04 Cavalier Strut mount revisited.

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#1
Ha, Gus said I would be teed off if I saw it, more likely was surprised. Followed the manual for scribing the outline of the lower strut to the strut flange on the steering knuckle plus marking the lower strut bolts. That was a waste of time. They are using splined bolts, no offset for a very tight fit, no camber adjustment on this thing. Also said to put a jack under the control arm so it doesn't drop and ruin the CVJ boot, flying up was more like it.

The surprise was the upper spring seat, plastic? It had the thrust bearing on the inside, was easy to snap out, was all rusty with rusty balls, and where's the grease? It cleaned up pretty nice, with a rubber seal that was easy to pop off, filled that with thick high temperature bearing grease so putting the seal back on caused some to squeeze out. Found a bunch of tiny stones jammed between that plastic seat and the upper steel rod support. Also rust under the lower spring retainer that I scrapped off and repainted. All in all everything was in good shape except for that rust greaseless bearing. But after the cleaning, had a good feel to it while turning it under finger pressure.

Putting the strut back in the car made me wish I had three hands, one to push down hard on the steering knuckle, another to align the strut holes, and a third to insert that offsetless bolt, but still aligned my marks. But managed, torqued all the screws to spec and took it for a spin. Left side that I did was nice and quiet, right side that I have to do, still had clicks. Used about 25 cents worth of grease and about that much money in paint.

Seeing more and more ball bearings without grease or very little.
 
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#3
Not me, but GM, Al. GM has rusty balls.

Ironically, even though you can snap that thrust bearing in and out with out fingers in that plastic seat, they won't sell just the bearing for a couple of bucks, have to buy the entire assembly for around 75 bucks.
 
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#4
fixed, not quite as rusty balls on the right front side and a total of about three drops of grease, car sounds like new again.
 
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#5
Not fixed, well was for a couple of weeks, took the strut apart again and made careful measurements on the thrust bearing, the lower race is a 1/2" wide circular channel about two inches in diameter with 26 each 1/4" loose balls in it. The upper race with a curved radius channel makes contact with the balls at a 45* angle. So whenever you hit a bump, the upper race acts like a wedge spreading the balls apart. The total free play, worse case was 0.041". No wonder why it rattles like crazy.

What this thing really needs is a thrust bearing using the conventional roller type bearing, not finding one, laid out $22.49 for a new OE upper spring seat with a new bearing installed. Like the old one, just a very light coating of grease in it, so packed that full of grease, maybe it will last a mile longer.

See a lot of guys driving Sunfires/Cavaliers with this problem, but a wedge shaped upper race? Somebody at GM smoking crack?

The really only long term solution to this type of bearing is just to drive on silk smooth roads, any pounding transmitted to through the spring to that thrust bearing is going to spread it and that is exactly what my micrometer is telling me. Would think left unattended, that bearing would be locked tight causing jammed steering that would lead into an accident or so called accident.
 

Gus

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#6
Hate to say it, but:

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"I TOLD YA SO!"​
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#7
Still looking for a decent aftermarket replacement, any suggestions?

Ha, who says OE parts are the best?
 
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#9
Yeah, I talked to a mechanic at my Chevy dealer, a guy I happen to know, tells me they just slap in a new GM # 1915-3310 when that happens, and it happens quite a bit. Trick is not to hit any bumps on the road or just leave the car parked, then they last much longer.

Other mechanics told me they just needed lubed, think that would also work if you took the thrust bearing apart and put in a real thick tar in there.
 
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#10
Here is a copy of TSB for this problem.

"
Squeak Noise In Front End On Turns (Replace Strut Spring Seat) #04-03-08-015B - (May 9, 2005)
Squeak Noise In Front End On Turns (Replace Strut Spring Seat)
1999-2004 Chevrolet Cavalier

2000-2003 Chevrolet Malibu

2004-2005 Chevrolet Classic

2000-2004 Oldsmobile Alero

2000-2005 Pontiac Grand Am

1999-2004 Pontiac Sunfire

Before performing the procedure in this bulletin, technicians should refer to Corporate Bulletin Number 02-03-08-008A if the vehicle has a rattle/creak or popping noise in the front end.

This bulletin is being revised to add the above Attention statement referencing Corporate Bulletin Number 02-03-08-008A. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 04-03-08-015A (Section 03 - Suspension).

Condition
Some customers may comment that the front end of the vehicle has a squeaking noise on left or right turns.

Cause
This condition may be caused by metal to metal contact between the strut mount and the spring seat.

Correction
Replace the strut spring seat, P/N 89047655. This new seat includes a deflector ring and will eliminate the contact between the strut mount and the spring seat. Refer to Strut, Strut Component And Or Spring Replacement.

The documents below are for Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire.

1999 Document ID #173282.

2000 Document ID #529476.

2001 Document ID #635853.

2002-2003 Document ID #630647.

2004 Document ID #1173083.

The document below is for the Chevrolet Classic.

2004-2005 Document ID #1174192

The documents below are for the Chevrolet Malibu.

2000 Document ID #528929.

2001-2005 Document ID #640868.

The documents below are for the Oldsmobile Alero and Pontiac Grand Am.

2000 Document ID #526124.

2001-2003 Document ID #635853.

2004 Document ID #1173889.

2005 (Grand Am only) Document ID #1173889.

Parts Information
Part Number
Description

88964336
Seat, Front Spring (N Car)

89047655
Seat, Front Spring (J Car)


Parts are currently available from GMSPO.

Warranty Information
For vehicles repaired under warranty, use:

Labor Operation
Description
Labor Time

E3901
Seat And/Or Insulator, Front Spring (Upper And/Or Lower) - Left -- Replace
Use Published Labor Time

E3900
Seat And/Or Insulator, Front Spring (Upper And/Or Lower) - Right -- Replace

E3907
Seat And/Or Insulator, Front Spring (Upper And/Or Lower) - Both -- Replace"

So much for the accuracy of TSB, blames that little tiny snap in nylon bushing for the problem, if that is the problem why not just replace that bushing? And there is no metal to metal contact either, that is impossible because the bottom of the strut mount in made out of rubber. But they do say, must replace the spring seat assembly that also includes a new thrust bearing and that nylon bushing. That wedged shape upper race is the problem coupled with a cheap stamp steel race and using ball rather than roller bearings.

For the heck of it, placed a race in my vise and without too much effort deflected the diameter of that race by 0.031", when I released the tension, it only returned 0.020". That tells me these races are not even tempered, if they were, would spring back to the original diameter with that little of a deflection. If I played with them for a bit, could have trued them up again. And it's that out of roundness that is causing that rattle. With vertical pressure can deflect the upper race 0.041" from side to side. This trust bearing is trash, and so are the ones I have replaced them with, and this problem has been known and going on for over five years now with only BS for a reply. This isn't right!
 

Scotty

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#11
Hey Nick, my 05 cavalier 4dr is doing the same thing as ur cavalier. mine makes noise when i turn right in my car. Mine sounds like rattle with something in the strut is loose. my rear struts in my car, and my boss's 04 cavalier LS have problems with the back of the car bottoming out. dunno if ur cavalier is doing that too. Scotty $.02
 
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#12
Ironically both thrust bearings went at the same time, 37,400 miles with the left being noisier than the right. I check the TIR on the lower race, not too bad, 0.005" out of round, the main culprit is the upper race that is 0.036" out of round resulting it quite of bit of side play. No wonder why it rattles. Our steering actually quieted down on turns due to the balls tightening up.

I purchased the spring seat assembly part number 89047655 with a list price of $22.49 that includes the seat, nylon bushing and thrust bearing, it was identical to the original. When I ordered the second one, a part number 1915-3310 came in suppose to be better, but I did not check the thickness of the upper race, the rest of it looked identical but did detect a bit of plating on the newer. GM also doubled the price on this so-called newer part at 55 bucks, wasn't too pleased about that. What both part numbers had in common is that they are greaseless.

The plastic seat is pure plastic, used a very powerful magnet with zero pull, no longer have access to our x-ray equipment nor access to my old complete machine shop where would be tempted to grind out a much improved upper race, in particular that 45* ball contact point that is deforming it with each bump.

Feel bad that I have no choice to replace a bad part with another bad part, ha, also had peers at GM to get engineering samples for evaluation, but most of those guys are now saying, Welcome to Wal-Mart, would you like a cart? Or flipping burgers at Macs. Made the comment to my dealer, is our government and GM trying to figure a way for the Chinese to take their jobs too? He said, you never know, but I got him to thinking.
 

Scotty

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#13
Thanks for the info Nick! Im taking the car to the shop in the morning to have my rear bumper repaired. Someone in a truck or van busted the right corner of the bumper before Christmas 2007. Its costing me $355 to get it repaired. I'll run the mechanic the info about the spring seat assembly and see how much he will charge me to change out the passenger front one. I might do both of them for the heck of it. I hate the rattle/squeek sound. its been doing it since i got the car in 2006 with 11K. Chevy looked it and didnt hear the noise. Let me know how it is over time. I wrote down the numbers for the parts. that will help when i call in to my chevy dealership. So it never got fixed when the warranty ran out last May when i hit 36K miles. The car has almost 51K miles and still runs strong. Just got to save money to do the t-belt soon. thats gonna run 400 bucks easily. Scotty
 
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#14
Must be getting good at changing the spring seat, took me all of 35 minutes to change the right one yesterday, car is finally quiet again, but the big question is, for how long? The give away is with the hood open to bounce the car with your ear close to the strut mount, you will hear it squeak, but sure makes a racket on the road.

Changing the timing belt in your car? Suppose to have that billion dollar GM developed quiet timing chain that is suppose to last forever.

Other front end squeaks I have in this car are the rubber bushings, two in the control arm, one in the stabilizer bar, and the stabilizer link on each side, they need a shot of silicone spray every oil change. Also a couple in the rear suspension, but not as bad, I convinced my Buick dealer to do this as they do advertise chassis lube with their 25 buck oil change.

Sure found a bunch of forums on the web on this subject with the blind leading the blind with all kinds of stupid suggestions, like the left side, the upper race is way out of round. The three tangs one the 1915-3310 are much thicker, so didn't bother popping the bearing with fear of breaking them, still easy to pop off the upper race to put some grease in there, but has to be done carefully as not to tear that rubber edge that would ruin what little seal it has.