('07 Cobalt; 50K miles; NO ABS, no traction control, no limited slip)

First winter storm for this car. When accelerating or braking on poorly-plowed road (so, slush/ice/some pavement), I got a disturbing rapid clanging/knocking, probably from the left front. I've driven a lot of front-wheel drives in winter, and never run into this. No bad sounds on dry pavement.

Curious fact: later, in deeper slush/snow, one wheel was spinning. There was no such clanging then. I think this might imply that the problem is just on one side; or, maybe the noise only occurs with 'slip/grab' conditions, not when spinning free.

The front suspension stuff looks OK. The CV boots aren't ripped. I get about 8 degrees of free movement/lash when I rotate the wheel by hand. (ie, when I rotate the wheel, and then reverse the rotation, there's that much play before I feel significant resistance.)

Any thoughts on what it might be? Or anything I could check while the front end is up? (Everything is plowed now, so no road tests for a while.)

UPDATE: for the record, shortly after the above, the car exhibited steering problems. Since changing the rack & intermediate steering shaft, both the steering problems and the clanging have ceased.

  • Are you sure it doesn't have ABS/TC? By 2007, this was pretty much standard equipment on most all American made vehicles. Or are you suggesting the ABS/TC wasn't kicking in during the noise? I'm not sure ABS/TC would have anything to do with the noise, it just seems weird your car wouldn't have it. Nov 24, 2016 at 17:51
  • Well, there's no ABS or 'TRACK' light on the dash. And I don't see an ABS module in the engine compartment: the lines come off the master cylinder to a small 2-4 way splitter thing that has no electrical connection. And, the owner's manual says "your vehicle MAY have an ABS ..." So, yeah, I'm pretty sure, though I'm still a little in denial. We wouldn't have bought it if I'd known. (Oddly, at least one VIN decoder website says it DOES have ABS.)
    – George
    Nov 24, 2016 at 18:47
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2, I know it's just a forum, but check out cobaltss.net/forums/general-cobalt-68/….
    – anonymous2
    Nov 24, 2016 at 20:22


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