I've been having an issue with my trusty 1996 cougar, in that whenever I turn the steering wheel I hear a creaking/groaning noise. You can't hear it when the car is sitting still and you turn the steering - you can only hear it when the car is moving (low and high speeds). NO sound when going over bumps.
It's pretty loud. It doesn't sound like metal to metal, more like rubber. It is NOT coming from the power steering since it only makes the noise when the steering wheel changes position (if I keep it held to the far left or right there is no noise).
I went under and checked pretty much everything for any play - ball joints, tie rod ends, sway bar links, etc. Nothing, underneath is as solid as a rock. Only thing I noticed is that the boot on the passenger side lower ball joint is torn, but I cleaned it out and put fresh grease on it until I get around to changing it. Checked power steering fluid and it's fine. I jacked the car up and then turned the steering but it looks like it only occurs when the car is under load.
This is actually the SECOND time I've heard this type of noise, since about a month ago when I first heard it I went under and checked everything, and while I was at it I sprayed some silicone grease on almost every rubber bushing I could find. The noise was completely eliminated, but now it has come back. I went under again and did the same lubrication, but this time it has had little effect.
Sorry for the life story and any suggestions from you MN12 experts?