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Old 03-18-2013, 06:19 PM   #1
hardwaregrrl OP
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Front suspension help needed. Any GM techs in the house?

Ok......2003 pontiac Aztek. Yeah, yeah......ok wipe off your keyboards. Here's the skinny. I was rear-ended about 2 months ago. She tore up my rear bumper cover and bent the crap out of my tow hitch/mount, and broke my propeller on my driveshaft, torsion and motor mounts. Well, I took the car to a really great shop, but they specialize in 4 runners/Land crusiers. The completed all of the repairs and called to tell me my struts were done. Not because of the crash, I had the money so they replaced both front struts and mounts with KYBs. They were awesome!!!!!.....for a few days. Then I heard creaking and popping at low speeds. Turning, braking pop pop, creak creak. So I took it back. They said the bearing on one side was toast. So they replaced the strut mount with a heavy duty one from NAPA. Then a few more days go by, the other side is now making noise. So again, they replace with the NAPA unit. Well, 2 weeks later and it's god awful.

The shop is at a loss....they asked me to find a GM tech to see what the deal was. Maybe they installed them wrong, but it seems pretty standard for GM cars. Anyway, they don't have time to get some advice from a GM tech or to find out why the bearings keep failing. There is no info on the net about this problem. Anybody have any advice?? If you're a GM tech, I 'd love a copy of strut mount assembly from the shop manual or something. There is absolutley nothing on line about this. Thanks all!!!
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:40 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by hardwaregrrl View Post
Ok......2003 pontiac Aztek. Yeah, yeah......ok wipe off your keyboards. Here's the skinny. I was rear-ended about 2 months ago. She tore up my rear bumper cover and bent the crap out of my tow hitch/mount, and broke my propeller on my driveshaft, torsion and motor mounts. Well, I took the car to a really great shop, but they specialize in 4 runners/Land crusiers. The completed all of the repairs and called to tell me my struts were done. Not because of the crash, I had the money so they replaced both front struts and mounts with KYBs. They were awesome!!!!!.....for a few days. Then I heard creaking and popping at low speeds. Turning, braking pop pop, creak creak. So I took it back. They said the bearing on one side was toast. So they replaced the strut mount with a heavy duty one from NAPA. Then a few more days go by, the other side is now making noise. So again, they replace with the NAPA unit. Well, 2 weeks later and it's god awful.

The shop is at a loss....they asked me to find a GM tech to see what the deal was. Maybe they installed them wrong, but it seems pretty standard for GM cars. Anyway, they don't have time to get some advice from a GM tech or to find out why the bearings keep failing. There is no info on the net about this problem. Anybody have any advice?? If you're a GM tech, I 'd love a copy of strut mount assembly from the shop manual or something. There is absolutley nothing on line about this. Thanks all!!!
So they can't figure it out, and they want you to. WTF? You are very lucky to have a "really great shop" to deal with.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:17 PM   #3
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Make sure the springs are seated in the plates correctly, I did one correct and one incorrect on a Tacoma. It creaked and popped until I took it off and seated the spring.
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Old 03-19-2013, 05:44 AM   #4
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So they can't figure it out, and they want you to. WTF? You are very lucky to have a "really great shop" to deal with.
I hear you....but my goal right now is to fix my car. I'll deal with them later on this matter.


@Btov: Thanks! I'll pass that info along.
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:00 AM   #5
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My money is on a bent frame. If you were hit hard enough to break drive shafts and motor mounts... That car's done and her insurance should take care of it.
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:22 AM   #6
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Frame isn't bent. Was checked by 2 body shops.
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by hardwaregrrl View Post
I hear you....but my goal right now is to fix my car. I'll deal with them later on this matter.


@Btov: Thanks! I'll pass that info along.
Oh well that makes it simple, take it to a GM tech.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:11 AM   #8
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Oh well that makes it simple, take it to a GM tech.
Yeah, I don't have the cash. I need to figure out what the shop I already paid is doing wrong so they can fix the problem. Sorry, but I'm self employed with a 30 year old bike and a 10 year old car. If I had a shit load of cash, I'd buy a new car. Help me out with the tech info, not "what would you do?".

They want to fix the problem but are unsure if it's bad parts or installation problems. They are about to order OEM ACDelco parts to try now.

hardwaregrrl screwed with this post 03-19-2013 at 11:30 AM Reason: new info
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:45 AM   #9
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This is the closest suspension diagram I could find on an 03 Aztek: http://www.gmpartsclub.com/parts-cat...er-control-arm

From the looks of the diagram, it is pretty standard. The popping and creaking typically comes from a bad lower ball joint. Did they replace those? If not, they should (or replace the lower control arm if that is less expensive). Unfortunately, the shop does not sound very competent.

Here is one DIY approach to figure out if the problem is the lower arm control ball joint(s): Take off the wheel - use two jacks for this, one for the body and one for under the control arm so the arm can be moved up and down safely. Inspect the rubber boot for the lower ball joint. If it is torn - that is the smoking gun. Otherwise, clean off the boot with some brake cleaner or wipe it down as best possible. Then pierce the boot with a lithium grease can extension tube (straw) sharpened end. Spray grease in the boot. Wait a couple of hours for the aerosol solvent in the grease to partially evaporate. Test drive the car and listen if the pop/creak is still there. Good luck!

Edit: not a GM tech - but I have worked on several strut and standard suspensions including Ford and GM.

Stan_R80/7 screwed with this post 03-19-2013 at 12:01 PM
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:01 PM   #10
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One guys mistake doesn't mean the shop is bad. One tech worked on it and made a mistake. We're only human and they're trying to solve the problem. It is the strut mount. No question. Outer tie rods, control arms, cv axles,wheel bearings, ball joints are all under 10k miles. If you put your hand on the mount and have someone turn the wheels, you can feel it and hear it. No question. Sorry if I wasn't clear, but when the strut mount was replaced, the noise was gone. But just for a few days to a week.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan_R80/7 View Post
This is the closest suspension diagram I could find on an 03 Aztek: http://www.gmpartsclub.com/parts-cat...er-control-arm

From the looks of the diagram, it is pretty standard. The popping and creaking typically comes from a bad lower ball joint. Did they replace those? If not, they should (or replace the lower control arm if that is less expensive). Unfortunately, the shop does not sound very competent.

Here is one DIY approach to figure out if the problem is the lower arm control ball joint: Take off the wheel - use two jacks for this, one for the body and one for under the control arm so the arm can be moved up and down safely. Inspect the rubber boot for the lower ball joint. If it is torn - that is the smoking gun. Otherwise, clean off the boot with some brake cleaner or wipe it down as best possible. Then pierce the boot with the lithium grease extension tube (straw) sharpened end. Spray grease in the boot. Wait a couple of hours for the aerosol solvent in the grease to partially evaporate. Test drive the car and listen if the pop/creak is still there. Good luck!

Edit: not a GM tech - but I have worked on several strut and standard suspensions including Ford and GM.

hardwaregrrl screwed with this post 03-19-2013 at 12:15 PM
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:06 PM   #11
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Sounds like the part is defective and should be replaced. However, there are two locations where that popping/creaking could be from, the strut top bearing - which is new and the lower ball joint. Good luck!
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:24 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by hardwaregrrl View Post
If you put your hand on the mount and have someone turn the wheels, you can feel it and hear it. No question. Sorry if I wasn't clear, but when the strut mount was replaced, the noise was gone. But just for a few days to a week.
There appears to be a bearing up there, too. If they replaced only the mount and not the bearing, that could be the source of the noise. And beware, some aftermarket struts don't use a bearing, so they'll be OK long enough to drive out of the shop, but won't hold up.
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:27 PM   #13
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There appears to be a bearing up there, too. If they replaced only the mount and not the bearing, that could be the source of the noise.
Yep, they got the bearing as well. Pretty much always comes with the strut mount. The bearing is plastic which I think is pretty nuts.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:28 PM   #14
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Yeah, I don't have the cash. I need to figure out what the shop I already paid is doing wrong so they can fix the problem. Sorry, but I'm self employed with a 30 year old bike and a 10 year old car. If I had a shit load of cash, I'd buy a new car. Help me out with the tech info, not "what would you do?".

They want to fix the problem but are unsure if it's bad parts or installation problems. They are about to order OEM ACDelco parts to try now.
I was trying to help. If you pay for competent repairs in the first place it may be the first step in having a "shit load of cash" someday. It donít matter how good you think they are, or how bad they want to fix the problem. A shop that canít fix it right in the first place, doesnít know if it's bad parts or a bad install and wants you to figure it out so they can try again is not the place that will save you money. Wake up!
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:33 PM   #15
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I was trying to help. If you pay for competent repairs in the first place it may be the first step in having a "shit load of cash" someday. It donít matter how good you think they are, or how bad they want to fix the problem. A shop that canít fix it right in the first place, doesnít know if it's bad parts or a bad install and wants you to figure it out so they can try again is not the place that will save you money. Wake up!
Hey man, go rant in someone elses thread.
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