A few thousand miles ago I had new coilovers installed on my 98. They're pretty stiff. Recently, and especially when it's cold, I'm hearing a very noticeable sound when I turn the wheels (almost a pinging, popping sound). This does not happen over any kind of bumps (smooth speed bumps, pot holes, etc) but ONLY when turning.

My first thought was something in the rack or CV joints or something along those lines. I've had it looked at by an independent mechanic and the only wear he could see that could be causing the noise is the sway bar end links. He said the bushings on both top and bottom were basically shot and the stress that turning puts on them was making the popping, pinging sound.

Thoughts? Everything I've seen about sway bar links seems directly related to suspension travel (hitting bumps, holes) but not steering. Because driving in a straight line is still crisp and clean, no matter what the condition of the road. There's no vibration, no braking issues, no alignment issues - just the ugly sound from turning the wheels.

Replacing the end links is fairly straightforward and if they need it, that's a pretty cheap/easy job. But is that the cause of the noise?