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Old 07-15-2012, 10:23 PM   #1
dakota1820
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Default front end clunk

i just bought a 95 sl2 i notice when going over sharp bumps it only does it when one side only is exposed to the bump. tierods are tight control am and all bushings checked good. i had both front wheels off the ground and also tried jacking up near the control arm and sway bar join to take pressure off the ball joint. i cant find play any where. i stuck a pry bad between where the ball joint and controls arm meets and nothing. shovel under the wheel and prying showed nothing either. soo what could it be? i was thinking maybe the steering arm u joint? but i dont know. any help is appreciated.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: front end clunk

Any fluid leaking from your struts?
Coils or springs broken on the struts?
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:28 PM   #3
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Default Re: front end clunk

Are you sure it's not a worn strut mount?
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: front end clunk

Did you check the sway bar links in the back? They are known to clank and make noise when going over bumps. They also tend to break a lot of the time as well.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: front end clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by freelancer1988 View Post
Did you check the sway bar links in the back? They are known to clank and make noise when going over bumps. They also tend to break a lot of the time as well.
+1 on that! I noticed the clunk turning into driveways where the car pitched with all four at different levels. And, for some reason the FLAPS are all over the board on the price?? From $20 to $77!?! The originals look more the the $20 version fwiw.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: front end clunk

Donít know if itís only with one side over bumps...it seems my front-end clunks are the axle shafts moving in/out and clunking (lateral, not radial).
It does not seem to happen at higher speeds (maybe because torque keeps the axles from clunking)

This is a different clunk from the worn intermediate axle bearing (previously fixed)

I do not think it is the Brake Calipers because it clunks with the brakes applied.

I also checked all this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakota1820 View Post
i...tierods are tight control am and all bushings checked good. i had both front wheels off the ground and also tried jacking up near the control arm and sway bar join to take pressure off the ball joint. i cant find play any where. i stuck a pry bad between where the ball joint and controls arm meets and nothing. shovel under the wheel and prying showed nothing either. ...
Wheels off the ground, I grabbed the front spring and shook the car to test the strut bushings. No movement. Solid. I plan to remove the struts and check them without the spring.

Strut Mounts? I don't think so, the clunk sounds low to the ground.
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Last edited by bumpdraft; 07-16-2012 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: front end clunk

Verify all the anti-rattle clips for the front pads are installed. Last time I did the brakes on my SC2 I forget only the top clip and it'd rattle over some bumps but not others and it didn't matter if I had the brakes on or not. I tore it apart, put the upper clip in and the rattle went away.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: front end clunk

^ possibility!
dakota, how much road salt in your area?
On my front brakes, the surface where the pads sit in the caliper are pretty corroded...even with the stainless steel sliding surfaces maybe it can rattle
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: front end clunk

everything looks tight the clunk is definitely in the front end strut mounts are tight. its not brakes either. it sounds like a bad ball joint. but they seem tight
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: front end clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by dakota1820 View Post
... it sounds like a bad ball joint. but they seem tight
Same here.
When I had the Control Arm ball joint removed I could move the taper by hand...but it was very tight like a new-out-of-the-box tight. (and they are full of Moly grease with boots in perfect shape)

Also, wouldn't a clunk from a Control Arm ball joint be felt in the steering wheel? ...even just a little?

If I take an intersection right hand turn in 3rd gear (~25mph-ish) the driver's front wheel will chatter/skip on the pavement.
^this might be my clue, but I thought it might be the wheel "spokes" flexing from tires that grip hot pavement too well.

Am I spreading dis-information here or what? My wheels are O.E. '98 Alloy

If I am full of it and spokes don't "flex" then replacing the Control Arms will tell. I have new in the box set NAPA Control Arms...it would mean a day of alignment (oh crap! I just talked myself into it)
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Last edited by bumpdraft; 07-16-2012 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: front end clunk

Here is an old thread.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=117004

You have some options. Since everything feels tight, you can ignore it until something is really worn and you notice wandering due to fluctuating alignment, or unevenly worn tires, or worn ball joints or squealing wheel bearings or shot MacPherson struts. Once these parts start to go, they all seem to go and you save a lot of time, effort and expense by replacing them all at once; i.e. struts, lower control arms and even wheel bearings and a clutch and seals if you have a manual transmission. Don't know if you have a maintenance history, or not. It's possible to end up doing multiple disassemblies and wheel alignments if you intend to keep the car for years.

If you want a quick & dirty fix on the clunk, pop the ball joint, check the end of the front stabilizer bar for the clunk, remove the nut, see if you are strong enough to pull the LCA free of the front stabilizer (strap the stabilizer bar in), gouge out the bushing in the LCA and replace with a split bushing. But, unless you are equipped, I would not recommend removing the LCA with the intention of rebushing it. Just replace it.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:48 PM   #12
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Default Re: front end clunk

Just remembered.. One of the first things that led me to this forum..

My Son called me shortly after I got the SL and said that the stabilizer bar disconnected from the RF LCA when he backed out of a parking spot! He drove it ~300 yards back to school and then they had to put the RF wheel on a dolly to get it into the shop as the wheel was chewing up the inner liner and wouldn't turn anymore.

I went back to the original parking spot and sure enough.. nut, half a bushing and washer were just sitting there. I just went and got a new LCA from the Saturn dealer to get it back together. Now I know that the bushing failed and the nut finally backed off. Have your checked for that possibility?
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: front end clunk

all i did was grab the control arm and didnt see any play. i didnt check the bolts . tomorrow it gets inspected and the guy a good friend of mine is going to find the clunk its much easier on a lift. for some reason im not getting emails from the responses. even though im subscribed
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:38 AM   #14
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Default Re: front end clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by stu View Post
Here is an old thread.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=117004

... I would not recommend removing the LCA with the intention of rebushing it. Just replace it.
From old thread (above):
Quote:
Originally Posted by stu View Post
If you hear a clunk every time that you go over the smallest bump, chances are it's the outer bushings in the LCA's. ...
^It sure sounds like that it the problem. - like I can hear the hollow ring of the sway bar clunking inside the LCAs.


dakota1820, any luck? .........I'm going to buy some Moog bushings....
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Last edited by bumpdraft; 07-21-2012 at 09:39 AM. Reason: bump!
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Old 07-21-2012, 11:53 AM   #15
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Default Re: front end clunk

my problem is actually the struts therm selves. not the mount but the struts
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:50 PM   #16
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Default Re: front end clunk

I looks like my clunk is from failed LCA Bushings:

They did not look this bad last time I looked at them... (I swear!...maybe somebody was taking corners too fast?)
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Old 07-21-2012, 10:56 PM   #17
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Default Re: front end clunk

replaced the bushing with two (2) Moog K8763 kits
{Did not need: 2 of the washers and 2 bushing sleeves)
At about 80 deg F:
Durometer of the Moogs are in the range of 90~95A
Durometer of the bushings in my (as of yet un-used) NAPA Control Arms (not shown) is 70~75A

Air hammer chisel was overkill. Utility knife and side cutter pliers would probably work in warm weather


Here is the "clunk" I was looking for (picture below)
You can see the marks on the paint where it was hitting the raised rib inside the Control Arm:


Was able to install the Bushings without messing up the alignment (hopefully)
Needed come-along help to get the sway bar back into the sockets.
Popped taper out of the Control Arm on the passenger side only.

Note (picture above): there is a treefrog occasionally chirping from under that bucket over the hoist motor.

Silicone assembly paste not included in the Moog kits (probably because you do not need it).

Installed action shot thank you again Saturnfans!
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Last edited by bumpdraft; 07-21-2012 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:01 AM   #18
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Happy Re: front end clunk

I have the same clunking sound,on a 2001. I read on a previous post that the ends of the stabilizer bar was where the ends slid in and out. But this repair sounds better than replacing the entire stabilizer bar. I have to check this bushing problem out.
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:49 AM   #19
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Default Re: front end clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by fm2200 View Post
I have the same clunking sound,on a 2001. I read on a previous post that the ends of the stabilizer bar was where the ends slid in and out. But this repair sounds better than replacing the entire stabilizer bar. I have to check this bushing problem out.
Was the previous post talking about the posibility of the threaded part of the stabilizer bar pulling out of the hollow bar?? I'm no expert, but it seems unlikely without someone first beating/heating the heck out of the insert while trying to get a rusted stuck nut off the end of the bar (per FSM, torque of nut = 106 ft-lb) ...but what do I know?

The Moog kit has bushings to slide over the corroded end to bring the end back to a smooth O.E. diameter. I had a bar with much more than a little surface corosion on the insert and I threw it away. My understanding is rust eats away at the entire section and not just the surface. The stabilizer bar holds on the front wheels. (Wheel jambing up against the fender liner at 80mph could cause loss of control.)
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:21 AM   #20
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Happy Re: front end clunk

After reading my previous post I just want to cover this clunking problem one more time. I did not fully explain that the ends of the stabilizer bar can slide in and out. Which really should be checked out first before changing the bushings. Once the stabilizer bar has been removed check for movement on the ends of the stabilizer bar where the bushings are mounted. If there is a gap from the shoulder of the bar this is a indication that there is where the clunking sound is coming from. The gap will noticeable about 1/4 of inch or more.
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