Front End Clunk on a (Nearly) Full Front Suspension Rebuild - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-20-2017, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
deeefour
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Unhappy Front End Clunk on a (Nearly) Full Front Suspension Rebuild

'04 WJ with 3" Kolak lift.

All suspension parts on my front end are new except the following:

- shocks
- track bar bushings (came with JKS adjustable track bar)
- end link bushings

These bits have about 45k miles on them.

Wheel bearings, axle shafts and u-joints are also new.

I am having trouble finding the source of a clunking noise when the suspension flexes, particularly when the wheel is turned (ie. turning off a main road up a side street hill). The clunk is deep and audible with windows up or down. I can't feel it in the steering wheel.

The range of motion I can manually twist into the tie rod causes no audible contact at the ends on the steering knuckles.

The range of motion on the drag link is different. I have properly torqued both ends. When manually twisting the drag link I can feel/hear it come to a hard stop in it's range of motion. I have tried rotating the knuckle-side drag link end inside the drag link to help give both ends a better shot at a free full range of motion, but can't seem to eliminate the contact I feel.

I can't find anything else loose. This has me figuring the contact I'm feeling on the drag link is the culprit.

Everything else is torqued *at least* to spec.


Any suggestions on what I'm doing wrong with the drag link?

Any suggestions on what else I might check to diagnose the issue?

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post #2 of 12 Old 11-21-2017, 01:52 AM
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Try the shocks i had a clunk on mine after i did a lift so i put new shocks on it and voila no more clunking
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post #3 of 12 Old 11-21-2017, 08:21 AM
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Is the jam nut tight on your JKS track bar?

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post #4 of 12 Old 11-21-2017, 08:28 AM
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How are your trackbar bolt holes, particularly the frame side one? If you have someone turn the wheel while you watch and you see the bolts move, there's your clunk.

2003 WJ LTD 4.7, 242HD, PR44+ARB+RCV & D44HD+varilok+BTF 4.56, 7" RC LA (Clayton coils + pucks), Bilstein 5165, OBA, Lizardskined & Monstalined inside.
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post #5 of 12 Old 11-21-2017, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisHager View Post
Is the jam nut tight on your JKS track bar?
x2.

The jam nut really needs to have some 'umph' put behind it to keep it from backing off.

I have a large 14" pipe wrench that I use with an old jack handle slipped over the end to tighten down the jam nuts on things like adjustable track bars and control arms.

Anything less than that and I get clunking after a few days worth of driving IME.

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post #6 of 12 Old 11-21-2017, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
deeefour
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tymaoaretae View Post
How are your trackbar bolt holes, particularly the frame side one? If you have someone turn the wheel while you watch and you see the bolts move, there's your clunk.
Jam nut is plenty tight.

The bolts themselves are torqued plenty, and i can hang and yank on the track bar with all my weight and see no motion or play. Hitting the track bar with a dead blow hammer has no visible/audible sign of looseness/motion. Turning the wheel doesn't result in any play like I've seen others have on this forum and youtube.

I will drop the track bar tonight and take a closer look at the condition of the bolt hole in the bushings.
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post #7 of 12 Old 11-21-2017, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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It's also worth mentioning the hardware for the axle-side upper control arm bushings is new.

The stock torx bolts are M10x1.50x81. I have added grade-8 bolts with (if I remember correctly) 3/8" at the shoulder (9.525mm). I tried putting 7/16" bolts through (11.11mm), but they were too big to fit through the control arm and bushing sleeves.

I loosened these bolts this morning to see if the sound was amplified, but there was no change. I think I'm ruling these out for now unless you guys have other concerns about them. I'm doubting the ~0.5mm less bolt diameter is causing the deep clunking I'm hearing.
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post #8 of 12 Old 11-21-2017, 10:52 AM
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You could always test that theory by wrapping the shoulder with a little electrical tape...

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post #9 of 12 Old 11-27-2017, 07:24 PM
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Many times a clunk in my Jeep front ends over the years, has been sway bar endlinks or the SB frame bushings. It usually can be mistaken for the sound of bad ball joints (very similar in sound when hitting bumps).

QUOTE=billzcat1;wsar10 is right on point on this oil thread - as usual. Anyone reading this would be well-served taking his advice.


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post #10 of 12 Old 12-03-2017, 01:26 PM
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My mystery clunk was from the drivers front axle tune hitting the bump stop rubber on the "frame".
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post #11 of 12 Old 12-03-2017, 01:31 PM
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Front End Clunk on a (Nearly) Full Front Suspension Rebuild

Do you have quick disconnect sway bar links? They might not be at the right length.
Remove them and drive around and see if the clunk or thump is still there. I had the same kind of thump and reason was links weren’t long enough. Springs were hitting the end of the sway bar.
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post #12 of 12 Old 12-17-2017, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
deeefour
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Thumbs up FIXED.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wsar10 View Post
Many times a clunk in my Jeep front ends over the years, has been sway bar endlinks or the SB frame bushings. It usually can be mistaken for the sound of bad ball joints (very similar in sound when hitting bumps).
Thanks everyone for the input. Hugely appreciated.

tl;dr:

It turned out to be the connection between the sway bar and top of the end links.

The whole story:

I read about others with OMIX-ADA UCA bushings having an ID larger than stock, causing the play between the bolt and the bushing sleeve. I was in the middle of removing the passenger side UCA to see how the sleeve and bolts measured up when I had to jack the axle up. Suddenly I heard the clunk. I lowered the jack a bit and it clunked again.

Now that we could recreate the noise from under the Jeep we could really investigate. We could feel the clunk clearly in the axle tube, the upper control arm, the lower control arm, and the wheel itself.

Then we saw it - the sway bar slipping on the end link bolt on the driver side.

The only bolts I don't remember touching on the front suspension were up in the engine bay for the shocks and these bolts on the sway bar. Every other bolt had come out, gone back in, and been torqued to spec.

I should have checked them sooner, but since they weren't an issue before this project started they were out of my mind as a potential cause.

Thanks again everyone for the help. I've had my WJ since 2007 with 30k miles. I just passed 142k and with this last issue sorted out, the ride is better than it's ever been.
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