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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

2001 EX - 150,000 miles. Original suspension. Struts, boots, shocks, springs, sway bars, calipers and rotors all original. Pads of course have been maintained.

I've got two separate suspension sounds going on that I'm sure others have had based on my searches and I could use your help.

#1 - The Clunk - There seems to be a lot of thunky road noise transmitted through the suspension. Have 4 new Cooper CS4's and that has cut down on the persistent whining, but it seems every bump and pothole, even tiny ones, produces a kind of muted hollow thud. It is not jolting or hugely uncomfortable but it is more than noticeable. I could start throwing parts at this thing, but I'm curious if there is any consensus on any low hanging fruit I should look at first.

#2 - The Creak - You know that sound you hear in the movies of an early 1800's-era wooden frigate gently creaking as it rolls on the dark, foggy sea? Imagine that type of creaking coming from somewhere in the front end of the Odyssey. It happens as I accelerate or decelerate, even at a gentle acceleration. Only noticeable under 20 MPH. Also noticeable when turning either direction at low MPH. I'm wondering if it has something to do with spring or strut mount movement since it happens when the front end is pitching. But it also happens when turning, so don't know if there is anything to that notion. Any ideas?

I'd love to be able to get back at list a little of that new van ride.

Did the TSB for sway bars on this era Odyssey take care of any of the thunks?

I'm taking the wheels off this weekend to inspect, so any thoughts on what to look for are much appreciated.
 

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had identical noise you described on my 2000 EX with 177000 miles for sometime. did the struts first, but the noise didn't go away.

just got sometime to spare this past weekend so I did all the bushings in the front end: the front and rear bushings in the lower control arms and sway bar bushings.

that took care of it. the parts only cost about $50 from one of the advertisers here.
 

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it did take me quite sometime because I don't have a hydraulic press to press the bushings in and out. I strongly suggest to get a press if you don't have one. and an impact wrench is almost necessary to install the control arms back. with proper tools, you should be able to get them done in one afternoon with ease.

there is a thread of instructions here, just search for it.

check the sway bar links while you are at it. I replaced mine when I replaced the struts. the ball ends were all rusted and seized. that would give the creaking noise you described. the worn out sway bar bushings are the source of clunking.

this has been the most rewarding job I have done on the car. you can really tell the difference when it is all done.
 

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Other possibilities are loose brake calipers and weld burrs at the top of the front strut mounts.
 

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Just hook your feet to the cowl and hang head first under the bumper while a good friend (not ex wife) drives slowly and maybe you can figure it out :D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ha! I suddenly have visions of Indiana Jones under a truck. Don't try that at home!


Thanks folks. When I had my tires put on I noticed that the rear bushing cover at the control arm was cracked on the passenger side. That could be the culprit.
 

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HondaFam,

Did you ever get this fixed? I am having the exact same symptoms as your creak. I also had the clunk and got rid of that by replacing the stabilizer bar end links and bushings. Now considering doing the control arm bushings and any other front end bushings. Would love to hear if this worked for you.

Thanks,

-Peter
 

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I had a creak on the passenger side and was convinced it was the passenger side strut. Does not happen on every bump, but especially noticeable when accelerating/decelerating. After replacing the strut/strut mount (which did not fix this) and padding everything on that side, found the problem: a body seam spot weld inside of the right fender had broke, so every flex on that side caused the "sounds like an old boat" creak. The location of the welds are at the external junction of the A pillar and the main frame. Fixed this by taking out the upper fender bolts, the plastic triangle piece on the outside (careful -- check the SM as there is a tricky clip) and very gently pulling back the right fender. Now the body spot welds are visible. Only one was broken which caused this annoying creaking -- I stuffed some thick rubber weatherstripping to pad both sides of the broken weld. Reassembled. No more creaking.

Amazing how nice the van rides without the constant creaking.
 

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Ron777,

Can you give us a visual (picture) where you found this problem? Sorry, but I'm not quite sure where it is based on your description.

You may have found a ghost a lot of us have been chasing.
 

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had identical noise you described on my 2000 EX with 177000 miles for sometime. did the struts first, but the noise didn't go away.

just got sometime to spare this past weekend so I did all the bushings in the front end: the front and rear bushings in the lower control arms and sway bar bushings.

that took care of it. the parts only cost about $50 from one of the advertisers here.
If bushings are the cause, then he could test that theory by: a) reproduce the issue b) spray one bushing at a time with WD-40 c) see if sound is gone

Having said that, the hollow sound (if it's the one that sounds like you hit a metal barrel) is likely to be produced by strut spring. That's the only part I'm aware of that could produce the low-pitch vibration of that sort. Since struts were never replaced for 150K miles, it is very likely that something went loose in the strut/mount/spring assembly and now spring doesn't sit tight and slips. This theory could be tested by: a) reproduce the issue b) spray springs with WD-40 on both top and bottom ends c) see if sound is gone

Also: 150K and 13 years is a good time to start swapping suspension as well as engine mounts.
 

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Ron777,

Can you give us a visual (picture) where you found this problem? Sorry, but I'm not quite sure where it is based on your description.

You may have found a ghost a lot of us have been chasing.
Unfortunately I did not take any pics when I was determined to chase this down. First, let me describe what I was hearing:

-- Creaking like an old chair/boat on low speed bumps (like backing out of the driveway over the sidewalk), during acceleration/deceleration, and sometimes when making turns. All coming from the passenger side. Sounded like it was inside the vehicle near the side mirror/base of the A pillar area. This had me tearing apart that side of the dash and tightening all the bolts I could find (which did not help).

The source was a broken spot weld in the subframe accessible from the outside, under the right fender. The exact location is behind the top edge of the fender meeting the A pillar (exterior). (In between the A-pillar/fender break, the antenna hole and the black plastic cover forward of the side mirror.) Of course you cannot see anything normally -- the welds are behind the right fender.

Accessing the subframe welds is slightly tricky, but doable if you are careful -- this is how I did it:

1. Prop open the hood and remove the 10mm top fender bolts. Three are along the top along the hood line. One is visible and accessible only when you open the door (top bolt, not the bolts that hold the door hinge!)
2. With the door open, you can see the single screw holding the black plastic "triangle" cover forward of the side mirror. Careful! Use a nylon door panel removal tool to reach behind this panel to pop the clip -- refer to service manual for exact location of this clip. Remove the plastic triangle cover.
3. I did unscrew the antenna whip, though this may be unnecessary. Just want to get it out of the way.
4. CAREFULLY and GENTLY lift the top of the right fender over the lip of the subframe (along the hood line) and gently pull back the top of the fender just enough to see the grey subframe.
5. Now you will see the spot welds that I was referring to. There was orange rust on mine, but one was clearly broken. A slight flex of the area will cause the creaking sound.
6. Took a long flat blade screwdriver to widen the gap of the broken weld. Stuffed some weatherstripping which may be extraneous -- just widening the broken weld gap should be enough to stop the creaking. However, I do NOT want to do this again!
7. Reassemble carefully.

If you do not pull back the top of the fender too far -- just enough to access the bad welds -- you will not crease your fender.

I think many of us replace our upper strut mounts thinking the noise was coming there (I did). I greased the strut bump stops, padded the mounts per the TSB, tried it all, but none of this helped. After doing this spot weld fix, the creaking was COMPLETELY gone.

Hope this helps. No pics :(
 

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Thanks, Ron777!

With your detailed procedure we should all be able to attempt this. One of us will post pix, right gang?
 

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Forgot to add -- my Odyssey is a 2003 EX, but this should apply to most years in our generation.
Unfortunately I did not take any pics when I was determined to chase this down. First, let me describe what I was hearing:

-- Creaking like an old chair/boat on low speed bumps (like backing out of the driveway over the sidewalk), during acceleration/deceleration, and sometimes when making turns. All coming from the passenger side. Sounded like it was inside the vehicle near the side mirror/base of the A pillar area. This had me tearing apart that side of the dash and tightening all the bolts I could find (which did not help).

The source was a broken spot weld in the subframe accessible from the outside, under the right fender. The exact location is behind the top edge of the fender meeting the A pillar (exterior). (In between the A-pillar/fender break, the antenna hole and the black plastic cover forward of the side mirror.) Of course you cannot see anything normally -- the welds are behind the right fender.

Accessing the subframe welds is slightly tricky, but doable if you are careful -- this is how I did it:

1. Prop open the hood and remove the 10mm top fender bolts. Three are along the top along the hood line. One is visible and accessible only when you open the door (top bolt, not the bolts that hold the door hinge!)
2. With the door open, you can see the single screw holding the black plastic "triangle" cover forward of the side mirror. Careful! Use a nylon door panel removal tool to reach behind this panel to pop the clip -- refer to service manual for exact location of this clip. Remove the plastic triangle cover.
3. I did unscrew the antenna whip, though this may be unnecessary. Just want to get it out of the way.
4. CAREFULLY and GENTLY lift the top of the right fender over the lip of the subframe (along the hood line) and gently pull back the top of the fender just enough to see the grey subframe.
5. Now you will see the spot welds that I was referring to. There was orange rust on mine, but one was clearly broken. A slight flex of the area will cause the creaking sound.
6. Took a long flat blade screwdriver to widen the gap of the broken weld. Stuffed some weatherstripping which may be extraneous -- just widening the broken weld gap should be enough to stop the creaking. However, I do NOT want to do this again!
7. Reassemble carefully.

If you do not pull back the top of the fender too far -- just enough to access the bad welds -- you will not crease your fender.

I think many of us replace our upper strut mounts thinking the noise was coming there (I did). I greased the strut bump stops, padded the mounts per the TSB, tried it all, but none of this helped. After doing this spot weld fix, the creaking was COMPLETELY gone.

Hope this helps. No pics :(
Thank Ron777 for your descriptive procedures that helped removing my mysterious noise.
In my case the noise only surfaced when outside temperature was above 0 deg C. Also, I did not see any problem with the sub-frame weld so I did not do any modification to it and put everything back together. Magically, the noise has gone. It has been done 3 months ago and it is getting warmer to indicate that the noise hasn't come back.
I think that one (or more) bolts that hold the mirror or right fender (passenger side) have loosen due to its age (2002 van) and changes in temperature. So, while following the procedure I tightened "that" bolt without knowing it. The "old boat" creak that haunted me in the last 3 years has gone for good.

Note:
In step2, after removing the single screw, push the triangle forward to the front to undo the hidden clip. (I broke my clip since I did not know which way to undo the clip, but it is still OK)
I did not do step3.

Thanks again.
 
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