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Help finding the source of front end clunking...

Jason94sport

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Getting some clunking in my front end. It's getting worse. Mods are in sig. The RA bushings have been done, still clunking. I disconnected the sway bar still clunking. Driveshaft balanced & new u-joints, clunking still there. Happens at low speeds & when low speed turning. Going forward or reverse. Tie rod ends look ok. The drivers side lower ball joint looks different then the passanger side. Is there a way to visually see if that is the problem? Here's a pic:
http://community.webshots.com/photo/166437338/448769739MIVSVJ
I have jacked the front end up & I have no excess play when I try to move the tire back & forth. Brakes were done about a year ago. The bearings were repacked.
I am out of ideas.
 
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Rhett

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Some thoughts:

1) The ball joints should look the same on both sides. Something isn't right there. And just because there is no play in the wheel, does not mean the ball joints are ok--I have found this out first-hand.

2) if you still have auto hubs, I would look at them, especially the plastic cam pieces for breakage or wear. Wouldn't hurt to clean the hubs out, re-lube, and put them back together. That's a lot easier job than replacing the ball joints. (I assume when you re-packed the bearings you also cleaned the hubs and re-lubed them)

3) even if you have new RA bushings in there, the TTB front end can still clunk. Even new RA bushings can clunk on occasion.
 
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Creager

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I noticed when i replaced my RA bushings with OEM urathane bushings, the clunking would eventually come back/or never actually go away.

Shocks nice and tight?

something is probably loose
 
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Jason94sport

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Ok well......

I have a friend of a friend who is the head tech at one of the largest Ford dealers in the country. He looked at it yesterday for free & drove it. We were able to isolate it to the bolts that were used in place of the rivits when the RA bushings were replaced on the passanger side. This guy swears up & down that drilling the rivits while the easy way to do it is not the right way, & has seen alot of problems as a result. They are not loose but are twisting in the holes when the frame twists. Like when turning left & right(which is when I get clunks)
Grade 5 bolts were used. He suggested getting grade 8 with a shank & impact gun them on tight.
 
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Rhett

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That's an interesting diagnosis, and it's one that I have not seen. I'll remember that though. I always use Grade 8 bolts for that job, with washers and locknuts, and torque them well, and loctite those bolts. My prediction is, if you switch to Grade8's, torque to 150+, and loctite them, you will still get clunking, especially under some flex.

But it will be a useful exercise to put Grade 8's under there--it may seem like overkill, but I have never used anything but Grade 8 bolts, and wouldn't feel comfortable with anything less--considering the stress and flexing that part of the suspension
 
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mf94_4x4

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Have someone stand on the bumper and rock the truck up and down, see if you can get it to make the clunking sound, and put some saftey glasses (rust in the eyes is not fun) on and take a peak under there if you can get it to make the noise, and see if you can actually see where the clunk is coming from.

I had a similar clunk during low speed, and found it this way, turned out to be a sway bar end link bushing, looked good but was making noise........just because something looks ok doesnt mean it cant make noise. Just an Idea.
 
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Creager

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mf94_4x4 said:
Have someone stand on the bumper and rock the truck up and down, see if you can get it to make the clunking sound, and put some saftey glasses (rust in the eyes is not fun) on and take a peak under there if you can get it to make the noise, and see if you can actually see where the clunk is coming from.

I had a similar clunk during low speed, and found it this way, turned out to be a sway bar end link bushing, looked good but was making noise........just because something looks ok doesnt mean it cant make noise. Just an Idea.

yahh man this works.
 
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Rhett

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He said the swaybars were disconnected and it still clunked.

But incidentally, in my case I had a loose swaybar bracket and yes, it clunked.
 
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Creager

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have you singled out the Radius arm buckets?

get under there, and see if that bracket 'clunks' when you (or a friend) rock the truck back and forth... where does the clunking come from?

try to mimic the clunking without driving, with the truck sitting in the garage.
 
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Jason94sport

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The tech did get under it & saw where it was clunking. He could see it when I turned the steering wheel lock to lock.
 
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Rhett

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Jason94sport said:
The tech did get under it & saw where it was clunking. He could see it when I turned the steering wheel lock to lock.

So the clunking WAS coming from the ra bracket bolts?
 
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mf94_4x4

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Better tighten up those bolts good and put some some lock washers on there, i used lock washers on mine and tightend them down by hand with a pretty big 1/2 inch drive ratchet, havent had a problem with em.
 
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Jason94sport

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Rhett said:
So the clunking WAS coming from the ra bracket bolts?

Yeah. And it turns out after speaking to the shop that did them, the previous owned already replaced the bushings once since the rivets were already gone, & these bolts were already on there. So he says. So now maybe these bolts are trash since they have been reused 2 times now?
I'm just getting all new grade 8 bolts & lock nuts, & giving those to the shop & have them replace the bolts. I'll pay for the bolts but they will be put on for free.
 
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mf94_4x4

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Sounds like a good plan
 
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Rhett

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Jason94sport said:
So now maybe these bolts are trash since they have been reused 2 times now?

Probably, especially if they're Grade5. Gr5 is a decently strong bolt for most applications, but can they take years and years of stress that the RA bracket bolts undergo every day? Plus if they were not loctited and torqued well, they can get loose and wallow-out the holes in the frame...which would be bad...
 
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Jason94sport

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The 4 bolts were swapped. So far so good. Time will tell.
 
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91ebexp

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I have a clunking noise too. I only notice it when I am wheelin in the empty lots next to my house. It hasn't affected it's drivability so I assume it is something minor like swaybar bushings. I even tried to break whatever was clunking so I could just fix it....no luck and I beat the heeeellll out of that thing.
 
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