i promise I've searched 'squeak', 'Squeaking', 'squeaking front end' etc!
For a long time, just as I'm arriving home, the front near side of the car has squeaked loudly, sounding like suspension, but maybe a little worse with turning the steering wheel.
Now the squeak is epic - think British comedy, mattress squeaking in next room volume, nudge nudge type squeaking. Now when the car is at rest, engine off, if I bounce the front near side up and down the squeak is very loud.
I've sprayed everything I can see with WD 40 and to no avail.
So by spraying everything with WD40 that I could see related to the suspension and steering I seem to have at least temporarily fixed the squeak.
The price I paid was driving the car off the end of the old portable inspection ramps that I was using to get a better look. I've dented the bottom of one panel and lost some paint, but it could have been a lot worse. The sight of your beloved Rover crashing off ramps is not one I would recommend.
I'm happy to learn by trial and error, but I always seem to err on the side of error.
I have a heavy duty car jack that I used to jack up the rear of the car before putting on axle stands to work on the rear brakes.
Is there a single jacking point at the front that would allow me to put the front on axle stands so that I don't have to drop the car off the of the ramps again?
I think the problem is that the old ramps had a big lip at the front, requiring a squirt of power to get the car to mount the ramp, and then proceeding at speed off the end.
Drive on ramps are dangerous for the very reasons you outlined. They also limit access to the front end by virtue of their design and placement when used.
If you have a large floor jack rated for the weight, jack the front of the car up under the front crossmember of the subframe (directly under the radiator...there's a square plate welded to the crossmember.) Once raised place axle stands (either side) under the front subframe extensions. Then remove the floor jack.
If needing to raise the rear of the car, position the floor jack under the centre of the differential pumpkin and lift from there...obviously on level ground and with the front wheels properly chocked on either side to stop any fore and aft movement. This will preserve the rear spring hangers (contrasonics). Then place axle stands under the axle housing just inside where the leaf springs are fixed to the differential housing. Remove the floor jack.
Thanks as always Enigmas. I had a bad feeling when I was placing the ramps before I got started. It's a while since I've done something really stupid, the last being taken apart a master cylinder in the garden and spending the next 4 hours looking for a spring that jumped out of the componentry at speed into dense underbrush, with a search area equal to Wales. I keep a note book of the jobs I do for future reference, with errors highlighted so I don't do it again 2 years later. It is a very big book.
Much appreciated Phil. Can a dry ball joint be rectified without removing and replacing?
I'm not certain that the front suspension ball joints upper or lower would ever squeak, but if the car has covered considerable mileage they 'will be' loose and need disassembling, adjusting and regreasing. They can be serviced/adjusted (often without any parts being replacec apart from the rubber boots.) I've rebuilt mine several times over a 25 year period of regular use. The top ball joint is easy to remove and rebuild...the lower ball joint is a pig of a job and can be rebuilt whilst still in the lower suspenion arm but the arm will need to be removed to rebuild and service on a bench. To quote Phil, "there's plenty of info about this on search."
All these are possible causes, only one of them is likely though:
suspensions rubbers springs (if they are dry of grease) shock absorber (but then the car front end would be quite bouncy) ball joints
It is going to be your suspension rubbers.
jack the car up as advised above, then place the (do not) drive-off ramps under the front wheels. You are going to lie under the car, placing a hand on each component while your large and weighty helpmate / wife / apprentice bounces the front end of the car up and down.
When you have found the bit that squeaks, you will be able to feel the vibration through your hand. While you are there, you may as well have him jiggle the steering R&L while you feel the tie-rod ends for clicking indicating wear.
I've sprayed all the bushes, bits of ball joints that I can see, suspension etc and currently the squeak (that was epic) has stopped.
Maybe I'm just hiding some yet to emerge serious pathology.
The noise when the car crashed off the inspection ramps was enough to bring the neighbours out, and certainly to bring my wife out of the house, who assumed I was squashed until proven otherwise. I had to reassure her and calm her, when all I wanted to do was get under the car and see what irremediable damage I had caused. She is a staunch supporter of the Rover addiction, but this has really tried her emotions. Her input prior to now has included periodically but surreptitiously reviewing my life insurance when I put the car up on stands, and checking that the fire extinguisher is reading 'fully charged' when I am dealing with carburettors. Learning to use the multimeter has opened her mind to the world of electricity and its attendant dangers. Basically she now sees car maintenance as being an adrenaline sport.
Thanks again. The more I look the more I see under there. Many of the boots on the front end joints are split. Oh dear. I've searched on search and I need to buy a ball pein hammer. Who'd have thought.
When I bought this car my intention was to maintain it myself. I am so grateful that when I say myself I mean with you all.
PS. You're making me nervous just reading your 'car maintenance' threads!
* Please do use proper axle stands in conjunction with an appropriate floor jack (and deep six those drive-on ramps.)
As an aside I'm not really sure that it's a good idea to have the missus bouncing the car whilst you're under it!....Reminds me of a story... A guy secured himself with a long rope to the tow bar of his car whilst he was working on the far side of his house roof. Obviously he didn't want to fall...so this was his idea of a safety line! I suppose had he thought it through with greater clarity it might have been a good idea to tell his wife what he'd done or at the very least disable the ignition. You can guess the rest...Luckily some hedges below softened his descent and his wife heard the cacaphony as he descended.
Enigmas thank you again. You’ve made me realise the responsibility you all feel when you are advising on this forum , particularly when advising a non mechanic by trade like me. I am very grateful to you all for ensuring such care and carefulness. I’m actually pretty careful, and the ramp thing really concentrated my mind on literally not pushing my boundaries. I much appreciate not only your and the others’ professionalism but how carefully you tailor your advice.