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Old 05-25-2010, 08:29 PM   #1
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Default Hard clunk from front suspension under load

I'm assuming this is due to needing a new set of eccentric bolts, but I've noticed under a hard turn the front right of my suspension makes a very loud clunk. It's most noticeable when first entering a left-hand turn.

I am planning on pulling all of the control arms this weekend and installing polyurethane bushings. Along with this I also ordered 8 new eccentric bolts from 949 Racing. Anything else I should be looking for while I'm under there?
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:36 PM   #2
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Check the ball joints.
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:37 PM   #3
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Sway bar bind could be the only other thing you're not thinking about here.

Once upon a time I had this exact same problem. I cranked down my eccentrics as hard as I could possibly muscle them and it hasn't happened since.
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:38 PM   #4
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Thats a great place to start. You may also want to inspect the sway bar mounting brackets. If you have an upgraded swaybar and do Autox you may have broken the mount. I did on my last car.

Have a great day,
Jared
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boileralum View Post
Check the ball joints.
In my experience ball joints typically have a more loose, consistent sound to them unlike the heavy load pop that the OP is referring to.
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by wayne_curr View Post
In my experience ball joints typically have a more loose, consistent sound to them unlike the heavy load pop that the OP is referring to.
That's what I was thinking. It's only a pop on the one side and only during a hard corner.

I hadn't thought about the sway bar, but that makes total sense.

I bought this car well used and it currently has 208k miles on the chassis. The previous owner posted under neogenesis2004 and gave it to me for a steal. Considering its age and mileage and how little I paid for it I'm basically planning to tear through it piece by piece and replace just about everything in the suspension, brakes, and drive train. So sway bars and endlinks are definitely in the works.

A couple buddies from work and I are going to tear into the suspension starting Friday afternoon and if I see anything else awry it'll be replaced. I'm expecting to find at least a few things that need addressing once we get it all apart, but I wanted to pick everyone's brain for things to look out for.
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Old 05-25-2010, 09:04 PM   #7
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The front left ball joint is brand new. The shocks on the car are pretty new, but I assume you will be putting on something legit anyways. I never noticed a clunk during cornering at speed, although I do remember now something when just in like a parking lot turning left only. You will find taking the suspension apart VERY easy as its been done like 2-3x in the last 2 years. Also I believe we put antisieze on everything this time around. You shouldn't find much of anything under there that needs replacing unless being upgraded to an aftermarket part.

The alignment bolts I can pretty much guarantee need replacing, as well as an alignment needing to be done. I was going to do that after the dyno day, but then the motor exploded so it never happened. Also, the endlinks as stated are probably the originals, and I will admit I've never regreased them. So that is a strong possibility. I had nice coilovers on there before, but the motor blew and I got sick of the car before I could continue upgrading parts.

I'm still here if you have questions about the history. It's chronicalled pretty well in threads, but I can fill in any gaps. I don't have a miata anymore, for now, but I still come on the site to flame, etc...
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neogenesis2004 View Post
The front left ball joint is brand new. The shocks on the car are pretty new, but I assume you will be putting on something legit anyways. I never noticed a clunk during cornering at speed, although I do remember now something when just in like a parking lot turning left only. You will find taking the suspension apart VERY easy as its been done like 2-3x in the last 2 years. Also I believe we put antisieze on everything this time around. You shouldn't find much of anything under there that needs replacing unless being upgraded to an aftermarket part.

The alignment bolts I can pretty much guarantee need replacing, as well as an alignment needing to be done. I was going to do that after the dyno day, but then the motor exploded so it never happened. Also, the endlinks as stated are probably the originals, and I will admit I've never regreased them. So that is a strong possibility. I had nice coilovers on there before, but the motor blew and I got sick of the car before I could continue upgrading parts.

I'm still here if you have questions about the history. It's chronicalled pretty well in threads, but I can fill in any gaps. I don't have a miata anymore, for now, but I still come on the site to flame, etc...
Good to know. We were planning on needing a lot of elbow grease (and beer) to get through everything, but it sounds like everything should come out pretty easily and all new alignment bolts will be installed. I'm going to replace the endlinks when I do the sway bars, especially if they're the originals.

The suspension setup I have going in will be the Energy Suspension bushings, KYB AGX shocks, and H&R Race springs. I'm not too worried about doing coilovers just yet, but that'll probably happen down the road knowing me.

Obviously I in no way mean to insult the car or you as a seller, it's been fantastic and the guy at the inspection station was floored when I told him how much I paid for the car. Passed with flying colors.

So far I've replaced the brake pads/rotors/lines (Hawk HPS, Centric plain rotors, and Goodrich S/S lines) and did a full flush on the system. When I went to reset the front left caliper a bunch of fluid poured out so I rebuilt the caliper. I think that was the mushy pedal feeling I was getting. IIRC it was like $10 in parts and it took like forty five minutes, easy enough fix. The brakes stop very hard now. Not a big fan of the manual adjustment for the rear brakes, but that's Mazda's design flaw.

The car is in good hands and in a few months it will be fully returned to boosted glory. Haven't decided on a turbo kit yet, but I'm fairly new to that world (coming from the dark side of supercharging) so I want to learn a bit more before I start making any decisions.

At the moment the big plans are to rejuvenate the suspension, firm up the chassis, Torsen rear, and an FM clutch.

After that I'll be contacting Braineack for an MSPNP, hopefully he doesn't flame me too much for my n00bitude.
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:07 PM   #9
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I should also note that the clunk was just noticeable when reversing and turning as you mentioned, but it's gotten progressively worse. I'm assuming whatever bolt needs replacing has gone from "needs replacing" to "almost broken" thanks to a little spirited driving around the curvy roads of Harford County.
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:41 PM   #10
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The more I read, the more I thought sway bar endlinks. Mine did this and when I tightened them (RB endlinks) it went away. Wife's Protege did the same thing but had to replace the endlinks as they are ball and socket and you can't tighten them.
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Old 05-28-2010, 04:34 PM   #11
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For what it's worth, I had the same noise issue and it was indeed a loose endlink bolt. It would make an alarming clunk right as the suspension took a set at turn in.
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Old 05-28-2010, 05:12 PM   #12
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I have the same issue (the clunk in the front end). It's only driver-side, and it's hard to narrow it down since I replaced virtually everything suspension wise on the entire car... =(

Removed suspension arms, sandblasted, coated, installed ES bushings, new adjustable RB endlinks, new ball joints, new tie-rod ends, new FM solid sway, all new generation eccentrics, new Illimunas w/top mounts, and r-pack springs.

I adjusted my front sway endlinks to be the same dimensions as stock, then used the furthest hole from the bar (loose). Maybe it is the endlinks being loose, but I'm not sure. I'll check asap.

Last edited by RyanLewo; 05-28-2010 at 05:14 PM. Reason: Crap, another addition.
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanLewo View Post
I adjusted my front sway endlinks to be the same dimensions as stock, then used the furthest hole from the bar (loose). Maybe it is the endlinks being loose, but I'm not sure. I'll check asap.
Ya, mine "felt" tight when I tugged and pulled on them and were snug when I wrenched on them, but when the bar was loaded the bolt would essentially "snap" from one side of the hole to the other as the bolt fit was loose in the bar hole. Snug them up some more and it should go away. This was on RB's as well.
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:20 PM   #14
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Nate, I've got the exact same issue on my 05 speed, driving me crazy. Have you figured it out yet?
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:12 PM   #15
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I just experienced the same noise on my '99 and it turned out to be the alignment bolts. The car had just been aligned and the noise was not noticable at highway speeds but on the track it was a bit unnerving. Tightned each bolt about a half a turn and noise went away.
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Old 06-26-2010, 05:35 AM   #16
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To hijack for a second... in general, is the upper or lower ball joint more likely to go bad/wear faster than the other? I'm beginning to think ball joints are the only thing that my front end rattle, or loose sound could be. I get it all the time on rough roads, and it can be felt through the steering wheel more than through the chassis. I'd hate to have the replace the upper control arms.

Also, would a ball joint allowing a rattle like that be loose enough to feel by hand? I don't recall ever noticing any of them loose and floppy enough to move by hand, they all felt fairly tight. Plus the car only has about 125k miles on it, wouldn't think that would be enough to have them worn out, but maybe the shitty Bilstein setup would do that quicker than most.
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Old 06-26-2010, 12:36 PM   #17
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1) check sway bar. Mine had moved to the pax side and was cluncking when turning hard on that side
2) alignment bolts. Mine were lose also. Lots of cluncking noise and creaking
3) what everyone else said.

do the easy stuff first.
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Old 07-03-2010, 09:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave54 View Post
Nate, I've got the exact same issue on my 05 speed, driving me crazy. Have you figured it out yet?
We got in there and replaced basically the whole suspension so it's hard to tell what fixed it specifically.

If I had to guess though I'd say it was the sway bar. The old end links had a massive amount of play in them, the bushings were entirely shot.
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:28 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NA6C-Guy View Post
... in general, is the upper or lower ball joint more likely to go bad/wear faster than the other?
Certainly not a scientific sampling, but on every car I've ever had to replace them, it's always been the lower ones.
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:34 PM   #20
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Pretty sure the lower is the load carrying ball joint, I'd say the lower too.
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