Saturn front end groan when turning left

saturn
lw

#1

Recently on car talk (July 10, 2010?) a Saturn owner called in and reported a groan in the front end when turning left (but not right). That’s exactly my problem, so I was really interested in their answer - but the one they gave sounded completely wrong. They blamed the groan on a CV joint. CV joint failures have always sounded like a mechanical rattle, or series of knocks to me, not groans. I only hear the groan if I turn left at speed - and the groan gets louder the faster I take the turn. Any ideas? (For my sake, I think these guys ought to be taken to stump the chumps on that answer so I can figure out what my problem is!)


#2

Well, yeah, the usual CV joint fail is a loud clicking noise. But there are other possible failure modes. If it’s a CV joint, you’re fine. The worst that is likely to happen is a loud noise and the car no longer have a way to get power to the wheels.

But what if it is a wheel bearing where the worst that can happen is that the wheel will come off while you are cruising down the road?

I’d get it checked out.


#3

The problem might caused from a dry lower ball joint.

When cornering, a load is imposed on the ball joint. When corning faster, the greater the load on the ball joint so it groans louder. A dry ball joint can make noise when turning in one direction but make no noise when turning in the other direction.

Tester


#4

Thanks, guys - but the groan isn’t so severe that I’m worried about the possibility of catastrophic failure. And turns out after I topped off the power steering fluid (only a couple ounces, but it did belatedly discover it was below the Add mark), I took a hard turn today and didn’t even hear the noise. Hard for me to imagine that 2 or 3 ounces of fluid in the reservoir would make a dramatic difference - but my fingers are crossed. I’ll repost if the problem recurs…