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Front end, driver side clunk but nothing seems to match previous solutions

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Old 10-17-2012, 12:58 PM   #1
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Front end, driver side clunk but nothing seems to match previous solutions

About a month back I got my OME lift installed on my 2000 Tacoma plus 4 new tires, front ARB bumper and Warn winch installed. It was about that time that I started to notice a noise in the front end, driver's side, but didn't find anything and kept driving it.

I've read all of the threads I can find pertaining to R/P bushings, steering column problems etc. etc. The noise only occurs when I'm driving and hit a large crack in the road or a pothole or when I'm off road and hit a sharp bump/hole. Washboard roads don't do it and turning, starting, stopping etc. never make it happen.

The sound is like someone hits the frame with a hammer. It's not a clicking or a sheet metal sound but is a definite clunk and sounds very solid. The truck tracks and drives perfectly and there is no movement at any speed in the steering wheel. Even when I hear the clunk I never feel anything in the steering wheel and it doesn't matter if I hit the same hole straight on or if I hit it at an angle with the wheel turned, I get a clunk.

I've been over the suspension, front bumper/winch and steering and find nothing loose or worn. I did notice that the bushing on the right side of the R/P unit was worn and had play in it so that has been replaced and the clunk is still there.

I've read numerous threads about clunks and all of them seem to point towards the steering column or the R/P unit but I can hold the steering shaft at the floorboard level and turn the steering wheel back and forth and there is no sound and no play. I have pried, pushed and thumped on every component on the front of the truck but can't find anything that could be causing the "clunk".

The "stealership" service dept. said it was the R/P unit bushing and that it also needs the bushings and bearings in the steering column replaced. They did the R/P bushing for me this morning and that eliminated the little bit of play in the old bushing but did nothing to eliminate the "clunk" and now they say that it needs the column bushings and bearing replaced but I can't justify that when I can find no play in anything in the column. Plus, how in the hell could something that was worn in the steering column make a sound as if someone underneath had hit the frame with a hammer?

I know all of this sounds like a replay of all of the other threads related to "clunks" but I've run out of things to check.
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:39 PM   #2
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Seems like it has to be in the suspension or steering.

check yer itre's for play ?

ball joints ?

what CO's are up front ? stock ?

check the CO's eye end bushings (or heims) for movement/play ?

I found cracks in my front clip...
just above the body mounts
on the radiator support panel.

had to weld those up for the repair.

but I doubt that's your problem...
unless yer harder on yer junk then me
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:59 PM   #3
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I had a clunk post OME and ARB bar installation as well. It turned out to be the corner of the plate bumper hitting the bottom front part of the fender next to the flares. It happened because the truck was slightly off square in the old truck then in the new one it happened because the mounts had adjusted to the old truck's unsquare-ness.

I fixed it by shimming the area where the bar hit the fender with a small piece of foam and cork. kept the vibrations down and the components from hitting each other.

Hope it helped...because I went through the exact same though process.
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TacoDell View Post
Seems like it has to be in the suspension or steering.

check yer itre's for play ?

ball joints ?

what CO's are up front ? stock ?

check the CO's eye end bushings (or heims) for movement/play ?

I found cracks in my front clip...
just above the body mounts
on the radiator support panel.

had to weld those up for the repair.

but I doubt that's your problem...
unless yer harder on yer junk then me
Installed ToyTec OME-9504TAC Suspension/lift w/882 coils and the rear AAL.
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STLharry View Post
I had a clunk post OME and ARB bar installation as well. It turned out to be the corner of the plate bumper hitting the bottom front part of the fender next to the flares. It happened because the truck was slightly off square in the old truck then in the new one it happened because the mounts had adjusted to the old truck's unsquare-ness.

I fixed it by shimming the area where the bar hit the fender with a small piece of foam and cork. kept the vibrations down and the components from hitting each other.

Hope it helped...because I went through the exact same though process.
I don't have anything hitting that I can see concerning the ARB install.
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:00 PM   #6
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The one thing that I haven't been able to do/check until tonight was if there was any movement side to side with the R/P unit when someone turns the wheel side to side. I got to check it tonight and with the motor running and with just gentle rocking of the wheel left to right the entire R/P unit moves side to side about 1/2". The movement is noticed on the bolt that is circled in red in the pic below. This was taken before the lift was installed. The sway bar has been removed since the lift install. How much side to side movement should there be on this anchor point when racking the power steering left and right?


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Front end, driver side clunk but nothing seems to match previous solutions-dsc03101-circled.jpg  
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:03 AM   #7
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I'm new here but I've been following this thread. My truck is doing the same damn thing. Was wondering if you sorted your clunk problem out yet.

I replaced all ball joints, tie rod ends, steering rack, just about everything on the front suspension but no luck. I have Toytec coilovers set at 3 inches of lift. One of the techs at Toytech said the front shock could be topping out from over extension but I checked and I don't think that's the problem.

Do you know what your measurement from the center of the front hub to the front fender is? I'm trying to figure out if I cranked my lift up too high or if there is some other problem.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtappe4926 View Post
I'm new here but I've been following this thread. My truck is doing the same damn thing. Was wondering if you sorted your clunk problem out yet.

I replaced all ball joints, tie rod ends, steering rack, just about everything on the front suspension but no luck. I have Toytec coilovers set at 3 inches of lift. One of the techs at Toytech said the front shock could be topping out from over extension but I checked and I don't think that's the problem.

Do you know what your measurement from the center of the front hub to the front fender is? I'm trying to figure out if I cranked my lift up too high or if there is some other problem.
Welcome to TW
You could try bringing the truck down about 1/2 in and see if it goes away, you might be over extending the shock.
There really shouldn't be much play in the steering rack, I need new bushings for mine but im wanting polyurethane bushings not stock replacements.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:13 PM   #9
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look at the springs and see if the steering knuckle is tapping into the spring.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtappe4926 View Post
I'm new here but I've been following this thread. My truck is doing the same damn thing. Was wondering if you sorted your clunk problem out yet.

I replaced all ball joints, tie rod ends, steering rack, just about everything on the front suspension but no luck. I have Toytec coilovers set at 3 inches of lift. One of the techs at Toytech said the front shock could be topping out from over extension but I checked and I don't think that's the problem.

Do you know what your measurement from the center of the front hub to the front fender is? I'm trying to figure out if I cranked my lift up too high or if there is some other problem.
I replaced all of the bushings in the R/P and also replaced both the inner and outer tie rod ends on both sides and it still did it. I also had the ball joints and UCA and LCA bushings checked and there is no play in any of them.

It was determined by ARB and Toytec, after some measurements, that the shock was almost fully extended and upon hitting a bump it would bottom out before the valving could stop it.

Toytec sent me a brand new set of shocks with 883 coils to replace what I had. The coils I had were 882s and ARB said they hadn't recommended them for my application since the 90s. I did notice that after Toytec replaced my shocks and coils that the option of ordering 882 coils is no longer on their web page.

I measured before removing the 882 coils/shocks and then measured after installing the new shocks w/883 coils and the center of hub to my fender flare is exactly the same with both setups. However, the 882s had almost 1000 miles on them so I'll see if the 883s settle any. I am sitting at 23.5" from the center of both hubs to the fender flares.

As for the noise.....about 95% of what I had is gone but occasionally I still get the clunk on some bumps/cracks etc. Evidently, for some reason, my left front suspension is different from the right front as the right front never makes the noise. I can bounce on the front bumper and not move the truck enough to even measure the movement. I might tie a couple of 100# sand bags to the front bumper and see if that settles the front enough to stop the clunk all together.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:19 PM   #11
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Thanks you guys. That's good information to know. I think I'm sitting a little too high at 24" from the center of the hub to the fender. I'm going to lower it to 23.5" and give that a try. Even though I have new rubber bushings on the steering rack, I am seeing some significant movement when the wheels are turned back and forth and I'm not sure if that is normal or not. I might try polyurethane bushings next.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtappe4926 View Post
Thanks you guys. That's good information to know. I think I'm sitting a little too high at 24" from the center of the hub to the fender. I'm going to lower it to 23.5" and give that a try. Even though I have new rubber bushings on the steering rack, I am seeing some significant movement when the wheels are turned back and forth and I'm not sure if that is normal or not. I might try polyurethane bushings next.
Did you replace both the inner and outer tie rod ends?
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:47 AM   #13
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I finally gave in this morning and took my truck to the shop. I'm kind of embarrassed to say that it was simply a lower ball joint on the driver's side. It has a lot of play in it. The thing is, it only has about 30 miles of gentle driving on it. It was a cheap one I bought online. The mechanic I go to said that the ones with grease fittings tend to last longer as well as genuine Toyota ones. Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm going to replace the ball joint and see if that helps.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:42 AM   #14
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Fixed?

I know this is an old thread but did replacing the lower ball joint fix this issue. It sounds as if I have the same sound.
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:56 AM   #15
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clunking noise

I also ended up taking the steering wheel off with along with the steering shaft attached to it. There is a slip joint on the shaft that had some looseness in it. I spot welded the joint on the shaft in 2 places and that finally solved the clunking issue. Apparently, this is a fairly common problem. Not really a problem, but more of a nuisance. The shaft is meant to collapse in the event of a collision, so it is meant to be a little loose. You don't want to weld it too much because you still want it to collapse in the event of an accident. There are some good threads with pictures and instructions on how to do this. I would provide a link, but I can't seem to find it right now. But do a search and you should be able to get some good information. Good luck!
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:01 AM   #16
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Here is the thread. If you read the whole thing, there is a shortcut that may be helpful:

http://www.ttora.com/forum/showthread.php?t=161689
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtappe4926 View Post
Here is the thread. If you read the whole thing, there is a shortcut that may be helpful:

http://www.ttora.com/forum/showthread.php?t=161689
I need to do this... I have quite a bit of play in my wheel. Not so noticeable with normal driving but any trail/washboard roads and my wheel is knocking back and forth pretty good. Ruts in the road make it noticeable too.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtappe4926 View Post
I also ended up taking the steering wheel off with along with the steering shaft attached to it. There is a slip joint on the shaft that had some looseness in it. I spot welded the joint on the shaft in 2 places and that finally solved the clunking issue. Apparently, this is a fairly common problem. Not really a problem, but more of a nuisance. The shaft is meant to collapse in the event of a collision, so it is meant to be a little loose. You don't want to weld it too much because you still want it to collapse in the event of an accident. There are some good threads with pictures and instructions on how to do this. I would provide a link, but I can't seem to find it right now. But do a search and you should be able to get some good information. Good luck!
I chased a similar noise on my 87 pickup that nearly drove me insane. First I checked the front end, eventually replacing both lower ball joints (for nothing). Everything was tight but the noise continued. It ended up being two worn out tiny rubber bumpers in the steering column that were meant to dampen this noise where the shaft sections overlap. I had to remove the column and dismantle it to replace them. The rubber pieces were small, almost like hole punch size. Since then, no noise. It was very similar to a suspension noise like a ball joint, tie rod end, etc.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:07 AM   #19
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Thanks for the info!
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Old 01-15-2014, 07:18 AM   #20
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Fixed

Well I found my clunk! I just checked the nitrogen level in icon coilovers, one had 0 the other had 100 psi. I went ahead and rebuilt them charged them up and the clunk is gone. Have a great day.
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