Front End Clunking = Bad Struts?

Discussion in 'Generation 4 - Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by bpopilek, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. bpopilek

    bpopilek Member

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    So, now that I have my timing chain, water pump, oil pump, etc. changed, I wanted to knock out some of the other small issues I’m still having with my 2010 SHO. A couple of them I will create a separate post for. This post is regarding my struts.

    When I bought my SHO, I noticed that it had a little bit of a rattle in the front end when hitting bumps. I assumed that this was related to a bad strut and didn’t really worry about it too much. Shortly after buying it, I installed new and fully loaded Monroe struts. I also made sure that the upper mounts were installed facing the proper direction. While it did seem to rattle less for a bit, it still had a small clunk when hitting bigger bumps. At that point, I figured it was time to replace the sway bar links, lower control arms / bushings, tie rod ends, etc. A four wheel alignment was completed next by a very reputable shop. Unfortunately, this still did not fully resolve the problem and I still had a little bit of a clunking sound.

    This year it has gotten much worse, and sounds like it was coming primarily from the passenger side. However, I sometimes do hear it from both sides. With the car on the ground, turning the steering wheel back-and-forth makes practically the same clunking sound as hitting a bump. Trying this same technique after lifting the front of the car off of the ground results in no abnormal sounds.

    With the car back on the ground and turning the wheel back and forth, a friend and I noticed that there was quite a bit of play at the top of the passenger side strut. It seemed to me that the upper strut mount was defective. I picked up and installed a replacement one the next day. While the play we had noticed before was now gone, it did nothing to fix the clunking problem. At this point, I am starting to wonder if I just need to buy another set of brand new struts. This sound is getting on my last nerve!

    Does anybody else agree with my thinking? It’s possible that I could get the Monroe struts replaced under the manufacture warranty, but I don’t feel like I want to use this brand any longer. Are there any differences between using the Ford OEM struts vs. any of the aftermarket brands? Which brand/style would be the best option for my non-PP SHO? Is there anything else that I should be checking as well? Looking at everything from under the vehicle while pulling, tugging, and banging on various areas of the suspension shows me nothing. It all appears to be tight and as expected. I would appreciate any suggestions or ideas that you all might have. Thank you for your time and for reading this way too long post!


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  2. gwrabbit

    gwrabbit Member

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    I had this issue a month or so ago. Whenever I would turn my wheel to the left or the right, it would make a clunking/popping sound which sounded like something getting in between my tire (rock maybe?) and then popping out, causing the noise.

    Took it to the shop and had they said my strut mounts were binding, but the struts themselves were fine. I ended up getting the whole front strut assembly done. After that was complete, the noise went away. Also had pretty much everything else in the front suspension replaced.

    So yeah, I would check to see if there's binding anywhere.
     
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  3. ridered74

    ridered74 SHO Member

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    I had the same issue with my 2015. Replaced both front struts with Monroe complete struts and one was defective and had a slightly different noise than the originals. Replaced that strut again and all noises went away. Monroe's have a reputation for being junk, at least the complete struts that they sell. Can't say I would argue with that based off my experience with them.
     
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  4. xartic1

    xartic1 New Member

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    I did Bilsteins B6s on my Explorer and new greaseable endlinks all around and had the slightest noise coming front the end. This noise occurred prior to installing the new components but I had about 95k on them so I was wanting piece of mind relaxing worn out parts.

    I recently upgraded my rear sway bar to Steeda with installed new sway bar bushings and noticed my rears bushings were kind of stretched out. I went ahead and ordered new Moog urethane bushings for the front and just got them installed Wednesday. My front end “loose” noise up front is non existent now when I go over small bumps. It honestly wasn’t noticeable if you were a passenger but your like me and pay attention to small noises and try to eliminate them.
     
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  5. local17bri

    local17bri New Member

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    I had something that sounds similar. I took it in for an alignment / diagnosis. After a front end inspection and test drive, I was told it was "probably" struts and that they see this type of problem often. The clunking sound was sporadic and difficult to reproduce on larger bumps but was fairly consistent on smaller bumps. I could hear it on either sides at different times. I decided to mount a GoPro camera to a strong magnet to verify clunking was coming from the struts, but realized it definitely wasn't. Clearly the sound was coming from the lower control arm bushings which looked fine when the weight of the was lifted, but definitely turned out to be the problem as seen in the video. I know you mentioned replacing the lower control arm bushings, but is it possible they are the problem? You can hear the clunking sound I was dealing with as they bounce around in my video:
    Passenger side:
    Drivers side:
    Hopefully this helps!
     
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  6. bpopilek

    bpopilek Member

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    Sorry for the delay in getting back to this post, I have been working far too many hours over the past week!

    I always thought Monroe branded suspension parts were pretty decent, but I am starting to have my doubts!

    I am not 100% sure that the struts are solely causing the clunking issue. I do like your idea of mounting a GoPro underneath. I feel like I might try your idea on mine sometime this week. I just need to find my GoPro first! As for the lower control arm bushings, I installed entirely brand new lower control arms and bushings on both sides. It is always possible that I got a defective one from the factory. However, I will certainly check that out as well. I’ll post my results later this week.

    Thank you for all the replies and suggestions so far!


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  7. asap

    asap New Member

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    Try this. Disconnect one sway bar end link, drive the car to see if the clunk goes away. If it is gone the problem is most likely the end link attachment holes in the sway bar and strut are too big. Don't replace the end links because the new ones will clunk too. Make some bushings from a strip if steel and shim the holes. Bolt them back together and all will be quiet again. Worked for me on a Five Hundred and my Lincoln MKS.
     
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  8. Johnbigdog

    Johnbigdog SHO Member

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    Reading you can duplicate the noise on the ground turning the wheels,but not lifted, you may want to use a jack underneath the control arm and jack the wheel up back to ride height to see if the noise comes back.

    Another thought is to disconect one outer tie rod at a time to see if its right or left or related load.

    Disconnecting links is a good tip too
     
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  9. bpopilek

    bpopilek Member

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    I will certainly check out both of your suggestions. I haven’t had a chance to get back to it this week between work and now I’m at the ER with my daughter. So maybe this weekend if the weather holds out I can get outside and check it out further. I will update this as soon as I can try your suggestions. Thank you!


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