement.

  2. it’s generally more expensive to do the aforementioned disassembly & reassembly of a half shaft than to just replace the whole axle assembly.



This is in regard to #2

On my personal cars (and my relative’s cars) I always check everything out front to back during a service

The first thing I do is drive the car, so I can get a feel for it, and hear any noises

Anyways, on a few occasions I’ve found leaking cv boots, yet the axles weren’t making noise. In each instance, I removed the axles and replaced all the boots. In one case, it only cost me $20 for 4 boots. I considered that a bargain. Can’t even get the crappiest remanned axle for that. And all was well, even years later

My point is this . . . torn cv boots don’t always mean the axle is ruined

My labor was free

I suppose it might be false logic to pay for boot replacement


i agree, there’s something to be said for the Honda guys, they got it right the first time - except for the 40K difference in miles they claim require change on the timing belt, (65 vs 105) which is disturbing. plus, they want 800 for the timing belt & water pump & drive belt - or they want 1300 for that plus the seals & crank shaft seal & tension cam shaft seals or something like that. thats a lot of money. of course they do use h0nda parts, and my bronx mechanic did point out that the only difference between the timing belt gates makes for honda and the rest of the world is that the one for honda has honda stamped on it…


Db, your labor is free. The OP’s is not.
In addition, if you catch a torn boot early, as you do, your approach makes sense. In the OP’s case, where he’s paying for labor and especially since the axle is already making noise, I stand by the belief that it does not.


Regarding the question by tester about the clicking noise when braking for right turn - no - the noise is never while braking. The noise comes after the turn is made when I take my foot off the brake. Does this info give you any ideas about what it might be? Thanks


Okay, so, so far, the Bronx guy found nothing wrong with the car when it was making noise The LI guy found the tire was bad and the noise went away.

Another noise came. The Bronx guy refused to look at it. The LI guy couldnt find a source of noise and suggested changing the timing belt on the theory that it was the only thing he couldnt see so must be the source. the Honda guys changed engine & tranny mounts, at 1,600 dollars, and the noise went away.

Yet another noise came. Honda checked it and said it was the rack & pinion the bronx guy put in, and that he had put in tranny fluid erroneously, and the rack & pinion was loose. They would flush and retorque it for 1.5 hours of labor. they also said the axle boots were leaking and that the timing belt should be replaced at 65,000 rather than the recommended 105,000 bec of the age of the car,and NY driving conditions. I am, coincidentally at 65,000 miles fromt he last timing belt. they also recommended replacing the axle

So far, it seemed like the Bronx guy kept missing things, the LI guy missed something and took a wild guess but was at least honest, and Honda came to the (very expensive) rescue.

I then brought it back to the Bronx guy who put the rack & pinion in, a few weeks ago,as it would be his responsibility to fix his mistakes. He said he uses Lucas steering fluid which is red, and all steering wheel fluids he could find are red. He said the rack & pinion was not loose at all, and that even if it were, Honda would have had to remove it to get to the engine & tranny mounts, so it would have been their fault. He then poured some fluid into the steering pump bec he said the noise in such an old car, was coming from the fluid getting thick from freezing weather. He did not flush the system. The noise did go away. He also said someone had smeared grease on the axles and that a timing belt does not need to be replaced until 105 miles. he said Honda was, to put it politely, incompetent.

I am at a loss as to how to proceed on the axle and the timing belt because it is hard to believe Honda would smear grease on an axle so as to make it seem repairs were needed, and would be off by 40,000 miles on a need for a timing belt. It is also hard to believe they dont know some steering fluid is red, and that they overlooked that it was they who removed the rack & pinion to change the engine & tranny mounts. On the other hand, after the Bronx guy poured in this fluid, the noise went away.

I am now at a complete loss as to what to make, with respect to honesty and competence, of the Honda guys, the Bronx guy, and the LI guy and more to the point, whether to replace the timing belt now, or at 105,000 miles as the Honda manual itself recommends for severe driving - and whether or not to replace the axles. At this point the car is driving, one week later, no noise no problems.

Any opinions would be appreciated.


I’m going to say this again, so pay attention. The timing belt service is required every 7 years or 105k miles which ever occurs first. If it has been 7 years or more since your last timing belt service, then you are due regardless of whether you have put on 65k or 105k. The timing belt is made of reinforced rubber and rubber rots with age, so the years is actually more important than the miles.


I’ll say my opinion here

I don’t like what I hear about the Bronx guy . . . at all

He used Lucas power steering fluid, because that’s all he could find

It’s a well known fact that Hondas and Acuras don’t use generic/universal power steering fluid

Unless that Lucas fluid SPECIFICALLY said it was for Hondas and Acuras, it was wrong

He also said somebody smeared grease on the axles . . . honestly, he sounds like an idiot. It might appear that way to a non-professional. But if you look closely, you’re going to find a very slight tear or crack in the boot. Or maybe the grease is leaking out, from under the boot. Seen it all. He is making stupid assumptions, because he doesn’t want to clean up the grease and look for the actual cause of the leak.

As for the rack and pinion . . . the new rack usually comes with new bushings, but not always. If reusing them, you must make sure they’re in good shape. And it goes without saying, that you have to make sure nothing is loose after the new rack is installed.

In the past, it was often considered acceptable to use atf as power steering fluid. However, that’s not always the case anymore. It’s prudent to find out what fluid a system requires, rather than making assumptions.

To sum it up, I think the Bronx guy sounds like the least competent of the bunch

And the Honda guys have the best attitude

By the way, here is your maintenance schedule. You get a timing belt every 105K or 7 years, whichever comes first. How many years has it been?



I second db4690. The Bronx guy does not come across very well. If he doesn’t get that timing belts are not just mileage sensitive but also time sensitive on such as a basic issue as T-belts then one has to wonder about him.

Smearing grease on the axles is a bit much to buy into and it sounds like to me he’s just playing a one-up the mechanic game; trash others in an attempt to make themselves shine a bit brighter.