Front end rhythmic clunk, need help diagnosing - Mazda3 Forums : The #1 Mazda 3 Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
Moped Rider
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 15
Front end rhythmic clunk, need help diagnosing

Hey all,
2008 Mazda 3 S GT Hatchback, Manual tranny.

The other day I noticed a clunk clunk clunk noise coming from what seems to be the front end, possibly drivers side but can't exactly tell.
Drove it to work and on the way home, it became considerably louder.
It is a pretty loud clunk clunk clunk, as opposed to a tick or higher pitched noise.
It is NOT a grinding or whurring noise.

Here's how it reacts:

Noise is NOT present under acceleration (on the gas).
Noise comes immediately back very present when letting off the gas. Any speed. Popping out of gear and putting in neutral the noise still remains the same.
The noise (clunk clunk clunk clunk) appears to get faster and slower with speed.
If I hit the brakes, the noise stops.
If I turn left or right, at any speed, the noise mostly stops.

Drivers CV joint was replaced by dealer this May (due to torn boot and age). I'm assuming that's not the issue, unless something went wrong there, but it's been fine all summer.

Put the car up on jacks, I tried to grab and move anything I could, but nothing really seems loose..
Endlinks are NEW and tight.

What I did notice, is the bigger bushing for the Control arm (rear bushing near the steering rack) is pretty dry rotted and alot of the rubber is chipped out, and it has quite a bit of play in it..
I'm thinking this would be the cause of my steering vibration over the past year or so, but could this actually cause the noise I'm getting?

Would something in the steering rack cause this?
Other thing I noticed, Car on the ground, steering wheel unlocked but car not running, if you move the steering wheel left and right, there's a single knock when moving to the right.. so if you kept moving the steering wheel to the right, it's would be knock, knock, knock.
I could of swore it's always done that from when I remember in the past and I thought that was normal, but maybe it's not?
latham83 is offline  
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 10-28-2019, 08:51 PM
Moped Rider
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 34
I'm leaning toward the CV joint.

IMO, if the noise is speed-dependent (not temperature, idle, RPM dependent) then it can only be rotational= tire, rim, brake rotor, CV joint

What makes me think it's the CV joint is that the noise goes away at both accel and decel, so when there is torsional force on the axle, the bearings inside the joint are pressed and there is no freeplay. But once you start cruising or put it in neutral, the internals can clunk. I assume it only makes the noise when the car is moving.. so possibly the passenger side is the culprit (esp if only the driver's side was replaced due to age)
Birchtree is offline  
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