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Discussion Starter #1
I rebuilt the whole front suspension on my Tbird. It handles amazingly. But, as soon as I drove it after getting it all together, I realized I still have a clunking noise coming from the Passenger Strut area. I am pretty sure the strut mount is the source of the clunk - it happens only when the road gets rough, its a sort of rattle/clunk that comes and goes with potholes. It wasn't all that bad, just annoying, until this weekend - I went off roading on some rough dirt roads with lots of up-downs.

I replaced (with the help of a friend) the struts themselves just 3 years ago. We did not change the mounts. The struts are still working OK, so I am just going to change the passenger side mount.

Reading through the procedure to remove the struts, the haynes/chilton books say to remove the sway bar end link and the upper control arm from the spindle - are these really necessary? It was several years ago, but I don't remember having to do anything with the upper control arm.

If I do have to remove the upper control arm from the spindle, this wont effect my alignment, will it?

Is the mount part of the strut assembly? To change the mount, do I need to compress the strut assembly? (if so I will have a shop do it).

Also, are there any other wear items in the strut assembly I should replace while I am at it?
 

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First of all. Our car's don't have struts. You either changed the spring or the shock (or both) but NOT the strut.

There was a great article on the issue of weather or not our cars have Shocks or Struts on this site but Bill has moved it for some reason???

Pull your tires and take a good look at the springs. Run your hand all the way around them from top to bottom and look for debris caught in the coils. Since you were off road you may have picked something up. I once picked up a piece of road debris in one of my spring coils and it made a awful sound.

Have you replaced the swaybar end links??? They will cause a lot of noise when they go bad. If the boots are torn or they've never been replaced now might be a good time to go ahead and replace them.

Have you checked all the bushings? Look closely at the Strut rod to LCA bushings (front and back) and make sure that they're in place and in one piece. Check all the bushing and boots while you're at it.

Yes, it helps to remove the sway bar end link and the upper control arm from the spindle to gain access to the spring/shock assembly. Just get a small Pitman arm and use it to push the end link through the spindle.

No, disconnecting the end link from the spindle will not screw up your alignment.

Yes, to remove and replace the upper mount you will need to decompress the spring and re-compress it to reassemble.

If you haven't done so, replace the shock while you have it apart. Now is the time to do that; pick a good replacement and call it a day.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sorry, I misspoke - I changed the shocks two-three years ago, not struts. I looked and do not see anything wedged in the spring.

When I rebuilt the front suspension, I did everything except I did not touch the shock assemblies and upper control arms (uppers are fine with no play, less than 2 yrs old). I replaced:

Lower control arm left/right - with new lower shock mount
Swaybar bushings
Swaybar end links
Strut rod bushings, both sides, front/rear, - OEM Ford parts
Outer tie rods

I am not going to replace the shocks at this time - they are 2-3 yrs old and work fine.

Thanks for your help,
Sean
 

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Hi

I would start with your ball joints. You can't always tell until you take it all apart.
I have a questional ball joint. Joint is tight when assembled. but the ball is loose apart.

:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I have no doubt that both the upper and lower control arms and ball joints are A+ condition. I literally JUST rebuilt the entire front suspension on my car 1-2 months ago. I also retorqued all the front subframe bolts - all but one needed just a slight tightening up.

This clunk/rattle is the only problem left, and it is only apparent on the passenger side. Before, it was only apparent upon full suspension travel - i.e. potholes/rough roads. Now, since my little off-roading excursion, the rattle/clunk is apparent even on the smoothest road with very light application of the brakes. Under hard braking it is non-existent - just seems to me that this indicates play in the shock mount assembly.

BTW, called a few shops to see how much it would cost for them to compress the spring and change the mount. First shop quoted $170!!!!!! I don't think they understood I was going to bring in the shock assembly, as a bench job. 2nd quote came in at a very reasonable $30.
 

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Yea, $25 to $30 is reasonable just to compress a spring. I paid $25 each at a local Goodyear shop to get mine put together.

I took them off and put them back on the car myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, I got the shock assembly out without a hitch. Also got a new hub/bearing to put on that corner as well.

The shock mount is cracked, thats for sure. It just doesn't seem bad enough to make the sound I am hearing.

With the spindle disconnected from the upper control arm, the upper control arm bushing makes the knocking noise that I have been hearing. The ball joint seems fine, tight and smooth, but the bushing has noticeable deflection. So, I am going to order an upper control arm after all, hoping to find some with grease fittings. I think I might just do the passenger side for now, since that is the only side I hear the noise.
 

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What brand UCA do you have and what brand are you replacing it with?

Go with Moog or TRW only. I prefer Moog. The Moog's have the grease fittings.

 

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Discussion Starter #9
You know I believe they are TRW's, but I am not happy with them. I had just replaced uppers and lowers with the TRW's 2-3 years ago, and already my passenger side lower control arm was beyond the dangerous point, as was the inner control arm bushing. The moog LCA's feel great (but aren't greaseable), and Kragen will price match, so I am going to bring in the rockauto price and pick it up local.
 
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