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  #1  
Old 04-01-2009, 12:17 PM
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Front Clunking

I'm starting to get frustrated with the rattling from my front suspension, and for the life of me, I can't figure out what it is. Here's what it does: it seems that primarily when the front tires hit a sharp bump at the same time (like a small frost heave), something rattles under the front suspension. It happens only when the fronts hit the bump, not the rears. And it doesn't have to be much -- even just a really thick crosswalk tape will do it. On larger bumps, it's all quiet. And it seems like when either of the front tires hit a bump at different times, it doesn't do it.

What I've done: I've replaced a lot. First thing I did was new shocks, Gabriel Ultras. These ride really good with the stock Sport springs. A good match there. But no fix. I also put on new sway bar end links, to no avail. A month or two ago, I torqued down the upper control arm bolts, because I know those have a tendency to loosen up. Just this last weekend, I replaced the lower control arms with ones from someone on this forum, reported to have only 20k miles on the arms. The bushings in the replacement arms look good...much better than my old bushings, that's for sure. I also put in new greasable lower ball joints. When I did that, I also greased the tie rod ends...mine have Zerk fittings. Maybe that means they've been replaced before? I know the upper ball joints are fairly fresh, done at the dealer with Mopar parts not too long before I bought the truck a year ago; they do not have Zerks. When I did this work, I also put in some R/T coils with new Mopar spring rubbers. The ride is moderately firmer now, but it's still pretty good. I torqued everything down after the install, at curb height. And the rattling noise is still there, with the same symptom.

What's not been touched: the upper control arm bushings (with 173,000 miles I'd suppose), and the sway bar bushings.

What I've done to try to narrow it down: early on, I drove around the neighborhood with no shocks and no sway bar, and the rattle was still there. To me, this really sounds like a sway bar thing, but this is not a low clunk sound...something is rattling, and from the sounds of it, it's small and metal. It sounds very much like you had a small length of metal link chain, and when you give it a quick jab or pull, that's the noise.

Anyone had upper control arm bushings make this noise? That's about the only thing left in the front suspension that hasn't really been touched yet. Well...and the brakes. I mean, they've been replaced before, but was a few years ago. There's still a moderate amount of pad material left. Would the pads make a jiggling/rattling noise like this?

I'm at my wit's end! Anyone with any ideas?
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2009, 12:53 PM
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Does it sound like its coming from the steering? or does the steering wheel shake when you hear the rattling? Mine was doing that, I replaced the lower steering shaft and no more rattles on bumps
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Old 04-01-2009, 01:35 PM
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i had a simular problem on my ex`s 03 qc 4x4. replaced a bunch of shitt and could never figure it out. come to find out the brake caliper bolts had worked loose on the right side and the caliper was bouncing around making a rattling noise from hell on every bump she/i hit. on first glance it didn`t look loose, so i put a soicket on the bolts and they were loose as hell.
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:07 PM
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You know, I never checked the brake caliper bolts...I'll check those. What is the internal hex size for the caliper bolts? And thanks for the suggestion for the steering shaft. It's not been replaced that I know of. I'll check that also. Was there an indication that the shaft was it (any play that you could detect by shaking or wiggling it)? I think there is actually a TSB for my model year regarding the steering shaft, but as I recall, my symptoms didn't match those in the TSB; I'll have to look at it again.

Thanks...and keep the suggestions coming!
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:11 PM
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on my 03 and my sister's 00, the only indicators were the clunking, no play in the steering, just had the clunk during bumps in the road, it was the lower shaft, which has some sort of a bushing in it(I think it may be for crashes so it collapses) the truck drove fine just annoying clunking
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  #6  
Old 04-02-2009, 12:21 AM
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I just took my sway bar completely off a few minutes ago and checked and that made no difference. The bushings on the bar are trashed anyway...I plan to replace with polyurethane ultimately. So I diagnosed sway bar out again (I was sure I tried that before, but wanted to re-check).

I wonder if it could be the upper ball joints. My truck wasn't involved in the recall, but I know some of our trucks were. The recall says that the worn upper ball joints could create a clunking sound that may or may not be heard by the vehicle occupants. For those of you who DID have recalled ball joints, do you recall the symptoms of bad upper ball joints? If mine are bad, it wouldn't be too much trouble to replace them -- the arms already have bolt-in ball joints in them (by the Dodge dealer, non-greaseable).

I'll check the brake caliper bolts this weekend.
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Old 04-02-2009, 01:59 PM
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I was going to say steering shaft as well.
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:46 PM
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I believe I've found my clunking. I jacked up each control arm separately today at lunch and tried to wiggle the tire at the 12:00 and 6:00 positions. The right side one has some play. The control arm is moving a bit on the rear bushing. The UCA shaft bolts are tight (I torqued those down pretty good a month or two ago), but it looks like the bushing itself is shot. But I was never able to tell until I checked for play with the wheel and tire mounted up (more leverage I guess).

So I guess I'll take the UCAs into the machine shop and have them press in new bushings.
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:55 AM
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FYI- Might be cheaper to change out the whole control arm, most of them include ball-joints and bushing..
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