Author Topic: Clunk - suspension front LHS  (Read 550 times)

gtrombone

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Clunk - suspension front LHS
« on: 04 March 2018, 11:49:15 AM »
Hi all,

New user, tried a few searches and found nothing within the Classic 9-3 forums that resembled my problem. Iím hoping someone might recognise my problem and that it is an inexpensive fix (ROFL).

I have a 2001 9-3 Convertible and have owned it for 3 years. I currently have a clunking sound which is consistent under certain circumstances. Iíve been to three mechanics and have had several fixes completed, none of which fixed the problem.

Hereís a rough sequence of events:

- soon after I bought it I noticed a slight click from the front left wheel area when reversing from my garage, close to full right-hand lock. Itís a moderate decline from my garage, not sure whether thatís a factor or not.

- at some stage during the following attempted fixes the click developed into a clunk which soon became quite a strong clunk (it turns heads when Iím parking!). For 18+ months the clunk has sounded like two large spanners/wrenches being dropped. I donít remember the sequence of repairs nor the point when the click became a clunk.

- while the noise at first only happened on right hand turns (near full lock) it can now be heard during normal driving when the weight of the car shifts forwards and backwards (nb. It needs to alternate - it will clunk once forward, then once backwards and so on, but not twice forward or backwards in a row. A bit like something leans into the front then shifts back and vice versus). The clunk is louder when reversing on a right turn for example during reverse parking. Frenquently passers-by will look to see if Iíve hit something or run over something.

- Iíve had three mechanics look at the problem: my trusted mechanic of 20+ years who didnít know SAABs very well but is a straight shooter; plus two others who work on SAABs more regularly. They all assure me that it is safe to drive as is and that a repair of some sort at some time will fix it. No guarantees which repair it will be but they will try if I agree to pay. Because the issue only sounds when the car is moving it is too dangerous for anyone to stick their nose in to find out exactly what is wrong.

Iíve paid for

- replacing the CV (the general consensus was that it sounded like the CV had gone)

- replacing the control arm

- various boots or bushes (sorry - non-technical person)

So now, the next recommendation is to replace the wheel bearings.

Could anyone confirm this? I know this car costs to keep on the road but Iím not getting value for money at this rate of replacing parts which donít fix the problem.

Many thanks for reading this far and for any hints!

Cheers, Gus

fka

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Re: Clunk - suspension front LHS
« Reply #1 on: 04 March 2018, 12:51:25 PM »
It could be the exhaust catching on something, failed hanger. This might be accentuated if you have worn engine mounts allowing the more movement of the exhaust.

When reversing on full lock in my OG93 if I got close to stalling I could make the exhaust bash on one of the heat shields and that was with healthy engine mounts and a good set of exhaust hangers..
 

gtrombone

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Re: Clunk - suspension front LHS
« Reply #2 on: 04 March 2018, 01:15:29 PM »
Thanks fka, thatís a new thought. Iíll check it out. The car came to me with an aftermarket exhaust system so if it doesnít fit exactly right that would explain it...Thanks.

Any other thoughts are welcome.

sgould

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Re: Clunk - suspension front LHS
« Reply #3 on: 04 March 2018, 04:43:59 PM »
Have you checked that you have the correct brake pads?  If they are loose, you could get the symptoms you describe.

It also sounds as if it could be an engine mounting, which would also affect the exhaust.
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gtrombone

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Re: Clunk - suspension front LHS
« Reply #4 on: 05 March 2018, 02:04:41 PM »
Today Iíve crawled under the car and had a look to see whether there was anything visible to the untrained eye around the exhaust area. What am I looking for? Just simply some play in the exhaust?

The exhaust runs through the centre at the front and the noise is definitely out on the left.

I did have engine mounts looked at. One was replaced and another was put off for later. What will I see if the engine mounts are failing and causing this noise?

Sorry to be so simple about things. I donít have enough knowhow to deduce things myself so Iím left paying for repairs trusting that itís going to solve the noise. If there is something I can physically try on the car without troubling a mechanic Iím willing to give it a go - I just need specific directions.

Regarding brake pads, I am due to have my brakes done very soon so Iíll ask whether they are loose or incorrect - thanks sgould.

fka

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Re: Clunk - suspension front LHS
« Reply #5 on: 05 March 2018, 02:16:35 PM »
You can grab the tail pipe of the exhaust and give it a good old shake around. Specifically you are looking for the rubber hangers that attach the exhaust to the underside of the car, are any missing or split to the extent that they are no longer taking the weight of the exhaust. Also look at the aluminium heat shields, I think there are 2 on the 9-3, are they loose?

David

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Re: Clunk - suspension front LHS
« Reply #6 on: 06 March 2018, 01:30:26 PM »
Had a similar problem on mine. Turned put to be the drop links.

sgould

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Re: Clunk - suspension front LHS
« Reply #7 on: 06 March 2018, 03:41:46 PM »
Drop links are only found out by replacement.  If they knock, they only do it when on the road.  They don't knock when you try to check them with the car stationary.
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gtrombone

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Re: Clunk - suspension front LHS
« Reply #8 on: 07 March 2018, 03:04:52 AM »
Thanks David, good to hear from someone who had the same symptom.

Iíll keep you updated on the repair:

a) brake pads are due for replacement so that will be dealt with
b) I canít find any looseness in the exhaust system and the sound is definitely isolated to the front left but Iíll keep this on my list for now
c) drop link (this attaches to the sway bar right?) is a new contender

sgould

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Re: Clunk - suspension front LHS
« Reply #9 on: 07 March 2018, 09:23:10 AM »
Yes the drop links sit between the strut and the sway bar/anti-roll bar.

On the 1998-2002 9-3 they are quite short.  The ball joints wear, but only make a noise when the car is moving, unless they are very badly worn.
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