Question: My 2006 Saturn Ion has a weird noise in the front end.

When i hit bumps like going up or down the driveway, there is a clunk under the car. I cannot tell if it is on
the passenger and driver side. It seems to come from both side in the front end depending on how I hit the
driveway, or which way i am turning the steering wheel.
Sometimes the noise rattles and others it clunks.

Even when i turn the wheel back and forth while driving at say 5 MPH. Sort of rocking the Ion side to side.

I had a mechanic look at my car and said he could not find anything loose in the front end to make this
condition.
Can you help me fix the problem with my Saturn Ion, or at least give an idea of where to look. Thanks !
Answer: Sounds like you are describing a common problem on this Saturn, as well on many Chevrolet
and
Pontiac cars around the same model year.

Either the front stabilizer bar links are worn out - but the mechanic said nothing was loose, or the lower
control arm bushings are worn. This causes the control arm to sit on the frame and cause a clunking
noise when hitting bumps or going over railroad tracks, or rocking the car as you described.
See the pictures below for this. Looking between the rear of front wheel and the fender you can see a
worn bushing compared to a good bushing.

These can be replaced separately from the control arm. The parts are only about $20 each, but the
control arm needs to come off, then the bushings pressed out.
Saturn Ion control arm bushings worn out causing clunking inthe front end of the car.
Good control arm bushing has a gap between the control arm and the frame of the car.
Bad / worn out bushing. No gap
between the control arm and the frame.
Good bushing.
Control arm not laying on frame.
Control arm.
Frame.
Frame.
Control arm.
Hello I have the same problem with my 2006 ion coupe I have checked the control arm bushings they
are good as per the picture shown.  Can you please show what the front stabilizer bar links look like.  
Thanks
Comments
Saturn Ion 2003 No ABS. Engine Size : 2.2 Ecotec.
Question: Hi please help. Do i really need a torque wrench to replace a front wheel
hub/ bearing and if i do what size do i need. Also i need to replace both sway link /or
could i just change the bushing please also tell me about the torque size or if you
think i could do them with a regular ratchet. Thank You very much for Your Advice.

Answer: No, you don't necessarily need a torque wrench to replace the front hub
bearing assembly. Most tightening specs on cars do have a torque value, but unless
it's a real sensitive area, such as cylinder head bolts, you can use a regular ratchet
and common sense. Usually an impact wrench can be used on all the bolts/nuts on
the front end and suspension. You'll need some strength to get the axle nut loose
and even the hub bolts are very tight, so an air gun comes in handy there. On
reassembly, just pay attention to tighten everything evenly and tight. As for replacing
the sway bar links, the entire link must be replaced. If you are asking about the
bushings on the frame that are not part of the links, then yes you can just replace
those alone. The bushings don't have to be changed unless they are bad too.
These are not as common as the links.
I had my front end stabilizer links replaced on my 2004 Saturn Ion over the winter, the car was quiet for
awhile, now the noise has come back in just a few short months.  Why???? I am taking it back into the
repair shop tomorrow morning.  What else could it be?  Thank you.
It could be the front sway bar end links again. Depending
on your driving style, and things like road hazards, the
life of the new links is really up for grabs. A few good
sized potholes and there they go again. On the other
hand, the Saturn Ion is also known for front control arm
bushings going bad. They usually start to separate from
the rubber and that lets the control arm move around
excessively and bang and knock as you drive over
bumps and turns. Those are the two main things that go
wrong in the front end of your car, but make sure to get it
looked over good. There are many other things that
cause noises in the front end when they go bad, such as
the struts, tie rod ends, ball joints, etc.
Hello I have the same problem with my 2006 ion coupe I have checked the control arm bushings they
are good as per the picture shown.  Can you please show what the front stabilizer bar links look like.  
Thanks
Thanks for this info I'm felling like I'm getting closer to the problem and I'm not gonna take it to the
dealer, ill do it myself thanks again 2008 HHR panel.
Does anybody know the size of the lower front control arm anchor bolt? My bolt is missing.
Thanks, like most people my control bushing look good but I you can pry the rear bushing up and down
almost to the point of contacting the frame, I also see signs of darker areas of rubber that indicates
that the bushing are torn. This looks to be a poor design for this application of a rubber bushing
I have an 2003 Saturn Ion coupe. I bought it used in 2008 in very good shape. However, I've been
driving it for 25k miles with that annoying clunking. Every time I had my oil changed, I would ask them to
please check everything underneath but they all said the same thing. Everything looks ok. So a few
days ago I had my oil changed again and asked the mechanic to take it for a ride. Sure enough he said
there was definitely something wrong. They jacked it in the air and after 2 minutes of pulling and
tugging on wheels and other parts they called me out to show me. The entire sway bar assembly was
so loose, the bushings i believe were completely missing and there was so much play in the links. The
parts and labor for bushings and links are $188 plus tax. But I am going to do it myself and bringing the
cost to about $80. If only i knew about this 4 yrs ago, I could have saved myself allot of worrying and
annoyance. I hope this helps anyone going th!
Rough the same thing.
Big help!!! It pays sometimes to just sit and read.
I've got a 2003 ION Sedan.  Front end clunking has been nuts.  I replaced the control arm bushings
since the old ones were toast after 1 year of use.  I used Prothane bushings as a replacement - the
design of them was completely different, and they were poly bushings so much stiffer than the cheap
rubber ones.  They are no longer a problem, and it solved the wheel hop issue but the clunking noise
remains.  I checked sway bar links, bushings, all OK.  Shocks & struts are new too.  Running out of
things to check.
You have replaced everything that would cause a clunk
when driving. If the noise is when turning and stopping at
the same time, you may have an intermediate steering
shaft clunk.
Could be the collapsible shaft in the steering column is worn out and rattling.
My 2006 Saturn ion makes a clicking sound when I turn into a parking place,I disconnected the brake
caliper and removed brake pad long enough to test and noise is still there,I also changed drive
axle,hub bearing and ball joint now my alignment is bad and noise didn't go away.
Check the bushings in the pictures above. Also check
the
stabilizer links and upper strut mounts.
I have 2005 Ion that has a clunking sound in the front end.  The 1st place I took it to said it needed end
links on the sway bar.  The next two mechanics can't seem to find anything and say the links and the
sway bar are good.  Only seems to do it when it is cold.
Have the intermediate steering shaft checked as
explained above.
My wife has a 2006 ion coupe. We are having the same clunking problem just on the right, front side. I
looked all these things that has been described. I really seem to think the noise is coming from a bad
bearing where the drive linkage is coming out of the transmission. Everything else seems tight but
when i move that C.V. Joint coming out of the transmission, i'm getting that same clunking sound.
A little movement in the axle is normal. If it is excessive, it
would usually leak.

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