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Creaking Steering after suspension work

Got a used Ion, and noticed right off that it clunked on bumps at low speed. After asking around and reading up a bit, decided it was probably the lower control arm bushing. Took it to a shop, and told them what I thought - but they tested it and said “You need new strut plates and bearings. Might as well do the struts while we are in there.” $800 later, it STILL clunked, and now when I turn the wheel, it does a “creaking/popping” noise. Also, the coil rotates when the wheel does, and kind of chatters and sticks. I took it back and they said nothing was wrong - ignore it. But it is really annoying, and also makes my steering “stick” a bit when I turn. I took it to a different shop, and they said they had no idea. Argh! I posted a video of it on YouTube - if you search for “2007 Saturn Ion Front Suspension Problem” mine is the top one. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Here is a link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5ujwnKKBRE

I’m not sure what is so hard for these shops - if you can actually feel the coil popping as you turn the wheel, then they either put on bum parts or screwed up the installation.

If you paid $800 for them to replace the mounts and bearings and they make this noise, IMO, they owe you a proper fix. It may be simple. The Ford Fusion had a TSB for certain production runs that a simple grease application could solve this issue, but naturally the application required removal of the strut and disassembly.

FWIW, this exact problem is the cause of the overwhelming majority of trouble on my 97 Taurus and 98 Camry both - it seems no one can make a good strut mount and do a proper replacement anymore. Maybe I should invest in a single action compressor and start doing that job myself - I refuse to use the normal spring compressors (too dangerous) and those single-action ones appear to be a much better and much safer design.

This is almost certainly binding strut mounts (plate & bearing). There certainly is something wrong and it is their job to make it right. What did they have to say about the continued clunking? Has anyone inspected the ball joints?

What kind of a shop is this anyway? Get them to fix the struts properly, and then find a good, local and independent front end shop.

Yeah, I was pretty cheesed off when I got the car back. The shop is a well established one in the area - used to use them about 15 years ago and never had any issues. I moved away for a few years, and when I came back my family had found a different local shop that they liked better. My mistake this time is that my normal shop was several weeks out on an available slot. I was positive the clunking was caused by the lower control arm bushing (I was right as it turns out - ended up replacing it myself with a poly bushing) and since that is so simple, I figured “What the heck - I just need it done quick.”

Well, I have learned my lesson. I actually DID take it back to them and they pretty much said “There is no problem - if we do any more work, we’ll have to charge you again.” As if that wasn’t bad enough, they also wanted to charge me $600 more to do the lca bushing.

Wanting a second opinion (and still not being able to get an appointment with our “good” mechanics) I went to a different local shop. They ALSO said “we have no idea whats causing it.” But they didn’t charge me.

At any rate - I will definitely be going back to my trusted mechanic no matter how long the wait is. I’m not letting the bozos at the first shop anywhere NEAR my car again.

It just goes to show: just cause someone is in business, doesn’t mean they should be.