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Old 02-11-2019, 07:50 AM   #1
rfisher
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Default left front suspension clunk on speed bump

hi sages- have found much good help on this forum(fdryer, sicarman,pierre and other super wrenchers) . repair advice has been excellent and has saved me from supercharging shysters. 01 L100 w/180k has a loud banging or thud from left front suspension when going over a speed bump on a dark desert highway. no noise from rf suspension. have looked at suspension, knuckle, hub and strut which appear undamaged and tight. clip joint said the strut has to be rebuilt and would only charge me $500. fugeddaboutit. figure there is some kind of bumper at the top end of the strut but cant see it. might be busted or worn out. or could be the shock absorber inside the spring is shot to hell. struts are original and rf seems ok. may be time to replace the struts. have also heard that Monroe quick struts are stinko. what do you think of that brand and do you agree with my analysis. feel free to critique and don't worry about hurting my feelings. thanks tons bob f

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Old 02-11-2019, 01:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

I believe you have correctly diagnosed your noise. The rubber bumper at the top of the strut has probably failed. Our cars run with little bump travel at ride height. I have noticed my car hits the limit bumpers on dips in the road regularly. The aftermarket lowering springs only lower the front 1/2 and the rear 1 1/2. This shows how little room there is in the suspension design to lower these cars. The bumpers are available seperately but you have to remove and disassemble the struts to replace them. I installed KYB struts all around last year and had an alignment done. The struts seem ok but the alignment really helped the way my car drives.

...
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

I got a simple fix for you. Turn the wheel left or right, whichever political side you feel comfortable on and shut off the engine. Then on the side you turned, go under from the front and carefully reach up in the well where the coil spring rests (bottom side) and pull out the chunk of coil that broke off. Problem solved!

These springs break off over time leaving inch or two pieces of metal bouncing around inside the coil bottom plate.

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Old 02-11-2019, 06:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

wow rj- I know youre kidding me but if youre not wouldn't that also make a helluva lot of clattering when rolling down that dark desert highway. also do you have an opinion on the Monroe quick struts. thinking of buying a pair and throwing them in to correct the problem. thanks tons bob f

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Old 02-11-2019, 10:07 PM   #5
Rj 2000 LS2
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

Yupp, just installed them a few months ago when I replaced the sub frame. They ride okay, kind of tight, but better than both side coils missing inches of spring! The frontend of the car actually rides a few inches higher!
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Last edited by Rj 2000 LS2; 02-11-2019 at 10:16 PM..

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Old 02-12-2019, 12:41 AM   #6
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

This is a photo of the last chunk of coil that broke off and was bouncing around in the bottom coil well. However, the photo speaks for itself.

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Old 02-12-2019, 08:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

hi rj- that's a very clear picture as to what happened. in 25 cars since 65, never broke a coil spring, but did once break a leaf in one pack in a rear leaf spring, caused one side to sag. noticed in your pic that the bumper cap seemed to be in good condition. looked at the bottom of the coil cup on my LF strut and didn't detect a broken spring end. any particular instructions or warnings on r and r of the strut. thanks tons rj, bob f

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Old 02-12-2019, 01:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

You really can't see the broken pieces if sitting in the coil well. You gotta feel around to see if anything is loose. That's how I found several of ours that broke off over time. The Monroe's worked well and easy to install. The only problem I had was with the upper shock bolt on one side because the new nut would not thread on. I had to use the old nut. Other than that, it really helped make the car drive nice. If they were to fail in the next couple of years, I would buy them again.

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Old 02-12-2019, 05:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

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Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
..... any particular instructions or warnings on r and r of the strut. thanks tons rj, bob f
Yeah, be prepared to fight the good fight if the top strut nut is seized, refusing to loosen up. If it wasn't for vise grips on the hardened strut shaft to hold while using plenty off penetrating fluid with an impact wrench to hammer/loosen the nut, mine wasn't going to budge. That nut is, if I'm not mistaken, a cinch nut - indented on every side to distort threads to provide instant locking capability. It screws on hard and unscrews hard. No nylock used unless the new strut comes with one. Loosening and tightening the seized nut heated the threads. Hardened strut shaft with an equally hardened nut. Just a heads up to anticipate the worst while expecting an easy repair.

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Old 02-13-2019, 08:30 AM   #10
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

hi fdryer and rj- thanks for your clarifying input. looked at the nut which holds the shock shaft to the tower under the hood. looks like a normal nut. but if it becomes hell on the rocks to remove it, will use pb blaster, vice grip on shock shaft and probably an impact gun on the nut. you didn't mention it but should I expect to use many mfuggas? on your picture the nut you showed on the top of the cap and bumper appears to hold the assembly together. nut holding shock shaft to tower doesn't seem rusted or corroded. the struts are original from new. seems like a regular nut. plan to order a pair of monroes from carid. the have a lower shipped price than, pep boys, rockauto , auto z and parts geek. item has a limited lifetime warranty with manufacturer. what do you bad boys think so far. thanks tons bob f will keep you posted.

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Old 02-13-2019, 10:48 AM   #11
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

I didn't have any trouble with the strut mount upper nuts, it was the all the other nuts and bolts below that were a *****! Yes, lube/PB/Etc.. everything and make sure you have the exact size tools and impacts at your ready. I recommend soaking everything for days before mechanic puts down his coffee to pickup a wrench!

You will need an offset box wrench and vise grip to remove/assemble the upper strut nuts.

I bought the monroes from https://www.carid.com/ The price was good, but that one strut bolt was junk and I had to use the old one. I did complain and they ignored me. I guess that's what happens with cheap price!

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Old 02-13-2019, 11:36 AM   #12
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

hi rj- thanks for continuing to be extremely helpful. the top nut holding the shaft to the tower looks like a normal nut. a black cap tightly covers it which is why it probably wasn't corroded after 19 years since new. will try an offset box wrench which is 12 point after a pb soak. some concern that the box could round the grip points on the nut flats. wonder if it would be better to just start off with the impact gun and a deep 6 point impact socket. surprised you had your trouble with the lower 2 bolts and nuts where the unit attaches to the top of the knuckle. had to take the two knuckles out when I pressed out and in wheel bearings recently. those came out easy with a breaker bar and an impact. will use the vise grip to hold the shaft unless I can use the box and hold the shaft end with a socket or other wrench. the end of the shaft has flats to grab . thanks tons bob f

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Old 02-13-2019, 03:32 PM   #13
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

Having an impact wrench and previous experience is all you need along with tools collected over the years to work on anticipated problems. Expect the worst and prepare for it.

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Old 02-13-2019, 05:15 PM   #14
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
hi rj- thanks for continuing to be extremely helpful. the top nut holding the shaft to the tower looks like a normal nut. a black cap tightly covers it which is why it probably wasn't corroded after 19 years since new.
^^^ This black cap was only used on the early models. (The Bean Counters determined they could save $.03 per car and eliminated them on the later models) Pretty sure the model years 2000-2001 used them. Later years do not have them

I Always grab them while in the junkyard. Not only are they effective at protecting the nut from rust, it just looks better and offers some protection from a nasty cut while working under the hood.

...
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:05 PM   #15
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

I don't think an impact will do anything to remove the upper strut bolt because the strut shaft will simply spin. Off set box wrench allows you to really encircle the nut and grab the strut shaft with a good vise grip. The strut nut is metric. I don't remember which size off hand. Harbor Freight had an inexpensive set. I never thought I would need those kinds of wrenches, but since I bought them I used them three times! Go figure how I got along without them for decades!

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Old 02-14-2019, 12:09 AM   #16
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

It is easier to remove the top nut with the car on the ground. The weight of the car helps hold everything from spinning.

...
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:47 AM   #17
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

thanks 02 and rj for additional info on this project. will try to loosen top nuts(with car on ground) by placing correct box wrench on the nut , then holding end of shaft with correct wrench or socket, while turning nut below . may need a cheater on the box wrench. will keep you posted. thanks tons bob f

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Old 02-14-2019, 12:58 PM   #18
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

I guess we, year 2000/2001, were lucky to have caps on our top strut nuts. They were literally the easiest to remove of the entire repair. The plastic caps don't fit as well on the Monroe's as they did on the original strut nuts. I suspect the next strut repair might be a bit more difficult.

This forum is a great DIY garage monkey resource! I don't mind helping others whenever I can. It's a win win!

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Old 02-14-2019, 08:56 PM   #19
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

hi rj- didn't realize those little black caps which are very useful in preventing rust and seized nuts, weren't on later models. my 2001 L was built early in the beginning of the model year. I took delivery of it new in sept of 00 after waiting 6 weeks for delivery since I wanted 3 pedals on the floor . stickshifts are much less common in this model. in fact I have only seen one other L with a manual trans in 19 years of ownership. pondering what I will do about the Monroe nuts. maybe ill use the original nuts if they work on the shafts. do you think the weight of the car will stop the shaft from turning when I wrench the nuts? if so I will have to lock the shaft with a vice grip or socket lock the flats on the tip of the shaft. btw think there is only one alignment adjustment on the fronts- toe. don't see any adjusters for caster or camber. thanks tons bob f

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Old 02-14-2019, 11:34 PM   #20
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Default Re: left front suspension clunk on speed bump

Our strut nuts spun while on jacks and while on the ground. Hence, I went out and bought the offset wrenches and grabbed the strut with a vice grips. I had the same problem while installing the monroes. I had figured they would move when I put the car on the ground, nope, I had to use the offset wrench with the vise grip. I really should tighten those again having driven a few hundred miles.

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