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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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Angry Another knocking suspension thread

I had my ball joints, struts and control arms replaced last week but I still have a persistent knocking problem.

Basically on rough roads you can feel everything through the steering wheel, causing it to wobble about vigourously. Sometimes moving slowly with the wheels turned will cause a loud clunk.

Any thoughts? Could it be sub frame and if so where do I look to check the tension on the bolts.

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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 11:43 AM
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Sway bar end links usually knock.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 02:18 PM
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Yep, thats my problem and its the end links

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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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Looks like I'll need some new end links then. Can I do this job with the car jacked up and on axle stands or is it best to get underneath?
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 01:45 PM
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jackstands will do fine

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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-02-2009, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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And the subframe bolts, where are these located. haynes manual doesn't specify
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-02-2009, 04:13 PM
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my front end knock si the strut rod bushiings at the frame just been replaced a few months dont but moog ones for that.

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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-02-2009, 04:22 PM
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The subframe bolts are inverted Torx heads. (Kind of like a tall metal snowflake, if such a thing existed.) Anyway, you will find 8 of them down there (well, you should). They are in groups of 2 at each corner of the subframe, where it flares up to meet the unibody rails.

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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-03-2009, 03:19 AM
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Maybe this will help visually.
[IMG]

The 8 mounting points are circled. The proper socket needed to fit the bolts is a Torx 1/2" E18 Female Socket, and appropriate socket wrench, and possibly an extension. I obtained this pic from a Ford '97 T-bird Factory service manual, which can be downloaded, check previous posts on this subject.

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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the diagram All looks fine under there to me on the subframe front. Think I'm gonna get those end links changed. Then the wheel bearings possibly. It's creaking a lot and vibrating.
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-21-2009, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Update

Update.

I've had the inner & outer tie rod ends replaced and also the sway bar end links. In addition to the struts, lower control arms, and lower ball joints.

I still have problems with the steering wheel shuddering on rough surfaces & bumps - about 3/4 inch deflection of the steering wheel up and down.

Any suggestions guys?
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-21-2009, 12:57 PM
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I would check ALL fasteners on your front suspension to make sure they are torqued to the proper values.

I would also check your front wheel bearings for looseness or play from wear. I was told that I had a bad right-front wheel bearing when I bought my car and had a mechanic check the suspension because of really bad, loud knocking sounds going over bumps (turned out to be bad sway-bar end-links). When I went to replace the bad wheel bearing, I found the wheel bearing retaining nut was really loose - not to the point that my wheel was ready to fall off, but plenty loose enough to cause play.

Good luck!

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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-21-2009, 03:31 PM
 
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what are the proper pinpoint tests??

If i jack up my car, under the shocks , and rock my front right wheel top/bottom, it will move with a bit of play, maybe 1/4". my other front tire is rock solid and doesn't have this same play.

also when doing pinpoint tests should I have the car jacked up by the frame, or with the jack under the shocks??

and lastly is there a specific procedure for determine bad end links? I grabbed mine and reefed on them but they didn't seem to move at all or make any noise, however if I bang on my loose wheel I can hear the kind of knocking that I hear when driving, just more minor since I can't actually hit the car as hard as the car can hit a bump.

I just want to make sure I fix the right thing before I go and replace stuff.

thanks, and sorry I didn't mean to jack the thread or anything, just figured it would be better than starting another one.
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-24-2009, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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what are the proper pinpoint tests??

If i jack up my car, under the shocks , and rock my front right wheel top/bottom, it will move with a bit of play, maybe 1/4". my other front tire is rock solid and doesn't have this same play.

also when doing pinpoint tests should I have the car jacked up by the frame, or with the jack under the shocks??

and lastly is there a specific procedure for determine bad end links? I grabbed mine and reefed on them but they didn't seem to move at all or make any noise, however if I bang on my loose wheel I can hear the kind of knocking that I hear when driving, just more minor since I can't actually hit the car as hard as the car can hit a bump.

I just want to make sure I fix the right thing before I go and replace stuff.

thanks, and sorry I didn't mean to jack the thread or anything, just figured it would be better than starting another one.
I jacked mine up both sides and put the car on axle stands, moving the wheels side to side will help highlight rack wear / tie rod ends, and I used a crowbar under the tire which should help with ball joints etc
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-29-2009, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
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what are the proper pinpoint tests??

If i jack up my car, under the shocks , and rock my front right wheel top/bottom, it will move with a bit of play, maybe 1/4". my other front tire is rock solid and doesn't have this same play.
That is probably a bad wheel bearing, but could be a ball joint. You may need a buddy to rock while you watch and feel for movement to isolate the source. Look at/feel the upper balljoint, then the lower, then between the spindle and the hub.

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post #16 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-29-2009, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by S_Mazza View Post
That is probably a bad wheel bearing, but could be a ball joint. You may need a buddy to rock while you watch and feel for movement to isolate the source. Look at/feel the upper balljoint, then the lower, then between the spindle and the hub.
What are the other symptoms of bad wheel bearings? Also, my suspension makes loud cracking/snapping noises when manuevering at low speed, what could this be?
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post #17 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-29-2009, 09:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by S_Mazza View Post
That is probably a bad wheel bearing, but could be a ball joint. You may need a buddy to rock while you watch and feel for movement to isolate the source. Look at/feel the upper balljoint, then the lower, then between the spindle and the hub.
it's not the upper ball joint, that was replaced not too long ago.

should I have the car jacked up under the shock? or should it be jacked from the frame?

when the wheel is rocked with it jacked under the shock, I don't see any movement around the ball joints or anything. seems like just the wheel moves.

but can just a wheel bearing cause the amount of knocking i hear on a daily basis?


as asked above, what are other symptoms of bad bearings?
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post #18 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 05:36 PM
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I guess it depends on how far gone the bearing is. My car needs a new rear wheel bearing right now. It usually makes no noise until it heats up (the grease may be muffling it until that point). The symptoms I have are: brakes drag, run hot, and eventually squeal continuously driving down the road. If the wheel and brake get hot enough, the bearing will start to go click-click-click as I drive. The wheel is very hot after driving long distances, especially at slower (city) speeds. It gets hot because the entire wheel, hub, and brake rotor are shifting slightly, causing one of the brake pads to drag on the rotor.

I know the bearing is bad because of those symptoms and the fact that I can slightly shift the right rear wheel when that corner is jacked up.

Now on my wife's car ... Olds Intrigue ... her front bearing was SHOT. Symptoms included vibration at highway speeds, horrible POW noises over major bumps (but not every time), and ugly scraping and popping noises when backing out of a parking space.

To check the bearing, it doesn't matter how the car is jacked up, as long as the wheel is off the ground, the car won't fall, and you don't damage the car. So frame or arm is fine, whichever seems more stable to you.

I don't think it matters how you jack it up to check the lower balljoint either, because of the fact that the shock and spring mount to the LCA itself, not the spindle. So the force of the spring is not really applied through the balljoint in any case. (But that's just an educated guess.)

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post #19 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 07:28 AM
 
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holy crap, I never even thought to think that if the bearing is loose it could cause the rotor to drag on the caliper..... that might be a lot of my problem of what's going on right now as far as grinding noises.


Does anyone have a recording of what the end links sound like knocking?? probably not, but mine is getting much worse, and i really can't see how it could be my end links making this much noise. I've also rocked the tire/car jacked up and not and I don't see any movement from them, or hear any knocking.

is t here any possibility that it could be my shocks or struts or something? I would assume it's not my end links because it's only knocking when I hit bumps, not when I turn or anything.

I'm about to spend $150 to replace both my front wheel bearings, and will be broke for some time, so I NEED to figure out what is going on down there.
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post #20 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 08:13 AM
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My front sway-bar end-links were bad when I first got my Thunderbird, and they made loud knocking sounds ONLY when I went over bumps. After they were replaced, I had no more knocking sounds at all.

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post #21 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 09:57 PM
 
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I'm really confused on this only because I can't seem to solidly confirm that it is them.

I've done damn near everything and I can't see them move or shake or knock.

I wish I could put a camera under the car and record it as I drive. I would hate to buy the end links and still have the problem.

my end link options are either $12ea for the non-premiums or $83ea for the premiums.
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post #22 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 10:10 PM
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How do the ones on the car look now? How many miles are on the car? Have they ever been replaced? Are the rubber boots on the ends deteriorated?

Get either TRW (OE supplier) or Moog - those are the best.

I just finished replacing just about my ENTIRE front suspension on my Thunderbird! I started in April with new front struts/shocks and rear shocks (KYB) and new sway-bar end-links (Moog, front & rear). Last month, I replaced my upper control arms (Moog) and just last week I replaced my lower control arms (TRW), tension strut bushings (NAPA) and installed new coil springs (Vogtland) at all 4 corners. Tonight I just got brand-new tires (Continental). Now, I just need to have all the bushings and the toe-link compensator in the rear suspension replaced and I'm done!

My point in telling you all this is that if your car is high mileage (mine has 147,000 miles on it!) and you don't want any noise in your suspension, you're probably going to have to bite the bullet and replace parts. If you do, use good quality parts! My suspension makes not one bit of sound that it shouldn't be making; it's totally quiet!

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post #23 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-14-2009, 12:27 PM
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I'm really confused on this only because I can't seem to solidly confirm that it is them.

I've done damn near everything and I can't see them move or shake or knock.

I wish I could put a camera under the car and record it as I drive. I would hate to buy the end links and still have the problem.

my end link options are either $12ea for the non-premiums or $83ea for the premiums.
I don't have a recording of the endlinks, but I would describe it as "thump-a-thump-a-thump." It's an erratic sound that won't show up over every bump, but tends to be worst over little washboard bumps.

Those endlink options are pretty far apart on the scale. LOL. $12 to $83. Think there might be a quality difference? I got some cheapo endlinks from Spicer "Red grade" one time, and they were shot in like 6 months. I would definitely recommend TRW or Moog.

But to be sure you need the endlinks, do this. Park the car and lie down by the wheel. Grab the endlink with your hand and try to twist it. If it twists easily, this could be the source of the sound. If it takes a decent amount of exertion, then it's probably fine. The condition of the boots on each end is another good clue. If they are all cracked up, then either you need endlinks now or you will soon anyway. Be sure to check both sides, as one bad endlink could cause a racket on its own. (Also, you could do this with the car raised off the ground, as long as both sides of the suspension are unloaded.) I know this test is not very precise, and relies heavily on subjective factors. But since most of us don't have a strain gauge lying around, so it's the best way I know to check them.

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post #24 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-14-2009, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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My problem has developed now in that, at very low speed (say 5mph) when I brake there is a shudder / buzz that comes from the right hand side. The car wanders a little at high speed and sometimes feels like it just wants to go in a straight line on slight turns.

Any takers?
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post #25 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-14-2009, 04:28 PM
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Sounds like ball joints or strut rod bushings there.
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post #26 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-15-2009, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Strut rod bushings? Now I look back, they don't look too healthy. Thanks
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post #27 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 10:33 AM
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Just some friendly suggestions for the strut rod bushings (if that is in fact what you need).

As you probably know, there are 2 sets of strut rod bushings : The ones at the frame, and the ones at the suspension arm. There are several manufacturers making versions of the ones at the arm. Those all seem to work fine and are pretty easy to install. However, the ones at the frame vary widely in quality. The Ford ones are much more expensive, but that's because they are a much better design. So only Ford bushings are recommended there. (The Ford version of the bushings at the arm are also different in design from the aftermarket ones, but the aftermarket arm bushings don't seem to fail like the aftermarket frame bushings.)

The bushings at the frame are also much harder to replace - you will need to cut, grind, or smash the metal sleeve out, then remove the rubber bushings. Fortunately, they seem to last much longer than the bushings at the arm.

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post #28 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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S Mazza

Thanks for the tip re: the frame bushings. They look pretty good at the moment, the ones at the arms are quite badly perished / falling to pieces though which is in line with your observations.

There isn't any advice on how to change the arm bushings in the Haynes manual, what is the proceedure for changing them?

Many thanks

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post #29 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S_Mazza View Post
Just some friendly suggestions for the strut rod bushings (if that is in fact what you need).

As you probably know, there are 2 sets of strut rod bushings : The ones at the frame, and the ones at the suspension arm. There are several manufacturers making versions of the ones at the arm. Those all seem to work fine and are pretty easy to install. However, the ones at the frame vary widely in quality. The Ford ones are much more expensive, but that's because they are a much better design. So only Ford bushings are recommended there. (The Ford version of the bushings at the arm are also different in design from the aftermarket ones, but the aftermarket arm bushings don't seem to fail like the aftermarket frame bushings.)

The bushings at the frame are also much harder to replace - you will need to cut, grind, or smash the metal sleeve out, then remove the rubber bushings. Fortunately, they seem to last much longer than the bushings at the arm.
I just replaced my strut rod bushings. I used the TRW-supplied ones at the lower control arm side because I also replaced the LCA at the same time. At the frame side, I used new bushings and washers I got from NAPA (I'm unemployed at the moment, and couldn't afford the Ford ones). The NAPA ones seem to be pretty high quality and the sleeve that goes inside the two rubber bushings is short enough that you can tighten the nut on the tension strut against the bushings as much as is required without first contacting the sleeve. Maybe in a year or so I'll replace them with Ford ones.

I did the passenger-side tension strut first and thought that NAPA gave me the wrong parts because I didn't know that threaded metal sleeve was on the rod, and the bushing wouldn't slide over it! Once I realized that sleeve had to come off, my dad and I had to put the tension strut in a vise in his basement and heat the sleeve with a torch to get it free! On the driver's-side, the sleeve came right off after I sprayed some penetrating oil on it! The hardest part, other than heating the sleeve up on the one side, was getting the bushings that sit over that sleeve off - I had to hold the rod vertically on the ground and hammer them off!

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post #30 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 02:35 PM
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There isn't any advice on how to change the arm bushings in the Haynes manual, what is the proceedure for changing them?
Hi Matthew,

It's pretty easy, but may take some patience.

You need a couple of large wrenches (adjustable will do all right, if you don't have the proper sizes). Undo the large nut at the rear of the tension strut. Use the second wrench to hold the flattened part of the tension strut (but stay away from the point where it bends and be sure not to nick that part by accident).

Once you have that done, you need to be able to move the control arm enough to slip the tension strut out of the hole in the LCA. I would recommend that you go to the top of the shock absorber. Remove the ARC actuator, then loosen the 3 nuts around the perimeter. Leave the center nut alone! Loosening the 3 small nuts will free up the top of the shock and let you shift the lower control arm around a little.

Now go down to the LCA, where it pivots at the frame. Mark the position of the camber adjusting bolt against the frame. (Do this well so you won't need to re-align the car!) Now undo the nut and remove the bolt and washers. That should give you enough play in the LCA to allow you to get the tension strut out. The bushings should just pull off the strut - if they are stuck, I am sure Vise-grips will do the trick.

When you bolt the LCA back up to the frame, get the nuts in place just finger-tight, then get the suspension to normal ride height. (This means either put the wheel back on and set the car down on the ground again, or jack up the LCA until its angle is the same as it is when driving. But don't tip the car off the jackstands! Careful now.) Then tighten the nut to spec, making sure that the washer meets up with the marks you made earlier. This should let you go right on without a new alignment.

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