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ligardner 09-09-2012 04:39 PM

Loud pop/clunk on low speed turning
OK, I am out of ideas now and can't seem to track down the cause of this noise, hope some of you all have a clue. Sorry about this long post. The problem: in this 2006 Focus wagon, when doing a low speed turn at full steering lock, when I apply the brakes I get a loud clunk or pop. This is definitely coming from the driver side wheel area. The noise is loudest when the steering wheel is turned all the way hard left. On a shallower turn I get a softer clunk. The other part which I think would help in figuring this out is that the clunk noise is loudest when doing this test on a hill. Hard turn either forward/backward on a hill. Only get the clunk when brakes are applied. Cannot get this noise when wheel is straight.

Although I am a bit skeptical there is a possibility its the CV joint. I went under the car yesterday and noted that a very slight amount of grease has oozed out of the CV boot on driver side. The boot isnt cut, the oozing is coming under the front clamp--but just barely enough to notice.
There is no classic clicking or ticking sound like I would expect from a CV joint on the way out.

What I already replaced: both outer tie rod ends, both sway bar end links. The end links on the car were bad, but that is no surprise. The noise was not affected by replacing these parts. The inner tie rod was nice and firm when I had the outer tie rod off--so its not from the inners. The alignment is firm, no unusual tire vibration, no other front end/suspension noises.

Any ideas about whether there is more diagnosing I can do to pin this down?[???:)] I replaced the struts in March but not the mounting plate/bearings. Any way to distinguish a strut mount vs. the CV joint?

(here's older thread on strut mount noises)

sailor 09-09-2012 06:20 PM

Ball joints?

Just a thought....

ligardner 09-09-2012 08:04 PM

Yeah, I forgot to mention ball joint. I guess that should be in the top 3 suspects. I pried up on the tire (while it was lifted about 2 inches) with a crowbar, but could not detect any looseness. So I am leaning toward the CV joint.

Suppose I just do nothing for the next year and wait for the cause to reveal itself. Other than this clunk, the car drives just fine.

2003 Ford Focus 09-09-2012 08:12 PM


Originally Posted by ligardner (Post 4344614)
So I am leaning toward the CV joint. Suppose I just do nothing for the next year and wait for the cause to reveal itself. Other than this clunk, the car drives just fine.

If it's a CV, it will reveal itself real soon. Nasty when they come apart on the highway. Easily fixed before it falls apart too.

2003 Ford Focus 09-11-2012 08:42 AM

One tell-tale sign that it may be a CV is a boot that is split, or wet with grease. If you grab the CV there may be some play in it up, down or side to side.

SilverST05 09-11-2012 11:12 PM

Most probably the CV joints.

ligardner 09-12-2012 08:23 PM

Hey you-all thanks for the suggestions. But maybe its not really the CV joint. My gut feeling is that it is something else. This loud noise can happen at real low speed if the wheel is jacked hard enough. And then it Un-clunks if you put in reverse and then slam on the brakes keeping wheel jacked hard. Whatever is slipping and clunking is moving back and forth when the steering is stretched out in a certain way.

Now it is true that the CV joint will be stressed in this exercise, but this clunk is substantial--you can feel it with your foot. I don't think the CV joint can clunk like that.

How can I assess the stabilizer bar bushing and clamp? I suppose I could take the bar off the car and drive the car without it on my street just to see if the clunk is gone. Might be the only way, yes? If the bushing and bar are clunking arround inside the bracket there's no way I could see evidence of movement with bar in the bracket and on the car.

How does this sound as a strategy?

SilverST05 09-12-2012 08:42 PM

This is sounding like bad motor/transmission mounts.

ligardner 09-12-2012 08:51 PM

Silver, does the dogbone mount have a rubber bushing that can make a clunk? It is true that there is a forward-backward component to this noise. But because of the need to have the wheel jacked hard I assumed this was in some steering component.

I've replaced the driver and passenger side motor mounts but I didn't do the dogbone. Its probably about time. car has 105,000 miles.

focusauto01 09-12-2012 09:04 PM

I just solved a problem that sounded very similar. It almost sounded as if the motor mounts were bad. When I would hit the brakes, are make a hard turn, or go over bumps and pot holes. I did the same thing with you. Started at the cheaper tie rod ends and sway bar end links, then went to the cv axle, and control arm ball joint. My culprit turned out to be a busted upper strut mount. I did some research and found that the upper strut mount is common to blow on these things.

To me yours sounds like either a control arm ball joint, and upper strut Mount. Try the upper strut mount first.

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