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Wheel noise/clunk

I’ve got an 94 4Runner that’s pretty cherry other than the AC that’s lackluster and cruise not working, but that’s not my biggest concern right now…

Whenever I turn the wheel sharply (backing in/out of spaces, etc) I hear a loud clank/pop sound from the right wheel well. A friend said it might be the Idler Arm, another said Tie Rod or Tie Rod End. Any ideas or ways to tell short of lots of dissasembly?

Clicking/popping noises at the extremes of steering wheel travel are often caused by failing Constant Velocity joints. Typically these get worse over time progressing to a “playing card in the spokes of the wheel” noise when turning corners. If you let it go on long enough, eventually the CV joint will fail and the vehicle will need to be towed because all the engine power will be delivered to the axle that is no longer connected to its wheel (I’m assuming that a 1994 doesn’t have a limited slip differential in the drive train).

How long is “eventually”? Often quite a while – months. But it could fail tomorrow.

CV joints aren’t a safety issue. You can still steer and brake. You just can’t go anywhere once you get stopped.

You should get this looked at even if you plan not to fix it immediately. It could be something else, and a lot of noises from the steering/suspension can be indicative of potentially lethal component failures.

Since “disassembly” of a front end won’t really help you diagnose it I’m just going to suggest that you should just take this to a local front end shop for inspection and diagnosis. Guessing and disassembling are exactly the wrong ways to go about it.

If you’d rather learn about this stuff, pick up a repair manual for this vehicle from and auto parts store. It will give you some basic steps for checking front end components.

Guess I’ll be bringing it by the shop as soon as I get a chance to. In the meantime, I’ll pick up a repair manual to start learning a bit more. Thanks for the help.

If you want to get rolling, buy the manual along with a floor jack and set of jack stands. (Lots of places sell jack & stands complete packages).

Follow the manual to check the parts. If you find nothing then take it to a shop. Ask the shop to show you how they check things. You will learn plenty.

May not be the same issue, but I had an '89 Toyota pickup truck. The steering stops were metal bolts against a metal block. The bolts had nylon caps on them. When the caps wore through the nylon cap and contacted that metal block they made a terrible noise, kind of what you were describing, especially when backing up over a curb. I used to put a dab of grease on them until I could get to the dealership and pick up a few more. They just snap on, very easy to install and cheap.

Thanks for the tip. I’ll definitely check those out and see if that alleviates the problem before I go spending money all willy nilly (I’m trying to convince my wife that for me to really fix the problem I need to do a 3-4" suspension lift with a 1" body lift and 34+" tires. That way I don’t have to turn, I can just go over everything).