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Front End Clunk Fixed Posted by eric in vermont [Email] (#2058) [Profile/Gallery] (more from eric in vermont) on Fri, 17 Nov 2023 14:49:04 Members do not see ads below this line. - Help Keep This Site Online - Signup
I have a '71 96 that I drive at least once a week to Burlington, about a 50 mile round trip. It began to make a clunky sound on the driver's side front end on hard right turns. This is when that side has the most load on it.
What could it be? Ball joint? Tie rod end? Wheel bearing? CV joint? Steering rack itself? Could be any of these...
So I backed it in the barn, jacked up the front end and began to search for the problem. It seemed like there was a bit of play in the lower ball joint, but it was hard to tell. Then I noticed that the boot clamp for the outer CV joint had come loose. I decided to remove the front axle assembly to clean out the joint and reclamp the boot. During this fun activity, I found several things.
- The lower ball joint was slightly loose. I was pretty sure I had a set of new ones on hand. When I opened the box, I found old ones in there. Rats. A quick search on the interweb and there wasn't anything to be had quickly. So I went to my used parts bin. I had probably a half a dozen of the old style- the ones that you can take apart, clean, and adjust- with a nice grease fitting. So I decided to take one that felt good apart. I cleaned out the old hard grease and it looked perfect. So I greased it, put it back together and adjusted it. Felt great!
- Next I found that the two bolts that hold the brake caliper on were not quite tight. Yes, the sheet metal staking was holding them in. But they weren't tight. So I fixed that.
- Then I found that when I put the tie rod end back in, the nut tightened all the way to the end of the threads, but I could see that the tie rod wasn't tight in the arm. It could slightly move up and down. A thick washer under the nut fixed that one.
I couldn't feel any play anywhere else, so it all went back together, along with a new clamp on the cleaned and repacked CV joint. The car feels tight now, with no clunks.
Just writing to encourage you to check everything when you have the chance. Almost time to put the Saabs away for winter!
eric in vermont
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