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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I've been having an issue with my trusty 1996 cougar, in that whenever I turn the steering wheel I hear a creaking/groaning noise. You can't hear it when the car is sitting still and you turn the steering - you can only hear it when the car is moving (low and high speeds). NO sound when going over bumps.

It's pretty loud. It doesn't sound like metal to metal, more like rubber. It is NOT coming from the power steering since it only makes the noise when the steering wheel changes position (if I keep it held to the far left or right there is no noise).

I went under and checked pretty much everything for any play - ball joints, tie rod ends, sway bar links, etc. Nothing, underneath is as solid as a rock. Only thing I noticed is that the boot on the passenger side lower ball joint is torn, but I cleaned it out and put fresh grease on it until I get around to changing it. Checked power steering fluid and it's fine. I jacked the car up and then turned the steering but it looks like it only occurs when the car is under load.

This is actually the SECOND time I've heard this type of noise, since about a month ago when I first heard it I went under and checked everything, and while I was at it I sprayed some silicone grease on almost every rubber bushing I could find. The noise was completely eliminated, but now it has come back. I went under again and did the same lubrication, but this time it has had little effect.

Sorry for the life story and any suggestions from you MN12 experts? :confused:
 

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Super Moderator
1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Unless you know for a fact that the lower ball joints have been replaced recently (which, if the boot is torn, they're probably originals :beek:), I'd start there. When those let go, it's not pretty.

Also check the sticky at the top of this thread related to suspension noises and things to check.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply, I'll check the sticky. I moved the sides of the tire left and right when it was jacked up and there was no play, but I'll get to changing it soon.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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The lower ball joints don't really give any signs before failure aside from the awful creaking sound since the ball joint gets "dug in" and sticks "up" in its mount due to the weight of the car on it full time. Checking for play is difficult because of that. Trying to rock the wheel left/right will be a better indicator of tie rod wear than anything else.
 

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:wavey:

Yeah I get those moans & groans too.
But mine are from me when I work on the cars.:rofl:
You are me, and you've just gotten done working on my truck putting on a fiberglass camper shell.

You realize the REAL problem is too much cereal when we were kids - now everything snaps, crackles, and pops!

RwP
 

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Couple years ago my 95 was doing that. Searches led me to believe I should change the lower control arms. Which I did. Didn't groan any more after that. Do some searches. Suspension groans can mean some serious work is needed.
 
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