I had to replace the lower engine mount (dogbane) in my 2001 Cavalier Base Coupe. The indicators that the mount was the culprit was: loud clunk when shifting into gear and a grinding noise when doing a left hand turn. The grinding noise led me to believe that the CV joint was going out but inspection showed the boot was intact. An internet search gave the lower mount as a possible cause. After removing the part from the car, I was pretty sure that it was my problem all along. The replacement cost me less than $10 online and it took me less than half-an-hour to do the job. If you are having some of the same symptoms, this may be your problem
- Lower Engine Mount_1 small.jpg (95k)
Lower Engine Mount_2 samll.jpg (64k)
A little more info: the car is an automatic and has just about 140k miles on it. I'm guessing that the part I removed was the original mount, and you can see that it almost split apart. This was a very easy job and I was able to find a couple of videos on YouTube, which made the job so much easier. The rubber parts of the mount were completely worn out, which is why it was trying to tear itself apart. My replacement was a factory part manufactured in India (hence the great price), but if you are so inclined, RK Sport makes a mount with polyurethane bushings which will cost about $60. I could have got the part locally for anywhere from $25 to $50 but I could afford to wait for the part through the mail.
I found out why the lower mount I replaced was so thrashed. Today I removed the upper mount. When I got it off, I found that the rivets had broken loose and the mount was free to move around. I'm pretty sure that this was the original part. I replaced it with a new piece from Rock Auto, and the rubber insert was very affordable. Once installed, it made a world of difference. No longer was there a loud bang when putting the trans in reverse or drive. It is barely noticeable now when selecting gears.
I've owned the car for over four years now and in that time I have put on 53k mostly trouble-free miles. The overdrive automatic works flawlessly and I routinely get 29-30 miles per gallon. The 2200 OHV motor is rock solid and the only thing I have replaced is a throttle position sensor (TPS). I can't say enough about the reliability of my Cavalier. This is what the Vega should have been!