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Old 02-28-2011, 09:45 AM   #1
Max57
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Strange noise from front of car

Hi,

I have tried searching but my problem doesn't seem exactly the same as anything I've come across, maybe just need some help to diagnose it. I've read this http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=187714 so will try to be as specific as possible.

I have a 2002 Focus 2.0 Ghia 5-door, UK spec, 100,000 miles.

This morning driving to work I noticed a weird 'thump' noise coming from the front passenger side of the car. I noticed immediately after setting off, I had to make a tight 180 turn right, in the car park (this is on full lock at 5mph) and heard a loud and clear thump that sounded kind of like something hard striking the underbody or in the wheel well.

I stopped and looked under the car but couldn't see any obvious snapped suspension parts. I couldn't really look properly as it was raining and I was in my suit trousers.

Anyway the noise occured a few times on the way to work. It only seems to occur at very low speed, as in moving off from a standing start, and it only clangs/thumps once or twice and then stops.

I can't feel any problems through the steering, wobble, pulling to the side etc. All seems fine.

The best I can describe the sound is that it sounds like something 'flicking' as in being bent and building up energy, then releasing and striking against something. But that might be a bad description. It definately sounds like a metallic clang or thump noise.

I'd really appreciate any help. And I need to know how long it's safe to drive like this as I don't have any tools myself and only the wheel change bottle jack, but I could access some better equipment this weekend (it's monday today).

Thanks


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Old 02-28-2011, 09:52 AM   #2
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That sounds like a broken sway bar end link to me. The endlink could have broken and now the sway bar itself is bouncing up into the body. If it is the endlink, its a cheap and easy fix.
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:40 AM   #3
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Tried getting the wheel off at lunchtime to look at the sway bar end link, but couldn't as the wheel is stuck to the hub at the moment and as I haven't got a proper jack I didn't want to try too hard to get it off.

Have to make do with these photos from sticking my phone in the wheel well. The wheel was off the ground when these were taken.






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Old 02-28-2011, 01:33 PM   #4
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Update: the noise occurs when winding on or taking off lock on the steering. It still occurs when turning the wheel whilst stationary. There are no weird noises when going over bumps. The noise sounds like a thunk and occurs a few times in succession if you wind the steering from one lock to the other, or just a couple of times or once when turning tight corners while driving.
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:00 PM   #5
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If you feel wobbling in the steering wheel, then you might have a qualified suspension tech look at your tie rod ends. Other than that, yeah, sway bar end links make all sorts of rattling noises when going over rough pavement, and can make a POP sound when changing steering directions. However, tie rod end failure will cause a sharp turn in either direction of one wheel- you should at least jack the vehicle, turn the steering all the way to one side, and go check the exposed tie rod end on the other side from where you turned. If it moves easily, the boot is broken, or it is loose- you need to have that replaced immediately. To replace one, you must have the front end aligned, so you might as well replace both IMO- especially since your car is near 10 years old.

If it's merely the sway bar end links- repair those at your leisure. No damage will occur from complete failure.
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:26 PM   #6
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Thanks for your help. I jacked it up and checked the tie rod end. I couldnt generate any movement with my hands, and there wasn't any play in the sway bar end links either as best I could tell. What I did discover is that the spring doesn't look right, it's not the same as on the 'good' side and it doesn't seem to be sitting right. Could the spring be making a noise as it twists? I've got some photos I'll try to upload next.
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:13 PM   #7
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The spring may have broken...look closely at the coils for a break. Thats rare , but can happen.
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:08 AM   #8
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Yeah I think it could be broken. Have some photos but can't upload them from my phone so will have to do when I get to work.

How dangerous is it to drive???

Will it make the damage worse???

Thanks for the help!
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:23 AM   #9
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I suspect it is a broken spring. How dangerous is that to drive on??? Will it cause more damage??? If the car shouldn't be used then I need to know. Thanks for your help.
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:34 AM   #10
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I wouldn't drive on a broken spring..

I know my mom had snapped a spring in her Malibu, and it was very noticeable. The whole front passenger side of the car was sitting lower than the driver side. I would suspect it'd be the same for you, but maybe not.
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