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Old 05-30-2019, 04:22 PM   #1
WRITEX
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Clunky noise when turning and driving over bumps

Hey.

I have a somewhat vague issue right now with the suspension in my 86 - or at least I think it's suspension related.

I can hear a clunk from the front end, both left and right side but more noticable from the left, when I drive on uneven surface. Doesn't matter which speed I'm at... I get the clunk even at walking speeds, and there's pretty much no difference in how rough the clunk is from high speeds to walking speeds.
I can feel the clunk pretty good if I quickly turn to the left, as if dodging potholes...

I have D2 Street Coilovers that are lowered a lot, and a pair of noname adjustable sway bar end links that came with the coilover kit. This was installed over a year ago and has worked flawlessly up until now... But I don't remember the adjustable end links being that close to the lower control arm? I can't even get a finger between. Can these "sag" over time? And can contact between these components be whats causing the clunking noise?

I've checked for loose bolts and components but I haven't found any, and I don't think its the strut, or the top hat, or the sway bar end links considering they are fairly new, having been on the car for only a bit over a year... or aprox. 6000 miles.

The clunk just randomly started happening on the right front side around 10 miles away from home a few days ago. It only happened on really rough roads and uneven surfaces, and throughout the last 10 miles it started happening on the left side as well. It got progressively worse when I was just a minute away from home. Now I will get the clunky noise if the suspension is involved even just a little. I will hear the noise even when I go over the smallest bump between the garage and the driveway...

I feel like I have to note that I'm not much of a mechanic, I've only done simple stuff like servicing brakes, installing an exhaust, installing coilovers, etc... So I don't know what I'm looking for when it comes to diagnosing faulty suspension parts if they don't look broken.


If required; I can get a video of the noise and pictures of how close the adjustable end links are to the control arms if necessary, but I'm not at home right now. Might take a few days.
As of right now, taking the car to a shop or the dealership is not an option. I live an hour away from reputable shops and will eventually have to get the car moved on a flatbed.

---

Please help
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:26 PM   #2
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I'd check the preeload on your coilovers (if you haven't)
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:36 PM   #3
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I'd check the preeload on your coilovers (if you haven't)
The springs have been kind of loose.
Loose as in that I could turn them around by hand, but not so loose that they could move up and down. Anyhow, I've been driving around with it like that since the coilovers were installed.
While troubleshooting this clunking noise, I did adjust the preload so that the springs are much tighter just to see if the issue was a "coilover clunk" type of thing.
That wasn't the case. Clunk still happening.
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:53 PM   #4
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The bearings in your camber plates could be worn out. They don't last very long on some coilover kits. If everything is tightened correctly (especially top nut and endlinks) that would be my guess. I would also check the bearings in your endlinks.

Otherwise, look for contact marks near endlink mounting points. Also your car is old enough that I would inspect control arm bushings.

- Andrew
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Old 05-31-2019, 12:00 AM   #5
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Do the no name endlinks have exposed bearings IE no dust boots?
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:59 AM   #6
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I have the same problem with the Tein Flex Z. Seems to be worse in the hotter weather I didn't hear the noise at all during the colder months.
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Old 06-02-2019, 11:53 AM   #7
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Sorry, been off the grid this weekend so I haven't had the opportunity to check and answer replies.

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The bearings in your camber plates could be worn out. They don't last very long on some coilover kits. If everything is tightened correctly (especially top nut and endlinks) that would be my guess. I would also check the bearings in your endlinks.

Otherwise, look for contact marks near endlink mounting points. Also your car is old enough that I would inspect control arm bushings.

- Andrew
I really don't hope you are right about those camber plates, seeing as they are barely a year old and have only been used for like 6 months or so. I park the car in storage during winter months.
I struggle with determining exactly where the sound is coming from, but I do think the sound is coming from around the top of the strut. It almost sounds like it's in the engine bay.

Do you have any tricks as to how I can determine whether or not the camber plates are worn out, without having to disassemble the entire strut and remove the plates?

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Do the no name endlinks have exposed bearings IE no dust boots?
No, they do not have exposed bearings.
There are dust boots in place on both ends and there doesn't seem to be any damage to them.
The one thing I think looks out of place is the bottom end, the end that connects to the sway bar. It's sitting really close to the control arm and I don't remember if it has always been that way.
I can't even fit a finger inbetween, and I can't see any contact marks on the control arm because the entire undercarriage of the car was treated with Dinitrol anti-rust protection... So if those two components do touch and cause the clunking noise, I won't see contact marks until the Dinitrol has been worn off the control arm.

(Don't ask my why they decided that spraying pretty much all suspension parts as well as the chassis was a good idea. They also sprayed up into the air intake and onto the shielded underside of the exhaust manifold, as well as all over the frontpipe. My car smoked like crazy and smelled like burnt dinitrol until I swapped out the exhaust parts.)

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I have the same problem with the Tein Flex Z. Seems to be worse in the hotter weather I didn't hear the noise at all during the colder months.
For your sake I really don't hope you have the same problem judging by how "violent" the clunk is.
It's obvious that something is wrong and that the car shouldn't be driven with it being that way.
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:27 AM   #8
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Do you have any tricks as to how I can determine whether or not the camber plates are worn out, without having to disassemble the entire strut and remove the plates?
You should be able to tell with the full coilover assembly off the car (without removing the camber plate from the strut) but of course having it all apart would help.

- Andrew
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:28 PM   #9
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You should be able to tell with the full coilover assembly off the car (without removing the camber plate from the strut) but of course having it all apart would help.

- Andrew
I decided to take apart the coilover a few days ago, but I didn't get that far.
The top nut spins and I can see a part between the bearing and the upper spring seat that spins along with it. I couldn't find any good way to hold the spinning piece in place, so I was unable to remove the camber plate.
...and so I decided to disconnect the end link and the lower control arm, then try to wiggle the coilover around a bit while it was still bolted in on top, just to listen if the bearing was making any noise. It wasn't.

I then noticed that the end link was easy to move around, not firm like it's been before. Turns out that the end that connects to the sway bar was loose. On both sides for some reason...

Tightened them both, reconnected everything, and the clunking was gone. Loose end links was the issue afterall. I didn't feel or see anything wrong with the end links when they were all mounted up, but figured it out as soon as I started disassembling stuff.


I'm now worried for when the camber plates/bearings actually do fail, as I have no idea how I will go about with removing the top nut.
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Old 06-06-2019, 04:43 PM   #10
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I have this same thing on stock everything with RCE yellow springs. I checked the driver side sway end links to no avail, then just outright disconnected the passenger side and the sound is still there. Definitely sounds like the top of the strut, so maybe my stock top hats are going? Can't think of what else would make that sound. With the wheel unloaded it moves smoothly, only here the clunking when making a low speed turn.
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Old 06-06-2019, 04:50 PM   #11
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I have this same thing on stock everything with RCE yellow springs. I checked the driver side sway end links to no avail, then just outright disconnected the passenger side and the sound is still there. Definitely sounds like the top of the strut, so maybe my stock top hats are going? Can't think of what else would make that sound. With the wheel unloaded it moves smoothly, only here the clunking when making a low speed turn.
Itís probably a loose main strut nut.
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Old 06-07-2019, 06:27 AM   #12
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Try jacking up 1 front wheel (safely). Stick a long pry bar under the tire. Have a helper jiggle the wheel up and down. And then try to move the steering wheel. Inspect from underneath. That should help find your noise.
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:56 AM   #13
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Itís probably a loose main strut nut.
First thing I checked, all snug. Even added more grease to the top hat.
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