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98 Lumina wheel well knocking

My 98 lumina seems to make a knocking/bouncing sound in the right rear wheel well when I brake. It never happens when I’m braking driving in the city (25 mph or so) but it happens when I’m closer to 40mph and up.

I thought it might’ve been a drum brake issue but I just had the brakes serviced about two or three weeks ago. It still does it.

Any ideas? This isn’t a new issue. It’s something that’s been going on for years.

You have a number of bushings back there, as well as strut mounts, that could easily be the source of this. The car will need to be raised on a lift and the various bushings checked.

If you plan to fix it yourself, post and I’ll suggest the most likely candidates and tell you how to check them.

I believe that mountainbike is on the right track, and that when the OP gets the car up on a lift he will find a problem with the rear strut mounts. That could include severe rust damage to the area where the struts mount at the top.

Man, I hope for the OP’s sake that the towers aren’t rotted… but yeah, it’s a possibility. It’s definitely old enough.

If up on a lift, how noticeable would something like this be? It seems that if it were obvious a mechanic would have pointed it out. It’s been lifted up at least 4 times in the past six months.

It will be necessary to shine a fairly bright light up into the area of the top strut mounts. If your mechanic hasn’t done this, he may not have noticed what we fear has happened in that area.

I didn’t forget about this thread. Update: The knocking/bouncing is intermittent now more than ever. Sometimes when I brake it happens, other times not. It definitely used to happen more often before I had all of my brakes serviced. This, apparently, also happened when my mother drove the car, and when my father looked at the wheel well issue, saw nothing obvious.

If I were to take pictures with a flash of the area underneath the car, would one of you be able to eat least point me in the right direction?

Unfortunately, my access to tools now is somewhat limited. I do have a single jack I could use to prop up that part of the car, at least to get a peek. Would that be enough?

Never put yourself under a car that is supported only by a jack. Never. Jacks can fail, and the falling car can kill you. A pair of decent jack stands is relatively cheap. If you don’t want to shell out for the right tools, it’s definitely best to have a mechanic look at it.

Get a pair of jack stands. Never peek under a properly supported car. Shaking the tires may help on isolating the noise. Removing the tire and taking pics would help. Do you know wich side is causing the noise?

If the struts are really shot, can they make a clunking noise? I think that’s what I’m hearing in one of my cars. Well, two cars; I replace the front struts on one car, and the clunk is coming from the back so I’m assuming shot struts are making the ‘clunk.’

The noise is coming from the right rear and only seem to really happen if I hit a hard bump or brake hard. It used to be worse but once I got my brakes serviced (front disc, rear drum) it seems to have subsided somewhat. I wouldn’t call it a “clunking” so much.

I hate to be that guy that tries to explain car noises, but the sound sort of sounds like a boot quickly falling down the stairs. Usually I hear it “bump” or “bounce” 3 or 4 times in rapid succession, then it stops.

I had a rear strut make noise. It was more of a rapid knocking noise than a clunking noise. Replacing the rear struts fixed it.

I think struts also but be sure to check the upper strut mount and the tension rod (the suspension link running fore-aft). Strut mounts are a known weakness on this car and as they start to fail, they make “loose lumber” type noises but usually on rough roads, not during braking. Braking usually points to tension rod or struts. Good Luck.

Y’know, any competent shop could probably find the source for you for one hour’s shop time, typically just over $100.

The thought of anyone sliding under any car that isn’t very well supported gives me the willies. I won’t get under a car even supported by jack stands. I’ll REACH under it, and I’ll look under it with a good work light, but I’d never slide under it.

ptohara "I wouldn’t call it a “clunking” so much."
Yeah, I’m hearing more of a ‘knock,’ actually. I’m thinking the strut rod has worn the bore and developed some play, hence the noise. I also get some pretty loud knocks at low speed if I hit a small bump just right, or when backing.
the same mountainbike "sliding under any car that isn’t very well supported gives me the willies. I won’t get under a car even supported by jack stands."
That’s always in the back of my mind, a little more so since a 'quake is not out of the question here. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to get some nice welded ramps instead of these sheet-metal jobs…

Strut noises can be a bear to find. Like MY 2 CENTS, replacing them might be the only way to find out.

I guess the way I’d handle this problem, if visual inspection of the bushes and strut mounts didn’t show anything wrong, and I removed the wheel and pulled the drum and the brakes looked ok, I’d just replace the shock absorber (the part inside the spring, if you have coil over shocks), or replace the whole ass’y, spring and shock absorber, whichever was most economical. I expect that would fix the problem straight away.

From my interpretation of the OP posts, this isn’t a DIY job for the OP. Without the proper equipment to do the job, a DIY repair just wouldn’t be safe. Penny-wise and pound foolish in other words. Have it done by a well recommended inde mechanic. And see if you can find a mechanic who will let you watch and learn as he/she does the job.

Sounds like upper strut bearining failure.