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Discussion Starter #1
Symptoms:
- hitting a bump with front (passenger) side wheel
- making a long left turn when suspension is unloading

I hear a clunk noise coming from the front of the vehicle.
In an attempt to fix it I’ve already:
  • replaced sway bar stabilizer links
  • sway bar bushings
  • even put new spring seats for the rear springs (which were torn)
the noise is still there.

My next suspect is the side motor mount. Is this something that would make sense to do?
I’m attaching photos of the motor mount

the van has 57k miles at the moment.

I would appreciate any ideas from this helpful forum
 

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Motor mount looks fine. I would check the ball joint for looseness. I would check wheel bearings for looseness. Also, one cause of clunking is brake calipers. If you lightly ride the brakes when this clunking occurs does it go away?
 

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Take it to a shop, put it on the rack and push and pull on stuff. I had a clunk in the front end of my Avalon I could not chase down, it was a loose bolt on the sway bar link. I looked for freakin MONTHS, took the car in for a tire rotation, mentioned this and the mechanic found it in 23.2 seconds. Had this happen too with a missing brake caliper bolt, left out by a local shop who then refused to do anything about it. THAT was fun (and don't get me started!), but I fixed myself for all of $5 after a lot of frustration.

All of the above fine recommendations as well. Sounds very ball joint-ish to me, but wheel bearing, strut top perhaps, something else loose?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Motor mount looks fine. I would check the ball joint for looseness. I would check wheel bearings for looseness. Also, one cause of clunking is brake calipers. If you lightly ride the brakes when this clunking occurs does it go away?
Thank you for the ideas, John.

I checked:
1) both ball joint and wheel bearings for looseness - both looked good - no play in either 12-6 nor 9-3 positions. Rotating wheel didn't make any grinding noises either.
2) brake calipers - everything is bolted tight.
3) passengers side strut top bolts are also bolted to spec torque
4) checked torque on subframe bracket bolts (all to spec)

To be clear when I drive on straight even road there are no persistent noises. Only when right/passenger wheel hits the bump or after long left turns after suspension uncoils (nothing during right turns).

The only thing that looked anywhere suspicious is amount of grease on top of axle joint. I tried to move the axle front to back of the car and it was stable. Only when I moved it between transmission and wheel hub I heard some subtle clunk - perhaps it is normal. Hope I explained it well enough.

See the attached picture.

I'm stumped - really hoping to solve this without going through dealer's "trial by replacement" diagnostic style :D

155451
155450
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Take it to a shop, put it on the rack and push and pull on stuff. I had a clunk in the front end of my Avalon I could not chase down, it was a loose bolt on the sway bar link. I looked for freakin MONTHS, took the car in for a tire rotation, mentioned this and the mechanic found it in 23.2 seconds. Had this happen too with a missing brake caliper bolt, left out by a local shop who then refused to do anything about it. THAT was fun (and don't get me started!), but I fixed myself for all of $5 after a lot of frustration.

All of the above fine recommendations as well. Sounds very ball joint-ish to me, but wheel bearing, strut top perhaps, something else loose?
Thank you for suggestions Andrew. I recently replaced sway bar links and double checked all of the bolts - all torqued to spec. Caliper bolts are in good shape as well.

Taking to the shop is my last resort but getting pretty close to that... :cautious:
 

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That axle looks DONE.
 

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always hard to diagnose sounds without some video evidence.

another recent poster was describing sounds that ended up being the axle, once a video was posted was as clear as day what the cause was.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sounds like an axle or loose strut.

Jack the van up and feel for looseness in both the CV axles and intermediate shaft. Another test you can do is turn the van full lock either way and hear for clicking.
Special thank you, MrRangerZr1 for all the awesome videos you've been making. Many of us greatly appreciate the time and effort you put into all of that. Kudos!

I've tried tugging the passenger side axle and felt some looseness. The amount of grease on top of makes another argument for replacing it.

I also checked the strut top mount bolts - all tight. Just drove in a circle lock to lock both directions - no clicking/popping sounds.

Would you recommend replacing both axles (pass and drivers) or just the one with problem for now?
 

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I would not do both unless you need both axles.

Are you sure that is leaking grease residue on the axle boot? When grease leaks out, it normally is flung centrifugally and you'll see a clear pattern everywhere else, not much left on the boot. To me, that stuff on the axle looks like it might be some (perhaps slow, not a problem) engine oil leak that gets blown back onto the axle boot and stays there.

On a different car, I once had a weird clunk problem, and the thing that finally (after several years, since it seemed intermittent) allowed me to track it down was I found an open area (e.g., an empty mall parking lot might do it) and did repeated full-lock turns left and right to see what would trigger it. Turned out it the problem I had thought was rare and intermittent was 100% reproducible under these conditions. In my case it was engine crossmember bolts that had loosened up. Not at all saying that's your problem, but the testing might help.
 

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how are the strut mounts and struts themselves? I might swap both front struts and springs along with with stabilizer links.
 

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I would not do both unless you need both axles.

Are you sure that is leaking grease residue on the axle boot? When grease leaks out, it normally is flung centrifugally and you'll see a clear pattern everywhere else, not much left on the boot. To me, that stuff on the axle looks like it might be some (perhaps slow, not a problem) engine oil leak that gets blown back onto the axle boot and stays there.

On a different car, I once had a weird clunk problem, and the thing that finally (after several years, since it seemed intermittent) allowed me to track it down was I found an open area (e.g., an empty mall parking lot might do it) and did repeated full-lock turns left and right to see what would trigger it. Turned out it the problem I had thought was rare and intermittent was 100% reproducible under these conditions. In my case it was engine crossmember bolts that had loosened up. Not at all saying that's your problem, but the testing might help.
have seen that before on a mazda protege, The frame hole / mount for one the lower control arm bolts rotted out.

also had a clunk on my old acura integra that took a while to diagnose, that ended up being the lower control arm bushing that separated from the CA.
was not obvious to see, had to get a prybar in there to see the movement / play.

noises and vibrations take time, the obvious issue now is an axle on its way out, so do one part at a time.

@mbd_int when you get the old axle off, carefully inspect the control arm, ball joint and strut/ and link kit before installing the new one.
 

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Would you recommend replacing both axles (pass and drivers) or just the one with problem for now?
Just the problem axle for now. Make sure the axle is the problem first.
 

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how are the strut mounts and struts themselves? I might swap both front struts and springs along with with stabilizer links.
Just did all 4 on my kids veracruz.
the fronts had the characteristic rattle over bumps.
rear shocks were leaking and could be compressed with minimal effort, and wow were they seized.
the front link kits came off by grabbing them and pulling.
clearly no good.

Strut mounts are tricky to check, usually a good tech can feel it when moving the wheel freely on the hoist.

I have not figured out that trick, if its too stiff to move that's enough of an indicator that the bearings are done.
any play could mean the bushing is done.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
In preparation to replacing the right axle on my van, I've studied the shop manual and found some interesting details about my specific trim and model year that are somewhat different from excellent video that MrRangerZ1 posted on YT:
  • for '12 there is no intermediate shaft. Instead, on the right axle, there is a bracket with two bolts that is used to keep the axle in place - no prying involved on this side
  • on models with HID (like mine) there are special (suspension stroke) sensors attached that need to be taken down before removing the axle. Manual mentions headlight initial position learning (not very clear on the steps and whether that is required)
  • the recommended approach is to separate the knuckle from LCA as opposed to removing shock bolts. I like the removing shock bolts path better but concerned that it may mess up alignment...
 

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Did you read my thread?

I don't have HID but I would say the job went well except for pulling the axle out from the bracket you mention.

It was completely seized in there, took me hammering for about 3 hours until it finally came out.
Maybe it took 3 hours for the penetrating oil to work. I would start putting penetrating oil daily in that gap a week before if I had to do this job again.

Replacing the seal was a bit tricky as well since the space is tight and you have to push it in sideways .

I did not remove the strut mount.
 

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In preparation to replacing the right axle on my van, I've studied the shop manual and found some interesting details about my specific trim and model year that are somewhat different from excellent video that MrRangerZ1 posted on YT:
  • for '12 there is no intermediate shaft. Instead, on the right axle, there is a bracket with two bolts that is used to keep the axle in place - no prying involved on this side
  • on models with HID (like mine) there are special (suspension stroke) sensors attached that need to be taken down before removing the axle. Manual mentions headlight initial position learning (not very clear on the steps and whether that is required)
  • the recommended approach is to separate the knuckle from LCA as opposed to removing shock bolts. I like the removing shock bolts path better but concerned that it may mess up alignment...
All true stuff. Axle will 'just' unbolt, assuming no rust issues. Suspension sensor is on the right front and left rear - just make sure you don't 'over stroke' it and you can leave it attached. I generally like to disconnect the ball joint, as it then doesn't require an alignment after. Generally, you only have to remove the ball joint (the tie rod can often be left in place too). I haven't done an Odyssey axle specifically yet though, so it may be different. Removing the strut to knuckle bolts would generally require an alignment afterwards.

-Charlie
 
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