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Diy '01 Ls430 Pop/popping/crack/cracking/clunk/clunking/clack/clac


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DIY '01 LS430 Pop/Popping/Crack/Cracking/Clunk/Clunking/Clack/Clacking noise from front suspension

I have an 01 LS430 Ultra with the Air Suspension about 100k miles, it had recently developed a Pop/Popping/Crack/Cracking/Clunk/Clunking/Clack/Clacking noise from front suspension primarily from what I could tell as the drivers side (left side of the car). I usually only heard the noise while driving slow making parking lot type maneuvers with the wheel turned rather far and braking slightly, then the same noise when it settled back down when reversing into a space or something similar. It also occurred occasionally when I was banging a right hand sweeping exit ramp, I heard it from the Drivers side but just as a single pop (left side of the car) Fearing the worst I assumed it was either a ball joint or one of the control arms, neither of which on one of these cars is cheap I'm sure.

1. to check the ball joints jack up the vehicle with the lower control arm supported (use a block of wood as a contact point) so you can have a more realistic loading of the components in the suspension, make sure you bring it up enough to also put a jack stand under it to keep yourself safe. Ball joints are checked by grabbing the tire by the very top and very bottom and try to rock it top to bottom, there should be no movement, if there is and it feels loose or detached at a particular point get it checked out, if there is a lot, you may want to consider getting it towed to a shop because if it lets go you will wreck.

2. to check the tie rods inner and outer do the same test as above but grab the tire by the very left and right, if there is slight fluid movement that it likely normal because you are literally turning the wheel and the other wheel ever so slightly, what you are looking for here is an abnormal movement or play from left to right where it feels almost like it is detached from the rack, if it feels firm or no play you are fine.

3. Visual inspection, remove the tire, if you don't have an air compressor and an impact you will need to lower it down to remove the lugs. Once the lugs are loose raise it back up and remove the rim/tire, make sure there is nothing obviously wrong or loose.

4. some people have described the brake rattle clips causing issue or similar noises, now is the time to check that, a brake job on this car is extremely easy, all you have to do is pull the the little retaining clip in the rod that retains the pads and applies pressure to the pads anti rattle spring steel, it looks like an I, you can check the tension, while I was there I decided to lube the contact points on the pad backing and the caliper and reassembled.

5. next is check all the nuts and bolts that you can reach and get either a wrench or a socket on, remove the reusable cotter pins from the tie rod and upper control arm attaching points and tweak them a little bit to ensure they are tight then reinstall the cotter pins if they don't go in try another hole if they still don't go in tweak the nut just a little further, also tighten or try to tighten anything else you can see, caliper bolts spindle/knuckle bolts, stay away from the air ride sensor and other sensors for the abs and brake wear. If anything feels loose or you can tweak is just a bit by all means do it, some can move a click or 2 on a ratchet, most of these will be extremely tight and unmovable with a regular ratchet or wrench.

What I found on mine happened to be the forward nut on the lower control arm, I think it was a 19mm, I used a ratchet and a socket and tried to tweak it and it popped/cracked so in order to actually crank it down I used the handle of my jack on the end of my ratchet as a cheater bar to get extra leverage, you might be able to make these points too tight with a cheater bar so you might want to use a torque bar, I found a torque setting of 166 ft lbs, from one of these threads, but didn't use it myself because that is pretty damn tight, and probably about all I can do with a breaker bar.

I put it back together and checked the other side and everything was tight so I buttoned it up and went for a spin, messed around in a couple parking lots and banged some long sweepers way too fast and my noise is gone.

I then smiled all the way home thinking about the $1500 I just saved on control arms because you know that's what the shop would have sold me if I didn't know anything about cars, honestly I have no idea how people that just drop their car off to be fixed can actually afford it especially when dealing with potentially crooked mechanics. I've worked in a couple shops and you'd be surprised.

Prices from the stealer

lower control arm $390

labor to install $300

alignment $170

total $860 for one side

total $1550 for both sides plus taxes and shop fees (ouch!)

I hope this helps someone save some money.

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  • 6 years later...

Speedemon, huge thanks for the info. I would like to make a substantial contribution to this and lots of other posts about mysterious clunks in LS400-LS430 vehicles.

As you all guys know there were numerous attempts to identify the actual location and cause for major clunk and squeaking sounds coming "Somewhere" from the wheel area. We have all went through replacing bunch of parts with no success to fix the problem.

I have to say that I finally found what is the most probably cause for these clunks. Go to your mechanics and replace front left wheel hub and front right wheel hub. You will be amazed how quiet your car becomes. It is really unbelievable how simple the problem was.

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