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doug davis

help with mysterious suspension clunk

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Hoping the collective wisdom of the list can help here...

My 1999 C2 Coupe 45k miles new to me. The car has a clunk coming from the suspension or steering on the *I think* front left. The clunk is audible and can be felt through the steering wheel at slow speeds and small bumps. It does not happen from steering input alone there must be some suspension travel.

Here is the weird part: It only happens after driving at least an hour on a warm (over 75 F) day. It is completly absent when it is cool or short trips.

I think the sway bar links are OK can't feel any play in them. In fact, I think the sway bar links were replaced recently because they look almost new. Tie rod ends also seem tight. I just had the suspension replaced with a brand new M030 Kit so that rules out struts (upper strut bushings were replaced when the kit was put in as well) and sway bar bushings. I was really hoping it would go away after the M030 was installed but it didn't.

I described the problem to my Indy, asking him to check everything when he had it apart but he came up with nothing. Because it only happens after an hour when its hot out he didn't reproduce the problem. But in his defense, he probably thought like I did it would go away after the new suspension was installed.

Anyway any ideas would be appreciated this clunk is driving me crazy.

Doug Davis

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UPDATE still need help

Ok I got the car hot this morning and played around with it some using a stethescope.

Here's what I came up with:

The noise appears to be coming from inside the steering rack (not the tie rod ends). It is a metallic "clank" but does not produce any play in the steering. It can be felt and heard very sharply through the tie rod. Turning the steering wheel back and forth does NOT produce any sound or play at all. The sound is only produced with up and down suspension movement. I know that doesn't make sense but that's the way it is.

There is no sound or play from either tie rod end, sway bar link, ball joint, control arm bushing upper strut bearing, etc. and all suspension/steering bolts are tight.

Rack mounting bolts are tight as is the steering column and its joints.

There is absolutley no trace of this clank until the car has been driven at least 45 mins on a warm day. I drove this car all winter and never felt a thing.

Thanks for ideas,

Doug Davis

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UPDATE still need help

Ok I got the car hot this morning and played around with it some using a stethescope.

Here's what I came up with:

The noise appears to be coming from inside the steering rack (not the tie rod ends). It is a metallic "clank" but does not produce any play in the steering. It can be felt and heard very sharply through the tie rod. Turning the steering wheel back and forth does NOT produce any sound or play at all. The sound is only produced with up and down suspension movement. I know that doesn't make sense but that's the way it is.

There is no sound or play from either tie rod end, sway bar link, ball joint, control arm bushing upper strut bearing, etc. and all suspension/steering bolts are tight.

Rack mounting bolts are tight as is the steering column and its joints.

There is absolutley no trace of this clank until the car has been driven at least 45 mins on a warm day. I drove this car all winter and never felt a thing.

Thanks for ideas,

Doug Davis

Did you listen with the front wheels raised off the ground?

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UPDATE still need help

Ok I got the car hot this morning and played around with it some using a stethescope.

Here's what I came up with:

The noise appears to be coming from inside the steering rack (not the tie rod ends). It is a metallic "clank" but does not produce any play in the steering. It can be felt and heard very sharply through the tie rod. Turning the steering wheel back and forth does NOT produce any sound or play at all. The sound is only produced with up and down suspension movement. I know that doesn't make sense but that's the way it is.

There is no sound or play from either tie rod end, sway bar link, ball joint, control arm bushing upper strut bearing, etc. and all suspension/steering bolts are tight.

Rack mounting bolts are tight as is the steering column and its joints.

There is absolutley no trace of this clank until the car has been driven at least 45 mins on a warm day. I drove this car all winter and never felt a thing.

Thanks for ideas,

Doug Davis

Did you listen with the front wheels raised off the ground?

Loren,

Yes I did raise the car on jackstands wheels off. The noise can be produced only after putting weight back on the suspension (floor jack under disc) and jouncing the car up and down. Jouncing both sides made the noise while the other side was unsupported. I think it is coming from the left side of the rack somewhere under the rubber accordian cover. I'm wondering if there is a ball joint in there that might be worn or binding when it gets hot. Again there is no noise from moving the steering, only from vertical suspension movement. I was going to pop the tie rod end off and see if it still does it, but I only have a fork seperater and didn't want to damage the rod end by taking it off that way. I was hoping it was a common problem that someone could confirm rather than replace the rack without knowing for sure. I imagine it is a very expensive piece. I guess a trip to the dealer might be in order.

Doug Davis

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UPDATE still need help

Ok I got the car hot this morning and played around with it some using a stethescope.

Here's what I came up with:

The noise appears to be coming from inside the steering rack (not the tie rod ends). It is a metallic "clank" but does not produce any play in the steering. It can be felt and heard very sharply through the tie rod. Turning the steering wheel back and forth does NOT produce any sound or play at all. The sound is only produced with up and down suspension movement. I know that doesn't make sense but that's the way it is.

There is no sound or play from either tie rod end, sway bar link, ball joint, control arm bushing upper strut bearing, etc. and all suspension/steering bolts are tight.

Rack mounting bolts are tight as is the steering column and its joints.

There is absolutley no trace of this clank until the car has been driven at least 45 mins on a warm day. I drove this car all winter and never felt a thing.

Thanks for ideas,

Doug Davis

Did you listen with the front wheels raised off the ground?

Loren,

Yes I did raise the car on jackstands wheels off. The noise can be produced only after putting weight back on the suspension (floor jack under disc) and jouncing the car up and down. Jouncing both sides made the noise while the other side was unsupported. I think it is coming from the left side of the rack somewhere under the rubber accordian cover. I'm wondering if there is a ball joint in there that might be worn or binding when it gets hot. Again there is no noise from moving the steering, only from vertical suspension movement. I was going to pop the tie rod end off and see if it still does it, but I only have a fork seperater and didn't want to damage the rod end by taking it off that way. I was hoping it was a common problem that someone could confirm rather than replace the rack without knowing for sure. I imagine it is a very expensive piece. I guess a trip to the dealer might be in order.

Doug Davis

I guess it could still be a bad upper mount or a bad strut.

At this point you are likely going to have to disassemble them and look for damage/wear.

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Hmmm that arm looks like it threads into the end of the steering rack. It looks like it could come off pretty easy. It might be worth taking it off and seeing if I can detect any damage to that joint. Anybody have that apart yet?

Doug Davis

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Hmmm that arm looks like it threads into the end of the steering rack. It looks like it could come off pretty easy. It might be worth taking it off and seeing if I can detect any damage to that joint. Anybody have that apart yet?

Doug Davis

I have the EXACT SAME PROBLEM to a T. I have replaced the front struts, ball joints and upper strut mounts. The only thing left to replace is the control arm and the steering rack. The mechanic recommended I replace the steering rack but I have not had the time to take the car in to get the steering rack replaced yet.

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Also have the exact same noise, only after warmed up. Also a groaning noise, with just turning the steering wheel tho...Will someone please be the first sucker...errr..volunteer to discover the cause!!

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Well, My car has an 1 year warentee from the Posrche dealer that is *supposed* to cover this so what i'm going to do is take it in and try to get them to replicate it and see what they come up with. I will update this post when I get an answer.

Doug

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My car also has the exact same problem. Clunk that only appears on a warm day after around an hour. I've replaced the upper and lower control arms and the drop links but still no joy. I'm also very keen to hear if someone finds a solution!

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Hoping the collective wisdom of the list can help here...

My 1999 C2 Coupe 45k miles new to me. The car has a clunk coming from the suspension or steering on the *I think* front left. The clunk is audible and can be felt through the steering wheel at slow speeds and small bumps. It does not happen from steering input alone there must be some suspension travel.

Here is the weird part: It only happens after driving at least an hour on a warm (over 75 F) day. It is completly absent when it is cool or short trips.

I think the sway bar links are OK can't feel any play in them. In fact, I think the sway bar links were replaced recently because they look almost new. Tie rod ends also seem tight. I just had the suspension replaced with a brand new M030 Kit so that rules out struts (upper strut bushings were replaced when the kit was put in as well) and sway bar bushings. I was really hoping it would go away after the M030 was installed but it didn't.

I described the problem to my Indy, asking him to check everything when he had it apart but he came up with nothing. Because it only happens after an hour when its hot out he didn't reproduce the problem. But in his defense, he probably thought like I did it would go away after the new suspension was installed.

Anyway any ideas would be appreciated this clunk is driving me crazy.

Doug Davis

Hi Doug,

I am a first timer on this forum,so not sure if this will reach you.

Anyway,I had excactly the same clunck with my just bought 996 last month,which drove me crazy too.

It took me a while to pinpoint it,but the noise that you are getting is caused by the 'inner-tie rod(s).

The ball-joint inside has become dry and gets very tight and noisy when it warms up after aprox. 1hr driving.

I proved it by taking the tie-rod out and putting it in a vice and than warmed it up with a hair-drier,you won't believe

how tight and creacky it gets.I first tried lubricating it but that didn't work! So I renewed both sides in my car and had it wheel-aligned

afterwards. Completely different car to drive now.

Hope this helps.

Edited by Loren
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Any chance of an illustration or pic of which inner tie rod ends you mean? Or do you have the part numbers you installed? That would be enough! Thanks!

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Any chance of an illustration or pic of which inner tie rod ends you mean? Or do you have the part numbers you installed? That would be enough! Thanks!

FWIW

I had a similar problem on my 996. The noise from the front right wasn't really a clunk, but it did squeak quite loudly. The problem would be significantly worse after a 30+ minute drive. The noise was originally evident only with vertical suspension travel, but after a particularly long drive the noise would also occur simply by moving the steering wheel back and forth. I tried greasing all of the bushings in an attempt to isolate the sound (which I have since cleaned). That didn't help the problem. I took it to the local expert and he agreed that it was most likely caused by a failing lower ball joint.

He ordered and replaced the lower control arm...and the problem has not occurred since. The ball joint and the control arm were available as a unit. Once removed it was clear that the old ball joint was stiffer than it should have been.

The part number is 996 341 053 16 "Control Arm front right". The mechanic commented that the last two digits in the number were usually the rev number. If he is correct, the fact that it is a 16 might indicate Porsche has had multiple attempts to fix the ball joint.

I am not sure it is the same problem here, but I thought it was similar enough to mention...

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Any chance of an illustration or pic of which inner tie rod ends you mean? Or do you have the part numbers you installed? That would be enough! Thanks!

It is the inner tie-rod p/n 99634732203

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Hoping the collective wisdom of the list can help here...

My 1999 C2 Coupe 45k miles new to me. The car has a clunk coming from the suspension or steering on the *I think* front left. The clunk is audible and can be felt through the steering wheel at slow speeds and small bumps. It does not happen from steering input alone there must be some suspension travel.

Here is the weird part: It only happens after driving at least an hour on a warm (over 75 F) day. It is completly absent when it is cool or short trips.

I think the sway bar links are OK can't feel any play in them. In fact, I think the sway bar links were replaced recently because they look almost new. Tie rod ends also seem tight. I just had the suspension replaced with a brand new M030 Kit so that rules out struts (upper strut bushings were replaced when the kit was put in as well) and sway bar bushings. I was really hoping it would go away after the M030 was installed but it didn't.

I described the problem to my Indy, asking him to check everything when he had it apart but he came up with nothing. Because it only happens after an hour when its hot out he didn't reproduce the problem. But in his defense, he probably thought like I did it would go away after the new suspension was installed.

Anyway any ideas would be appreciated this clunk is driving me crazy.

Doug Davis

Hi Doug,

I am a first timer on this forum,so not sure if this will reach you.

Anyway,I had excactly the same clunck with my just bought 996 last month,which drove me crazy too.

It took me a while to pinpoint it,but the noise that you are getting is caused by the 'inner-tie rod(s).

The ball-joint inside has become dry and gets very tight and noisy when it warms up after aprox. 1hr driving.

I proved it by taking the tie-rod out and putting it in a vice and than warmed it up with a hair-drier,you won't believe

how tight and creacky it gets.I first tried lubricating it but that didn't work! So I renewed both sides in my car and had it wheel-aligned

afterwards. Completely different car to drive now.

Hope this helps.

Swede,

Thank you. I suspect your problem was the same as mine. You've described it perfectly. I'm glad to see another who has had the same problem with inner rod ends.

After exhaustively searching this and other forums I've discovered that there are many pops, clunks, groans, squeeks, rattles etc. our 996's suspension/steering are capable of making from many different sources. There is at least one TSB (thanks renntech!) on the subject. So all you frustrated owners with front end noises: don't just run out and replace your steering rack! Their are literaly dozens of other, much more common, sources of noise.

I consider myself a good amateur mechanic, and working with a stethescope, tracked the noise to the left inner tie rod end (inside the steering rack). I will take it to the dealer for conformation and repair, then post results to the list.

Thanks for all the help.

Doug Davis

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Any chance of an illustration or pic of which inner tie rod ends you mean? Or do you have the part numbers you installed? That would be enough! Thanks!

It is the inner tie-rod p/n 99634732203

Yes - that's the part number for item 6 in the diagram in post #6 above.

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Thank you swede-man, doug, kgoertz, and richard!! Swede-man, obviously you replaced the parts yourself. If so, how would you rate the difficulty? Is it the same part number for both sides? I will have a lift available. Since I will be installing PSS9s, and will need an alignment anyway, this would be the perfect time to replace the part!! I'll also check my lower ball joint.

Edited by perryinva

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Thank you swede-man, doug, kgoertz, and richard!! Swede-man, obviously you replaced the parts yourself. If so, how would you rate the difficulty? Is it the same part number for both sides? I will have a lift available. Since I will be installing PSS9s, and will need an alignment anyway, this would be the perfect time to replace the part!! I'll also check my lower ball joint.

Yes I did replace the tie-rods myself without removing the steering rack from the car. It is not that difficult but rather fiddely. I also have the use of a vehicle hoist.

Porsche has most probably a special tool to undo the tie-rod from the rack. I borrowed a universal "inner tie-rod removing tool" from a suspension shop, it wasn't ideal but it did the job. I looks like a 300mm long tube that goes over the toothed rack, with at the end of it an open ended spanner on a 90 degree angle. The tube allows you to work away from the steering rack, as there is not much space for a normal spanner. Make sure you use locktite thread lock when you screw on the new part. The trickiest part was to re-fit the clamp on the rubber rackboot (there is not much space), I ended up using a plastic cable tie which worked out fine.

PS. Both inner tie-rods are the same

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Hoping the collective wisdom of the list can help here...

My 1999 C2 Coupe 45k miles new to me. The car has a clunk coming from the suspension or steering on the *I think* front left. The clunk is audible and can be felt through the steering wheel at slow speeds and small bumps. It does not happen from steering input alone there must be some suspension travel.

Here is the weird part: It only happens after driving at least an hour on a warm (over 75 F) day. It is completly absent when it is cool or short trips.

I think the sway bar links are OK can't feel any play in them. In fact, I think the sway bar links were replaced recently because they look almost new. Tie rod ends also seem tight. I just had the suspension replaced with a brand new M030 Kit so that rules out struts (upper strut bushings were replaced when the kit was put in as well) and sway bar bushings. I was really hoping it would go away after the M030 was installed but it didn't.

I described the problem to my Indy, asking him to check everything when he had it apart but he came up with nothing. Because it only happens after an hour when its hot out he didn't reproduce the problem. But in his defense, he probably thought like I did it would go away after the new suspension was installed.

Anyway any ideas would be appreciated this clunk is driving me crazy.

Doug Davis

I experienced the same thing but I discovered the cause a little differently. Recently I did a second test drive on a 2003 C2. I like the first drive but upon continuing with the purchase a wanted to drive it again to confirm my original thoughts about the car. Well, as I am driving I hear this rattle-knock up front. I look at the car's attendant travelling with me and sayes he heard it too. So I try to reproduce it. It's easy to do. Leave the windows up. There it is. Speed up and nothing. Slow down and nothing. Drive at 20 to 40 kph and there it is again.

So I get back to the sales site and tell them to send the car to the dealer to a pre-purchase inspection. That was the plan all along but hearing the knock but it even more necessary.

Since I pay for my own inspections I get the results directly from the authorized dealer.

The result. Control arms are loose. The dealer suggested replacement of both upper and lower control arms. There was no mention of suspension parts other than the arms.

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Guys, I have a 2000 boxster and I get the same clunking sound when turning the wheel to left...I can't figure it out where it's coming from. I jacked the front of the car to check for any obvious signs of damage but no luck. The noise is very similar to the sound a worn/bad CV joint makesin turns, any help would be appreciated.

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Hoping the collective wisdom of the list can help here...

My 1999 C2 Coupe 45k miles new to me. The car has a clunk coming from the suspension or steering on the *I think* front left. The clunk is audible and can be felt through the steering wheel at slow speeds and small bumps. It does not happen from steering input alone there must be some suspension travel.

Here is the weird part: It only happens after driving at least an hour on a warm (over 75 F) day. It is completly absent when it is cool or short trips.

I think the sway bar links are OK can't feel any play in them. In fact, I think the sway bar links were replaced recently because they look almost new. Tie rod ends also seem tight. I just had the suspension replaced with a brand new M030 Kit so that rules out struts (upper strut bushings were replaced when the kit was put in as well) and sway bar bushings. I was really hoping it would go away after the M030 was installed but it didn't.

I described the problem to my Indy, asking him to check everything when he had it apart but he came up with nothing. Because it only happens after an hour when its hot out he didn't reproduce the problem. But in his defense, he probably thought like I did it would go away after the new suspension was installed.

Anyway any ideas would be appreciated this clunk is driving me crazy.

Doug Davis

FINAL UPDATE:

Problem fixed! Took the car to the dealer who sold it to me. They replaced all 4 tierod ends (inner and outer). No more noise. Can't tell which one was the culprit but at least the noise is gone. Unfortunately, my super duper extended warentee did not include tierod ends (surprise LOL)) so I had to pay for the whole thing.

Thanks for all the help, I don't think they would have found it without my suggestions gleaned from this list.

Doug Davis

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What was the cost, at what dealer. if you do not mind?

FINAL UPDATE:

Problem fixed! Took the car to the dealer who sold it to me. They replaced all 4 tierod ends (inner and outer). No more noise. Can't tell which one was the culprit but at least the noise is gone. Unfortunately, my super duper extended warentee did not include tierod ends (surprise LOL)) so I had to pay for the whole thing.

Thanks for all the help, I don't think they would have found it without my suggestions gleaned from this list.

Doug Davis

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Yes, cost would be very interesting to me too! I'm guessing a thousand. It just seems like that's what they would hit you up for on a repair like this...

What was the cost, at what dealer. if you do not mind?

FINAL UPDATE:

Problem fixed! Took the car to the dealer who sold it to me. They replaced all 4 tierod ends (inner and outer). No more noise. Can't tell which one was the culprit but at least the noise is gone. Unfortunately, my super duper extended warentee did not include tierod ends (surprise LOL)) so I had to pay for the whole thing.

Thanks for all the help, I don't think they would have found it without my suggestions gleaned from this list.

Doug Davis

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