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Discussion Starter #1
So I've done/tried it all at this point. My driver's side front suspension is making a continuous, horrific clunking/popping sound when going over bumps at low speeds. So far the end link has been replaced, as well as the sway bar bushings. The strut was replaced a month ago because the first one was defective (purchased thru Firestone). Now I'm convinced the second strut is defective as well. Is that possible? The car is undriveable at this poin. Sigh. What can I go? 04 2.3 with 206K.
 

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My '04 has 181K and clunks in the R/F. My struts are worn out and the strut mount on the R/F is shot. Did they change yours when they did the strut? It's possible that is bad. Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Pretty sure they did. I literally feel the noise at the foot wall, so I feel like it's gotta be there.
 

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So I've done/tried it all at this point. ....
What you wrote above makes it sound like you're doing the work yourself, but the rest of what you posted is referring to 'they'. So assuming that all of this work was done at a shop, did they diagnose, or did you just tell them what you wanted them to replace?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
All the work has been done at two different shops. And its been a mix of diagnosing and telling them what to fix. For example, "well it could be the sway bar bushings making that sound." "Ok, then replace those things." Firestone even brought their "master technician" in and they apparently couldn't even get to the bottom of it.
 

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All the work has been done at two different shops. And its been a mix of diagnosing and telling them what to fix. For example, "well it could be the sway bar bushings making that sound." "Ok, then replace those things." Firestone even brought their "master technician" in and they apparently couldn't even get to the bottom of it.
I'd recommend trying another shop, preferably a front-end specialist, because these two outfits obviously don't have a clue. It would be a different story if it was a minor noise that isn't otherwise affecting the vehicle, because those can often be very difficult to diagnose, even for a professional. But anything that's significant enough to cause a vehicle to be 'undriveable' simply can't be that difficult to find, for someone that knows what they're doing.
 

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There's really not a lot to our front suspensions. You have the lower control arms with their ball joints, the tie rod ends (inner and outer), the sway bar with it's bushings and end links, and the strut assembly which includes the shock, spring, and strut bearing.

Seriously, that's pretty much it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Shop #4. I think. They can't figure it out either. And are blindly replacing things. Ugh. Still at a loss.
 

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Shop #4. I think. They can't figure it out either. And are blindly replacing things. Ugh. Still at a loss.
It just doesn't make any sense that your vehicle has such a big issue, and no one can figure it out. One thing that's probably not been done by anyone yet is to check the torque on every bolt on the underside of the vehicle. Looking up all of those torque values would be a bit time consuming, and they would probably charge you an hour or so of shop time. But at this point it's looking like some off-the-wall issue, and a slightly loose bolt would be one of those things.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm leaning towards replacing the lower control arm on the drivers side. Got an estimate for $280 for that and they recommended an alignment. Does this sound right?
 

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A control arm costs $60. It takes 10 minutes to change, once the car is in the air. They come out with literally 4 bolts. One bolt through the ball joint at the knuckle, two bolts from the subframe at the rear of the arm, one bolt out the front of the arm.

But really, it's a good practice to replace suspension components in mirror images. Whatever you do to one side, you really should do to the other.

I just got done with my front suspension, I changed my wheel bearings, my outer tie rod ends (inners were fine), my sway bar endlinks, and my lower control arms. Including paying a shop to press out my old, and press in my new wheel bearings, I spent under $240, and it took me all of an hour to do the whole job.
 

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A control arm costs $60. It takes 10 minutes to change, once the car is in the air. They come out with literally 4 bolts. One bolt through the ball joint at the knuckle, two bolts from the subframe at the rear of the arm, one bolt out the front of the arm.
This assumes you can even get the control arm removed from the steering knuckle. For the life of me I couldn't get my daughter's control arms separated, so I just removed the steering knuckle with the control arm intact. After that I had an easy time replacing the struts and doing the rest of the work I was doing.
 

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This assumes you can even get the control arm removed from the steering knuckle.
Depends where you live. I'm in Tennessee and theblooms is in South Carolina. No salt or brine from tons of snow. I pulled both axles when I did my 2.5 swap and the ball joints came out of the knuckles effortlessly.
 

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I went with the Mevotech CMS series. And right now, they're only $35 each on Rockauto! Regular price is $59! SCORE!

To get my ball joint out of my knuckle, I just stepped on it. No pushing, no prying, no sweat, no tears. Just merely put my foot on it, and stepped on it. Popped right out.
 

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Depends where you live. I'm in Tennessee and theblooms is in South Carolina. No salt or brine from tons of snow. I pulled both axles when I did my 2.5 swap and the ball joints came out of the knuckles effortlessly.
My daughter's car spent the majority of its life in North Carolina and has very little rust. I no problems on any bolts doing all the suspension, brake, and engine work (other than crank pulley bolt and axle bolts which required beefy impact wrenches). But I just couldn't get the control arm off even hammering on it. A lot.

I saw youtube videos where shop owners hammered with no effect. Then they put an air hammer on the control arm and it just popped off.

I'll have to try again at some point because the dust seals (or grease boots) are tearing.
 

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Have you had them check your motor mounts?

If that trans/driver's side motor mount goes, it makes a clunk when you hit bumps, curbs, turns, and accel/decel.
 

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Have you had them check your motor mounts?

If that trans/driver's side motor mount goes, it makes a clunk when you hit bumps, curbs, turns, and accel/decel.
Not so for the passenger side mount? I ask because my son's can makes a mystery clunk going over bumps and we've checked just about everything. I, probably incorrectly, assumed that if the PMM is ok (and it looks ok to me) then the DMM must be ok. I know the PMMs fail fairly frequently. I replaced my daughters mounts (all three) but only the PMM was broken. DMM was definitely starting to break, but still intact.

So maybe my son's clunk is the transmission mount. Maybe we'll just replace all three of his since they're not expensive when purchased as a group.
 

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My daughter's car spent the majority of its life in North Carolina and has very little rust. I no problems on any bolts doing all the suspension, brake, and engine work (other than crank pulley bolt and axle bolts which required beefy impact wrenches). But I just couldn't get the control arm off even hammering on it. A lot.

I saw youtube videos where shop owners hammered with no effect. Then they put an air hammer on the control arm and it just popped off.

I'll have to try again at some point because the dust seals (or grease boots) are tearing.
Doesn't take much time in northern snow to rust certain things. The fact that it has very little rust instead of no rust attests to that. My TN 2004 3 has no rust with 181K miles. The bolts just come out easily and the parts come apart like they are supposed to. It's awsome.:wink2:
 
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