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Clunking Right Front Wheel - Axle Throwing Grease


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My mechanic, who is not the world's greatest mechanic, but who is honest and understands his limitations, inspected my right front suspension on a 2002 ETC for a clunking.

He said that there's grease being thrown around, but, that the axle boot is not cracked or broken or anything. The car has 39k miles.

He's puzzled by this, as am I.

Perhaps I need a new axle? If so, I'd appreciate tips on manufacturer and what exactly to buy. I've never had to replace one before.

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I wouldn't buy anything until I knew what was wrong and how to fix it. You can get more help here if you describe what you mean by "clunking." For example, do you hear a clunk on potholes? Is it when you do a hard right turn? Is it clunking when your right front tire enters a driveway ramp?

Another thing that may or may not help with things like suspension clunks is to run the OBD codes, write them down, and post them here. Use the link in my signature block for directions.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Is this grease being thrown around or tranny fluid?

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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Did the mechanic check your ball joints & such too? molly grease that's in CV boots is not very thick. it's in the middle between engine oil & grease from a greasegun. Does the grease look new - or is it full of dirt & sand?

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Have you checked your stabilizer bars? Both of mine went bad within a couple months of each other, and that does make a loud "clunking" sound. Nor was it immediately obvious at first, at least to my untrained eyes. No decrease in handling, just a clunk.

No matter where you go, there you are.

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If the axle boot is not cracked/ripped, I wouldn't suspect the axle/CV joint at this point. Usually, the boot cracks and throws grease everywhere - including on the boot. If your drive axle boots are clean, the axle is probably OK.

If the car clunks over potholes, road cracks, etc., the likely cause is a bad stabilizer bar link.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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  • 2 weeks later...

There's another link to this puzzle that I hadn't realized.

I've also got a groaning noise in the right front when accelerating hard, especially while turning right.

I thought this was caused by faulty motor mounts, which were just replaced, and, I realize that this groaning noise hasn't gone away.

It's different than the clunking; it's a groaning but with a definite mechanical ring to it - if that is any sort of reasonable description.

No codes are showing.

Any tips gentlemen and ladies?

THANKS

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If the dog-bones (torque links between the front of the engine and the top radiator mounts) are tight, then it's most likely a CV joint on the right axle.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I just searched for about 15 minutes and could not find it but Logan had a thread where the right output shaft had a bad bearing if I recall, this if I recall caused vibration at highway speeds and leaked fluid when the car was driven in reverse. I am not sure if this caused any noise, as I can not find the thread, but Ill keep looking. That is why I asked if you were sure that this was grease from the CV and not tranny fluid.

Besides the engine mounts were your tranny mounts checked? To me, the tranny mounts would be important on turns, dampening the side forces. I had a broken tranny mount

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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I think this is a message on the first page of Logan's thread:

Looking at the link, I think that the thread is addressed as topic 9191:

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Thanks Jim,

Here is another good thread to consider, Onyx had a bad axle seal and it was not as involved or serious as Logans issue

http://caddyinfo.ipb...h=1entry74044

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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If the dog-bones (torque links between the front of the engine and the top radiator mounts) are tight, then it's most likely a CV joint on the right axle.

He doesn't have torque struts on an '02.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I am having the same problem. The car squeals.Sounds like bad brakes so I took a quick look behind the wheel and there is grease all over the front driver's side. The boot is split on one of the folds. Is this a DIY kind of job or does it need professional attention? 95 STS

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It is certainly a DIY job. If just the boot is torn and it hasn't been torn for an extended period, you can change the boot - remove the axle from the car and remove the boot. Cut the clamps securing the old boot and then clean the old grease from the joint. Install a new boot, pack with new grease and install new boot clamps. Reinstall in the car and it is done.

Aftermarket axles always seem to have very soft boots that split in very short order. If you don't want to mess with the boot and grease, you might be able to find a low mileage used OEM axle.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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Not that easy. You must separate the CV joint to get the new boot on first. It's a dirty, filthy, greasy job. I think it also takes some special tools if I remember correctly. Personally, I'd replace the entire half shaft before I'd do that again, and I was just the helper.

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What might happen if this is not fixed soon? The darn thing sounds like a bad brake but makes the noise only while driving. I'm guessing the grease is gone from the joint and is dry causing the high pitch squeal.

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As you suspect, the grease is flung out of the boot and the CV joint looses it lubrication. A complete joint failure is eminent at some point down the road, but the noise will slowly get worse, hopefully to the point that you repair it before a complete failure. If it's making THAT much noise, I'd say it's time.

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If it is making that much noise, it is time to replace the CV joint. I have never had good luck with aftermarket axle half-shafts. The soft boots tear easily and in a short timeframe. You might into a good, low mile used OEM axle half shaft.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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  • 2 weeks later...

ok. i will go to a local junkyard and look for a replacement. is there anything i should be looking for when choosing the right one? i get to walk around the cars and pull the parts on my own. there are lots of caddys that end up here. its a shame their owners give up.

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I would search the web for a good deal. Maybe a rebuilt that used OEM parts. you may pull an old used aftemarket out of a wreck only to have it sling grease in a few months. do the legwork now, and you'll save yourself alot of time & agravation. ooh forgot to mention, if one side is shot, the other is not far behind. I would consider replacing both if you plan on keeping the car.

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A lot of times, you can find low mileage units on ebay. The OEM axles have molded plastic boots, most of the aftermarket junk has soft rubber boots that tear easily.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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