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Old 08-14-2022, 11:22 AM   #1
JFS
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Default Drivetrain Noise

Hello Everyone,

I escaped from California at the end of February and have settled in Karns, TN (just west of Knoxville). Don't tell Newsom, he's convinced I owe him money.

Since moving here, I've mostly been driving my work truck, only putting 1.5K on the Astra.

Just before leaving CA, I noticed on some hard stops a definite "Thunk" when first applying good pressure. This week, I'm hearing now a "THUNK". In addition to that, when accelerating, there is a "click" as the transmission is loaded and the same "click" when letting off.

I'm operating a new business and don't have time to diagnose and fix this myself. I'm wanting to get your opinions and then have a clue before visiting a garage. I'm thinking of going to a specialty garage that services and tunes VW's for enthusiasts.

A while back, I replaced everything in my suspension, front and back. I torqued everything to spec and have not had any problems. My experience with other cars is that this would be a loose link fastener. That one is easy to sort, and I confirmed it is still spec.

My hunch is that I need to replace tie rods. I cannot get them to move by hand, but then I'm not putting the same kind of pressure on them as the car.

All thoughts and leads appreciated.

JFS
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Old 08-14-2022, 03:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: Drivetrain Noise

Not sure. Some ideas to noodle on:

Check again that all the wheels are torqued properly.

Go under the car and look for worn boots, leaks or other front suspension damage. Grab parts and shake looking for slop or noises.

Jack up front of the car and support with jack stands too. Grab the wheel at 3 & 9 o'clock and see if it is solid. Do the same at 12 & 6.

FYI fast wear Astra front suspension items include: drop links, strut bearings, and tie rod ends. The front springs can crack too. I don't know what you replaced.

Search for Goob's posts; he had a some noise develop sometime after changing suspension; top bolt (by strut bearing) needed to be re-tightened.
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Old 08-14-2022, 06:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Drivetrain Noise

Hello again, and congratulations on your escape. If a tie rod is bad enough to make that noise you should be able to easily wiggle the wheel from 9 to 3 with it off the ground. Doesn't sound like ball joints would be in play if they were replaced but also possible and could be found by checking play with a pry bar. Control arm bushings is another thought as they'll allow the arm to slide front to back under load.
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Old 08-14-2022, 07:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: Drivetrain Noise

Goob also had a cracked spring before the suspension refurb; the crack was impossible to see with the spring on the car. I think that was causing some clunking but cant remember.
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Old 08-15-2022, 08:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Drivetrain Noise

Another silly thought, but might want to look beyond suspension too and make sure the motor mounts are ok. Years ago I had a Renault (yeah, I know) with a bad motor mount that would give me a nice clunk when I stopped and when engaging the clutch in first.
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Old 08-15-2022, 09:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: Drivetrain Noise

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Originally Posted by tackepj View Post
Another silly thought, but might want to look beyond suspension too and make sure the motor mounts are ok.
Good point! At one point we too replaced a transmission mount as the car was a bit clunky going into gear.

Do some research on the forums as some Astra motor mounts may look a bit torn up from the factory but function fine.
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Old 08-18-2022, 10:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Drivetrain Noise

Quote:
Originally Posted by tackepj View Post
Another silly thought, but might want to look beyond suspension too and make sure the motor mounts are ok. Years ago I had a Renault (yeah, I know) with a bad motor mount that would give me a nice clunk when I stopped and when engaging the clutch in first.
That could be. And what's wrong with Renault? I bought a brand spanking new Encore (R-11) 3 door LS back in 1985. With the 1.4 liter engine, five speed manual transmission and no A/C or P/S. Hey, I was a young buck back then and the LS gave me cloth seats, a tachometer, carpeted cargo area and more bright trim. It had a nice ride, was relatively comfortable and had good outward vision. It gave me 46-50 mpg on the highway via that fuel sipping single point throttle body fuel injection. I added stiffer front and rear stabilizer bars bought from the Archer Bros. and factory 14" alloys. I could bury the, (err 85 mph), speedometer in fourth gear. It used no oil and gave me few hassles up until the night I bagged a 10-point buck with it. At only 134,000 miles, that was a waste of a fine piece of machinery.
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Old 08-19-2022, 12:45 PM   #8
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That could be. And what's wrong with Renault? I bought a brand spanking new Encore (R-11) 3 door LS back in 1985. With the 1.4 liter engine, five speed manual transmission and no A/C or P/S. Hey, I was a young buck back then and the LS gave me cloth seats, a tachometer, carpeted cargo area and more bright trim. It had a nice ride, was relatively comfortable and had good outward vision. It gave me 46-50 mpg on the highway via that fuel sipping single point throttle body fuel injection. I added stiffer front and rear stabilizer bars bought from the Archer Bros. and factory 14" alloys. I could bury the, (err 85 mph), speedometer in fourth gear. It used no oil and gave me few hassles up until the night I bagged a 10-point buck with it. At only 134,000 miles, that was a waste of a fine piece of machinery.
True - can't say I had a bad experience either, but there are always raised eyebrows. Mine was an '86, R9 (Alliance) with the 1.7 and a 5-speed. You're absolutely right about the ride; it had 4-wheel independent suspension (Astra doesn't...ahem) and it was smooth and handled well. It was ahead of its time in a lot of ways; it had Bosch EFI when a lot of the Japanese and US cars were still dealing with carburetors.

The Achilles heel was the timing belt, which people weren't judicious about swapping out at 60k and often ended up with a top-end rebuild. That happened before I got mine. That, and the interior, while comfortable, was pretty chintzy...
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Old 08-19-2022, 07:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: Drivetrain Noise

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulR View Post
That could be. And what's wrong with Renault? I bought a brand spanking new Encore (R-11) 3 door LS back in 1985. With the 1.4 liter engine, five speed manual transmission and no A/C or P/S. Hey, I was a young buck back then and the LS gave me cloth seats, a tachometer, carpeted cargo area and more bright trim. It had a nice ride, was relatively comfortable and had good outward vision. It gave me 46-50 mpg on the highway via that fuel sipping single point throttle body fuel injection. I added stiffer front and rear stabilizer bars bought from the Archer Bros. and factory 14" alloys. I could bury the, (err 85 mph), speedometer in fourth gear. It used no oil and gave me few hassles up until the night I bagged a 10-point buck with it. At only 134,000 miles, that was a waste of a fine piece of machinery.
I have an update and a picture to go with it I will post this weekend.

I have a very good memory of a trip in a 1979-80ish "LeCar" from Ann Arbor, MI to Winnipeg. The owner and I were doing this 1981 trip on a shoestring, with the real possibility of not having enough money to get back. There were two braless girls in tight jeans as the impetus of the trip, just so you understand the risk taking. They were in a curling championship and we thought we'd surprise them by showing up unannounced and cheer them on. Since it is a family show, no more about them.

The weather was always less than -20 deg F; little snow, but always some frost on the roads. The owner's grandfather had told him he could get much better mileage if he over inflated the tires 25% and remembered not to do any crazy maneuvering with the tires like this. Once above Saginaw, there was always a bit of compacted snow or a glint of the already mentioned frost on the roads. This glazed surface road, once up to speed, was also a component in getting crazy efficiency. All compression engines (steam, gas, diesel) exhibit that great efficiency when there is very cold, condensed air available. My recollection is we got near 60 mpg at mostly 65 mph on the way up, a bit less on the way back-we re-inflated the tires once back in the states. That car was quiet (for an I4), very comfortable and was my first experience of the French sensibilities of a nice ride in such a small car. It was aerodynamically slicker than most cars of the time and very stable. When I saw a black 1983 Civic S a couple years later, I purchased it partially because it reminded me so much of that car.
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Old 08-19-2022, 11:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: Drivetrain Noise

There were some epic French cars. Pedestrian cars like the 2CV, 5 and 12 took brutal dirt and mountain roads without breaking a sweat. The 205 GTI was the best hot hatch ever made, by a long shot.

The engineering, all-around drivability and creative designs of the French were better than what Germany was offering. Germany did a nice job with conservative style...sometimes.
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Old 08-22-2022, 07:52 PM   #11
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My older sister, who had some cool cars during the 1970's-1980's, including a '72 Mach 1 and a '76 TR6, apparently had a change of heart and owned not one but two of those LeCars.

I still remember driving one of them, which was the first front wheel drive vehicle I had ever driven, and that it felt like a lot a truck. The four speed was fun though.

I guess it's no surprise you don't see many around today.
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Old 08-23-2022, 09:58 PM   #12
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Default Re: Drivetrain Noise

Quote:
Originally Posted by tackepj View Post
True - can't say I had a bad experience either, but there are always raised eyebrows. Mine was an '86, R9 (Alliance) with the 1.7 and a 5-speed. You're absolutely right about the ride; it had 4-wheel independent suspension (Astra doesn't...ahem) and it was smooth and handled well. It was ahead of its time in a lot of ways; it had Bosch EFI when a lot of the Japanese and US cars were still dealing with carburetors.

The Achilles heel was the timing belt, which people weren't judicious about swapping out at 60k and often ended up with a top-end rebuild. That happened before I got mine. That, and the interior, while comfortable, was pretty chintzy...
Right on about the interior and even some of the trim. The cars were built to a price point and not built to the strictest standards. Broken plastic window cranks, drivers seat belt latch, seat back lock surrounds and loose exterior trim. But no head gasket failure or even anything close to that serious of a problem as many others have claimed. I do remember that I would chew up a set of rear brake shoes about every 20,000 or so miles. Must have been a bad proportioning valve or something because the fronts lasted 90,000 miles. But at $17.99 a set for the rears, not a big deal. My 1.4 had the timing chain and of course your 1.7 had the timing belt. No problems with mine, maybe because back in the day I used Castrol GTX motor oil exclusively. Great going over the same old cars that we used to own you. Next time I will get back to posting about my Saturn (Opel) Astra.
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