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Front Suspension Clunk Making me Batty!!!

 
Old 10-12-2012, 11:51 AM
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2005 E55 Sedan (Peuter)
Front Suspension Clunk Making me Batty!!!

I have a heavy clunk sound in the front suspension on both sides. Sounds like metal. I’ve inspected the suspension and haven’t found any visibly worn, so I think now it’s the wheel bearings. Not sure about that, tho. I did the “push-pull” test on opposite sides of the wheel and got a very small amount of play. The edges of the tires may have moved 1/16” to 1/8”, but not more. Does that indicate bad bearings? The car rolls along quietly , but I just don’t know what else it could be. Also, I have the Arnott air struts on both sides in the front. Anyone have a clunking sound with those installed? The sound is over anything small in the road. Doesn’t have to be a speed bump. Can be as small as a 1” crack in the road surface for it to make the sound. Any advice on what the root cause of the sound could be would be greatly appreciated!!
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:12 PM
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Ball joints maybe?
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by nizzle View Post
Ball joints maybe?
+1 check upper and lower and maybe tie rod ends.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:32 PM
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does the noise go away or change when you drive the car in raised mode?
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by desired_speeds View Post
does the noise go away or change when you drive the car in raised mode?
I haven't checked that. Why, what would it indicate? I'll check that tonight.
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Nizzle;
Ball joints maybe?
Originally Posted by TS Motorsport View Post
+1 check upper and lower and maybe tie rod ends.
Well, I had the car looked at by a pro mechanic. He went at the suspension with a prybar and couldn't find anything loose. We'd find a loose/worn tie rod end when looking that closely, right? Any other tests you can suggest?
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by kurtwz View Post
Well, I had the car looked at by a pro mechanic. He went at the suspension with a prybar and couldn't find anything loose. We'd find a loose/worn tie rod end when looking that closely, right? Any other tests you can suggest?
For tie rod ends, with the vehicle turned off you have to turn the wheel from left to right very quickly. If you hear a clicking noise your tie rod ends are bad. Upper ball joints are inexpensive on these cars if yours are bad you will hear a clicking during suspension travel.

Put the vehicle on an oil change rack with weight on the wheels. Then try pulling down on the vehicle from the bottom of the car to hear any noise coming from the suspension components.
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:13 AM
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I know of this clunking noise you speak. More noticeable going at slow speeds on sloped pavement and especially on turns? I was experiencing it earlier this year and it was driving me crazy. I had front suspension ball joints and tie rods checked and re-checked. Its your sway bar bushings, which apparently can get mashed pretty good if you run on the tight suspension mode frequently or have low profile tires. Took a couple of trips by me to the stealer to figure it out. $1500 job due to sway bar bushings apparently not being able to be replaced without replacing the entire sway bar which is a lot of labor.
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:21 AM
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oh, and if that's not it, take a look at the subframe bolts to be sure that there is no play or movement there. I had that issue in the rear that started as a light metallic clicking sound and eventually turned into a pretty loud rattle in the cabin of the car when going over any kind of uneven pavement. The bolts are apparently known to crack or become unfastened. You'll want to get that addressed quickly as damage to the subframe is an expensive repair.
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by TS Motorsport View Post
For tie rod ends, with the vehicle turned off you have to turn the wheel from left to right very quickly. If you hear a clicking noise your tie rod ends are bad. Upper ball joints are inexpensive on these cars if yours are bad you will hear a clicking during suspension travel.

Put the vehicle on an oil change rack with weight on the wheels. Then try pulling down on the vehicle from the bottom of the car to hear any noise coming from the suspension components.

Oh man...i did the car turned off and on its wheels and turn steering wheel back and forth test. Big clunking noises! I then drove car, tho, and still heard the noise from abruptly and sharply turning wheel back and forth, but it was much quieter than with car off. Don't know if it was quieter in absolute terms because power steering was helping or just relative terms becuase there was lots more noise when driving. Does the test producing the sound mean that i would hear the noise at times when i'm driving and not TRYING to produce the noise? That is, if i'm not yanking on the wheel side-to-side, will it still make noise like in going over bumps?

Also, no oil change rack available, but i did drop the weight on jack stands positioned under the lower control arms as far out to the sides of the car as i could. that is pretty close to weight being on the tires, i guess. Tried all i could to get sound to show itself, but only sound i heard (besides the steering wheel test) was in jiggling the wheels around. That's from wheel bearings being worn.

Originally Posted by AaronZ'sE63
I know of this clunking noise you speak. More noticeable going at slow speeds on sloped pavement and especially on turns? I was experiencing it earlier this year and it was driving me crazy. I had front suspension ball joints and tie rods checked and re-checked. Its your sway bar bushings, which apparently can get mashed pretty good if you run on the tight suspension mode frequently or have low profile tires. Took a couple of trips by me to the stealer to figure it out. $1500 job due to sway bar bushings apparently not being able to be replaced without replacing the entire sway bar which is a lot of labor.

oh, and if that's not it, take a look at the subframe bolts to be sure that there is no play or movement there. I had that issue in the rear that started as a light metallic clicking sound and eventually turned into a pretty loud rattle in the cabin of the car when going over any kind of uneven pavement. The bolts are apparently known to crack or become unfastened. You'll want to get that addressed quickly as damage to the subframe is an expensive repair.
Thanks for tips. I tried raising suspension to #1 setting (no lowering lights on) and i still heard sound. May have been a little less bad, tho, with other setting. Swaybar bushings looked pretty good to me. Pulled and used pry bar on everything i could find and i couldn't reproduce sound.

Where are subframe bolts?
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by AaronZ'sE63 View Post
I know of this clunking noise you speak. More noticeable going at slow speeds on sloped pavement and especially on turns? I was experiencing it earlier this year and it was driving me crazy. I had front suspension ball joints and tie rods checked and re-checked. Its your sway bar bushings, which apparently can get mashed pretty good if you run on the tight suspension mode frequently or have low profile tires. Took a couple of trips by me to the stealer to figure it out. $1500 job due to sway bar bushings apparently not being able to be replaced without replacing the entire sway bar which is a lot of labor.
Ditto on the sway bar bushings. Had the same noise and the same procedure to fix it. Try disconnecting the sway bar ends and driving the car to see if the noise goes away. Easy way to find out. But, why do we have to purchase the entire sway bar assembly instead of just replacing bushings? Seems stupid to me.
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by kurtwz View Post
I haven't checked that. Why, what would it indicate? I'll check that tonight.
it may indicate that the shocks are making the noise.

Originally Posted by speedpeddler View Post
Ditto on the sway bar bushings. Had the same noise and the same procedure to fix it. Try disconnecting the sway bar ends and driving the car to see if the noise goes away. Easy way to find out. But, why do we have to purchase the entire sway bar assembly instead of just replacing bushings? Seems stupid to me.
yes, you have to replace the entire sway bar from what I remember.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:12 PM
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[QUOTE=desired_speeds;5394804]it may indicate that the shocks are making the noise.


Car makes same awful noise in highest position (no lights on).
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:21 PM
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Ok here's the update...shared info from this thread with the mechanic who did the "diagnosis". As you can tell from my use of "quotation marks", it may not have been much of a "diagnosis" :-( I shared with him that I get a sound when the car is off and I move the steering wheel aggressively. He said that could be part of the problem! That'll teach ME to think for myself! Arrrgh! Anyway, now i need to research what specifically is the bad linkage.


Originally Posted by TS Motorsport View Post
For tie rod ends, with the vehicle turned off you have to turn the wheel from left to right very quickly. If you hear a clicking noise your tie rod ends are bad. Upper ball joints are inexpensive on these cars if yours are bad you will hear a clicking during suspension travel.
But wouldn't i just see the bad tie rod end? They're out there where I can see them easily. Also, for upper ball joint it's not a clicking. It's definitely a clunk...pretty loud. Would you say it could still be the ball joint?

In any case, gents, the bearings are on the way. We'll see if it helps. I'm now only about 45% confident it will. Worth a shot, tho.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:02 PM
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:45 PM
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:18 PM
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sorry for bringing up an older thread, i am a fellow e55 owner from over the pond. I am also experiencing this clunking noise on rough surface roads. As desired speeds mentioned, my noise does go away after the car is raised.

Am i also looking at sway bar problem?
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:55 PM
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Disconnect your sway bar end links and drive around again with the car in lowered position then in raised position. If it still does it in one height and not the other, check the upper ball joint for play. Does the sound come from one side or both sides? Its usually hard to tell which side its coming from. Very rarely does it happen, but it can be the shock that is making the noise and the only solution would be to replace it.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:00 PM
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You cant really tell what side its from, i hear it from all over. But my mate sits in & says its from the front passenger ( driver side for us).

So its either sway bar bushes, upper ball joint or shock?

Is it easy enough to disconnect the sway bar?
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Old 04-01-2015, 09:57 PM
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I know this is an old tread, but any chance it's the strut mounts making the noise?

I have the same issue....
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Old 04-02-2015, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Djguilty View Post
I know this is an old tread, but any chance it's the strut mounts making the noise?

I have the same issue....
I never solved the issue,, but did replace the wheel bearings and that was not the problem. Never tried the strut mounts. Best of luck to you!!
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:17 AM
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Control arms and lower ball joints.
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:34 AM
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mine was also making a weird noise, more like a squeak, when going over bumps at a slow pace. my mechanic looked at it and figured out it was a bad ball joint and spring link bushing...replaced those and an alignment and this car has never driven/handled better.
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Old 04-02-2015, 10:09 AM
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The OP mentioned he had Arnott struts. Any chance the noise is coming from the Arnott strut?

I'm experiencing intermittent clunking when making U-turns. The noise started shortly after I installed Arnotts up front.

Dealer looked at it, but couldn't replicate the problem.
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Old 04-07-2015, 01:48 PM
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does the upper strut mount have a bearing or gap where the nut contacts the strut shaft? with other brand cars i've dealt with we've had to add washers to take up some slack, then use an airgun to gun the nut down so it wouldn't clunk.

generally the case with aftermarket struts.
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