Cause of Thumping/Clunking Coming From Front of '66 Coupe?

ford
mustang

#1

When being driven my '66 Stang makes a clunking sound in the front end which seems to be coming from the front toward the passenger side.

I’ve had the car in to my mechanic twice in the last 30 days for this issue. He took the wheels off, repacked the brakes on one side, but hasn’t found the problem. During the test drives the car did not reproduce the noise.

Lately, I’ve noticed that when I really hear the clunking noise is after I’ve made a sharp turn, like when driving slowly in a parking lot, and have returned the steering to a straight position. We didn’t make any sharp turns during the test drives.

Does anyone know what might be going on here? Thank you.


#2

Has anyone checked the motor mounts?


#3

It could also be your suspension. You say that the mechanic repacked the brakes. Did you mean the bearings? If so, did he do both sides?


#4

No, no one has checked the motor mounts, to my knowledge. Thank you.


#5

Yes, I think it’s either the suspension or something connected to the steering. Yes, repacked the bearings. He didn’t do both sides as he said they didn’t need it. I had them both done last year and I don’t put that many miles on the car. Thanks for your response.


#6

Replacing all the suspension bushings and ball joints will likely quiet down this car, suspension bushings on these old cars don’t last more than ten years where I live.

If you want to know the source of the noise focus on when it occurs so you can demonstrate the noise, no mechanic wants to go on a road test to listen to silence.


#7

Thank you for all of your responses. Just an FYI, this thumping/clunking noise has been getting progressively worse for years (I’ve owned the car since 1992). Previously it was rare & infrequent, but now is more pronounced as well as more frequent. When the noise occurs I can feel it in the steering wheel.

Last year I had the following work performed on this car: side tie rod ends left & right replaced, lower ball joints/control arms replaced, upper ball joints replaced, new front and rear shocks, both front caliper assemblies replaced, brakes inspected, bled & fluid replaced, sway bar bushings removed and replaced, along with an oil change and removing and replacing the starter as the one a previous mechanic installed was the wrong size & it started chewing up the flywheel.

Are the sway bar bushings the same thing as the suspension bushings? Please excuse my ignorance.

Thanks again for your insight. It is appreciated.


#8

With the car sitting flat on the ground, have a helper rock the steering wheel back a forth rapidly. I think you will see the problem and I think that problem will turn out to be the idler arm.

When someone says suspension bushings, that can mean a lot of things but most often they refer to control arm bushings.

Your car may have trailing arms and they have bushings also. The bushings may be located in the front crossover of the frame, just below your radiator. That could be it if you think the noise is coming from the very front.


#9

Thanks, Keith! I’m taking the car back in to be seen again this week and
will definitely pass this information along.


#10

Definitely go to the place that did all that front suspension work and have them go over it. On occasion a bolt can become loose, or maybe was not fully tightened on assembly. Often mechanics leave bolts loose until the entire part or section is in place, with all the bolts started, and then go back and tighten things fully. It’s easy to overlook one bolt and leave something that can get looser later.


#11

That makes sense. Thanks for your reply.


#12

The upper control arm bushings were not mentioned. The springs must be removed to replace these, this is not for a novice.

The strut rod bushings were also not mentioned but I expect that these were replaced when the lower control arms were replaced.


#13

I agree with @Nevada_545 Upper control arm bushings.

All the work you describe can be done without removing the upper control arms. Removing the uppers is the only good way to inspect the bushings and these bushings take the greatest abuse given the spring and road loads go through them. And 50 year old rubber is pretty much not rubber anymore. All the other bushings are easier to replace and likely have been.


#14

Thank you for your reply. I will pass all of this information along to my
mechanic.