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Clunking sound from right front wheel on turns

We have a mystery: there's a clunking sound from our right front wheel when we turn, but our mechanic can't figure out why - he says the axle, struts and ball joint there all look fine. What else could be causing the sound - is he missing something important? This sound happens about 50% of the time on turns.



Note that we recently (about 10 days ago) had the ball joint and struts replaced on the LEFT front wheel - could that have done something to the balance of the axle, etc. that is making this sound happen on the right front wheel? This is an old car (a 1996 Mazda Protege with 115,000 miles on it) but it's been well-maintained and is otherwise running well.
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Comments

  • edited January 2011
    I'll bet my morning muffins that it's a CV joint. Probably the inner one. Try another shop.
  • edited January 2011
    I am in agreement with mountainbike.
    Another mechanic who is more thorough/competent is likely to find a defective CV joint.

    Incidentally, no amount of preventive maintenance in the world can prevent CV joints from going bad.
    Either as a result of age/odometer mileage or from a tear in the rubber boot surrounding the joint, CV joints do have to be replaced at some point in all FWD and AWD cars. I think the evidence points toward your car being at that point.
  • edited January 2011
    "Clunk, clunk, clunk,... or 1 "clunk"
  • edited January 2011
    I'm leaning towards needing a new axle, but if it is a single clunk each time, that would open a few more possibilities. Did the noise start only after the work on the left side? If so, did they replace the sway bar link on the left side when they did the strut? If so, then you would have a stiff, tight joint on the left side of the vehicle driving a potentially loose, sloppy joint on the right side via the sway bar, and so it could be a sway bar link or even a strut mount on the right side making the noise...
  • edited January 2011
    It's just 1 "clunk", when we're turning. Seems to happen more on sharp turns than on gradual turns.
  • edited January 2011
    Since it's only one clunk I retract my post....but I'll give you the muffins anyway.

    In addition to the suggestions already mentioned, let me add the strut and perhaps a broken spring coil. But I also have a question: why was only the left strut replaced? Did something happen? Struts are usually replaced in pairs, and a strut can look fine and still be bad.
  • edited January 2011
    Thanks for the muffins :-)!

    Hmmm, not 100% certain about the number of struts replaced - my husband thinks it probably was both in the pair since our mechanic said he was replacing strutS (the plural), but we aren't absolutely sure. We're taking our car back in to be looked at tomorrow morning, armed with the excellent suggestions we've gained here, and we'll ask about the strut question as well as these other things. Many thanks, knowledgeable car people!
  • edited January 2011
    And yes...we ARE going back to the same mechanic (we like him!) - but if he can't fix it this time we promise to go and find someone else who can.
  • edited January 2011
    Something just occurred to me. Perhaps too late as usual.

    It's very possible that when the struts were changed the tech did not properly seat the spring ends or perhaps the top part. When changing struts, the shock/spring assembly is removed, the spring is clamped, a nut at the end of the shock's center shaft is removed, the now-freed end piece is removed, and the pieces including the springs and rubber isolaters are transferred to the new shock and reassembled. The prudent thing is to mark the pieces and be sure they're all properly oriented in the new assembly, including proper seating of the isolators and the spring ends.

    Perhaps one of yours isn't properly seated.
  • edited January 2011
    The problem has been found and fixed! It turns out that the sway bar on that side is just slightly bent (probably from an impact before we owned the car - we bought it used), and because of wear on the right ball joint, the sway bar was sometimes coming into contact with the piece below it when we turned. Our mechanic replaced the right ball joint this morning, and voila - no more clunk! Incidentally, it was actually a body shop guy who located the problem - our mechanic advised us to see one this morning - and then our mechanic fixed it. Thanks so much for all your help everyone - we were able to discuss this whole thing much more knowledgeably because of you, and I know that helped us reach the solution!
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