Suspension noise (which part?)
I wanted to get some opinions from here before taking my car back to the independent shop and wasting more money not fixing my problem. Here's my cars suspension history:
July 2003, left front side is growning and making noises so I take it to the independent shop and they replace the Lower Outer control arm assembly (cost roughly $260 including labor) and the problem goes away.
January 2005, I see that Audi USA has a recall on lower control arms, so I file for reimbursement and take it in to the dealer for the check. The check says everythings fine, and they don't replace anything. My reimbursement should be coming within 6 weeks (I just called and its been approved).
April 2005, the car starts creaking quite loudly when making turns and turning the wheels. I take it to an Audi dealership (didn't know an independent near where I was at the time) and the say the steering rack has a slight leak, the right tie rod assembly might need to be replaced soon, and the brakes are completely gone (pads and discs). They thought it was the brakes, since the noise stopped when applying the brakes. I replaced all the pads and discs (except for 1 set, which was in spec) which cost close to $700, but fixed that problem.
May 2005, right front area starts creaking when driving, very similar to what happened in 2003 when I had the control arm replaced. In addition, it makes a very loud creaking noise if you push down on the hood above the right front wheel. I was traveling for 1.5 months, so I couldn't get it fixed before.
July 2005, On my return from Europe, etc., it feels as if its fixed, and doesn't make any noises for 2 days of driving. However, after 2 days it comes back, as if it just needed the driving to loosen it up. I take it into the shop (independent), they say they can't hear the noise. I told them to drive it for an hour or so, then try. They say they definitely heard it, and replace the right front inner control arm and the right tie rod assembly (costs me about $350). I get the car back and it seems to be better. However, by the end of the drive home, I can hear the creaking sounds when driving again (not happy). This was last Friday, and I've been trying to define the noise and the causes as much as possible since then. Here's all the symptoms:
- Makes creaking noises when driving
- Makes creaking noises when turning the wheel when car is stationary
- Makes creaking noises when pushing down on the hood above the right front wheel (although not as bad as before the latest repairs)
- Makes creaking noise when pushing down on the hood above the left front wheel (sounds like the noise is coming from the right front wheel area though)
- The noises are loudest when coming to a stop (braking at low speeds), traveling at low speeds, or first moving from a stop
- Noises are much less when accelerating fairly hard from low speeds
- Noises seem to be louder and more frequent when traveling on a relatively smooth and flat road
- Noises seem to be less audible (almost non existant) when traveling over a slightly bumpy road (at maybe 20-40 mph).
- Noises are less audible when traveling above 40 mph (might be because of ambient noise)
Anyway, thats the best list of symptoms I can come up with. If anyone has an opinion on what I should get checked out, please share it. I don't want to reschedule service with the independent until I have a better idea of what needs to be replaced so I don't end up throwing my money away (don't have much of it).