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I have a weird creak from the front suspension on my 96 bird. About 1 to 1 1/2 years ago I replaced the struts up front with monroes, and the rear shocks at the same time. About 6 months after replacing them, I started getting this hard to describe creak. It sounds like an accordion almost...weird. Sometimes it is accompanied by a light clunk, sounds like the front struts have play in them up and down. Happens on bumps in the road, speed bumps, going up/down driveways... Could overtightening do this? One other factor in this creak is that it only happens when it is cold outside and the car has not been driven since the day before. As I drive, it progressively quiets down until about 25-30 mins of drive time, where it goes away. Are the rubber pieces that came with the shocks just really cheap?

Thanks for any help/advice
 

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I have the same thing going on and I'm just assuming the shocks up front are bad. It happens on the compression and the rebound, plus on the highway it just floats up and down to much when hitting waves in the road. I have no Idea, but I think the car has original shocks on them, bought the car last year.
 

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Creak/Clunk

The noise could be the ball joints going out; See if the rubber cover/seals on the upper and lower ball joints are intact; if they're cracked, it is likely they are bad.

There are a lot of different bushings that can go bad in the front end and only cause minor problems, but the ball joints and tie rod ends are the ones that cause major problems.

Have someone check this out, because if a ball joint/tie rod breaks, it could be bad. No steering, grinding on pavement bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
These shocks hold the car well on the highway, it doesnt bounce up and down, the shocks seem to work well, 100% better than blown stocks at least. However, I did not hear this squeak until 6 months AFTER replacement of shocks, with the stock shocks the car rode like a boat but did not creak.

The boots of the ball joints are torn, but I recently had the entire front end inspected. The mechanic stated that at this time, all suspension parts are tight with no play. I gave him my concearns about the ripped boot, but he says that as long as the ball joint is tight and does not allow wheel movement, it should be fine. I don't know if I agree with this statement....I don't like the no longer sealed ball joints either.

Guess I will start saving now, I found really good control arms made by XRF that have a zirc fitting and a strengthened ball joint boot. I will just have to do the work myself because I am still paying off my debt from my drivetrain replacement. Hopefully the stock ball joints can hold up til then.

EDIT: Inner tie rod ends were replaced with the new powersteering rack and pinion unit, and the outers were found to be A-ok at the time.
 

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I've got the same thing going on with mine. The shocks and everything are fine, but the upper control arm ball joints are shot. The boots are torn and all the grease is gone. While the suspension is still tight, there isn't the grease that there should be and it creaks horribly. The front suspension is on my very long list of things to do.
 

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KANGEL said:
I have the same thing going on and I'm just assuming the shocks up front are bad. It happens on the compression and the rebound, plus on the highway it just floats up and down to much when hitting waves in the road. I have no Idea, but I think the car has original shocks on them, bought the car last year.
I will say this; dont replace your shocks and struts with anything made by Monroe like "96 LX" and myself did!

I replaced mine with the mid-grade Monroe Sensatrac struts. The car floated up and down on the hwy! I took them back and exchanged for the top of the line ones - it still did it, but not as bad!

It never did that with the stock shocks. I would by them from the Ford dealer.

Al
 

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I agree about not buying monroe shocks. I bought a set for mine after my Bilstien's went out and I couldn't afford new Bilstien's( $150 a piece ). Now the front of my car is super soft and bobs up and down a lot.
 

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Pony Boy said:
I agree about not buying monroe shocks. I bought a set for mine after my Bilstien's went out and I couldn't afford new Bilstien's( $150 a piece ). Now the front of my car is super soft and bobs up and down a lot.
What do you guys expect? I mean your going from $150 shocks to $60 shocks monroes are not performance these cars were designed as sedans not sports cars they tend to float a little... I have monroes on mine and have never had the bobbing effect until recently and that turned out to be a bad ball joint that was moving around a bit under higher speeds. If you want performance shocks get KYBs or something along those lines other wise the normal replacements are going to make the car feel like it was designed, a mid-size sedan. My firebird with sensa-tracs will outcorner my t-bird any day of the week because it was designed just as a sports car and rides rough like one. The T-bird on the otherhand will kick its butt from 20~70MPH and it doesn't feel like my *** is hitting the concrete everytime I hit a bump lol. Its just trade offs in designs. I guess what I'm saying is unless your willing to put big bucks into suspension upgrades on our cars they are gonna float a bit. On the flip side yea if your REALLY floating on the freeway at speed and doing the bob when its pretty level its time to have the suspension checked out.
 

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Struts? Just what exactly is the struts? I did'nt think these birds had struts. Anyways , I'm not much of a front end guy so forgive me for my lack of experience. This racket I'm hearing up front on both sides sounds like if you were to take say like a 2" dia. pipe and jam it into a bucket of nails. Like a rattle metal type sounds but not a clunk at all. Noise is heard compression and rebound both front sides. The thing that gets me is, as I drive it the noise quiets...go figure. Ok I haven't checked anything out on the car yet except bounce the front end myself pushing down, I hear nothing. So wouldn't this eliminate shocks as far as the noise? I know it needs shocks though cause the car will bounce some still after I compress the front end down bouncing it plus the extra floating I'm feeling on the road. I've had 3 birds and I know that difference atleast. So you guys think you can help me with this with your ideas. I'm going to have to take it in somewhere but I just wanted some input before I do.
 

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Yea get the front end checked out I'd bet its a ball joint or wheel bearing. If the car is still bouncing more than once after you push on the front end for a few theres something wrong with the shocks.
 

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Hey there,

I'm new this this site, but it sounds like to me that you need to replace your front stabilizer bar links. Goes from the stabilizer bar to the wheel spindle. I replace my struts first and didn't need to. These parts are sometimes hard to come by and they cost about $47.00 ea. seen them online of about the same price for the pair. Might as well gep;ace the rear ones too and start looking at upper control arms (ball joints) lower ball joints (you can get the whole lower control arm with ball joint and shock and control arm busings installed from Advanced Auto for about $60) torsion strut bushings.

Ford did not have a better idea when it came to suspension components!
 

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Here's a bit of advice: anytime you suspect a suspension malady, get the car up on a lift or ramps and inspect the suspension. Visually inspect your suspension completely.

Check the bushings on everything, check the half shaft boots, sway bar brackets and endlinks, check shocks and springs. Check out the ball joint boots. Check out the steering components, tie rods & linkage.

When you rotate tires, inspect brakes, calipers, wheel hubs and lugs.

Trying to diagnose a car based on suspension noise is like trying to find water with a divining rod, it's guess work. However, if you get under the car evey once in awhile, you'll have a much better idea how the whole system works. That way, if you take it to a mechanic for a suspension fix, you'll at least have an idea if he's full of it or not. Have him show you the problem. The nice thing about suspension work, unlike motor repair, is that you can see most of the defects pretty easily, especially if it's pointed out to you.

For example, my wife's 97 had a pretty nasty clunk & rattle coming from the rear under cornering, stopping & accelerating. She thought it must be the CV joints, since she had an old chevy with bad CV joints that made a similar sound. She asked my brother and he said that it could be. When I finally got back home and drove the car, I noticed the rear end seemed really loose. I got under the car and realized the rear swaybar endlink bushing were completely gone. It cost about $70 to fix with Moog parts. Now, if she had taken it to a mechanic and said "I think it's CV joints, how much would they have charged her ??? Even if she took it into the dealer, the ford parts would have been $140 alone!
 
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