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vevro

Can't Figure Out What Is Wrong

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Over the past month as it got really cold in New York, my front suspension began making clunking noses. My front right wheel makes a thumping noise when I pass smoothly over a hump, but when I suddenly fly into a pothole it make no sounds. The thumping sound comes on only when it’s a smooth pass or a dip. My left wheel is different story all together. I feel like there's something loose under there. When I make a turn in either direction I hear soft rapid clanking sound. Took the car to an import shop by my house, mechanic said it might be the struts. He told me since it's been below freezing in New York over the past couple of weeks some fluid in the struts doesn't get a change to warm up and consequently makes the noise. Is this accurate assessment of the problem? The car drive steady at any speed, I don't feel any vibration in the steering wheel either. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated. By the way it’s a 99 ls with 104k miles on it.

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Can't be precise about any assessment without the car being in front of me or hearing it.

Test out on a Dry, sunny day :)

It's possible that your strut Towers are slightly loose. Take a fitting open wrench to the nuts of the struts and try tightening them.

LSengine.jpg

Tighten the three nuts. Try driving the car over those bumps, and see if it's still making noise. If it does, it could be a bad strut on either side.

Your clicking noises while turning, could be a ball joint problem, an axle or boot that needs to be replaced, or related to the strut.

Take a look underneath your car, and look for some wet spots. Try to ID the specific parts leaking oil. You might want to replace them first.

If there are no leaks, try removing your front wheel, and shake the strut towers. If your strut shakes, tighten the top nuts same as the pic above. If the car shakes it nothing is loose.

As I mentioned above, I can't really analyze your problem without the car being present. If non of those tests solve the problem, I would recommend taking the car to Toyota or a Toyota/Lexus Speciality Shop. I believe another member has mentioned a shop exits in NJ--don't know the name or the city. You might want to check out some of the other Threads in the LS and SC forum. Otherwise, I'd also recommend a Lexus or Toyota Dealer Upstate. Sorry

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My 91 does this also when it is cold. I replaced upper control arm on left side and now that side is quite. Checked the right side at alignment shop and found no problem on right side. I'm guessing worn bushings on older control arm. 155,000 miles now.

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UCF I will definitely try tightening the bolts tonight, the mechanic never bothered doing that. :chairshot: Also can you tell me what's typical life expectancy is for struts, control arms and ball joints on the LS.

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When I took my 90 to the dealer, they said all the shocks and struts were fine and that they didn't need to be replaced. Luckily, I don't have the air suspension because if they go bad you really good thumping and such.

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UCF I will definitely try tightening the bolts tonight, the mechanic never bothered doing that.:chairshot: Also can you tell me what's typical life expectancy is for struts, control arms and ball joints on the LS.

It varies from car to car. Different parts expire at different times. Since you live up in the city, it's possible yours will fail earlier than someone who lives in the south.

I've heard some owners on this forum changing their shocks around 200k. Control Arms a little earlier than that. Bushings earlier than that.

I've changed mine shocks and coils around 170k because I wanted a harder ride. Now the car feels like the Cadillac(as in it floats) instead of a BMW.:blushing:

If money is tight, I would suggest saving money and adding to it. When something breaks or fails, you have the money to replace it. Sometimes there are repairs that can't be done in the garage, and Toyota or Lexus service techs are needed.

What Mapman mentioned about the control arm can also be a possibility. For the bushings, you can tell if they're defective, by looking for oil leaks, or a very soft squeeze of the bushing.

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My 90 LS, with 226K, has just started a slight front suspension "clunking" sounds over certain bumps. I just had my rear struts replaced with OEM Toyota struts. I guess I will get the front suspension checked soon. I know that the front struts are still original, but I guess it may be bushings, or control arm. My car was 4-wheel aligned about 6 months ago and it supposedly lined up perfectly. There is no pulling of the steering on straight roads. Could this eliminate the possibility of bad control arms causing my clunking? Perhaps it is the struts?

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Well i've tried tightening the bolts and they were rock solid. Now i'm trying to figure out if its the struts or the control arms. I don't know if its possible but can i switch the left strut to the right side and the right to the left to see if the noice switches? :cheers:

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I found my solution after many replaced items(lower ball joints & upper control arms) .

The sway bar (stabilizer bar) bushings were the culprit.

They looked great but with the car elevated, a tug and pull at the bar revealed a clunk. The unhinging were deflecting off the bar causing the sound.

Others have mentioned that spraying some lubricant on the bushing reduces the problem. I found that it only mildly reduced it in my case. After replacement, I am certain that the front end now rides as new.

Good luck!

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Unfortunately, my front suspension noise is getting worse and even more annoying. The ride from the front seems to also be even more firm and not really absorbing bumps like it should. It makes me so frustrated sometimes that I just want to drive it over the biggest bumps to completely wear out the front struts- but they probably already are. :rolleyes:

What should I change first to see if I can get the "clunking" noise to stop?

Also- is it possible for "failing" struts to give a "overly firm" ride? The rear suspension is better, since I have installed OEM "Toyota" struts on the rear, but I still think that the ride is too firm on harsh bumps and it seems to "float" too much on the freeway in the rear.

Also- hoe much is replacing the struts and bushings going to cost? Not cheap I am sure.

I do not like "harsh" riding cars and the more I drive this car, the more I dislike it. I have even been considering selling the car and buy a nicer riding Camry or Accord- both of which I have owned and have had a better ride. :blink:

I do not see how the 90' LS400 got all of the high ratings for ride quality. I remember reading a road report in the early 90s where is said that the 90-92 LS400 (report was 1992) were the best riding new cars in the world. WOW, ride quality has really deteriorated. :rolleyes:

Thanks for any advice.

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I'm not sure if ride quality is related to handling. But, my Acura has the best handling of all but the worst/harsh ride I have ever felt. And, the camry the best ride quality ever but handling is crap, in sharp corners, it feels like the car is about to tip over. And the LS is in between these 2 about the ride quality and handling.

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I'm not sure if ride quality is related to handling. But, my Acura has the best handling of all but the worst/harsh ride I have ever felt. And, the camry the best ride quality ever but handling is crap, in sharp corners, it feels like the car is about to tip over. And the LS is in between these 2 about the ride quality and handling.

93LSowner: Does your Acura still have the factory suspension? I think that on average- the Legend tends to have a more "sporty" suspension, rather than "luxury". That did change with the redesigned 96 3.5RL, when the ride became much softer. I have seen some Legends "floating" down the roads- especially the 86-90 models. Honda Accords also seem to have a softer suspension. In some cases- even softer than the LS400. My old 91' Accord had a soft, pleasant ride and handling was great as well. My old 87' Toyota Camry's that I had a few years ago also had a soft, pleasant ride. Now my most recent Camry I had - a 93' Camry LE V6, did not have a ride as soft as other 92-96, or even 98-01 Camrys I have seen. I think that the struts had been changed to heavy duty units before I bought the car. That was the main reason I sold that car as well. Toyota struts was going to cost me $100 each for it :rolleyes: and I was not going to invest $400 + labor $$$ for this, so I sold it and bought the Lexus LS400- now the ride on it is getting worse as well (front). Perhaps time to find it a new home as well?

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93LSowner: Does your Acura still have the factory suspension?

Yes. I have driven other Legends too. And, they are the same as mine.

I have also driven a 1996 RL [136k miles] with more miles than my Legend[120k miles]. You are right, they do have a much softer ride and are bigger. That evening I went to test drive the LS, let me tell you; the LS [146k miles] just blew me away comparing it to the RL, which I drove that afternoon in the city & highway with jackrabit accerlation. LS had just about the same ride quality as the RL[don't know about faster, because I didn't floor it].

But without any doubt, RL is an excellent car [since it has a Legend to back it up]. Without the Legend the RL would have been history in my eyes just as Legend did after 95'. :censored:

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bushings, my friend, the noise ure hearing caused by worn bushings.

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