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Popping Front End When Applying Brakes!


90LS400Lexus
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Well, I am not sure if I updated, but my mother has decided she wants my LS400 (1991, with 211K), rather than me selling it or trading it in. I know that after 17 years and 211K, that the front end components have to get getting worn. I was getting an occasional thunk over bumps, but that is still very sporadic and has not gotten any worse. HOWEVER, I am now getting a popping noise when I apply the brakes after I make certain turns. For example - when I pull into my driveway, I pull forward, turn to the left and stop. I think place the car in reverse, turn the wheels and back the car in to "my" parking space. As I am backing up, turn the wheel back to the right and apply the brakes, I get a quick "pop" noise from the front end, as if something is loose. I was originally only getting this noise when I would make certain stops when I had the wheels turned to the left as I stopped. This popping seems to have gotten worse over the past week, because of having to drive on a 3 mile stretch of rough roads. The city has been repaving a 3-mile stretch of a main road here in town that I drive on daily. At first, they "ground" up the surface and left that grooved original layer. I am guessing the "base" pavement. It has some rough spots and its grooved. Then they had some rough areas where it would pick up and drop off quick. Being as caring to my car as I am, I would always drive easily and slowly on this road, but I think even at low speeds it still took a toll on it. Most people do not care and would just hit the big bumps at high speeds, not a care in the world about their cars. They have got most of the roads paved now, but another layer still has to go on about a one mile stretch, but now at least its smooth, but there are still some lift ups and drop offs. Its been nice and they have not worked on it in two days. ??

Anyway, enough of that! Does this sound more like the tie-rod ends, or ball joints, or both? Is it something that could make the steering go out? I do not want my mother in this car if its unsafe!

The car is needing other things now as well - motor mounts, transmission mount and now the brakes are starting to squeak, despite the PO telling me that they were replaced 3K ago. I thought they would last longer than this. <_< And now the A/C is only "cool" and not cold. :rolleyes: The vibrations would not bother her (she is used to driving a shake rattle and toll 97' Achieva, so this Lexus would be like a new Cadillac to this poor little lady :( ), so the motor/tranny mounts are not pressing issues now, unless leaving these worn ones on there could cause damage? I still feel this car, even with its issues is much safer than her current car, which has rattling front strut on the RF, squeaky brakes (brakes only last about 3K on this car), "locking" rear brakes, occasional engine stalling (if you do not let the engine fully warm before taking off), check engine light issue that cannot be resolved, etc).

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Hey LS how are you doing? You get to a point with vehicles where you just have to decide if they are worth spending the money. Due to the economy, cars are pretty cheap right now which makes it even harder.

I have my LS all to myself now since I bought my wife am ES330. I usually don't drive it much and it sits in the garage but I did take it to NY last weekend. Still rips.

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Hi! I am wonderful! Thanks for asking. Been on vacation this week! Go back Sunday. :(, but I have another week coming either in June or July. Have not decided yet when I am going.

Yeah, I wanted to simply sell the LS, because I did not want to put more $ into it. It would take about $1K to get it up to par, but mom wants it and despite its problems, its much better than her current car and safer. Dad can work on it as he wants to. Oh, the low coolant sensor is also bad. I wasted my $850 income tax return... do not know on what- gas and food I guess! <_< I could took that money and had this car back in tip-top condition! :( I have about $200 left out of it. I have more in savings accounts, but I refuse to touch it! ;) I did get the car waxed up tonight and the pearl white paint is gleaming! :)

Anyway, I am planning on getting either a 94-98 Toyota T100 or a 90-97 Toyota Celica to replace the Lexus. I am supposed to look at a loaded 1997 Toyota T100 tomorrow, with the very rare sunroof option. I also ran across a very nice 1997 Acura RL, with 196K HIGHWAY miles for $2800. Timing belt/water pump replaced only 23K ago. If I can get the seller to get in gear and send me more pics, I will know more about it and if I can talk him into delivering the car. Its about 4 hours away. Bigger cities always seem to have much cheaper cars. Imported cars are outrageous here.

Hey LS how are you doing? You get to a point with vehicles where you just have to decide if they are worth spending the money. Due to the economy, cars are pretty cheap right now which makes it even harder.

I have my LS all to myself now since I bought my wife am ES330. I usually don't drive it much and it sits in the garage but I did take it to NY last weekend. Still rips.

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A friend of mine used to have a noise like that coming from his Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. Took it to the mechanic and it turns out it was the left ball joint. Have you inspected those?

Nope. How do you inspect them? :huh: As you can see, I am not all that great with automotive mechanicals. <_<

Thanks.

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A friend of mine used to have a noise like that coming from his Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. Took it to the mechanic and it turns out it was the left ball joint. Have you inspected those?

Nope. How do you inspect them? :huh: As you can see, I am not all that great with automotive mechanicals. <_<

Thanks.

Here's a page that has some information about inspecting and changing them. Ball joints are not the easiest thing in the world to work on, so depending on your abilities you may wish to take the car to a mechanic.

It may be better just to do that so you can find out exactly where the problem is. That way, you won't spend money replacing a part that doesn't fix the problem.

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Well, I am not sure if I updated, but my mother has decided she wants my LS400 (1991, with 211K), rather than me selling it or trading it in. I know that after 17 years and 211K, that the front end components have to get getting worn. I was getting an occasional thunk over bumps, but that is still very sporadic and has not gotten any worse. HOWEVER, I am now getting a popping noise when I apply the brakes after I make certain turns. For example - when I pull into my driveway, I pull forward, turn to the left and stop. I think place the car in reverse, turn the wheels and back the car in to "my" parking space. As I am backing up, turn the wheel back to the right and apply the brakes, I get a quick "pop" noise from the front end, as if something is loose. I was originally only getting this noise when I would make certain stops when I had the wheels turned to the left as I stopped. This popping seems to have gotten worse over the past week, because of having to drive on a 3 mile stretch of rough roads. The city has been repaving a 3-mile stretch of a main road here in town that I drive on daily. At first, they "ground" up the surface and left that grooved original layer. I am guessing the "base" pavement. It has some rough spots and its grooved. Then they had some rough areas where it would pick up and drop off quick. Being as caring to my car as I am, I would always drive easily and slowly on this road, but I think even at low speeds it still took a toll on it. Most people do not care and would just hit the big bumps at high speeds, not a care in the world about their cars. They have got most of the roads paved now, but another layer still has to go on about a one mile stretch, but now at least its smooth, but there are still some lift ups and drop offs. Its been nice and they have not worked on it in two days. ??

Anyway, enough of that! Does this sound more like the tie-rod ends, or ball joints, or both? Is it something that could make the steering go out? I do not want my mother in this car if its unsafe!

The car is needing other things now as well - motor mounts, transmission mount and now the brakes are starting to squeak, despite the PO telling me that they were replaced 3K ago. I thought they would last longer than this. <_< And now the A/C is only "cool" and not cold. :rolleyes: The vibrations would not bother her (she is used to driving a shake rattle and toll 97' Achieva, so this Lexus would be like a new Cadillac to this poor little lady :( ), so the motor/tranny mounts are not pressing issues now, unless leaving these worn ones on there could cause damage? I still feel this car, even with its issues is much safer than her current car, which has rattling front strut on the RF, squeaky brakes (brakes only last about 3K on this car), "locking" rear brakes, occasional engine stalling (if you do not let the engine fully warm before taking off), check engine light issue that cannot be resolved, etc).

Me=service tech, not a Lexus tech. but auto tech the same. I have the same sound from my 91 ls. It happens when i turn the wheel at certain times. it happens when i back up. it does everything you said yours does. The catch, i know exactly what it is, im just to lazy after working on other cars at the end of the day to work on my own. The cause, Anti Rattle clips. They go on your brakes. I did a brakejob on mine, and forgot to put the left side back on. they are sitting on my toolbox right now. you should hear a rattle when you go over bumps, like railroad tracks. then go over them again with the brakes slightly depressed and you shouldnt hear the rattle. that test should verify its the Antirattle clips. they are pretty cheap.

This is just an educated answer, I cant tell you for sure without looking at it myself. But i think its a good bet at this point. Just check into it. Im interested to hear what your final solution is going to be.

Good luck!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Aftermarket brake pads will make popping noises as well when first applied in any direction. They sit loosely in the calipers and when you put the car in reverse, hit the brakes, they smack against the caliper seat. Put it in drive, hit the brakes, and they smack against the other side of the caliper. Don't use them for a few miles, then hit the brakes, they'll sometimes smack the calipers again, as they've centered into the caliper seat during normal driving. But, if you're also getting pops over bumps, then it's most likely suspension related. Probably strut rod bushings a the very front of the car, right under the fender. Seems to be the 1st bushings to go, and the most common cause of the pop over bumps noise.

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"Pop" or "clunk" when driving on rough roads?

If it's more of a "clunk" then I would suspect lower control arm bushings. But it could be strut rod bushings as Nc says.

I'm not a mechanic, but this might help isolate the problem. Jack up the side where the noise is-- getting the tire a couple inches off the ground. Grab the tire and push/pull on it from side to side.

Then repeat on the top and bottom. If there is play side to side, then it may be the L.C.A. bushing. Up and down, not sure. But talk to a tech at any good shop and he'll tell you the up/down issue.

Bushings no doubt. If it is just bushings, I would not think it's a safety issue, just an annoyance issue.

Call a good shop.

Good luck

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I have the popping/shutter noise when applying my brakes and especially when turning. My shifter also seems to shutter or something when I apply the brakes as well. It started out being rarely and slightly noticeable but now it is pretty loud and annoying. I do use aftermarket brake pads and rotors which i replace every year. Last year i had to replace my driver side front caliper because my buddy broke a bolt off in it, need less to say the driver side still makes the noise. Now it seems my passenger side is making the noise as well. I had two buddies who are certified auto mechanics tell me they believe the noise to be from the rotors warping (because they are cheap). It seems that after i did the last brake/rotor job on the car that i didn't hear any popping or shutter sounds until a few weeks after driving. It might just be my imagination though, but i did remember driving through a rain storm prior to the sound starting this time. I think when i change the brakes and rotors this year i am going to buy the rotors with the holes drilled in them to see if it solves my problem. But of course i will check to see if my ball joints and such are still good since i have never replaced them since i bought the car back in 03. I will also check my wheel bearings as well, but i don't think they could be the problem. The last time i was inspecting the underside of my car i did notice the transmission mount bushings (i believe there are two) are warn out. Maybe that is why my shifter shakes and shutters when braking. I would like to end my post with a note on how much i appreciate this site. Using this site for information as well as guidance, I have been able to fix the infamous instrument panel light problem and gas gauge, it only cost me about three dollars in little compasitors from an electrical supply store... cleaning the silo node on the power steering rack made a huge difference, except for the other day when i was removing the silo node with channel locks and inadvertently punctured my power steering high pressure line (I just ordered a whole new line for $97 off eBay). I bought a life time power steering pump and alternator from advanced auto and seem to have to replace both of them at least twice a year (I don't ever complain, because i get what i pay for). My friends all tell me to sell my car and buy a newer one, but i am reluctant because I am determined to drive it into the ground or get over three hundred and fifty thousand miles which ever comes first. Right now I have over two hundred and eighty thousand miles on her and i am confident i will reach my goal! I also have a 02 dodge ram 2500 Cummins, but that is a whole other can of worms; you know lift pump and injector pump problems thankfully no transmission problem yet!

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  • 1 year later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Ok. I replaced my ball joints and I still have the noise that the original poster describes.

However, I had read that a loose bolt for the lower control arm can cause all kinds of popping and banging sounds. So I tightened it. Now the noise is much more easily reproduced. AND it's also much LOUDER than before. Now it's a really serious sounding banging sound when I push hard on the brakes!

So my guess is my noise is LCA-related. What are the symptoms of bad LCAs?

I need to know now because if I'm going to replace my LCA, I want to do it on Friday, which would require me ordering the part very soon!

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Whats the weather been like when you get the pop from the brakes? Any chance of cool damp weather, the type that brings lots of frost?

I am western canada and while we were in a week of foggy cool weather with tons of frost I noticed my brakes pop as well especially first go of the day. As soon as the frosty conditions were gone the popping stopped. Only did it when the vehicle sat overnight, regular day driving was fine.

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Boy, you are sure quick to slam my technique while working on an issue with my car on another forum. Yet when you have an issue you WANT you answer and you WANT IT NOW! When someone doesn't give you your answer ASAP you've got to come back with some smart remark in a post afterwards to make yourself feel better. I wish you would see how big of a jack@$$ you are in your posts. Quit with all of this "I guess not...", and "not that anyone cares" because you keep acting this way, and nobody will. I already don't...

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It's time for a chill pill!

Thread summary

Loud popping during braking can come from many sources:

-loose pads

-loose caliper mounting bolt

-ball joints

-lower control arms

In my case it was the lower control arm. My car had only 112k miles, so it is possible for a LCA to go bad at around this mileage.

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Quick note. I had popping noises coming from the rear of my car whenever I applied the brakes and subsequently released them. It ended up being a somewhat stuck caliper piston which returned to normal position slower than it should have after applying the brakes. I rebuilt the caliper and it no longer pops when I released the brakes.

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