Knocking Sound Left Front

1998 Honda Civic EX , automatic transmission, 145K miles. Purchased three weeks ago.

Newly purchased used car has a knock emanating from the left front axle area. It’s a rotational thumping/knocking sound that occurs about every 360 degree of tire rotation and only in forward and backward full-lock left turns. The car also has a small vibration/wobble in the left front. Through the help of another on-line auto community it’s been narrowed down to the CV half axle outer bearing. What is puzzling is left front knocking from the outer CV joint is usually associated with full-lock right turns (and vice-versa) However, the left front knocking/thumping only happens as stated above (full-lock left turns). Anyone ever experience this ?

Recent front end parts replaced:

  1. Left front hub assembly and bearing
  2. Inner and outer tie rods on both left and right sides
  3. Front left caliper
  4. New front brake pads on both left and right sides
  5. Automatic transmission 3 x 3 drain and fill + Lubegard red

Replace the half shaft and you should be OK. You may want to do both sides since it’s a 98 and fairly high mileage.

Thanks kn. I bought a new (not-remanufactured) left front half shaft a couple days ago at Carquest for $60 based on the helpful/knowledgeable advice given at HT forum …always good to get a second opinion though. I will follow your advice and replace the passenger side axle as well.


When making a right turn, you’re really putting a load on the left outer CV axleshaft. That is why it’s noisey at that particular moment

Don’t get all freaked out . . . but I’ve had extremely bad luck with new Chinese axleshafts. Very bad luck. As in, they’re just as bad as the old axleshafts. And I had to go back to the store multiple times, before I finally got an acceptable new chinese axleshaft

Hopefully this doesn’t happen to you

And I mentioned chinese, because that’s where the new parts are usually made. At least the ones you get at Carquest, autozone, pep boys, etc.

I don’t have a problem with chinese parts, as long as they’re high quality

Pretty sure their all made in China nowadays,. except OEM and they might be Chinese made too?
I had another '98 civic coupe I sold last year and it’s Autozone lifetime reman… CV axle lasted 30K miles and then I sold it. I hear what your saying though and I also hope they work properly and last a while. I’m pretty sure 90% of all CV half axles are made at the same factory(s) and just labeled under each major auto part store’s specific brand.

I’m going to suggest that it’s actually the inner CV joint making the noise rather than the outer one. Either way, a new halfshaft should solve the problem.

The inner CV joint’s primary function is to allow the axle to change length as the steering and suspension parts go through their articulations and arcs, necessary to prevent unwanted loads on the steering parts, the suspension parts, the outer CV joints, the differential, and other stuff, while still enabling torque to be transmitted to the wheels and enabling minimal articulation as the wheels move up and down.

The way the inner CV joints are made, there’s a three-pronged yolk, with a bearing on each prong, that slid into a housing with three slots. The part of the axle with the yolk is free to move in and out of the part with the slotted housing. The joint also has the ability to bend some while still transmitting torque through the three prongs. However, the yolk and its bearings are constantly spinning within the spinning slotted housing as you drive. That action can create wear paths in the slotted housing. Then, when you turn the steering fully and the yolk is moved to the limits of its position within the slots, the yolk’s bearings are pull out of their wear paths, and as the wheels turn they fight to get back into the groove, causing the knocking.

It is not uncommon for a worn inner CV joint to cause exactly the symptoms you describe, knocking only at full turn and only in one direction.

As I said earlier, a new half shaft should do the trick. But I hope the explanation helps you to understand the cause.

Has anyone used these half shafts. I would like to stay American instead of China.

That looks promising

So, if you wanted an axleshaft, you’d contact them, and they send one out to your house . . . ?

I’m sure they sell good products, but it doesn’t seem to be very convenient

I suppose if you’ve got a project car, and want the best axleshaft available, and are in no hurry, it might be okay

It is surprising that the noise occurs on the left side, and only during left turns. But knocking sounds on sharp turns at slow speed is usually the CV joint on the fritz. And if it has been confirmed by a reliable shop that the problem is the left one, I guess just change out the left one. Usually this is done by replacing the entire half shaft, which will replace both the inner and outer CV joint assemblies. Half shafts are a wearing part, and having to replace them from time to time is, if not exactly routine, is at least expected maintenance.

Make sure the shop keeps the existing half shaft on hand, and carefully compares all its dimensions (esp length) to the new one, before attempting any install. Don’t let the shop return the existing half shaft (for the core charge) until you have driven the car several weeks and satisfied with the new one.

I don’t have a problem with chinese parts, as long as they’re high quality

Isn’t that kind of like saying you don’t have a problem with chinese checkers, as long as it’s chess?



I mean EXACTLY as I said

No more and no less

Chinese checkers and chess are 2 completely different games

If you want to say something . . . about what, I don’t know . . . just come out and say it

I believe I know what you’re trying to say, but I’m not going to jump to conclusions this time

I believe I know what you’re trying to say, but I’m not going to jump to conclusions this time

Oh you could readily conclude that I’m saying I’ve found high quality chinese parts to be about as common as gay bulls.
How many high quality chinese parts have you encountered?


Actually, I’ve encountered quite a few high quality chinese parts. Including some brake parts and control modules

That is why I didn’t want to make any blanket statements

Ultimately, I think the brand may be more important than where the part is made

Of course, if there is a large price range, and the cheapest happens to be made in China, I wouldn’t expect too much. But if there is a chinese made part that is nearly the most expensive, it might very well be a good part

There are chinese parts produced to very low standards

There are chinese parts produced to very high standards

There was a time, apparently, when “Made in Japan” meant garbage

There was also a time when “Made in Germany” meant high quality

Actually, I’ve encountered quite a few high quality chinese parts. Including some brake parts and control modules

Well that’s encouraging. I was beginning to wonder if it was hopeless.

Ultimately, I think the brand may be more important than where the part is made

If it’s true that even the likes of Snap-on are going Chinese, then let’s hope so.

There are chinese parts produced to very low standards

I’ll say.

There are chinese parts produced to very high standards

I’ve no reason to doubt you, and am looking forward to working with some of these.

I remember that time first hand. Prior to that the saying was that japan made rubber duckies (they did) and America made high technology. Wow, has that ever changed.

China is following a similar path to Japan, except for different reasons.

Japan’s manufacturing infrastructure was destroyed in WWII, and they had no choice but to rebuild from the ground up. Their culture caused the rebirth to be focused on doing everything for the good of the whole, and that culture ended up being applied to manufacturing approaches. They brought in one American who in particular showed them a way to apply this philosophy using applied statistics… Deming. Since they also had a military budget of zero (they were prohibited from having a military after WWII), they focused all their financial resources on building their manufacturing infrastructure back up, and all the pieces came together to form a manufacturing infrastructure second to none. It took a process of almost total annihilation followed by a rebuild of about 30 years, but they did it.

China, whose only annihilation was to their international relations (the good democracies vs. the evil communists) has applied and is applying their dirt-cheap labor (kids, women, some would say slaves) to producing goods at prices that more democratic countries cannot match. At least that’s the theory. So far, those same things that are attributes to low prices also produce uneven quality. Hopefully their recent moves to ally with Russia will drag their quality down even further. Time will tell. We in the U.S. should be operating on the assumption that they’ll succeed. We assumed Japan would fail and they beat our pants off. Hopefully history won’t repeat itself. Sigh, if only.

China makes good parts and bad parts. Unfortunately, they can all be packed in the same box.

To me, the problem of foreign made goods goes beyond the quality. Our gov’t had delibertatly driven manufacturing jobs out of this country with numerous “free trade” policies that we are the only ones living up to and by far the highest tax on corporate profits in the world 35 %. In the meantime companies that have moved production overseas pay little or no corporate taxes as long as they keep the money out of the US.
Some of those companies would like to move production back to the US but won’t bring the money back here to build new plants because the would lose more than a third of it in taxes.
Meanwhile US wages in real money keep falling and hardly anyone is getting pensions anymore.
People who set aside money in 401Ks and IRAs are having a hard time safely getting more than 1% on it.
I don’t see any happy outcome.
As far as the quality of Chinese made tools, some of them have come a long way. When I left my US made Craftsman breaker bar in the trunk of a car I junked, I couldn’t bring myself to pay Craftsman prices for a Chinese made replacement so I got a Chinese made one from Harbor Freight. I frequently use a long pipe over it and it seems pretty tough.
As individuals, we all make the choice to buy goods based on price and quality, your choices or mine are not going to bring back american jobs but our companies are not being given a fair chance to compete.

Sorry for the late reply. I replaced the CV half shaft axle and output shaft seal but, the noise is still there. When We did the initial test drive prior to buying it we did full lock left and right turns and there weren’t any noises (clicking , knocking, etc…) The first repair I did was a new left front caliper (with glide pins included) and brake pads. The brake pads were $13 and seemed to be very thick but, they are working. The knocking noise started after the caliper and pads install. I also, changed out both sides inner/outer tie rods at the same time as the caliper/pads.

When I get time with car again I plan to take the brake pads back to Reilly’s and compare them to their ceramic ones for thickness…not sure if this is a possibility for the knocking noise but, worth a shot. Here’s a link discussing brake pads and knocking:

I read your link. It looks like subframe bolts loose, steering rack bolts loose or broken motor mounts are likely causes.

I replaced two motor mounts recently… right front mount was still in good shape. I’ll check the steering rack and subframe bolts next weekend. Thanks