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Discussion Starter #1
I'm on my second 9-3, so I'm somewhat familiar with the drop link problem on Saab 9-3's. My 2003 right front suspension has been making a RACKET lately. I replaced the front struts and sway bar links a year ago, so I am surprised to say the least. It knocks when I pull out of my garage, when I turn the wheel, and basically when weight shifts. It does NOT knock during normal driving and cornering.

My guess is that it's a bad sway bar link, but I've only put 5K miles on the car over the past year. I took the wheel off and grabbed the link, and there was no play whatsoever.

Is there a way to tell if the link is bad?

Thank you fellow Saabphiles.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Oh... I believe the links I installed were TRQ brand, from AM Autoparts on Ebay. Same with the struts.
 

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Lower ball joint can make a rattle.



When you jack the car the link will go into strong tension and feel "solid." Jacking under the body to lift the wheel and a second jack under the arm to get the lin "neutral" may show play. I have had them loosen so the joints are good but the stud is rattling in the hole.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Update:

I took off both front wheels and put a jack under the control arms to "rest" the suspension upon. The sway bar links still did not give one bit. I could not find anything else that had any play in it whatsoever. I'm not completely surprised by this, given that the same phenomenon happened in my last 9-3, and the only thing that helped was to super-tighten the nuts on the sway bar links.

The nuts looked tight and firm, and I was not able to tighten them any further. Pictures of the front left sway bar link are attached, both top and bottom nut. The front right ones looked identical:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Nah, the strut assemblies are brand new - replaced 1yr ago exactly. 5K miles since then, and no noise when I bounce the corner of the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Do the link ends in the images above appear problem-free to those with knowledge of these sorts of things?
Anything seem incorrect or needing repair/adjustment?
 

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Get up under there and check everything. Bad engine torque mount? Maybe spray some silicone lube up in those sway bar bushings.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks Diggs.

What is the theory behind lubing up the sway bar bushings? I've seen threads about replacing them because they have gotten old and worn, thus too much play may lead to knocking. How will lubing them help?
 

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If they are crunchy like mine it helps. If the lube helps the knocking reduce some then you have identified your culprit.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you. On my previous 2003 9-3, I actually fully replaced the sway bar bushings and it didn't help the knocking. Overtightening the nuts on the sway bar links eliminated it, for whatever reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Greased up the sway bar bushings with silicone lube (as much as I could). Now I'm starting to think the strut mounts are bad. The strut assemblies were admittedly a cheap purchase from AM Autoparts on Ebay. Could the right mount have gone bad in 5K miles?
 

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Check the horizontal bolts on the control arms, they should be 30 pound feet +30 degrees. I heard a clunk sound earlier this week, checked the bolts and one was below spec. Torqued it to spec and the sound is gone. In my case they come loose over +- 30K miles so I check them periodically.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Is that common for everyone with a 9-3? When did you notice the clunk?

I had my friend/mechanic in the car just now, and he said that he thinks it's the strut mounts. I think it may be a couple of things combined. I definitely think he's right... the small consecutive popping noises do sound like bad mounts. I just can't believe that they went bad after 5K miles. Granted, they were cheap AM Autoparts strut assemblies from Ebay, and I drive like Andretti, but still.

Has anyone heard of mounts going bad after 5K miles?
 

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Check the horizontal bolts on the control arms, they should be 30 pound feet +30 degrees. I heard a clunk sound earlier this week, checked the bolts and one was below spec. Torqued it to spec and the sound is gone. In my case they come loose over +- 30K miles so I check them periodically.

I believe we had this problem on our '06.
 

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Check the horizontal bolts on the control arms, they should be 30 pound feet +30 degrees. I heard a clunk sound earlier this week, checked the bolts and one was below spec. Torqued it to spec and the sound is gone. In my case they come loose over +- 30K miles so I check them periodically.
This fixed the noise for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for the feedback from everyone. I am getting a new strut assembly for free under warranty (pretty sure the mount is bad, possibly in addition to the other control arm bolts being loose, etc.). When it arrives, will install it and tighten everything up and report back.
 
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