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Finally found the source of front end clunk!! by JohnL
Started on: 01-15-2010 11:25 PM
Replies: 14
Last post by: thumper_64735 on 01-20-2010 09:54 PM
JohnL
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Report this Post01-15-2010 11:25 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JohnLSend a Private Message to JohnLDirect Link to This Post

I Know... Honesty is the best policy....
I have to own up to being an idiot!!

Quite awhile ago I was posting questions about a "clunk" I had in my front end when going over bumps on the passenger side.

Took it into my favorite shop and made the mistake of saying it sounded like the upper ball joint. The tech drove it and confirmed that and replaced the upper ball joint on the passenger side....
Same clunk.... immediately. Since I couldn't afford them just changing parts... I tried to figure it out myself....

I started smacking the front suspension parts with a rubber mallet. It sounded to me like the Steering Rack, and I found play in the passenger side... Oval bearings!!
I replaced the rack and tie rod ends myself..... Still got the clunk! Arrrghhh!

Replaced the sway bar bushings etc.... Still got the clunk.

Finally realized that there was only one thing left that I could do myself.... shocks.
When I got the passenger side shock off.... the lower part has a metal spacer that is surrounded with rubber... and a through bolt to mount it....
The rubber was so bad, it apparently came apart and the spacer tube was hitting the metal of the shock. The clunk "telegraphed" up the shock to the upper mounts of the shock. No wonder I could hear it so loud.

Word to the wise with clunking front ends.... check your shocks!!!

The only upside is that in replacing all the other parts before I found it.... the front end is awesome again.. If I had found the shock first, I probably would have stopped there. Now I get to enjoy the handling and quite front suspension.....
Regards
JohnL
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Alibi
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Report this Post01-16-2010 12:52 AM Click Here to See the Profile for AlibiSend a Private Message to AlibiDirect Link to This Post
I've got a similar clunking sound coming from my front passenger area going over nasty bumps... I'm pretty sure the shocks are original in my 86 GT so they're going to go away the next chance I have to get at a garage
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thumper_64735
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Report this Post01-16-2010 01:14 AM Click Here to See the Profile for thumper_64735Send a Private Message to thumper_64735Direct Link to This Post
If ya make it up here, ya can use my garage, and I have my air compressor and the tools to make the job go quick. Just give me a time and date
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Rickady88GT
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Report this Post01-16-2010 01:47 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Rickady88GTSend a Private Message to Rickady88GTDirect Link to This Post
I have seen at least two 88's that have "never been in the shop" with loose bolts on the upper control arm caster adjustment bar. They also made some banging noise.

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James Bond 007
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Report this Post01-16-2010 10:38 AM Click Here to See the Profile for James Bond 007Send a Private Message to James Bond 007Direct Link to This Post
Thanks for the update. Every now and then,someone will post that mysterious clunk.
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JohnL
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Report this Post01-16-2010 12:23 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JohnLSend a Private Message to JohnLDirect Link to This Post
Hey All....

Even though when I was looking for the problem to begin with... and couldn't find it... (doesn't mean it wasn't here!! I just couldn't find it)

The ability to come in here and search for things and learn so much about my car.... This site is awesome, but the site is only an opportunity... It's the Fiero Community that makes this site a truly amazing place.......

It's funny, sometimes I would see threads that someone was on the trail of a problem... but then we never hear what happened...
I thought I would post what I actually found, and put it in the repository of all that is great and noble!!!

I'm heading for the contribution area right now and contributing to support this site.....
Thanks all...
JohnL
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Alibi
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Report this Post01-17-2010 08:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for AlibiSend a Private Message to AlibiDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by thumper_64735:

If ya make it up here, ya can use my garage, and I have my air compressor and the tools to make the job go quick. Just give me a time and date


Mmmm... garage.... droool.......

I might try to replace mine tomorrow since the weather is supposed to be nice (55 and mostly sunny), but if not then maybe I'll make a run up there in the near future.
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blkpearl
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Report this Post01-17-2010 08:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for blkpearlClick Here to visit blkpearl's HomePageSend a Private Message to blkpearlDirect Link to This Post
This is all really helpful as I have the front end "clunk". I hate it because it makes the car sound so cheap, or old. I will keep this in mind when I rebuild the front end this next month.
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rourke_87_T-Top
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Report this Post01-17-2010 09:09 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rourke_87_T-TopSend a Private Message to rourke_87_T-TopDirect Link to This Post
I had a clunking in the front end of my '87 auto, I was suprised when I found the source. The upper A arm bolt sleeve, the sleeve is part of the front cross member was severely worn allowing the long A arm bolt to oscillate, The bolt had a lot of lateral play and from the constant vibration it continually worsened. I had to replace the entire front cross member.
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Alibi
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Report this Post01-18-2010 04:18 AM Click Here to See the Profile for AlibiSend a Private Message to AlibiDirect Link to This Post
Hmm... I'll have to check out the condition of the rest of my front end when I pull the shocks off. I know at the very least that the shocks have gotta go...

I know I need to check the bushings on the control arms, the rubber on the sway bars (probably should just replace them anyway), ball joints, rust on fasteners, and slop in the sleeves for the fasteners. Quite a list of things that could go wrong on a 20 something year old car.
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rourke_87_T-Top
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Report this Post01-20-2010 02:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rourke_87_T-TopSend a Private Message to rourke_87_T-TopDirect Link to This Post
I was a little puzzled by the problem I described and had never heard of anyone with this problem, I could move the "upper control arm" in a forward and rearward motion, that would be right and left while facing the wheel opening. I knew it wasn't the upper ball joint and thought that maybe the bolt was broken inside the sleeve and it was frozen inside from rust possibly. The bushings looked good, So I took it apart to see what was going on, I found the bolt was a little worn at the ends of the upper sleeve from the vibration but because the bolt is a harder steel than the crossmember sleeve most of the wear was inside the sleeve. The bolt had caused the upper A arm about a half an inch of play in the control arm. because it is a long bolt just a few degrees of play was causing the clunking and shimmy would continually get worse. It was very noticable when braking. This may not be your problem but I figured that this is a good place to post this info for anyone else searching under the topic for front end clunking. I think this is much more common problem that many people have not yet encountered, but due to the design eventually many will, given time encounter.

[This message has been edited by rourke_87_T-Top (edited 01-20-2010).]

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rourke_87_T-Top
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Report this Post01-20-2010 02:30 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rourke_87_T-TopSend a Private Message to rourke_87_T-TopDirect Link to This Post

rourke_87_T-Top

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Here is another thread describing the same problem. //www.fiero.nl/forum/Forum2/HTML/100642.html
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johnyrottin
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Report this Post01-20-2010 05:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for johnyrottinSend a Private Message to johnyrottinDirect Link to This Post
Mine made a sound like change jingling in your pocket...drove me nuts. I finally spent a day smacking parts around. Bushings from the front sway bar had deteriorated on one side, washers jingle together, change sound! $12.50 for new end links...30 minutes...sorted!
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Eclipse
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Report this Post01-20-2010 06:41 PM Click Here to See the Profile for EclipseSend a Private Message to EclipseDirect Link to This Post
Hi all, the link above is to my old thread. I never actually fixed the problem yet, but this is timely. I have a new (old but good) front cross member sitting in my shop, and will be buying new lower control arm bushings this weekend. Once I do, I will be rebuilding my front end, with lots of pictures.

The holes on my current cross member are definitely enlarged and causing a lot of noise. Sounds like a lumber wagon.

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Jay Brintnell
Southern Ontario Fiero Association and the Ontario Pontiac Club

Learning is not compulsory. Neither is survival. - W. Edwards Deming

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thumper_64735
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Report this Post01-20-2010 09:54 PM Click Here to See the Profile for thumper_64735Send a Private Message to thumper_64735Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Alibi:

Hmm... I'll have to check out the condition of the rest of my front end when I pull the shocks off. I know at the very least that the shocks have gotta go...

I know I need to check the bushings on the control arms, the rubber on the sway bars (probably should just replace them anyway), ball joints, rust on fasteners, and slop in the sleeves for the fasteners. Quite a list of things that could go wrong on a 20 something year old car.


I just replaced all four courners on my 85. Original shocks and struts, lol. I swear it sits about 4 inches higher now. All the bushings looked pretty good, as well as ball joints, etc. But ya would think people would replace shocks and struts once in a while. Mine still had the factory originals, lol
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