Intermitent Clunking from N/S front, on Hard right hand turn

Shocks, springs, anything to do with the running gear

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BanjoJohn
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Intermitent Clunking from N/S front, on Hard right hand turn

Post by BanjoJohn » Fri Nov 23, 2018 4:11 pm

On coldish mornings, when I first drive my 2003 406 HDi Estate (160,000miles) out from it's over night parking place and turn hard right on full lock, it has been making pretty awful noises and judders from the N/S front. It was the same last winter, then I suspected the suspension top mount bearings and fitted new ones to both sides, however this didn't solve the problem. For last year’s MOT, I fitted new drop links to both sides and replaced the N/S front lower ball joint. Over summer it was fine, but recently, on colder mornings, it has started again. I decided that it must be a worn CV joint, though the boot was not damaged. Last weekend I removed the N/S drive shaft and inspected the CV joint, there was plenty of grease in it and no detectable wear. Never the less I fitted a EuroParts replacement CV joint kit. Guess what? Grunch/ knock, grunch/knock, grunch/knock! It seems it wasn't the CV joint after all, so still a mystery!

Just to summarise: It only happens when driving out first thing in the morning during a tight right-hand turn, going slightly up hill. During this turn, just for a few second there’s generally 3 to 5 clunking judders from the N/S front, it shakes the car and can be felt through the steering wheel. However, after this it drives and steers smoothly at all times. It seems to be worse the colder the weather is. Anybody got any ideas?

PeterN
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Re: Intermitent Clunking from N/S front, on Hard right hand turn

Post by PeterN » Sat Nov 24, 2018 8:04 am

It certainly sounds like the CV joint, if it had been the o/s I would have suggested possibly the centre bearing. Presumably you took the shaft out when you changed the joint, what did the inner joint feel like? It sounds like lack of lubrication due to the grease having gone hard, never had that problem but there is always a first time.

Peter

BanjoJohn
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Re: Intermitent Clunking from N/S front, on Hard right hand turn

Post by BanjoJohn » Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:43 pm

Thanks for your reply Peter! Yes, I took the shaft out and brought it into my workshop to do the CV joint change. The inner joint seemed Ok, though to be honest I didn't pay too much attention to it... The rubber boot was fine and it felt like it was moving freely enough, there was no sign of any grease coming out of it. However, this joint doesn't have to move anywhere near as much as the outer joint, in accommodating the movement of the front wheel at a full lock turn, which makes me still suspect the outer one... The new joint that I put on seemed to be very tight, could it be that this may be the cause, perhaps after a few thousand miles it will wear in and the problem might go away. On very cold mornings the grease might stiffen up compounding the problem???

PeterN
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Location: Charmouth, Dorset

Re: Intermitent Clunking from N/S front, on Hard right hand turn

Post by PeterN » Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:28 pm

Personally if it drive's OK I wouldn't worry about it - except first thing in the morning :wink: if it is stiff it should 'wear in' eventually, if not it may manifest itself after you have put some miles on it.

Peter

jasper5
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Re: Intermitent Clunking from N/S front, on Hard right hand turn

Post by jasper5 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 1:33 pm

BanjoJohn wrote:
Fri Nov 23, 2018 4:11 pm
On coldish mornings, when I first drive my 2003 406 HDi Estate (160,000miles) out from it's over night parking place and turn hard right on full lock, it has been making pretty awful noises and judders from the N/S front. It was the same last winter, then I suspected the suspension top mount bearings and fitted new ones to both sides, however this didn't solve the problem. For last year’s MOT, I fitted new drop links to both sides and replaced the N/S front lower ball joint. Over summer it was fine, but recently, on colder mornings, it has started again. I decided that it must be a worn CV joint, though the boot was not damaged. Last weekend I removed the N/S drive shaft and inspected the CV joint, there was plenty of grease in it and no detectable wear. Never the less I fitted a EuroParts replacement CV joint kit. Guess what? Grunch/ knock, grunch/knock, grunch/knock! It seems it wasn't the CV joint after all, so still a mystery!

Just to summarise: It only happens when driving out first thing in the morning during a tight right-hand turn, going slightly up hill. During this turn, just for a few second there’s generally 3 to 5 clunking judders from the N/S front, it shakes the car and can be felt through the steering wheel. However, after this it drives and steers smoothly at all times. It seems to be worse the colder the weather is. Anybody got any ideas?

There's only one way to test for a worn cv joint and that is to drive in a circle on full lock.
It's unusual to get an intermittent noise with a cv joint, if it's worn it will be noisy on every turn.
Are you certain that your noise is n/s? It's not always easy to tell which side the noise is.

Get someone to listen to the noise while you drive it to confirm which side the noise is coming from.

A new cv joint will always feel tight and you must get the grease deep inside when you lubricate it first time or the joint will wear out quickly.

As I said, get someone to stand by the car and listen to the noise or stand there yourself and let someone drive it.

Also watch the coil spring when the steering is turned on full lock, it shouldn't move as you turn the steering, if it does I would check the top mount and bearing again.

BanjoJohn
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Re: Intermitent Clunking from N/S front, on Hard right hand turn

Post by BanjoJohn » Sun Nov 25, 2018 3:39 pm

Thanks for your post Jasper... Yes I did do full lock circles in reverse, both left and right to diagnose the CV joint, before I ordered the replacement. The left side was definitely quite noisy... On the question of the strut top bearings... I had that problem on the previous 406 car, that bearing was pretty much completely seized, so when doing a tight turn the coil spring was being stressed in torsion as it's lower part twisted with the wheel. whilst the upper part was restrained by the seized bearing... Sometimes the bearing would suddenly move and that would cause quite a noise... Eventually the spring broke. As I said in my first post, it was the top bearings which I first suspected on this present car and I replaced them both last year. I do recall that the ones I took off were no where near as bad as the one which had seized on that earlier car... Replacing the top bearings did not solve the present issue. If these bearings are free to move as they should, then the whole spring will turn smoothly, without any jerks, as the steering is moved and the strut pivots with it. I'm still no closer to solving this...

jasper5
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Re: Intermitent Clunking from N/S front, on Hard right hand turn

Post by jasper5 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:47 pm

It's possible there could be an issue with the power steering.
You really need to be outside of the car in position when someone drives the car and watch and listen to the car to see if anything shows up.
Check the wheel on full lock without moving the car to see if the wheel is catching anything.
Also check things like the brake pads and sliders for sticking and the backplate for catching the disc, especially where the bottom ball joint is.

BanjoJohn
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Re: Intermitent Clunking from N/S front, on Hard right hand turn

Post by BanjoJohn » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:12 am

Thanks for this advice Jasper, I will definitely have a look and a listen at the weekend from outside the car, get my son to drive it... In the meantime I have just had 2 morning starts where the temperature has been +12 degrees C and the problem seems not to be manifesting at that temperature.... Weird isn't it? Could it be down to the stiffness of the grease in the CV joint?

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