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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 09:12 PM
Original message
Any auto mechanics out there in DU-land?
Edited on Sat May-15-04 09:47 PM by Lisa0825
I am having a car problem, and will be stressing about it until Monday, but I just thought I'd ask if anyone knows anything. That way I can either digest the bad news now instead of dragging it out, or feel better if it sounds good.

I was on my way home from a wake Friday night, when I started to hear a squeaking from the rear passenger side of my car, like a bedspring. After a while, it turned into a thunking, like when you are driving over a road or bridge with joints that aren't very even. As I got closer to home, the thunking got louder, and the car started shaking a bit, like if there was a problem balance or alignment or something. When I drive at less than 50mph, it feels perfectly fine. But at 55, it shakes and thunks.

So, any ideas?

I actually had to miss a funeral 60 miles away because of this :-( I guess I am glad I at least made my appearance at the wake.
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Streetdoc270 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 09:13 PM
Response to Original message
1. sounds like a strut...
not a mechanic, but had the same sounds before and that was the culpret
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. are shocks and strust the same thing?
I was thinking maybe shocks.

thanks! :-)
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flowomo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-04 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. shocks=struts.... heard that on CarTalk I think
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hyphenate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 09:18 PM
Response to Original message
2. I'm not a mechanic
but it sounds like your tires need speed balancing. The faster you go, the more clunky they feel if the balancing isn't right. You could have gotten something in the wheel base as well, or your shock on that side (or spring, depending on the age of the car) could be shot. Balancing and shocks are not too expensive.

The mechanics on DU are very helpful. :) They made me realize that my transmission is shot. At least it wasn't a surprise when I got it to a person in the real world. :(
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 09:25 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I was thinking it felt like balancing, but it happened pretty suddenly.
Everything was fine on a 60 mile drivem then squeaking for about 10 miles, and then suddenly thunking. I am hoping it's just shocks, since I think those don't cost too much.

Thanks for the input!
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Don_G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 09:31 PM
Response to Original message
5. Shade-Tree Mechanic Here
It would help if you tell us the make, model and year of your car you drive to make an accurate diagnosis.

Front-wheel drive cars work differently than rear-wheel drive cars and repairs can differ by as much as a thousand dollars.

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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 09:45 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. It is a 1996 Saturn SL1
Edited on Sat May-15-04 09:48 PM by Lisa0825
thanks for any input!

It has been an excellent car for 120K miles, but now is starting to have occasional problems. I really can't complain.

(on edit... I think it is 96.. could be 95. I didn't buy it... inherited it)
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Don_G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. It's A Front-Wheel Drive Car
The bearings on the rear axle gave out and can be replaced with a hammer, chisel and a handful of grease. If your rear brakes gave out, check the brake hoses for "wetness" and your rear brake shoes on both sides to make sure they're the same thickness.

If anything looks funny to you, then take it to a mechanic you trust and has been in business for a while.







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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 10:17 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. You know, I did feel like it was slow to brake that day too,
now that you mention it. There is a mechanic I really like that is near my work, and I am hoping the car will be safe to drive that far (50 miles). That way I can drop it off in the am, and not miss work.
Thanks for the info! I appreciate it! :-)
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Syncronaut Seven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 10:47 PM
Response to Original message
9. CV Joint
You have 4 of them & I bet you didn't even know it. Their like universal joints surrounded by a rubber boot, packed with grease. 2 per each halfshaft (driveshaft).

The rubber boots split, spinning out the grease. Driving in heavy rain can accelerate the process. Eventually you hear clicking around corners. If left unremedied the CV joints start to bind, producing your precise symptoms.

Short road fix, squish a handfull of fresh grease into the CV joint. Careful to keep grease off the front disk brakes. Will keep you going for a couple thousand miles.

Look in the wheel well for grease spun out by centrifigal force. Inspect the black rubber boot for damage which is plainly obvious in the late stage of failure.

Aproximately $250-300 per side for the shop to fix. Worth it! That slight delay and bump when you step on the gas goes away and it feels "tighter" to drive.
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 10:55 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I had to replace the CV joint in a previous car....
Edited on Sat May-15-04 10:56 PM by Lisa0825
it was "doin' the bump" around the corner. Luckily, it was a recall item, so I hadn't had to pay for it. CV occured to me, since I had that prob before. This hasn't felt like that *yet*, but that's not to say it can't be the same thing. We HAVE had a lot of heavy rain in Houston in the past week, too. I didn't know it was related to rain.

Thanks for the info! I'll find out for sure on Monday! I'd rather do it now than in a couple months... my electric bills will be tripling the next few months, due to Houston summers. Might as well have an extra expense now than later!
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Syncronaut Seven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-04 10:25 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Once the CV joint
is exposed, rain washes the grease out of the joint. Particularly high speed puddles.
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-04 11:55 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. That would really seem to be the likely culprit then....
since this was the first time I had driven after major rain storms. anyway, I'll find out manana!

I'm trying not to stress... at least I am fortunate enough to be able to scrape up the cash, even if it really stings.
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Egalitarian Donating Member (379 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-04 12:34 AM
Response to Original message
14. Have you visually inspected
the wheels/tires on the passenger side. You might have a tire going bad, lost a balance weight on your rim, or have loose lug nuts. Hard to diagnose without being in a live conversation or seeing the vehicle. IMO, sounds like a wheel/shock/tire, etc. kind of problem and I'd go to a tire/alignment place, not a general mechanic. Good luck.
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