Question about 1997 Pontiac Sunfire

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Everytime i turn the steering wheel i hear a loud clunking noise, i know its not the strut mounts, i know both tie rod ends are brand new within the past year plus they dont make a clunking noise like this. It sounds like its coming from the center of the car maybe by the power steering pump.

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Clunking noise may be bad steering rack. either the bolts that hold it to the frame may have worked loose,the center of your vehicle is where the steering racks located,just under the center of floorboard.under dash but on floorboard.make sense? try turning the steering wheel with engine running,place your hand under the radio,but on floorboard,when you turn the steering wheel from side to side,do you feel a thump? if so,then your steering racks loose or bad. the only way to know for sure is to have someone who knows about the steering rack to inspect it visually. thank you for choosing fixya.com

Posted on Apr 03, 2011

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It may also be your cv joints, if it happens when you moving that's probably what it is, if it happens when your sitting still

Posted on Apr 03, 2011

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My Pontiac Bonneville has a popping noise when i hit a bump i think its the tie rod ends i don't know if its inner or outer. How can i tell what the problem is and how hard it is to fix.


does it kinda sound like two peices of metal striking each other? most likely the outer tie rod end. the inner tie rod end wouldnt make a sound anything like that, it would snap and you wouldnt be able to steer the car very well.....regardless, this is easy to check. remove the wheel. the object directly behind your brakes is the wheel hub, directly behind the wheel hub is the steering knuckle. connected to the steering knuckle you should find the strut up top, a control arm on the bottom, the sway bar attaches towards the front of the car, the outer tie rod end connects to the hub on the side closest to the rear of the car. connected to the outer tie rod end is the tie rod, which is then connected to your power steering rack and pinion via the inner tie rod ends. you want to locate the outer tie rod end and examine it visually. is the rubber cracked, torn, or missing? if so, replace the outer tie rod end. you will need a 2 jaw puller to remove the old tie rod end, but removal and installation is EASY (i taught my wife how to do it in 5 minutes and she did it successfully in less than 10). depending on how far the jam nut is moved when replacing the tie rod, you may need an alignment after replacing it. if the rubber on the tie rod end looks fine, the noise is probably coming from the strut. when the struts are worn out, the strain of the vehicle bouncing is put on the coil over springs. after a while, the spring can become worn out as well.....this would create a "clunking" sound when going over bumps.....and, if the spring wears out too much, you MIGHT be able to hear a metalic popping sound when the struts reach the damper if the spring hasnt expanded that far yet (this is extremely unlikely tho, more likely than not, the spring would crack/break LONG before you hear this noise and the car would be close to undriveable......). regardless, out tie rod ends are roughly 12-15 bucks each and extremely easy to install. you might be able to find a parts store willing to loan you a 2 jaw puller, but if not they generally run 30-35 dollars....DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS REPAIR IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A REPAIR MANUAL THE LISTS THE CORRECT TORQUE SETTING FOR THE TIE ROD ENDS. if the bolt isnt torqued propperly, a) your alignment will be off and b) you run the risk of snapping the new tie rod end.

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There are a few components that will cause a clunk such as yours.
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If you recently purchased the car and it was checked over by a mechanic the most commonly missed item would be the control arm bushings.
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