Question: My 2006 Saturn Ion has a weird noise in the front end.
When i hit bumps like going up or down the driveway, there is a clunk under the car. I cannot tell if it is on the passenger and driver side. It seems to come from both side in the front end depending on how I hit the driveway, or which way i am turning the steering wheel. Sometimes the noise rattles and others it clunks.
Even when i turn the wheel back and forth while driving at say 5 MPH. Sort of rocking the Ion side to side.
I had a mechanic look at my car and said he could not find anything loose in the front end to make this condition. Can you help me fix the problem with my Saturn Ion, or at least give an idea of where to look. Thanks !
Answer: Sounds like you are describing a common problem on this Saturn, as well on many Chevrolet and Pontiac cars around the same model year.
Either the front stabilizer bar links are worn out - but the mechanic said nothing was loose, or the lower control arm bushings are worn. This causes the control arm to sit on the frame and cause a clunking noise when hitting bumps or going over railroad tracks, or rocking the car as you described.
See the pictures below for this. Looking between the rear of front wheel and the fender you can see a worn bushing compared to a good bushing.
These can be replaced separately from the control arm. The parts are only about $20 each, but the control arm needs to come off, then the bushings pressed out.
Bad / worn out bushing. No gap between the control arm and the frame.
Good bushing. Control arm not laying on frame.
Saturn Ion 2003 No ABS. Engine Size : 2.2 Ecotec.
Question: Hi please help. Do i really need a torque wrench to replace a front wheel hub/ bearing and if i do what size do i need. Also i need to replace both sway link /or could i just change the bushing please also tell me about the torque size or if you think i could do them with a regular ratchet. Thank You very much for Your Advice.
Answer: No, you don't necessarily need a torque wrench to replace the front hub bearing assembly. Most tightening specs on cars do have a torque value, but unless it's a real sensitive area, such as cylinder head bolts, you can use a regular ratchet and common sense. Usually an impact wrench can be used on all the bolts/nuts on the front end and suspension. You'll need some strength to get the axle nut loose and even the hub bolts are very tight, so an air gun comes in handy there. On reassembly, just pay attention to tighten everything evenly and tight. As for replacing the sway bar links, the entire link must be replaced. If you are asking about the bushings on the frame that are not part of the links, then yes you can just replace those alone. The bushings don't have to be changed unless they are bad too. These are not as common as the links.
Saturn Ion And Chevy Cobalt Front End Clunking