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Rear end "popping" noise during bumpy turns

1262 Views 37 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  marksbug
Last weekend I started getting a popping noise from the drivers' side rear end when turning while going over bumps. I'd never heard it before then, so I immediately picked up on it. I continued driving figuring it wasn't a huge deal. Over the week, the noise got progressively more pronounced, more frequent, and easier to invoke.

It sounds like it's coming from the wheel or some part of the suspension. I'm also led to think it's that because the noise is amplified the most when combining bumps and turning at the same time. The sound is similar to when the security seal on a jar is open and you press the lid in. A "popping" noise if you will. I include a sample of it in the below video.

All this said, I feel I know less about suspension than anything else about cars so I now beg for help from y'all :LOL:

I tried jacking up the car and jiggling the LR wheel that sounded close to the noise and it didn't have any more play than the others. I pulled the wheel off to jiggle the different suspension parts around and see if I could find anything visibly broken but otherwise didn't know what's normal and what's not.

In the video I wiggle the tie rod followed by the sway bar links. The links seem to have more play than I would expect (and probably need to be replaced regardless) but I'm not sure if this would cause the sound I'm describing. Does anyone have any guesses on what the issue could be?


I'm worried that if I take it to a mechanic I'll get a "your whole suspension is trashed and needs to be replaced" diagnosis (which is probably true) and quote to match but I'm curious if it's something that's an easy home fix.

Thanks so much for any advice! 馃檹

EDIT: I should mention there is no difference in feeling/sounds from the steering wheel. All feels 100% normal. I saw some people mentioning this usually comes with tie rod issues, though I'd imagine that applies more to front tie rods than rear.
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it could be the sway bar links, or the sway bar rubber bushings. or...something else. the links are not expensive. if you pull them off a dead one will usually be easyer to feal. you can also use a rubber mallet to wack the sway bar neer the bishings to see if thats making the noise. also check to be sure a shock isant loose, and from what Ive read the hub assy bolts can come loose.( I think there are 3 of them and probably 15 mm. I checked all mine last year they were all goodentight.
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We have had two cars that started making a popping sound that is tied to speed. Turned out to be the CV joint on an axle. Each fix with a replacement axle.
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Thanks y'all - I'll give it a look today. Before posting I did try the shock and everything seemed secure but didn't try hitting the sway bar with a rubber mallet to see how it reacts. Also didn't try the hub assembly bolts. Man I really hope it's not an axle since that sounds like much more of a headache to replace on my own which is the goal :ROFLMAO:
I agree with @rob the elder as I had a similar noise with one of mine.
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Are you sure it's coming from the rear, sounds can be deceiving.. check your shocks rubber bushings, I'm not real familiar with the suspension on our cars yet but I am fairly familiar with suspensions.馃槉 Also check your control arms bushings, this sounds like bushings wore out some where. As said earlier to check sway bar bushings and mounts. Good luck and hopefully not serious!
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I agree with @rob the elder as I had a similar noise with one of mine.
Yes that too.馃憤
Are you sure it's coming from the rear, sounds can be deceiving.. check your shocks rubber bushings, I'm not real familiar with the suspension on our cars yet but I am fairly familiar with suspensions.馃槉 Also check your control arms bushings, this sounds like bushings wore out some where. As said earlier to check sway bar bushings and mounts. Good luck and hopefully not serious!
Bushings tend to squeak, then rattle of bang when worn out, and the wear tends to be visible. The noise is also not generally dependent on turning.

All that said, remote diagnosis is quite uncertain, so every idea is useful.
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Bushings tend to squeak, then rattle of bang when worn out, and the wear tends to be visible. The noise is also not generally dependent on turning.

All that said, remote diagnosis is quite uncertain, so every idea is useful.
That's true, and the cv joint is a good possibility! I've never had one go out but have heard some going bad. He did say while turning which makes that cv joint even more likely of binding and popping. My sons HHR lower control arm bushings were wore out and sounded like that, But while turning or straight when going over small bumps.
I was able to have the car in park and rocked the tire back and forth while watching underneath and spotted the control arm moving at the mount more than it should have been. Same type of noise with the sway bar end links, no grease zerks so I got one of those injection needles that mounts to a grease gun and injected the grease into the boot and fixed that thump. When it came back I knew it was time to get new ones and knew that's what it was for sure. The reason I brought the sway bar links up is that maybe when turning it's putting enough pressure on one side and releasing pressure on the other giving just enough play on one or the other for thumping while bumpy turns. Just things for him to check and think about if it's not cv joints.
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you can also unbolt the sway bar end links and see if it go's away. thumps knock,bangs can be a booger to locate,
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Are you sure it's coming from the rear, sounds can be deceiving.. check your shocks rubber bushings, I'm not real familiar with the suspension on our cars yet but I am fairly familiar with suspensions.馃槉 Also check your control arms bushings, this sounds like bushings wore out some where. As said earlier to check sway bar bushings and mounts. Good luck and hopefully not serious!
Fair, I know what you mean about sounds sounding like they're coming from elsewhere. So I actually took a closer look today and just barely touching the boot around the shock made it fall down. When I pushed it back up it made a slight "popping" sound before falling back down again. I'm thinking it's possible that could be the issue. It seems like there's not much space between the springs and the outside of the boot around the strut, so perhaps as I go over a bump while the car is turning (and the suspension is pushed inwards/outwards as a result) the boot catches on the spring and when the pressure is relieved, the boot snaps back to the top and makes a popping noise. The other thing I noticed while I was in there is the "bumper" under the boot is basically disintegrating and leaving particles everywhere. Not sure if the bumpers are supposed to help keep the boot up at the top of the strut, but now it seems I can't get it back in place and it just sits at the bottom.

The bumper beneath the boot basically looks like it's been eaten by a rodent :LOL:
Hood Automotive lighting Bumper Automotive exterior Vehicle door

Should clarify, the boot was held up at the top where it should be when I pulled off the wheel, but like I say after barely touching it it fell down. I can get it to lightly hold at the top now but it then falls very easily again. I think it's totally possible it's been going on and off of it's mount as the suspension goes up and down.
Automotive tire Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Hood Automotive exterior


I'm guessing (and hoping) I found the issue. All the other boots and bushings I can see in the area are in just fine shape.

Has anyone experienced this before? Seems like I need to pull the whole strut off to replace this, so while I'm in there I'm thinking I should replace everything since this is the original suspension from my 17 year old car. Anyone have a suspension setup they like? I'm definitely into stiff - I like feeling every bump in the road. Did a little searching and it seems like so many companies stoped making them for the Sol since it's been discontinued for so long 馃槬if I want aftermarket I might be stuck with the pricey BCs...
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rock auto has them,I saw them yesterday. bumper comes with a boot. they have sway bar bushings too. as well as the links.
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Fair, I know what you mean about sounds sounding like they're coming from elsewhere. So I actually took a closer look today and just barely touching the boot around the shock made it fall down. When I pushed it back up it made a slight "popping" sound before falling back down again. I'm thinking it's possible that could be the issue. It seems like there's not much space between the springs and the outside of the boot around the strut, so perhaps as I go over a bump while the car is turning (and the suspension is pushed inwards/outwards as a result) the boot catches on the spring and when the pressure is relieved, the boot snaps back to the top and makes a popping noise. The other thing I noticed while I was in there is the "bumper" under the boot is basically disintegrating and leaving particles everywhere. Not sure if the bumpers are supposed to help keep the boot up at the top of the strut, but now it seems I can't get it back in place and it just sits at the bottom.

The bumper beneath the boot basically looks like it's been eaten by a rodent :LOL:
View attachment 129898
Should clarify, the boot was held up at the top where it should be when I pulled off the wheel, but like I say after barely touching it it fell down. I can get it to lightly hold at the top now but it then falls very easily again. I think it's totally possible it's been going on and off of it's mount as the suspension goes up and down.
View attachment 129899

I'm guessing (and hoping) I found the issue. All the other boots and bushings I can see in the area are in just fine shape.

Has anyone experienced this before? Seems like I need to pull the whole strut off to replace this, so while I'm in there I'm thinking I should replace everything since this is the original suspension from my 17 year old car. Anyone have a suspension setup they like? I'm definitely into stiff - I like feeling every bump in the road. Did a little searching and it seems like so many companies stoped making them for the Sol since it's been discontinued for so long 馃槬if I want aftermarket I might be stuck with the pricey BCs...
So many scenarios.. hopefully you are getting close. Also if you have the car jacked up you could get a hold of the wheel and turn it back and fourth to see if you hear anything odd at the cv joint, in gear or out would probably have enough pressure to have affect it. You might be able to hear some type of clanking or popping but should be completely smooth.
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So many scenarios.. hopefully you are getting close. Also if you have the car jacked up you could get a hold of the wheel and turn it back and fourth to see if you hear anything odd at the cv joint, in gear or out would probably have enough pressure to have affect it. You might be able to hear some type of clanking or popping but should be completely smooth.
I tried that when I took the wheel off and neither the wheel nor the brake rotor has any noise and barley any play in it unfortunately :(
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rock auto has them,I saw them yesterday. bumper comes with a boot. they have sway bar bushings too. as well as the links.
I might order those separately but thinking if I鈥檓 going to have the struts off anyways then I might replace them with how old they are 馃
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I tried that when I took the wheel off and neither the wheel nor the brake rotor has any noise and barley any play in it unfortunately :(
Hopefully that's a good thing but still doesn't rule out that it could possibly be a cv joint.
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if they are leeking witch I donut see, yes replace them. if there not leeking that's up to you and your wallet. you can always resell your old ones if there still good and recoupe a small part of the cost. the ones on my coupe are all leaking, so befor I finish it( it was crashed) I'll have to put some on it. it's the project that seems to never stop projecting another cost...the bad part is it's just a base coupe..with a lot of miles and more $$ in it than it's gonna be worth.( lots of new gm parts) I never claimed to be smart.
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if they are leeking witch I donut see, yes replace them. if there not leeking that's up to you and your wallet. you can always resell your old ones if there still good and recoupe a small part of the cost. the ones on my coupe are all leaking, so befor I finish it( it was crashed) I'll have to put some on it. it's the project that seems to never stop projecting another cost...the bad part is it's just a base coupe..with a lot of miles and more $$ in it than it's gonna be worth.( lots of new gm parts) I never claimed to be smart.
But Al least you'll have a cool car!
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I'm not sure it's feasible for you but I did watch a video where the owner of a 06 Solstice fastened his GoPro to the bottom of the suspension. In that instance, it was to document the infamous differential clunk of his 06 car.
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if there is any play/gap in the sway bar bushings they tend to make thump/bang noise.same go's for the links. also...have you checked in the trunk for something you may of left in there like that jar of pickles or can of beans...... :eek:
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