Anyone ever solve the infamous font end "creek" on these GA's? [Archive] - Forum


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sugar ray
06-02-2011, 09:15 PM
Anyone have any luck solving the front end "creak" on these cars? Tired of just guessing cause that's what seems to be happening. Just guess work.

My 02 GA started to creek about a year ago. Front end, doesn't sound like anything serious just annoying as hell. Does it only at low speeds and real noticeable over bumps. Also does it over low speed cornering.The only solution is turning up the radio :angel

This spring I decided to finally tackle the mystery. The car has fairly low miles as it sits during the winter months. Both my front struts were toast, no gas left in them what so ever. So I changed those and while I was at it changed the lower ball joints. The ball joint rivets from the factory proved to be fun but by drilling a pilot hole then using a 1/2 inch bit they came out exactly like a back yard mechanic could hope for. Rotors and pads were also due so changed those. Front end maintenance complete!!

Yet still this annoying creak. The outer tie rod ends feel excellent with zero play in them. I just do not want to be throwing parts at it hoping for a magical fix. The other points of interest were the sway bar bushings. Both the link bushings and and big sway bushings. They look real solid and good but I lubed the hell out of them with bushing grease none the less. Still no change!! Wheel bearings and cv joints I have ruled out as the sound is not consistent with every wheel revolution

The kicker......I got my wife to drive slowly through a parking lot full of speed bumps while I literally laid down on the passenger side floor with my ear to the ground listening. The creek sounds like it's coming from the wheel area.

Link bushings I guess I could replace despite them looking and feeling ok but yet again just do not want to be spending unnecessary money.

Anyone solve this issue which seems to be fairly common?? I did pull this up but didn't want to be ripping apart the sub frame, replacing parts to find out it was a wasted effort.

Subject: Rattle/Creak/Popping Type Noise from Front of Vehicle When Turning (Replace Both Front Stabilizer Shaft Insulator Brackets) #02-03-08-008B - (08/18/2006)

Models: 2002-2005 Chevrolet Cavalier

2002-2004 Oldsmobile Alero

2002-2005 Pontiac Grand Am, Sunfire

with FE1, FE2 or FE3 Suspension


This bulletin is being revised to include FE3 suspension. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 02-03-08-008A (Section 03 - Suspension).


Some customers may comment on a rattle/creak/popping type noise coming from the front of the vehicle when turning the steering wheel. This noise can typically be duplicated with a short drive on uneven road surfaces, then turning the vehicle left or right into a 90 degree turn.

This condition may be caused by the front stabilizer shaft insulator to front suspension crossmember brackets being out of specification. Using the J 39570 Chassis Ear hooked up to each bracket may assist in determining if they are the source of the noise.

Replace both the front stabilizer shaft insulator brackets using the procedure listed below.

Raise and suitably support the vehicle.
Remove the front tire and wheel assemblies.

Reposition the intermediate steering shaft seal in order to gain access to the lower pinch bolt.
Remove the lower pinch bolt from the steering gear.
Support the front suspension crossmember with a suitable jackstand.
Remove the rear mounting bolts from the front suspension crossmember.
Remove the center mounting bolts from the front suspension crossmember.
Remove the front mounting bolts from the front suspension crossmember.
Lower the front suspension crossmember approximately 15 cm (6 in) by adjusting the jackstand down.

Remove the retaining bolts and stabilizer shaft insulator brackets.
Install the new stabilizer shaft insulator brackets and retaining bolts.
Tighten the stabilizer shaft insulator bracket bolts to 66 Nm (49 lb ft).

Install the front mounting bolts to the front suspension crossmember. Hand tighten the bolts.
Install the center mounting bolts to the front suspension crossmember. Hand tighten the bolts.
Install the rear mounting bolts to the front suspension crossmember. Hand tighten the bolts.

Tighten the left rear bolt to 110 Nm(71 lb ft).
Tighten the right rear bolt to 110 Nm(71 lb ft).
Tighten the left front bolt to 110 Nm(71 lb ft).
Tighten the right front bolt to 110 Nm(71 lb ft).
Tighten the center bolts to 110 Nm(71 lb ft).
Tighten the stabilizer shaft insulator brackets bolts to 66 Nm(49 lb ft).
Install the lower pinch bolt from the steering gear.
Tighten the bolt to 40 Nm(30 lb ft).

Install the front tire and wheel assemblies.
Tighten the nuts in a criss-cross pattern 140 Nm (100 lb ft).

Lower the vehicle.
Parts Information
Part Number

Clamp (Bracket), Front Stabilizer Shaft

Warranty Information
For vehicles repaired under warranty, use:

Labor Operation
Labor Time

Insulator and/or Bracket Front Stabilizer Shaft at Frame -- Replace
Use Published Labor Operation Time

GM bulletins are intended for use by professional technicians, NOT a "do-it-yourselfer". They are written to inform these technicians of conditions that may occur on some vehicles, or to provide information that could assist in the proper service of a vehicle. Properly trained technicians have the equipment, tools, safety instructions, and know-how to do a job properly and safely. If a condition is described, DO NOT assume that the bulletin applies to your vehicle, or that your vehicle will have that condition. See your GM dealer for information on whether your vehicle may benefit from the information.

Copyright General Motors Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

06-02-2011, 09:19 PM
strut mounts

06-02-2011, 09:52 PM
turn up the radio... lol

06-02-2011, 09:53 PM
Yeah, I was gonna say upper strut mounts. That is what usually causes the creak. No mystery there. If you didn't replace those then that's where I'd start.

Oh, and what kind of struts where you using? OEM or aftermarket? Because the OEM struts... well they don't have any gas in them. ;) So having no gas would not be a sign of them being worn out. KYB's have low pressure nitrogen in them, but if the gas leaked out then you'd be leaking oil too. Only way to really tell if the strut is worn out is by how they ride and rebound after bumps.

sugar ray
06-02-2011, 10:18 PM
thanks for the suggestion guys!! the car had a 125km's (not miles) when replacing the front struts. The front end was extremely spongy (bouncing up and down) so there was no question they required replacement. I replaced them with "aftermarket" and noticed a difference instantly as the front end became more stiff and solid. It was "not" an aftermarket direct replacement strut. It was just a strut assembly so I had to use a spring compressor and re-use the springs,boot,and plastic mount. All of which seemed very acceptable. The mount had no cracks or signs of wear. I did in fact read the strut mounts were an issue and resulted in creaks.

Question: If it were a strut mount would the creaks be heard from down below? You would think a bad strut mount would be heard from up top? Do they show signs of wear and crack or are they hard to tell when bad?

06-03-2011, 04:28 PM
If they are creaking, you'll hear them from pretty much anywhere. Sometimes they just need to be taken apart and cleaned and re-greased, but if they have a lot of miles on them then it's probably a better choice to just get new ones.

sugar ray
06-03-2011, 08:50 PM
as always your input is much appreciated Aaron!! Can you recommend a decent replacement brand?? Moog?? Oem? Napa??

OEM ones seem to have known issues, decissions decissions....

06-04-2011, 07:38 AM
OEM ones are fine. They actually last longer than most of the aftermarket ones. They are a wear part and take a lot of abuse, so they aren't going to last forever.

06-04-2011, 07:38 AM
anything new really is gonna be better than what you have. the only thing i can suggest is to stay away from kyb mounts. ive heard bad things. i got mine from advance. not sure what the brand is anymore, but theyve been fine so far.

06-04-2011, 03:10 PM
I have had a pretty high rejection rate on NAPA strut mounts -- squeaking noises basically immediately upon installation, as well as spinning of the attachment studs in the upper plate. Liberal application of SilGlyde before assembly seemed prevent squeaks, but I'm always a bit leery of greasing up parts that can accumulate dust/grit. It is worth noting that I had these troubles when using parts sold under the NCP line code (don't know who the manufacturer was), and NAPA now only sells them under the NS line code. I do not know if the parts are the same or not; since these cars are all a bit old now, we have been using QuikStruts instead of messing around with reusing saggy OE springs.

sugar ray
06-05-2011, 03:08 PM
[QUOTE=we have been using QuikStruts instead of messing around with reusing saggy OE springs.[/QUOTE]

yup! yup! I should have done that to begin with :applause: BUT out smarted myself by thinking I would be saving a buck by compressing the springs and re-using the old hardware:asshat

now I gotta take it apart again anyways to install new mounts ;attention