Things to check if you hear clunking from your suspension - Page 4 - TCCoA Forums

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post #91 of 187 (permalink) Old 01-19-2009, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by transam396 View Post
Hi everyone I just picked up a 95 T-Bird that body wise is in Great shape.

I have a clunking noise coming from what sounds like the pass side. when i grab the drivers side tire and push in and out on it i can see the pass strut move inside the eng comp.

What should i check out and while i'm under there i would like to check the subframe Bolts if one of u fine people would point me in the right direction as to what i would look at so i will know whre they are.
Thanks Lyn
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post #92 of 187 (permalink) Old 03-25-2009, 11:19 PM
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Had a annoying groaning from the front end every time I went over even the smallest bumps. Chased it for almost a year before I finally found cracks near the rear wheel wells and a broken V brace at the back seat. Put in L brace to stiffen it up some and the front end groaning went completely away. Gonna reinforce the heck out of it to keep in from braking loose again. Little bit too much body flexing.

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post #93 of 187 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 11:44 AM
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Ball Joint Failures

My daughter's 97 TBird just broke the passenger side lower ball joint. Fortunately the joint broke on a driveway entrance to a strip mall rather than on the freeway at speed. The tow truck driver said he sees allot of these birds with broken ball joints and it often is not a pretty site when they break on the major highways.

Her car has about 135K on it with very easy driving, so I would strongly recommend that anyone with one of these birds replace the lower ball joints automatically at 100K miles or you might just be killed.

My wife drives another 97 Bird with allot fewer miles on it. About 40K. So when it hits 100K, I will change the ball joints regardless.

Phil Swanson

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post #94 of 187 (permalink) Old 08-26-2009, 09:03 AM
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Things to check if you hear clunking from your suspension

Im going to drop my truck and I will soon need new shocks upfront. Maybe your stock shocks are bottoming out? I can sell you my stock ones. I can trade them in and get new ones from my warranty.
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post #95 of 187 (permalink) Old 09-07-2009, 01:03 PM
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I would torque the subframe bolts first and go from there. You might want to get the special socket and then tighten them yourself. 100 foot pounds will do. . Phil
Yes I know I just quoted a 2yr old post but I just used a 6 point 14mm socket on mine with a torque wrench set at 100ft/lbs and they were tight.
The 6 point 14 mm worked just fine to check these bolts.


So that wasn't the reason I get a popping noise while hard braking and turning to the right....got it narrowed down to either the torsion rod bushing or rack and pinion.

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post #96 of 187 (permalink) Old 09-30-2009, 12:28 PM
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Smile Clunk and rattle in front end solved!

My dad's 95 T-Bird developed an annoying clunking, rattle that was most noticeable at 40 mph on fairly smooth roads.We kept looking for something obviously loose, but found nothing. Finally, he raised the car and hit the center of the sway bar with the heel of his hand. A click came from the left sway bar end link ball joint. The original end links have ball joints with no lubrication grease fittings. The grease dried out years ago and the lower ball had developed about 1/16th of an inch of play in the dry socket. That small amount of play let the clunk vibrate through the whole sway bar and drive him crazy. He replaced the sway bar end links and the clunking rattle is gone. The replacement links (buy 2 at $30 each)have ball sockets with a grease fitting. It took quite a bit of grease to fill the new sockets and the new cup. We also lubed the lower ball joints at the same time. Replacing the sway bar end links is not hard, but also buy a grease gun to lube up the new ball sockets. After taking off the 15mm nut, the post had to be hammered to pop out. Since there is no tension on the sway bar, the new links went on easily. Thanks for the suggestions listed below.

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Originally Posted by Rich95XR7 View Post
I will list common things that "clunk" on the MN12 chassis here, and if you can think of any more not listed, add them on, and I'll consolidate the list. I hope this will help people out, and maybe cut down on repetitive posts.

1. Upper Ball Joints
2. Lower Ball Joints
3. Swaybar endlink bushings
4. Brake Calipers
5. strut rod bushings
6. Lower Control Arm shock mount bushing
7. Loose upper shock mount/subframe bolts
8. Tie Rods
9. Broken Spring
10. Loose lower shock mounting bolt
11. Steering Rack

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post #97 of 187 (permalink) Old 10-01-2009, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by 97Bluebird View Post
My daughter's 97 TBird just broke the passenger side lower ball joint. Fortunately the joint broke on a driveway entrance to a strip mall rather than on the freeway at speed. The tow truck driver said he sees allot of these birds with broken ball joints and it often is not a pretty site when they break on the major highways.

Her car has about 135K on it with very easy driving, so I would strongly recommend that anyone with one of these birds replace the lower ball joints automatically at 100K miles or you might just be killed.

My wife drives another 97 Bird with allot fewer miles on it. About 40K. So when it hits 100K, I will change the ball joints regardless.

Phil Swanson
Driving my 97 down 580, and getting the fast lane *POW*, mine went out. Ordering $700. in parts right now to redo my whole entire suspension. I'm guessing it's still stock, on 141k miles... So I'll be riding nice after this!

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post #98 of 187 (permalink) Old 10-02-2009, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by KorpseofDeath View Post
Driving my 97 down 580, and getting the fast lane *POW*, mine went out. Ordering $700. in parts right now to redo my whole entire suspension. I'm guessing it's still stock, on 141k miles... So I'll be riding nice after this!
what kind of carnage did that create?
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post #99 of 187 (permalink) Old 10-02-2009, 08:25 PM
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what kind of carnage did that create?
Well, the lower ball joint completely came out of it's socket, so it's just the upper control arm and the rack and pinion steering arm holding it together, to the car instantly drops down and the tire back towards the passenger. I pulled in the center and got out expecting it to be a flat tire, and then saw my whole front end dropped about 2 inches, was like f*%*k!!!! I then had to get CHP to traffic break me to the next exit. Driving at a slow less than 10 MPH, just listening to me tearing my tire apart on the way. Finally got to a place where Tow Truck can pick me up, got it home, and on the tow truck it completely gave way, and my front end was laying on the ground.

The driver was very good and experienced. He backed up into my driveway, and I had to drag my front end off the tow truck, but left the front wheels on the tow truck, then he lifted it with the truck, and we placed jacks under it. That was really relieving, because if the car was to just be dropped, there would be NO complete way to get a jack under my car, Literally!

Thankfully it happened at 60MPH, hardy any traffic, and hardly any damage. Just gotta get a new tire, and see if the rim is salvageable, it took a good scraping on the inside, but I think a re-balance and it should be ok and work with the inner fender and such where the tire rubbed, and now dread the $700. in the suspension rebuilt, which I was still in the process of saving up for! lol

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post #100 of 187 (permalink) Old 10-02-2009, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by KorpseofDeath View Post
Driving my 97 down 580, and getting the fast lane *POW*, mine went out. Ordering $700. in parts right now to redo my whole entire suspension. I'm guessing it's still stock, on 141k miles... So I'll be riding nice after this!
Are you replacing the tension-strut bushings, too? I would, especially with that many miles. MAKE SURE YOU GET THE FORD ONES!!! My '97 T-Bird has 148,000 miles on it and I just replaced my entire front-end, but I'm having ALL kinds of problems because I bought tension-strut bushings from NAPA and they SUCK!! Around town, at speeds around 35-45, the car rides like it's brand-new now! But, on the highway at speeds around 60-75 mph, the front end feels kind of like it's wandering and I have a vibration, and it REALLY sucks that it's like that after all that money and work! I'm going to get Ford bushings A.S.A.P. and replace the ones from NAPA!

Dennis
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post #101 of 187 (permalink) Old 10-03-2009, 04:03 AM
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Yes I am. I'm purchasing the High Performance Polyurethane Front Suspension Bushing Kit from sc performance, and getting the moog control arms, basicly all high quality parts, don't go cheap on suspension, i've learned.

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post #102 of 187 (permalink) Old 11-04-2009, 10:52 PM
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I've got a bad case of the clunks right now too. I've got brand new UCA's on both sides, Brand new Sway bar end links on both sides, brand new KONI shocks / Vogtland 1.6" drop springs, and a brand new LCA on the left and the knock is STILL there....when I replaced the UCA on the left I noticed the bushings were pretty mashed but I didn't think much of it, so I'm assuming that it's either the Strut rod bushings into the LCA or Tie Rod End or K-Frame bolts.....anything else I could check? I highly doubt it's the Steering Rack

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post #103 of 187 (permalink) Old 12-12-2009, 07:34 PM
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My clunk story

Ok, I guess I'll tell my clunking story. First thing, I had a lot of clunking from back, got it up on a lift and saw the sway bar links broken on both sides - replaced. All KINDS of noises from front, so I change Upper Control Arms, Lower Ball Joints, Sway Bar Links. I STILL have a dry rub noise from passenger front. Get it on lift and start moving stuff. In the back I see movements and replace Outer AND Inner Upper Control Arm bushings, and the Outer Lower bushings. Didn't fix the noise in the front?!? Go figure!
Anyways, got it lined up and all went well EXCEPT the tech can't get the passenger rear tire to stand straight up, it's half a degree off - you can't hardly see it but I guess something is tweaked back there - maybe the car slid sideways toward the passenger side before I got it. I figure I'll just put the upper control arm in the press at work, and crush it about 1/4 of an inch or so to add that negative camber.
What could be causing the noise on the passenger side front? I can push the fender down and make it squeek, and it sounds like it's coming from the UCA. I tried spraying WD-40 on the bushings, didn't help. Could I have gotten a bad upper control arm new? Could it be spring mount at the top?
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post #104 of 187 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 12:33 AM
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Ok, I guess I'll tell my clunking story. First thing, I had a lot of clunking from back, got it up on a lift and saw the sway bar links broken on both sides - replaced. All KINDS of noises from front, so I change Upper Control Arms, Lower Ball Joints, Sway Bar Links. I STILL have a dry rub noise from passenger front. Get it on lift and start moving stuff. In the back I see movements and replace Outer AND Inner Upper Control Arm bushings, and the Outer Lower bushings. Didn't fix the noise in the front?!? Go figure!
Anyways, got it lined up and all went well EXCEPT the tech can't get the passenger rear tire to stand straight up, it's half a degree off - you can't hardly see it but I guess something is tweaked back there - maybe the car slid sideways toward the passenger side before I got it. I figure I'll just put the upper control arm in the press at work, and crush it about 1/4 of an inch or so to add that negative camber.
What could be causing the noise on the passenger side front? I can push the fender down and make it squeek, and it sounds like it's coming from the UCA. I tried spraying WD-40 on the bushings, didn't help. Could I have gotten a bad upper control arm new? Could it be spring mount at the top?
That rubbing could be your strut rod bushings (where the rod meets the LCA) if not i'd say torque all your bolts down up front on everything down to specification. I did that with my car and it fixed all my clunks....SCORE! The new LCA's don't look to shabby either No more broken boots!

I drive an endangered species...they are being crushed at an alarming rate. Please do your part to preserve the Cougar species, and ensure they live on into the future.

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post #105 of 187 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 10:06 AM
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Ok, I guess I'll tell my clunking story. First thing, I had a lot of clunking from back, got it up on a lift and saw the sway bar links broken on both sides - replaced. All KINDS of noises from front, so I change Upper Control Arms, Lower Ball Joints, Sway Bar Links. I STILL have a dry rub noise from passenger front. Get it on lift and start moving stuff. In the back I see movements and replace Outer AND Inner Upper Control Arm bushings, and the Outer Lower bushings. Didn't fix the noise in the front?!? Go figure!
Anyways, got it lined up and all went well EXCEPT the tech can't get the passenger rear tire to stand straight up, it's half a degree off - you can't hardly see it but I guess something is tweaked back there - maybe the car slid sideways toward the passenger side before I got it. I figure I'll just put the upper control arm in the press at work, and crush it about 1/4 of an inch or so to add that negative camber.
What could be causing the noise on the passenger side front? I can push the fender down and make it squeek, and it sounds like it's coming from the UCA. I tried spraying WD-40 on the bushings, didn't help. Could I have gotten a bad upper control arm new? Could it be spring mount at the top?

when do you hear this rub? when you turn the wheel? Could be tie rod ends.

Last edited by tbirdguy; 04-07-2012 at 12:31 PM.
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post #106 of 187 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 03:07 PM
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Also just because some one said something about clunking when hitting the gas. Check the engine mounts. I'm having the same clunking problem and it was my drivers side engine mount. It turned out to be that 1 of the bolts came out causing the head on the second bolt to be sheered off. So when I nail the gas the engine lifts up on the drivers side and when I let off it slams back down. Not good... Also had a bad upper control arm bushing, broken spring and strut all on the passengers side. Also not good.

Last edited by 92Thunderchicken; 05-23-2010 at 11:26 PM. Reason: control arm bushing was bad not ball joint
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post #107 of 187 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 08:45 PM
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when do you hear this rub? when you turn the wheel? Could be tie rod ends.
No, not when I turn. If you read what I wrote, I can make it rub/squeek just by bouncing the passenger fender up and down. I have the "new" new UCA, I just haven't put it in yet. I'm sure it will fix it, but I'll let y'all know when I change it to make sure I'm not wrong!

Hope everyone had a good weekend!
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post #108 of 187 (permalink) Old 06-02-2010, 02:24 PM
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Hey all,

Is this the type of clunking sound an end link would make?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdZqbLPBZv0

I've taken a rubber mallet to everything under there, but the sound only shows up when driving. It's kind of driving me mad!
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post #109 of 187 (permalink) Old 06-03-2010, 01:11 AM
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Sub Frame Bolts

After working on many of these Thunderbirds/Cougars, I have found that 90% of them are clunking because of loose sub frame bolts. Get a large Torx head socket and tighten them up to 100 ft pounds. I have seen some as loose as two turns backed off. The clunk is comming from the whole front frame moving as you brake or corner. Not the only culpret but it should be eliminated first because it is so common in these cars.

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post #110 of 187 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 06:13 PM
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Hey all,

Is this the type of clunking sound an end link would make?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdZqbLPBZv0

I've taken a rubber mallet to everything under there, but the sound only shows up when driving. It's kind of driving me mad!

Any determination on this noise, Lime? my 96 Bird is making the same exact rattle/clunking as was heard in the Vid.

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post #111 of 187 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 97Bluebird View Post
After working on many of these Thunderbirds/Cougars, I have found that 90% of them are clunking because of loose sub frame bolts. Get a large Torx head socket and tighten them up to 100 ft pounds. I have seen some as loose as two turns backed off. The clunk is comming from the whole front frame moving as you brake or corner. Not the only culpret but it should be eliminated first because it is so common in these cars.

Phil Swanson
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You're right Phil..I had that same clunk before and after i had my front suspension redone,and the mechanic had to tighten up loose subframe bolts..And I havn't heard that embarrasing clunk since..


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post #112 of 187 (permalink) Old 07-01-2010, 11:03 AM
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Ok, took the advice here and checked my subframe bolts. I set my torque wrench to 100 lb/ft and was surprised how loose they were. The problem is that I still haven't reached torque yet and the bolts feel as though they are just before stripping. I checked the wrench on my lug nuts and it seems correct as it will click on them (used it when I installed my new wheels) but it just doesn't "feel" right when tightening the k member bolts. Is this normal? I would guess that I'm around 80-90 lb/ft but am afraid to go further. The bolts felt as though they were tightening fine at first, but then they just started to feel "mushy" (yeah-technical terminology) the more I tightened them.

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post #113 of 187 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Bird_Woody View Post
Any determination on this noise, Lime? my 96 Bird is making the same exact rattle/clunking as was heard in the Vid.
Oh yeah, I replaced the sway bar links and no more clunking.
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post #114 of 187 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 10:10 AM
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i have a rattle on smooth roads. seems like it's from the rear (left side mostly, but also right). i was thinking maybe shock mount bolts, but this morning when i stopped at a store i heard it while the car wasnt moving. it doesnt effect steering but it's very annoying. i'm thinking my exhaust may be touching something or a loose baffle in the mufflers.

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post #115 of 187 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 10:34 AM
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i have a rattle on smooth roads. seems like it's from the rear (left side mostly, but also right). i was thinking maybe shock mount bolts, but this morning when i stopped at a store i heard it while the car wasnt moving. it doesnt effect steering but it's very annoying. i'm thinking my exhaust may be touching something or a loose baffle in the mufflers.
Catalytic Converter Heat Shield...




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post #116 of 187 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 10:51 AM
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Catalytic Converter Heat Shield...




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cats are gone.

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post #117 of 187 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 09:19 PM
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Red face Squeaking/creaking Front Suspension

I am still chasing occasionally clunks around my front end, and also considerable creaking when going over speed bumps and other humps in roads and driveways. Replaced stuff:

Upper/lower control arms
Sway bar bushings
LCA tension strut bushings
Steering rack

I suspect the frame-side tension strut bushings need to be replaced as well, but they are a B***H to find these days (out of production, as expected).

Still have occasional clunks! Usually while turning into driveways, odd bumps at odd angles.

I have to say, the replacement of the steering rack made a MASSIVE difference in handling! Didn't realize how much play the old one (assuming stock) had developed.

From this thread, I have determined I need to look into my spring condition. I had assumed a broken spring would be pretty noticeable, but evidently that is not the case, and is a fairly common issue. $160 each for Monroe quick struts at O'Reilly. I think they are on the short list.
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post #118 of 187 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 09:31 PM
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...I suspect the frame-side tension strut bushings need to be replaced as well, but they are a B***H to find these days (out of production, as expected).
Nope, they are still easily available. I went to my local dealer Wednesday, ordered them up, and picked them up today (Friday). $113 each side. CDN. But using a brand other than Ford OEM is *not* an option. Two of E9SZ-3A187-A is what you want.

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Originally Posted by Gabealicious View Post
From this thread, I have determined I need to look into my spring condition. I had assumed a broken spring would be pretty noticeable, but evidently that is not the case, and is a fairly common issue. $160 each for Monroe quick struts at O'Reilly. I think they are on the short list.
I have a broken right front spring. I purchased the Monroe QuickStruts locally for $175 each, plus tax. They seem to be a decent replacement option if you are looking for a stock-like ride. I also got the Monroe SensaTrac rear shocks to go with it, even though I think my rear shocks are fine.

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post #119 of 187 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 05:28 AM
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post #120 of 187 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 09:48 AM
DLF
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Forked River, NJ
Age: 62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 97Bluebird View Post
After working on many of these Thunderbirds/Cougars, I have found that 90% of them are clunking because of loose sub frame bolts. Get a large Torx head socket and tighten them up to 100 ft pounds. I have seen some as loose as two turns backed off. The clunk is comming from the whole front frame moving as you brake or corner. Not the only culpret but it should be eliminated first because it is so common in these cars.

Phil Swanson
(2) 97 T Birds
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDiablo View Post
Ok, took the advice here and checked my subframe bolts. I set my torque wrench to 100 lb/ft and was surprised how loose they were. The problem is that I still haven't reached torque yet and the bolts feel as though they are just before stripping. I checked the wrench on my lug nuts and it seems correct as it will click on them (used it when I installed my new wheels) but it just doesn't "feel" right when tightening the k member bolts. Is this normal? I would guess that I'm around 80-90 lb/ft but am afraid to go further. The bolts felt as though they were tightening fine at first, but then they just started to feel "mushy" (yeah-technical terminology) the more I tightened them.
The factory spec on those bolts is only 57-77 Lb-Ft.

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