Stubborn Front End Clunk

Lincoln LS

  1. rgorke

    rgorke Well-Known LVC Member

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    After diagnosing and fixing a rear end noise, I now have a front end clunk. It happens on relatively small bumps (like over a man hole covers and bridge expansion joints) but not going over speed bumps or bumps.

    There is no shimmy or pull on the steering wheel when driving. No clunk turning or while moving from a stop. I don’t see or feel any movement doing the ball joint tests. The sway bar links also appear to be solid. Sway bar bushings have been replaced in the past couple of years.

    I don’t want to just start changing parts in hopes of finding the culprit.

    any thoughts?
     
  2. DaleGrib

    DaleGrib Dedicated LVC Member

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    Have you ever replaced the front shocks?
     
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    • rgorke

      rgorke Well-Known LVC Member

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      Yes. They are a set of sport shocks I got with less than 50k miles. The noise sounds like something is loose and is similar to the noise I had with the loose rear caliper.
       
    • xford

      xford Well-Known LVC Member

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      I had something similar and it turned out being a front ball joint
       
    • AmsterDutch

      AmsterDutch Dedicated LVC Member

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      Most of the time it's SWAY BARS AND STABiLIZER END LINKS even when we think there okay..Otherwise it's always good to check upper and lower control arms...How do your tie rods look both inner and outer?
       
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      • rgorke

        rgorke Well-Known LVC Member

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        Outer tie rods are brand new. Inner are probably in need of replacement. That being said, I would expect some play yanking on the tie rods.
        I will be replacing everything over the next month or so but want to track down this clunk in the short term.
         
      • joegr

        joegr Dedicated LVC Member

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        Can you duplicate the noise while the car is stationary? If so, use a mechanic's stethoscope to find the source.
         
      • rgorke

        rgorke Well-Known LVC Member

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        Well, sometimes tracking noises is difficult...especially with one bad ear. Here is what I found with the drivers rear wheel. This is the corner that I installed a new half axle. Looking underneath while the wheel is moved (like I am), I don’t see anything moving except where the half axle goes into the knuckle.

        Is the rear hub bad?
        Did I not get the Half axle seated proper? It looks like the other side.

         
      • AmsterDutch

        AmsterDutch Dedicated LVC Member

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        I don't wanna rule out ball joints on the front Knuckle/Spindle ...but 9 times out of 10 if a Front end ball joint is starting to fail you will feel a bit of vibration in the steering ...of course this car is a whole different monster and you may not feel a thing due to clunking it may or may not help to start spraying white lithium grease on some suspension components and then test drive it and try to see if you can hear the clunking...if after you still hear clunking...I have then sprayed a different component and repeated the test drive ...it's time consuming but I think it's cost effective ...like I said though a clunk is different than a squeek so I'm not sure if it will work...worth a shot if your out of all other ideas
         
      • rgorke

        rgorke Well-Known LVC Member

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        Thanks Amster...

        After more proving and shaking, I found that I could easily move the drivers side of the sway bar...lots of play in the bar at the bushing and at the link. Moog has really gone down hill, that link is only about 6 months old.
         
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        • Broseph

          Broseph Well-Known LVC Member

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          I no longer buy Moog after having a ball joint start failing within three years, I only drive 4,000 a year so that’s only a year on the road.

          However, depending if the stabilizer bushing went or the link went, one could cause the other to fail prematurely. So maybe the stabilizer bushing caused excessive loading on the link.

          Overall though, I’d say stay away from anything Moog. Moog was preferred aftermarket until 5 or 6 years ago. Proforged seems to be the better of the aftermarket, but they too seem to be heading down the same path within the last year or two.

          suggestion is to stick with motorcraft as it’s been the best quality so far across the board and the money saved doing the job once takes care of the premium markup.
           
        • DaleGrib

          DaleGrib Dedicated LVC Member

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          Makes me a bit nervous as most of my suspension parts were moog... Why do these companies that were once great and made decent stuff now think it's acceptable to pass of this subpar crap they call a part. Make Parts Good Again...... FFS!
           
          Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
        • joegr

          joegr Dedicated LVC Member

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          1. New people take over and the only see the money. They think parts are parts and if they can get them for less, they do...
          -or-
          2. They are loosing money because not enough people are buying from them because they are buying the cheaper parts from other brands from China. They can't beat them, so they decide to join them...
           
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          • DaleGrib

            DaleGrib Dedicated LVC Member

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            Yeah pretty much or they straight up get Greedy. But if enough people keep having issues with the same kinda parts they are setting themselves up for a major lawsuit. I mean it's gonna take a few people getting into bad wrecks and the cause to be found out to be their parts and then crap is gonna hit the roof. You would at least think that but who knows these days.
             
          • rgorke

            rgorke Well-Known LVC Member

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            Update:

            So, the video I posted was taken at my parents house. I usually bring a trunk load of tools with me when I head to their house. My dad does have tools just not MY tools or the Lincoln "Special tools."

            When I got back home, I pulled off the wheel again and was going to try and "reseat" the half axle into the knuckle to see if that would help. I pulled out my 36mm socket and found that the axle nut was easily unscrewed. It wasn't loose but was easier than taking off lug nuts. Yes, I had installed a new Motorcraft axle nut when I replaced the axle.

            The axle I bought from RA came with a nut so I slathered some blue locktite on the threads and used the nut that came with the axle. I don't have a torque wrench that goes to 220 ft/lbs so I got it as tight as I could with the E brake on, popped the center cover off my wheel, put the wheel back on, and then tightened it more with the car on the ground.

            No more clunk!!! I do still have a list of suspension parts to replace but at least I'm not hearing noises that need immediate attention.
             
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            • AmsterDutch

              AmsterDutch Dedicated LVC Member

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              Good to hear you double checked that component...could've had a bad ending
               
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              • milehighmikey

                milehighmikey Dedicated LVC Member

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                Hope you never have to take that axle nut back off!
                 
              • MarkEricRoth

                MarkEricRoth LVC Member

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                I've had a bad experience MOOG also, suffice to say when I get sway bar links for our Escorts, I swing by Home Depot to get bolts. The LS now has a pair of MOOG's on it so I'll be seeing if they are any better.
                 
              • FDR

                FDR Dedicated LVC Member

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                I don''t think a loose axle nut would allow the wheel to wiggle freely like in your video, though. Did you recheck that?
                 
              • rgorke

                rgorke Well-Known LVC Member

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                I did and it was better. Could this be the rear hub bearings going out?
                 
              • FDR

                FDR Dedicated LVC Member

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                If the hub was clearly bolted down to the knuckle and nothing past the hub was moving, then yeah I'd suspect the hub.

                I've seen some wheel/washer lug combos look the same if the shank hit the rotor first, but I assume you didn't change any of that. Some had that issue with the Sebring/Mitsubisi nuts on stock wheels, I saw it with my LS wheels on my Fusion, which doesn't have countersinks in the rotor. Probably not relevant but just a general FYI
                 
              • rgorke

                rgorke Well-Known LVC Member

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                Interesting...I do have a 3mm spacer on because the 18" wheels have a slightly different offset than the stock wheels. I'll keep looking to see what is actually wobbling and find the culprit.
                 

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