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Old 03-16-2010, 11:48 PM   #1
maxxoholic420
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Steering/suspension thunking sound

I just recently installed a new transmission in my GA. While I was doing this I also put on new control arm ball joints and tie rods ends, and also got an alignment afterwards. Everything seems to run pretty well with the exception of one minor issue. Sometimes when I'm driving really slow (like backing up out of a parking spot) and I'm cutting the wheel to make a sharp turn, I'll hear a quick 'clunk' as I'm turning the wheel. I've never heard this before so I decided to check and make sure the ball joints were still screwed in tight. Everything seemed to be in order. My Haynes manual says that you're suppose to change the little clip that holds the driveshaft into the transmission anytime you take the driveshaft out. I didn't bother to change it because it seemed fine. Is it possible that the driveshaft keeps coming out just a little bit and then gets slid back into place causing the 'clunk'ing sound? Thank you in advance!
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:02 AM   #2
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I've got the clunking sound too under similar conditions. Cropped up after I had the rear trans mount replaced. I replaced a tie-rod end recently and had it aligned after that so I dunno. I'm probably going to be changing my oil tomorrow so I'll double check the front end to make sure everything is tight, but I have a sinking feeling I've gotta replace another part. If I see anything other than another bad tie-rod end I'll let you know. Its strange though because most of the time it is the tie-rod end but you replaced both of them.
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:24 AM   #3
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Alright. Thanks. Yeah, let me know if you see anything. It would be upsetting if the tie-rod ends were bad because I just put them in there. Everything seems tight so I'm stumped.
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:44 PM   #4
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i know that there is a tsb for the sway bar bushings clunking in the front end
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:48 PM   #5
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agree, check bushings. you said you checked for control arm/ ball joint tightness but did you check for play up and down on ball joints with it jacked up? maybe bad ball joint from store?
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:55 PM   #6
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Hmm. I was worried about me tightening down the sway bar bushing too tight. I felts like the top bushing was going to be destroyed by the top nut holding it down. Maybe I didn't tighten them down enough. Can anybody tell me how to properly retighten the sway bar bushings the right way without damaging them?
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:46 PM   #7
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I checked my front end today. Everything is tight so I dunno what it could be. I'll have to have my sway bar bushings checked. I'd be surprised if they went bad but who knows.

EDIT

Apparently according to a general front end search of clunk sounds, a bad CV joint is possible if it pops up only while turning. Check the dust boots on the joints and see if they're in good condition. If they're torn there's a good chance it's the CV joint causing problems.

Edit 2

According to http://www.aa1car.com/library/cvjoint2.htm a bad cv joint has some of the following characteristics

* A popping or clicking noise when turning. This almost always indicates a worn or damaged outer CV joint. A quick way to verify this condition is to put the car in reverse, crank the steering wheel to one side and drive the vehicle backwards in a circle (check the rearview mirror first!). If the noise gets louder, it confirms the diagnosis and the need for a new joint or replacement shaft assembly.

* A "clunk" when accelerating, decelerating or when putting the transaxle into drive. This kind of noise can come from excessive play in the inner joint on FWD applications, either inner or outer joints in a RWD independent suspension, or from the driveshaft CV joints or U-joint in a RWD or 4WD powertrain. Be warned, though, that the same kind of noise can also be produced by excessive backlash in the differential gears. A quick way to verify the diagnosis here is to back the vehicle up, alternately accelerating and decelerating while in reverse. If the clunk or shudder is more pronounced, it confirms a bad inner joint.
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:11 AM   #8
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Thanks for the info Jon. I dont believe the CV joint would be my problem because the sound isnt like a continuous sound. It's just one quick 'clunk'. From the info you gave me it sounds like the sounds would continue at regular intervals rather than randomly. It's even happened when I wasn't moving the car but I was turning the steering wheel. When I took the CV joints out to replace the transmission they looked like they were in pretty good shape. I didn't notice any tears in the boots or any leaks.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:44 PM   #9
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Thanks for the info Jon. I dont believe the CV joint would be my problem because the sound isnt like a continuous sound. It's just one quick 'clunk'. From the info you gave me it sounds like the sounds would continue at regular intervals rather than randomly. It's even happened when I wasn't moving the car but I was turning the steering wheel. When I took the CV joints out to replace the transmission they looked like they were in pretty good shape. I didn't notice any tears in the boots or any leaks.
I took a look at my cv joints too and the boots look fine. I also could get it to clunk while simply turning the wheel and not moving the car. Something tells me we've got the exact same issue...now we've just gotta narrow it down.
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Old 03-19-2010, 12:37 AM   #10
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I took a look at my cv joints too and the boots look fine. I also could get it to clunk while simply turning the wheel and not moving the car. Something tells me we've got the exact same issue...now we've just gotta narrow it down.
Agreed. This is going to be fun. I dont want to just start changing parts but I refuse to take it to a mechanic! I think I might try to change the sway bar bushings and bolt. (The ones that connect the sway bar to the control arm.) I have a feeling I didn't do such a good job tightening them down and the repair kit is like $20 at NAPA. It's an easy job that might take me like 30 min so maybe Ill just start with that.
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Old 03-20-2010, 09:14 AM   #11
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I had clunking when turning the wheel at slow speeds. Strut mounts were worn and replacing them fixed the noise.
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:32 PM   #12
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Ok just heard back from the mechanic. In my case the passenger side lower control arm lost a bushing or something to that extent. Check your control arms to make sure the bushings are solid.
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:04 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by lone_wolf025 View Post
Ok just heard back from the mechanic. In my case the passenger side lower control arm lost a bushing or something to that extent. Check your control arms to make sure the bushings are solid.
How do you lose a bushing on the control arm? Theres a giant bolt going through them screwed on by a big nut/washer thing. Thanks for the info though. This makes me think that it is probably the bushing on my control arms. I'll pick up the control arm bushing repair kit today or tomorrow. You do mean the bushings that connect the sway bar to the control arm right? I don't know know if there are any others on the control arm. Didn't see any.
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:47 PM   #14
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How do you lose a bushing on the control arm? Theres a giant bolt going through them screwed on by a big nut/washer thing. Thanks for the info though. This makes me think that it is probably the bushing on my control arms. I'll pick up the control arm bushing repair kit today or tomorrow. You do mean the bushings that connect the sway bar to the control arm right? I don't know know if there are any others on the control arm. Didn't see any.
I didn't get all the details from my mechanic but basically the whole lower control arm was shot because the bushings failed. They replaced the entire arm with an aftermarket arm as the best way to fix it. Apparently the bushings/arms fail so often on n-bodies and many other GM cars that share the same front suspension layout, that it is one of the few aftermarket replacement control arms that you can purchase.
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