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Discussion Starter #1
I was driving around today and at random times I heard a popping sound during braking or turning.



I looked under the car and the only loose thing I saw was a boot on the steering rack.



1) what should I check?



2) how do I secure the boot? Zip ties ok? I figured since its loose I might as well secure it.
 

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Go somewhere you can crank the steering to full lock and drive in a little circle. If that makes your popping sound, then you need new CV axles. Sometimes this is caused by damage to the outer CV boot, but not always. It can just go bad from age. If the boot is damaged, then there will be grease everywhere on the suspension and near that boot.

Another possible cause is the sway bar end links. Those will make a noise that is typically described as rattling over bumpy terrain at low speeds.

This last condition is the most serious. If you hear a single thunk just after accelerating, and just after stopping- that is a ball joint. It will be just one thunk, not several. That condition needs to be repaired immediately.

If it's a CV axle as described first, which is most often described as popping, then you need to start saving up your money. Drive the car in a way that reduces, and limits the popping- slow acceleration, avoid sharp turns. It will get worse and harder to avoid. When you hear the popping on straight line acceleration, it's time to change the CV axles. It might take 1 year, or a few months. Either way, you want to replace both axles at the same time. Typically when one goes out, the other is not far behind it, so why pay for the labor and transmission fluid 2x? If you DIY, expect to pay about $300 for both axles, then you'll have to buy fluid. You should be prepared to have a difficult time removing the axle nuts. I have a thread on that that might help you gather up the right tools. You should have plenty of time to prepare.

The reason I don't suggest just running out and fixing it is because if you treat it carefully, the CV axles will take a very long time before reaching the point where it pops on straight acceleration. I drove a car over a year with a bad CV axle. Had the axles in the back of the car. Then someone hit me. I wasted my money on an axle I never used. Save your money, the worst thing that could happen if the axle was to suddenly go out is that the car won't go anywhere, and you'll need a tow. Take it easy, and save your money. Call around to local shops, expect to pay about $500 for 2 axles, and expect them to find bad end links or something else unless you've verified that those are good before taking it to them.
 

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A big thick zip tie is fine, but that dust boot being loose has already damaged the inner link- especially in the sandy environment you live in. A pro can repair it with a banding tool very cheaply, probably more cheaply than you can buy the tool and the banding to do it with. Expect to pay about $300 to have the inner tie rod replaced including alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Is the inner tie rod a DIY job?



Both CV axels were already replaced when I hit a curb a couple years back. Doubt its the CV axels but I will check and update.



Popping happens on smooth surface too, so not end link?



As far as the ball joint goes what are more signs of that?



I'm flat broke from school, and still need to pay for a smoke test.
 

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sounds to me like your strut bearings are bad. you can get a whole new strut assembly for about $180 ish. it may be easier to replace the strut as a unit then replace just the top bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hmm well from what it sounds like it might be the ball joint. Car passed cv/end link test. It does make the sound during acceleration at first, just one clunk and sometimes a sequential one-two. And does the same during braking in the beginning.



How do I test strut bearings?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Solved, took it to mechanic. Loose bolts on sub frame and misc areas. 15 bucks later and I'm free.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yea haha makes sense.. Front sway requires you dropping half the car part way off.



Scared me shitless though
 
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