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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My girlfriends 99' Taurus is making a popping sound in the front drivers side tire area. I think it is the front suspension, but I'm not sure. It makes a sound after every bump it hits.

How long can she drive with that? What are the risks if it gets worse? Is it a hard/easy fix? Can I do it or no?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It doesn't happen when she turns, so ball joints may be ruled out.

I just want to know the risk of pushing it a few more months.
 

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Well, when she hits a bump, that moves the strut.

When the strut moves, all these parts move:

- ball joints
- strut mount
- sway bar end link
- control arm bushings
- sway bar bushings (bushings don't move, but if they are dried out, could make a popping sound by the sway bar pivoting in them)

Best way to test ball joints is to jack up the car on whatever side it is and put your hand at 12 and 6 and try and move it. If there is too much play, that means the ball joint could be bad. Also, still up on the jacks, have someone move the steering wheel back and forth while you look at it. You can check for the end links and ball joints here too.

Visual inspection of the control arm and sway bar bushings must be done to see if those are bad as it's pretty hard to move the car up and down with you under it :p

As far as putting it off, well you could probably do it. My brothers car had very bad ball joints (the boot was non existent) and it just made noises when turning and going over bumps (metal-to-metal friction). He also had bad sway bar end links to the point of one side was not even attached.

Sway bar endlinks you can live with out.. unless you are trying to turn at 40 mph, then you might want to be worrisome. Otherwise, you will just get a bit more body roll than with them attached.

If it's something bad, like a bushing totally destroyed or a ball joint with no grease and a lot of movement, you do risk having either a) alot of vibration or b) a ball joint popping out of it's socket, and if that happens and it's a ball joints, the outcome won't be so good.
 

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Hard to say over the internet with such limited infomation. Best thing to do is play it safe & check some obvious & easy stuff first.

1. Check the lug nuts and the bolts for the strut where it mounts to the shock tower under the hood. Make sure they're tight and no evidence of wear around them.

2. Jack the front up and do the 12:00 - 6:00 and 3:00 - 9:00 tests to see if there's any play. 3:00-9:00 means possible tie-rod end issues. Check & replace as needed.

3. Get under the car and look around. Hunt for worn out or missing rubber bushings at the subframe bolts and check the busings for the control arms.
 
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