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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry for the long post but I want to be thorough 03 svt two door, 134k, rattle from right front.
-new struts
-new top bearings
-new moog lca both sides
-new moog end links
-new bolts everywhere torqued to spec
-all subframe bolts intact and tight

Running out of ideas on this,some history the car had seen very little maintenance in its life, when i got it, it had the frontend rattle, original strut on drivers side, new strut on right, mismatched springs, bent control arm. The rattle was there and I assumed it was the new mismatched strut in the old top bearing. So i went through and replaced everything in the frontend and the rattle is still there. I even switched the end links from side to side on the off chance I got a bad link. I went through retorqued every bolt and I also checked the subframe bolts. Even a slight bump causes the rattle. Jacking the car up there is no movement at 12 and 6 or 9 and 3. If i bounce the car i don't hear it rattle. If I support the control arm at ride height and hit the tire with a dead blow I don't hear it. The sway bar has been replaced but the bolts are still there and the poly bushings are intact. Any one have any ideas of what to check next? Could the axle/cv/carrier bearing cause this?

Scott
 

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Worn sway bar bushings would be something to check. The nut on the top of the strut shaft, the three nuts around that but as well.
 

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How are the ball joints looking?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Guys read above, new lower control arms, new struts, new top bearings, i have been through every nut twice retorquing them. Can't be 100% on the sway bar without dropping the subframe but with the end links off it slides back and forth a little but doesnt seem loose, i can't make it rattle anyway. I didn't change the tie rod ends but they seem very tight and there is no 3 and 9 movement.
 

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Guys read above, new lower control arms, new struts, new top bearings, i have been through every nut twice retorquing them. Can't be 100% on the sway bar without dropping the subframe but with the end links off it slides back and forth a little but doesnt seem loose, i can't make it rattle anyway. I didn't change the tie rod ends but they seem very tight and there is no 3 and 9 movement.
We did read your post and took the time to reply in an attempt to help you.

If you insist that you replaced and then double checked everything, what possible suggestions would not fall under the "I already checked that" umbrella?
 

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Can always throw out the std. Passenger side motor mount suggestion, but vibration wasn't mentioned.

Bad enough, seen clunks & rattles mentioned from them - particularly when turning.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Sailor, I replaced the dog bone it was trashed maybe it trashed the passenger motor mount as well I will pull it tomorrow and check. I don't have any odd vibrations but that doesn't mean it isn't an issue.

I am fairly confident this is not in the suspension parts I just replaced. There is an outside chance it could be the aftermarket swaybar and poly mounts but I don't think so. Also the fact that it persisted between the old parts and the new ones points towards something other than the new parts. Also when I say I checked and retorqued every bolt I did exactly that. I also didn't reuse any bolt except for the caliper mounting plate bolts. All bolts were new all from Ford, everything was clean and burr free before it went back together. Fwiw since no one knows me here, i am new to the ford focus but not new to car maintenance. About the only time my car goes to the shop is for AC work or alignments. Also when I do a job I do it right the first time, I don't skimp on parts, I don't try to stretch it till something fails. In the long run it is cheaper and less frustrating to do it right the first time. All of my cars go until they wont go anymore so mileage > 200k is just broken in.
 

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You will not be able to apply as much force on the stabilizer bar bracket bushings as the car will when moving. Very little clearance on one side there, moving it by hand you got close to the rattle but not close enough to make contact. The car will in a second though.

Need to start looking at attachment of body parts which can easily rattle too. May possibly have a cracked unibody weld too. Not always just the suspension. Even the plastic inner wheel liner can rattle when the pop-in fasteners get old and loose.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Good thought on the inner liner, however I forgot to mention I had thought of inner liner and pulled it out just to see, also to check for something behind inner liner rattling. Going to see tomorrow if i can get some shim stock wedged around the sway bar mount to see if it makes a difference in the rattle.
 

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The working action of the bar will simply spit out any shimstock you put in there in short order. You change the BUSHINGS.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Shims just needed to last half a mile for a test, just trying to isolate the problem before doing the work. From my test I am 100% certain it is not the sway bar bushings. I am almost sure it is the carrier bearing on the passengers side axle. I took the new strut out and put the old one back in without the spring so I could work the suspension. At ride height I can pull and push on the axle an it sounds like the noise. I seem to have several thousanths of an inch of play in that bearing. It turns smoothly, but has a lot of wiggle laterally.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Definitely the passenger axle, I just pulled it out and the intermediate carrier bearing is shot. I can not believe it wasn't howling or making some other noise. I believe this is the original axle and the boots are a little rough so I just ordered a new complete new one as that appears to be the cheapest route.
 

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Good find, glad I left this here to chase possibilities other than suspension.
 

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Going through same thing. Car made no noise at all, replace some belt things requiring motor to be lifted up/down with no mount and after back together the axle then making noise like joint is dead. WTF? Pull it and that same bearing is dead. Was wondering if in the up/down if I didn't over extend axle angle to fail it in there while doing that. 200K axle so needed one anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I meant to follow up on this early last week, but life got in the way. I swapped out the axle and the passenger carrier bearing was indeed toast. I believe when the PO bent the control arm it damaged the bearing, when I popped the seals off and looked at it and the edges/sides of the races were really worn. Oddly it still rolls very well and smoothly it just has has about 1/16th of an inch of back and forth play. I suspect putting a straight control arm back on there eased the amount of pressure on the bearing making it even worse. The inner axle joint showed a lot of wear as well so if this hadn't happened now I would have been doing it in the middle of winter. It is amazing how noisy this was, it truly sounded like a bad end link or top bearing. For anyone removing axles go buy yourself an impact hammer makes this an easy job. It really moves the axles out of the bearing and drops the tie rod ends effortlessly.
 

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Mine fixed. Turned out to be a cracked outer ring on one end of the tripod inner joint. I obviously overextended the driveshaft while moving engine up/down, beware..........
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the warning on the up and down, I noticed a little antifreeze on the the water pump so I am going to be doing the up and down to replace it in the next couple of weekends. Knew I should have done that water pump when I was in there but it looked like a new water pump so I didn't, ah the joys of hindsight.
 

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You can go higher if you use a second jack under LCA to raise it at same time engine jacks up to keep the axle angle close to straight, just sometimes I'm lazy and there it bit me. I knew it was possible but got lost in the moment. Up is where the issue lies, down will let boot cut on bottom when all weight rests the axle on frame there. That one you can easily watch while going through the motion.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Good tip, definitely going to have to do that water pump next weekend, i am running out of things to replace, lol.
 
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