My 1997 Honda, with 200,000 miles was making a clunking noise when I turned right. The mechanic replaced the rack & pinion, which stopped the clunking. However, it still makes a rhythmical softer clunking or clicking sound on right turns. It takes a while on the road for this to start, but once it starts, it happens on every single right turn. The mechanic said there is nothing wrong with the axle or the struts or anything whatsoever and it is probably just the flap hitting the fender, or something like that bec the car is so old. However, the noise is too rhythmical, too consistent for me to be confident that it is just pieces of rubber or metal randomly brushing together. any ideas? thanks -
“clicking sound on right turns.”
A cv axleshaft is shot. to be specific, the outer joint is shot
Quite possibly the left side
Replace it and you’ll be good to go. May want to consider doing both sides
I strongly recommend against cheap chinese new axleshafts. In fact, one of those mom and pop axle shops should to be able to do both sides for you cheaper than the other guys
while you’re at it, make sure the boots on the other side are in good shape.
thanks - what does that mean in terms of urgency for replacing them. And, why do you think that my own mechanic had it up on the lift and did not see this?
He didn’t see it, because there’s nothing to see. You don’t see a worn out joint, because it’s underneath a rubber bellows
If he’d driven it around the block a few times . . . left and right turns . . . he’d have heard it
Replace them immediately. Wouldn’t want have an axle physically break, leaving you stranded in the bad part of town, at night . . .
thanks. i don’t mean to impose on your generosity with your time - but he said he did drive it around the block twice and he didnt hear anything, but as I said, i have to drive sometimes about 15 minutes for it to start clicking. Does that make sense?
Does clicking noise occur while stepping on the brake pedal while making a right turn?
You probably have a remanufactured axle on the left side, actually both sides but so many reman axles should not have been remaned, they were too far gone to begin with. A heavy grease and rubber boots muffle the sound and it may take awhile for the grease to heat up enough due to friction for the noise to start.
I would replace them with the new axles manufactured in China. The Chinese axles aren’t as good as the Honda new axles, but they are adequate for a car this age and they are a lot better than most remans.
I’m with the assumption of CV axle outer joint including what keith said about the grease warming up before you hear it. But that also says to me is that the joint is a long way off from being an emergency. Pending an answer to Tester’s question about the brakes, I’d say just drive it until it starts to get worse and more apparent. CV axles will eventually break, but they are pretty robust too.
Actually, I agree with cigroller on this as long as the noise doesn’t bother you.
@keith, you say “actually” like it’s a surprise. We don’t disagree that often do we? LOL.
I can’t agree with you about those new chinese axles
I’ve had nothing but trouble with them
I’d take an axle rebuilt in a mom and pop any day versus a new chinese axle
I’m with Cig… and Keith… on this one. It’s the outer joint, sometimes called a Rzeppa joint, and a low clicking suggests that there’s no rush to get it replaced. It’ll eventually get louder to where it’s bothersome, and you can get a new halfshaft at that time. The entire halfshaft (axle) gets replaced. The joint is part of the assembly. The axles then get rebuilt by a placethat has the proper tools and expertise to do the work.
thanks very much
I’m with the folks above, CV joint problem. In the early failing phase, there is no other symptom that even an experienced mechanic can discern other than the clicking sound when turning. The mechanic would usually determine if the clicking sound is worse on severe turns when accelerating from a complete stop. That would clinch the diagnosis to maybe 95% certainty.
It could be other things in theory, true, brake problems, wheel bearings. But not very likely.
Questions for the car experts here: Doesn’t anybody rebuild CV joints in the shop any more? It seems standard procedure now is to just replace the axel or like dB says, have it done at a axel repair specialty shop. I’ve rebuilt both my 90’s Corolla outer CV joints, and my 70’s VW Rabbit’s both inner and outer CV joints. By “rebuild” I mean I removed the axel, disassembled the joint, removed the balls, cleaned everything, put everything back together, repacked w/CV grease, installed a new boot (btw, if you try this yourself, don’t do it in this exact order … lol ) and re-installed the axels. For both the Corolla and Rabbit, it isn’t the big of a job. Even for a driveway DIY’er. Especially if you can somehow avoid dropping the balls on the cement, and having them bounce then roll away, never to be found again … that was always my biggest challenge, finding the balls when they’d drop and roll away.
Edit: Technically what I did was not a “rebuild” but a “service”. There was no problem other than cracks in the boot possibly when I did it. I did it as part of routine maintenance.
Why is it that shops don’t rebuild CV joints these days?
I don’t know what he puts in the car. “Axle” is about as specific as it gets.
Good question, George. I guess most shops figure it would take too much shop time to chase all those little balls around.
An “axle” being put in means the half of the axle containing the problem joint has been replaced. The 'axle" is an assembly that includes both inner and outer CV joints.
Yeah - it is about the time. Between the markup on the new halfshaft and the labor time saved, it basically ends up to be more efficient for the shop - but also cheaper for the customer. If you’ve done these then you know that just pulling one out and popping in another really takes very little time. But you have to do all of that tear down and inspection and then worry about having to replace X or Y (as necessary) its a lot of time and hassle. Having a rebuilt unit on hand - wet it, wipe it and goodnight.
George, maybe I’m wrong here, but I believe a shop will only replace the boots if they’re torn and a test drive has revealed that the axles aren’t noisey
Even so, it’s more labor to remove and reseal a cv axle versus removing and replacing
FWIW . . . when resealing cv axles on my own cars, I don’t actually totally disassemble the joint to the point of removing all of the balls. I clean everything reasonably well, and install the new boots and grease
On one of my brother’s cars, while I was servicing it, I noticed a leaking boot. I had just driven the car, so I knew the axles weren’t noisey. It turns out pep boys had the boots in stock, $5 a pop. so for $20 I resealed both axles. Since I don’t pay myself labor, it was a pretty good deal. I’m sure the material wasn’t the best, but for that price you don’t complain
here’s an interesting sidenote. Some of the newer service manuals no longer show you how to totally disassemble and clean the cv joints. they will show you how to replace the boots, but that’s as far as it goes.
On the Corolla somewhere mid-90’s the CV joints I think they got re-configured, making them impossible to disassemble. With mine, there’s a circ-clip that allows you to take them apart, with the aid of snap ring pliers. With the new way they are made, that circ clip isn’t accessible once they are installed, so there is no way to disassemble them. Well, you could disassemble them, but you have to ruin them to do it. You cut them off with some kind of metal cutting gadget, then new CV joints are reinstalled. You kept the same axel if you do it this way.
So far I’ve avoided this problem. Has anyone here experienced the “impossible to service” CV joint?
You can get EMPI axles at RockAuto. I’ve had good luck with those. Those are the only ones I’ve used. Never had good luck with a reman.
Cig, “actually” meant “why didn’t I think of that first”.