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What are the symptomes of a bad strut bearing?


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#1 cole9900

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Posted May 27, 2009 - 06:06 PM

I am in SERIOUS need of expertise on this. Have been to mechanics, dealers, private shops, etc. and only getting guesswork. I've even replaced lower control arms on a mechanics advice and it was a total waste of time (and money). So, what I need is for someone, and I know you are out there, to PLEASE tell me what the symptoms are of bad strut bearings / mounts. Here's the background. The car has perfect steering with no play or drift, front suspension is quiet at any speed on any surface going straight. It has 65k miles. New tires. But, slow down to 5 MPH, turn the wheel left or right and hit a bump the size of a walnut and you get a metallic clunk from the front end. All bushings check out, all other suspension parts inspect well. I read somewhere, don't know if it is true, that if you get clunking goint straight, it's ball joints, if you get it turning, it's strut bearings. Can someone shed some light on this? If that is the problem, what components need to be replaced? My undying gratitude to anyone that can help with this. Great forum - proud to be a new member and proud to drive that beautiful car.


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#2 petee c

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Posted May 28, 2009 - 05:57 AM

I am in SERIOUS need of expertise on this. Have been to mechanics, dealers, private shops, etc. and only getting guesswork. I've even replaced lower control arms on a mechanics advice and it was a total waste of time (and money). So,
what I need is for someone, and I know you are out there, to PLEASE tell me what the symptoms are of bad strut bearings / mounts. Here's the background. The car has perfect steering with no play or drift, front suspension is quiet at any speed on any surface going straight. It has 65k miles. New tires. But, slow down to 5 MPH, turn the wheel left or right and hit a bump the size of a walnut and you get a metallic clunk from the front end. All bushings check out, all other suspension parts inspect well. I read somewhere, don't know if it is true, that if you get clunking goint straight, it's ball joints, if you get it turning, it's strut bearings. Can someone shed some light on this? If that is the problem, what components need to be replaced? My undying gratitude to anyone that can help with this. Great forum - proud to be a new member and proud to drive that beautiful car.



I had strut bearing problems on my VW Jetta 1.8T. the noise is as u describe. I had replaced the strut mounts, but the sound was still there. I finally solved it by jacking the car up, and placing the front on stands.


- I then placed the jack under the control arm of the offending side, and jacked that up a bit, so that the suspension was under some tension. Not enough so that the car was lifting off the stands, but so that there was weight applied to the strut mount.

- I had my wife turn the steering wheel left to right with the engine off. She could reach in and turn it from outside the car with the window rolled down. I was able to see the strut clicking in the mount while this was happening.

- To solve the issue, I ended up just backing the nut off on the strut bearing mount a 1/4 turn. I guess the nut was too tight, and not allowing the strut to move freely in the bearing. I had it tightened to spec according to my 8 yr old (seldom used) Craftsman torque wrench.

- On VW's there is a 2nd nut that holds a collar on that I suppose prevents the strut from falling out of the tower. I just tightened this 2nd nut down on top of the 1st one. In reality, your strut will never fall out of the strut tower, unless there is catastrophic damage to the front suspension.

I think that shops have problems isolating that clunk is because they can't isolate it on the lift. Once my car was on jacks, and the suspension was unweighted, the sound disappears.

Hope u get it fixed. that metal 'sprong' sound is most annoying.

HTH's
Peter - 8 more days to Pcar ownership.
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#3 ericinboca

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Posted May 28, 2009 - 09:46 AM

Warning - shameless personal plug coming.... :D If you find you need to replace your strut mounts in the front, I have a set in good shape that came off my 2004 986S. There is a post in the for sale section. I think there are two things you need to look at the top of your strut - the bearing - the thing that is supposed ot allow free turning of the strut when you turn the wheel; and the strut mount. There is a little rubber cap in the front boot where the strut mounts to the wheel well. Pull that off, and use a flash light to examine the rubber in the mount's bushing. Like the other poster says, you likely need to take the tension off the strut and see what movement, etc, you have at the top of the strut.


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#4 wvicary

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Posted May 28, 2009 - 10:10 AM

Just one other thing to check, the front brake pads can cause a rattle. Drive over a bump you know will cause the noise then drive over it again but this time apply slight pressure to the brake pedal. This will lightly apply the brakes and stop the pads from rattling. If the noise stops then you have a brake problem.


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#5 cole9900

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Posted May 28, 2009 - 11:06 AM

Some very good advice that will be taken. One thing regarding the brake theory - let's say for example, I am backing from my drive onto my street where there is no more than a 1/2 inch drop off, wheel turned sharply to the right and I get the "clunk" or "cracking" sound. If I pull forward and back over the same little bump, it typically will not repeat the noise. Makes it seem as if there is something binding that breaks loose, relieving the tension. May very well be a binding in the strut bearing. If I need parts, Boca, hope yours are still there. And don't feel bad about the "plug" - could be of big help.


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#6 petee c

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Posted May 28, 2009 - 11:46 AM

Some very good advice that will be taken. One thing regarding the brake theory - let's say for example, I am backing from my drive onto my street where there is no more than a 1/2 inch drop off, wheel turned sharply to the right and I get the "clunk" or "cracking" sound. If I pull forward and back over the same little bump, it typically will not repeat the noise. Makes it seem as if there is something binding that breaks loose, relieving the tension. May very well be a binding in the strut bearing. If I need parts, Boca, hope yours are still there. And don't feel bad about the "plug" - could be of big help.


my strut bearing/mount knock occured at parking lot speeds, pulling into or backing out of parking spots / or backing out of the driveway in the morning....

P
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#7 JD BOXSTER

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Posted June 05, 2009 - 06:48 AM

I am in SERIOUS need of expertise on this. Have been to mechanics, dealers, private shops, etc. and only getting guesswork. I've even replaced lower control arms on a mechanics advice and it was a total waste of time (and money). So,
what I need is for someone, and I know you are out there, to PLEASE tell me what the symptoms are of bad strut bearings / mounts. Here's the background. The car has perfect steering with no play or drift, front suspension is quiet at any speed on any surface going straight. It has 65k miles. New tires. But, slow down to 5 MPH, turn the wheel left or right and hit a bump the size of a walnut and you get a metallic clunk from the front end. All bushings check out, all other suspension parts inspect well. I read somewhere, don't know if it is true, that if you get clunking goint straight, it's ball joints, if you get it turning, it's strut bearings. Can someone shed some light on this? If that is the problem, what components need to be replaced? My undying gratitude to anyone that can help with this. Great forum - proud to be a new member and proud to drive that beautiful car.



I had strut bearing problems on my VW Jetta 1.8T. the noise is as u describe. I had replaced the strut mounts, but the sound was still there. I finally solved it by jacking the car up, and placing the front on stands.


- I then placed the jack under the control arm of the offending side, and jacked that up a bit, so that the suspension was under some tension. Not enough so that the car was lifting off the stands, but so that there was weight applied to the strut mount.

- I had my wife turn the steering wheel left to right with the engine off. She could reach in and turn it from outside the car with the window rolled down. I was able to see the strut clicking in the mount while this was happening.

- To solve the issue, I ended up just backing the nut off on the strut bearing mount a 1/4 turn. I guess the nut was too tight, and not allowing the strut to move freely in the bearing. I had it tightened to spec according to my 8 yr old (seldom used) Craftsman torque wrench.

- On VW's there is a 2nd nut that holds a collar on that I suppose prevents the strut from falling out of the tower. I just tightened this 2nd nut down on top of the 1st one. In reality, your strut will never fall out of the strut tower, unless there is catastrophic damage to the front suspension.

I think that shops have problems isolating that clunk is because they can't isolate it on the lift. Once my car was on jacks, and the suspension was unweighted, the sound disappears.

Hope u get it fixed. that metal 'sprong' sound is most annoying.

HTH's
Peter - 8 more days to Pcar ownership.

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#8 JD BOXSTER

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Posted June 05, 2009 - 06:51 AM

Good Information Was the car on the jackstands and suspension freee when you backed off the mounting nut a 1/4 turn? i just installed new shocks and bearings and have this same clunking Thinking I overtightened the shock nut on the bench? Thanks, JDBOXSTER


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#9 996noob

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Posted July 12, 2009 - 06:20 AM

My car developed some light knocking sounds when going slow on slightly uneven roads. I put the car on a hoist and jiggled hard on every part of the suspension I could grasp. My left stabilizer link has some play on the upper ball joint. I'm going to purchase a new one and see if the sound disappears. Will report back when I finally get it done. You should check your links out too.


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