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Clunk noise front end
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Microbusdeluxe Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:16 am    Post subject: Clunk noise front end Reply with quote

'81 Westy, manual trans. I'm getting a "clunk" noise from the van on rough roads. Sounds like it's from the front passenger side. Over the past year/5,000miles I've replaced shocks (Bilstein's), upper control arm bushings (bye-bye squeeky mice!), upper ball joints, and all of the sway bar bushings. Retorqued all bolts, with 120+ lbs on the shock bolts... noise is still there.

One question. There appears to be quite a gap at the split bushing around the sway bar. Can't really remember how big the gap was with the old split bushing, but now the bushing appears to be a good 1/4" larger than the bar. Is that right?

Second issue: I get a very slight bit of play at 6 & 12 o'clock with wheels in the air. Both sides are the same.

So am I looking at tie rod ends, lower ball joints or lower control arm bushings?? That's all that's left.
Thanks
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garryv84
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

standard oem sway bar or hd addco bar?
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, that 1/4" gap does not sound right. Are you saying you put new bushings in and the bushing does not firmly contact the swaybar all the way around the swaybar? Because that's what a sway bar bushing does. So if there's that much space this could be your clunk.

Clarify if that's what I'm reading.

DougM
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Christopher Schimke
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The early anti-roll bars were 19mm and the newer bars were 21mm. Adcco bars are 25mm. If you still have the early front bar and you installed bushings for the later (or Adcco) bar, you will have some additional play between the bar and the bushing.

Movement at 12 and 6 could be upper or lower ball joints, but it could also be loose wheel bearings.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies.

garryv84: Standard sway bar.

IdahoDoug: You got it, new bushings, 1/4" gap at bar.

Loogy: Early bar I guess, (van's an '81) looks original. I'll check my receipts from vendor. While they might have sent me the 21 mm wrap around split bushings, the end bushings were the right size (very tight fit).
6 & 12 o'clock movement is pretty slight. What I need to do is shake another vanagon's wheels to see if I have excess movement, but thanks for the clue.
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'89 hightop Westy Joker syncro 16" now with Bostig!
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fairweather
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't imagine that 1/4" gap not causing noise.

The play sounds like slight wheel bearing or upper ball joint wear. To test the LBJ jack up the van then pry up on the tire with a stiff something (pipe/2x4 etc.). If you feel any movement it's your LBJ, probably will hear a clunk if it is worn. There is alot more weight on the LBJ so the wiggle test isn't good for that, you need some leverage.
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VanagonPDX
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2021 4:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Clunk noise front end Reply with quote

Curious if this mystery clunk got solved. I am having the exact same issue, passenger side, and despite things feeling solid and looking decent, there is a clunk that happens on rough roads, but not always. I can't get it to do it by rocking the van when parked, only does it when driving.
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beach_creature
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2021 6:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Clunk noise front end Reply with quote

Could be the fuel tank rattling around. If itís not tightly fitted with the rubber pads it could bounce up and down. The corners if three fuel tank can also rattle/clunk against the horizontal frame.

Just another thing to check.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2021 6:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Clunk noise front end Reply with quote

Boy do I feel both guilty, for not reporting back what caused the problem, and stupid, for not remembering what I did to fix it. Van has been sold for 4 years now so I don't have my repair notes to consult. I vaguely remember having to tighten shock mount bolts, but wouldn't bet my life on it. Sorry!
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'81 Westy sold
'89 hightop Westy Joker syncro 16" now with Bostig!
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oldskewlsk8ter
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2021 7:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Clunk noise front end Reply with quote

This issue has popped up multiple times on here throughout the years and Iíve yet to see where anyone has fixed it. Iíve got the same clunk. It was there when I bought my van. I completely rebuilt the front end with all new everything...shocks, springs, ball joints, all powerflex bushings, tie rod ends, wheel bearings, brakes etc. Clunk is still there...really bad on washboard roads. Iím about to install lift springs and a T3 HD sway bar and Iíll dig in a little deeper to see wtf is causing this.
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4Gears4Tires
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2021 8:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Clunk noise front end Reply with quote

Clunk on washboards? I would actually start with what Microbus said, strut mount bolts!

It's fairly easy for the shock to not actually be sitting true and it has either gripped on to the side of the hole with the threads or the center bushing is not seated. If either happens, you can tighten down the nut and think it's good, but then you will get clunking.

Just for funsies, I would take strut nut off, jack the corner up and see if you can get the shock to move into a difference place.
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