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Old 12-03-2012, 08:27 AM
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Mystery clunk

OK guys...hoping you can help shed some light on this mystery. So I've had a front end clunk of late...during a low speed turn, like when you're pulling in to a parking lot for instance. It sounds like it's coming from the passenger's side, so I assume either a bad tie rod, or bad ball joints, right? Everything else is tight...the newer shocks, end links, sway bar, the drag link and ends, the tie rod and ends...all nice and tight. One tie rod end was questionable, so I replaced it. Threw the wheels back on, and the clunk is still there. So I figure, I'm in for ball joint replacement. This weekend, I pulled off the SRT reps and mounted up the stock wheels for winter. Clunk is GONE today. I'd hear the clunk daily when pulling into the parking lot at work, or at the local starbucks. Didn't do it either time this morning. Now I know the sidewall difference on the stock tire size vs. the low profile on the SRT reps is significant, but if it were a ball joint(s) I should still hear the clunk right? There seemed to be no play when I jacked it up and "wiggled it just a little bit" top to bottom. I even tried a pry bar under the tire while it was up in the air, wedged between the floor and the bottom of the tire...no play at all. It's got 95k on the original ball joints. What could this be? It's not like the reps were "loose"!
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:31 AM
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Re: Mystery clunk

Did you check the track bar bushings for wear? I had a similar clunk when making tight turns and both bushings were shot.
Still not explaining why it would do it with the SRT reps and not with the other wheels
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:38 AM
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Re: Mystery clunk

No, actually...I totally forgot about the track bar. I'll check that out tonight when I get home. Anything special to look for? They are just rubber bushings that are pressed in, right?
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:44 AM
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Re: Mystery clunk

If it is ball joints, the additional sidewall of the 17's will more readily absorb any vertical or lateral motion and not produce a clunk. I encountered a similar situation on the 1994 Dakota I owned. Much different with the 15" factory wheels than the 17" Dak R/T wheels.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:58 AM
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Re: Mystery clunk

A good way to check if the trackbar bushings are shot, without removing the bar first, is to just move the steering wheel left-right a bit (with engine on) and look if you can see a sideways move of the jeeps body without the wheels turning. At least that was the first thing i was seeing when i was looking what was going on.
If they are shot, you should be able to replace them with the ultra hard PU bushings from Kevins Offroad. I wanted to buy them, but i believe that they didn't accept foreign credit cards nor paypall.......
Finally bought a new trackbar from Rockauto.com
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:10 AM
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Re: Mystery clunk

I also noticed you missed the track bar, I would check the bushings on that. Although the track bar would probably clunk in turns and up and down suspension travel. If ball joints were bad I would have expected you to notice some wiggle when prying on the wheels. I have 150k on original ball joints but no 2 parts seems to last the same amount of time. You have had the addco sways longer than me so maybe you have done more damage to yours with those "on rails" turns.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:11 AM
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Re: Mystery clunk

I'll check that track bar tonight and see what happens. Honestly, I'd rather it be that then the ball joints, but with my luck, it'll turn out that the bushings are fine.

Other than the "wiggle" from top to bottom, anyone have any more definitive ways to eliminate the ball joints as the problem?
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:12 AM
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Re: Mystery clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01grand View Post
I also noticed you missed the track bar, I would check the bushings on that. Although the track bar would probably clunk in turns and up and down suspension travel. If ball joints were bad I would have expected you to notice some wiggle when prying on the wheels. I have 150k on original ball joints but no 2 parts seems to last the same amount of time. You have had the addco sways longer than me so maybe you have done more damage to yours with those "on rails" turns.
HAHAHAHAH....maybe if it is the bushings, I'll see about replacing them with some green ones. What do you think?
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:41 AM
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Re: Mystery clunk

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJXJWJ View Post
HAHAHAHAH....maybe if it is the bushings, I'll see about replacing them with some green ones. What do you think?
Definitely! Check with Dave, see if he has any more toxic green material left over.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:56 PM
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Re: Mystery clunk

I wonder what the radiation reading is on that stuff. Reminds me of the thing Homer drops during the opening montage of the Simpsons.

Frango...I ran out at lunch and tried the "turn the steering wheel" bit. I got no noticeable movement when I did that. Maybe an eensy weensy bit, but hardly anything at all. I'm still going to get under there tonight and see what I see. I had to run to the bank, the local sporting goods place, and home and no where along the way did I hear the clunk either.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:45 PM
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Re: Mystery clunk

Well, I took a look today at the track bar and bushings...I see nothing or feel nothing out of line. I'm looking for spongy or bulging bushings, but everything appears to be in order. Here are some pics of my track and balls....track bar and ball joints....do you see anything? I'm not sure that you can tell "visually" with any of these items, but it can't hurt.

Track bar, passenger's side


Track bar, passenger's side 2


Track bar, driver's side 1


Track bar, driver's side 2


Driver's ball joint 1


Driver's ball joint 2


Pass ball joint 1


Pass ball joint 2
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:55 PM
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Re: Mystery clunk

With the track bar mounted you won't see too much, because the play would be between the bushing and the bolt. Just to be sure the bushings are ok, let someone move the steering wheel left/right when you are looking at the bushings. Any play will be seen for sure. But on the pictures it all looks ok indeed.
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