Creaky Rear Suspension - 1998 Olds 88 LS

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  #1  
Old 06-30-08, 09:59 AM
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Creaky Rear Suspension - 1998 Olds 88 LS

I have creaks coming from the rear end of my 1998 Olds 88LS. A mechanic suggested that it could be the bearing plates atop the struts, but yesterday I took the trunk cover off to listen for creaks there but the creaks were coming from lower down. So by listening to the noise with a hose (one end to my ear like a stethoscope) I located the noise to be originating from the bottom end of the springs.

Can anyone tell me if there is some sort of gasket there between the spring and the mount to prevent the metal of the spring from rubbing on the mount and causing this creaking noise or is it something else that's causing it in that area?

Thanks,

QC
 
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  #2  
Old 07-02-08, 11:14 AM
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Hmmmmmm....

Looks like nobody has had this problem before, lol. It's definitely the first time I've ever had it, but thought someone else may have had creaky suspensions!
 
  #3  
Old 07-02-08, 05:29 PM
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Look at the lower spring seat on the control arm. You will see where the end of the spring is dug into/past the rubber of the seat and rubbing on the metal part of the seat. If all looks fine there, you probably have a dried out tie rod joint. If this is the case, get it fixxed asap. If the joint was to separate while driving down the road, you may lose control of the vehicle. Oh, one other thing to check....where the tie rods connect to the rear crossmember, make sure the nuts are tight. They are also known to create some noise as well. Let us know what you find.
 
  #4  
Old 07-02-08, 05:50 PM
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I'm not sure you'll find tie rod ends on the rear of your car. But dry rubber will sometimes cause creaks that can be eliminated with spray silicone.

regards,
John 3:16
 
  #5  
Old 07-02-08, 07:46 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

Mr. Dummas, I believe you are referring to the front end.

My problem is with the rear end. I've found out that the back end apparently has something called "coil spring insulators" at the bottom of the springs. I am thinking these have worn through and the bottom end of the spring rubs on the steel mount creating the noise.

I am going to remove the wheels and see what I can find out. I might try just putting some silicone or grease on the creaky spots to see if that fixes the creaks. If not, and I have to replace the insulators, are the springs at the rear easy to remove to replace the insulators? The springs and the struts are separate on this car, which should help. I've never had to do this before so a little help from someone who has would be nice.

Thanks
 
  #6  
Old 07-02-08, 08:03 PM
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I am referring to the rear.

Actually, these cars do have rear tie rods. The spring insulators you are referring to are also called spring seats.

I described the seat differently than the ones your car actually has. In '99, they changed to a different style independent rear suspension which uses a different tie rod set up as well. Your tie rods on the rear, are on the front part of the rear suspension. You also have a rear sway bar, which has bushings that go to hell, check those too. Once you get it figured out exactly what is making the noise, I can walk you through the repair, step by step. Being a GM technician, I have worked on a ton of these. These also share suspensions with the LeSabre and Bonneville.
 
  #7  
Old 07-03-08, 10:54 AM
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Good stuff, Mr. Dummas. Thanks.

Nice to have qualified fellows like you around. I am just a back yard mechanic that likes to fiddle with things and save a few bucks along the way, but am surprised that there are tie rods at the back. Oh well, we learn something new every day!

I'll pull the wheels and look for all that good stuff and try to figure out exactly where the noise is coming from. The other day I got under the car and held a hose to the spring mount (from underneath) and gave my son the other end of the hose to see if he could hear it coming from there and he did! I am going to do further testing to see if that was indeed the source of the noise.
 
  #8  
Old 07-06-08, 11:30 AM
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OK, I've pulled the wheels to have a look at the tie rod ends, the spring seats (insulators), the rear anti-sway bar, and the drum brakes while I was at it. Here is what I found.

Since I wasn't aware of the rear tie rod ends and had never noticed the grease nipples on those back tie rod ends, and I have serviced the vehicle since it was new, I found that the boots were empty of grease, so I put some grease into them. One started leaking grease through the bottom edge when it was about half full, the other did not. I only filled them half way. Then I took the car for a drive a couple of blocks and it seemed quiet until I got back to my driveway at which time I heard the same noise again (but less of it). Could it be that the tie rods ends are worn and need replacing?

I could not see any wear through points on the insulators, in fact they looked quite good! of course it's impossible to see if the tip of the spring has punctured through without taking the springs and insulators off for closer examination.

The anti-sway bar looked fine to me.

The brake drums came off much more easily than I had expected after 10 years and about 100,000 miles without ever having been removed. I found quite a bit of brake dust in the drums but the shoes are still about 1/4 inch thick and in pretty good condition! The springs and adjustment mechanism was quite corroded and covered in brake dust so I sprayed some lubricant onto those parts to loosen them up and hopefully get the brakes to adjust and start applying more. I realize that this car wears out the back tires very little because of the light back end, but should the brakes not be worn a bit more after 100,000 miles? I've now replaced the front pads three times and the rotors once, so it looks to me that the back brakes have not been assisting in the car's braking very much at all! The car has also worn out two sets of tires on the front and very little on the back, though!
 
  #9  
Old 07-06-08, 12:44 PM
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The deal with the rear brakes not wearing, is due to not having them adjusted tight enough. Once you get them adjusted good, you will find yourself replacing front pads less often. I usually adjust my rear brakes when I replace the front pads, and when the fronts are about half worn. As for the noise, it could very well have been a dry tie rod socket. But I have found that most of the time a creak is present while pulling into a driveway with an incline, the spring has torn through the seat/insulator. You might want to lube the rubber sway bar bushings and go put a few miles on it to see if that helps at all also.
 
  #10  
Old 07-06-08, 07:36 PM
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I thought that drum brakes on GM vehicles self adjust when backing up and applying the brakes hard! Of course that may not happen with all that corrosion on the adjusting mechanism and that's the reason i lubed those parts. Are you suggesting that I need to adjust them manually?

I am taking it on a 3 hour drive tomorrow and returning the following day. After that, I'll lube the anti-sway bar bushings.

It may be the spring seat is worn through at the bottom tip of the spring then because I do have a bit of an incline on my driveway, but not much - only about 2%-3%.
 
  #11  
Old 07-07-08, 07:28 PM
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Thats what they say about the rear brakes, but I feel better adjusting them manually. That way, you know for a fact that they are adjusted properly. I adjust them and put the drum back on, then spin the drum. I repeat this until the drum is hard to spin, but still will turn. You'll be good to go after that.
 
  #12  
Old 07-10-08, 08:48 PM
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Thanks, I'll adjust them manually when I do the spring seats!

So far the lubrication hasn't helped much, if at all. The creaks are back just like before. Since my son heard the noise loud when the car was on its wheels and we tested it with the hose, that has got to be the problem.

Can you give me the steps to replace the spring seats? When I jacked the car and slipped stands under it, I could not get the creaks to manifest themselves likely because I placed the stands under the spring mounts so the springs were compressed and nothing gave to recreate the creaks. I'll have to place the stands under some other spot to remove the springs.
 
  #13  
Old 07-14-08, 09:50 AM
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Hey, Mr. Dummas, would appreciate getting that help to replace my spring seats.

QC
 
  #14  
Old 07-14-08, 05:39 PM
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Sure, no problem.

Remove the wheels. Unhook the linkage for the auto level control height sensor from the control arm, if equipped. Remove the park brake cable retaining clip from the control arm. Remove the stabilizer shaft from the bracket in the knuckle. Place a good floor jack under the control arm towards the ball joint, and use a chain or tie down to keep the spring from flying out at you. What I do, is take the ball joint nut off and separate it from the knuckle-might need to hit the knuckle with a hammer to crack the joint loose. Once loose, lower the jack and the spring will be able to come out with a litte effort.

You could also remove the rear bolt and the nut from the rear control arm.
Slowly maneuver the jack to relieve the tension from the front control arm bolt.
Remove the front bolt and nut from the rear control arm. Lower the jack to pivot the control arm downward. When all the compression is removed from the spring, remove the safety chain, the spring, and the insulators.
Inspect the insulators carefully and replace if cut or torn. Replace the insulators if the vehicle has over 80,450 km (50,000 miles). Repeat the process for reassembly.

If you unbolt the control arm bolts to do this, you'll want to position the jack more inward for better leverage/support.
 
  #15  
Old 07-15-08, 08:59 PM
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Thanks, bud.

Sounds complicated, but I'll give it a try. The vehicle has about 100,000 miles on it.
 
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