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Discussion Starter #1
I have read a couple of threads on here where guys are complaining about a clunk or poping sound coming from the front end when hitting small bumps on the road. I would say that I have the exact same problem with my 2005 Titan King cab 4wd. My truck has the front end leveled with the custom Bilstein 5100/Eibach spring combo that PRG sells w/TC upper control arms. I have only owned the truck for 2 months or so. I love it, except for this problem.

Similar to other descriptions of the sound that I am hearing, the clunk sound occurs in situations where the wheels are dropping over things like say on the backside of a speedbump, or dropping off a curb, or a small rock drop when wheeling, or a depression in the pavement. Also similar to other reports, I can feel the clunk in the floor. Between the sound and the sensation, it feels very sloppy in the front end - vertically - like something in the suspension is dropping vertically due to something worn out. As far as I can tell, it is happening on both sides.

There is a very long thread (2012) mostly about lower control arm bushings possibly being the culprit. I read through all 9 pages and I'm not sure if consensus was met among all the members trying to figure the problem out. The thread is here:

http://www.titantalk.com/forums/titan-suspension/120767-prg-lower-control-arm-bushings-9.html

I am posting this to see if this issue has been figured out since then. It's really driving me nuts, because it feels like the front end is falling apart.

One reason I suspect that it could be worn out lower control arm bushings, or the arms' pivots themselves, is because I had basically the same sound and sensation with my 2000 Tundra. A 4x4 shop replaced the LCA bushings, which meant replacing the arms themselves, and ($1600 later) the problem was solved. I guess I am hoping that I don't have to spend that money on this truck as well!

Can anyone please comment on this issue and what the problem/fix is?

Thanks for the help.
 

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Its my guess that since you had to ask, someone other than you will have to put their eyes and experience into checking out your noise. An unmodified rack and pinion front end will make noise from the following worn parts, from highly likely to less: Lower Ball joint, Lower control arm bushing, Upper ball joint, , Stab bushing, Upper control arm bushing, Stab link (if used), inner tie rod, outer tie rod and some wheel bearings just before they explode. The size of the thunk noise will generally diminish in volume as you go further into the list. Most hear stab links through tie rods as clicks. Ball joints and bushings are tested with pry bars. Given the age of your truck, don't be surprised if there are a couple of areas that need new parts since you don't know how or if the previous caretakers took any care.

For stock control arms, upper or lower, Moog and others make bushings for not much money. A cheap press from Harbor Freight will press the old out and the new in. Press..a little more than a hundred bucks + bushings (Rock Auto) + a weekend is far cheaper than buying the whole deal from someone else. Sell the press on Craigs list when done, or use it to put in all new ball joints, rear axle press off press on parts, etc.
 

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Easiest thing to look for is coil bucket contact since you're saying you get the noise when you drop off a bump (suspension droop). I know you said you had after market UCA's, but sometimes they're not enough for the lift you get. $1600 for new LCA's is ridiculous. Can buy a set of LCA's for less than $200 and swap them yourself in a few hours.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input guys.

Nick Name, the volume/size of the clunk noise is significant, metal clunking on metal, and indicates unwanted vertical slop/play in a connection in the suspension. Had my mechanic friend do the prybar under the tire test and we didn't find much movement - a tiny bit in the uniball upper ball joints. Not enough to create what I am hearing/feeling.

Lax, what exactly is the coil bucket? I hear about coil bucket contact all the time on here, but I'm not sure what to look for. Is it the top plate on top of the strut? As for the $1,600 repair on my LCA repair for my Tundra, I think it was due to a lot of labor getting the cam bolts and bushings out and dropping the arms from the truck. He warned me that the bolts were likely to be seized in there and would need to be cut/torched out. I'm figuring the same will be true on my Titan. I don't know if I am up to the challenge of replacing these LCAs. My mechanic friend with access to a shop is probably willing to take this project on.

Has anyone who has had the knocking noise over small dips/bumps done the Lower control arm & bushing replacement, and found that the clunking noise was resolved?

Also, it looks to me like if I go ahead with LCA bushing replacement, the typical thing to do is to replace the whole arm, which comes with a ball joint but doesn't include the bushings, which would be rubber anyway. Does anyone have a manufacturer of LCA bushings that they recommend? I'm assuming polyurethane is the way to go or perhaps Delrin? I know that PRG has Delrin bushings for the LCAs....I don't really want to buy from Greg again, if I can avoid it. It takes way too long to get what you order from him.

Thanks!
 

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See the pic. It's the piece of frame that the top of the coil/strut bolts into. When your wheels droop (drop off a bump) the UCA drops and hits the bucket. You'll see a scratch or a notch on the coil bucket. It's most likely solved by your aftermarket UCA's, but it's still possible and is the easiest thing to check since it takes 5 seconds to look.
 

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like Lax said above look at your CB and see if there's nicks and rub marks. that's the easiest way to see and you could also look under your UCA for gash marks as well. that's the metal on metal banging you could hear. i'm getting similar sounds now with mine as i think i have the common Radflo clunk. but before that i ended up swapping out alot of parts that were just worn out. starting with the LCA's. that really loud banging noise i was getting went away once i replaced the LCA's. i originally tried the PRG Derling spacers but that didn't help. because the new LCA's had new bushings and new ball joints i can't determine which one was the problem since the noise went away. now, just a few weeks ago i was getting a new clunking sound when going off my driveway which i ended up replacing my sway bar bushings. the sound was gone and now the only noise i'm hearing is the Radflo clunk. just my experience i encountered trying to eliminate one by one where the noise is coming from. kinda ridiculous that once you think you solved your noise problem, you start to hear another noise issue lol!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys for some ideas here. I kinda figured that was the coil bucket, but wasn't completely sure. I checked both sides and there are no marks on the CBs or UCAs.

LSturbo...did you install the Moog LCAs? I think I saw that at the bottom of your reply in your signature. Do those come with the bushings, or did you find other aftermarket bushings to install with them? Are they polyurethane, or rubber? Also, I am curious - how many miles did you have on your truck when you did the LCAs? I have 184,000 miles. If the previous owners of my truck didn't replace the LCAs, then to me it makes sense that those bushings are probably toast at this point.
 

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regarding the CBC since you checked them and didn't notice any marks you're probably fine. i did get the Moog LCA's and they came with new bushings and new lower ball joints. i couldn't tell you if they're rubber or polyurethane tho? i had 180,000 when i changed them out. they are originally the OEM'S since i never changed them. not bad they lasted this long but i would recommend replacing them just for maintenance purposes. and if the sound goes away at least you have a peace of mind that's what the problem was and now you have new LCA's.

do you have camber bolts installed when you did your lift? my OEM cam bolts were seized and i couldn't install my SPC Cambolts when i did my lift. the alignment shop said my alignment was out of spec and without the SPC installed they couldn't align it. so i ended up sawzall the OEM cambolts off in order to get the new LCA's on. wasn't sure if you did this already?
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
LSturbo,
Sorry about the late reply...sidetracked by the holiday. Yes, as far as I know these are the original cam bolts holding the LCAs on. I tried tightening one, and it turned, but I didn't check the other 3 yet to see if they turn or are seized. What are SPC cam bolts?

So I took my truck in to my regular Toy/Honda/Nissan repair shop to look over the front suspension, to see if they can see anything worn out, which would be responsible for the clunk noise. The mechanic came back after driving the truck and said that the front suspension is making all kinds of noise. He put it up on the lift and about 5 minutes later came out and got me to come into the shop to look at what he thinks the issue is. Both the mechanic and the shop owner blame all the noises that I am hearing from the front end coming from the TC arms and uniball style ball joints that those arms use on top of the strut. He pushed on the wheel and got a slight amount of play (which they think is part of the design for those control arms and I tend to agree), and he demonstrated the knock noise that is generated by that metal-on-metal design. They told me that the TC/uniball design is tough as hell, but noisy, and that is probably what I am hearing when going over bumps. Basically, they found nothing wrong and told me to turn the stereo up!

As much as I wanted to believe them (I am definitely tired of spending money on this truck), I don't agree with their opinion. Yes, that upper arm set-up is noisy, but that little bit of play does not cause the knock/thump that I hear and feel in the floor of the truck when driving over sharp speed bumps, or at-grade RxR tracks. In fact, I towed a trailer yesterday (empty utility trailer), and the "thump" (I think thump might be the best adjective) was so much more frequent, that I think I should bring the truck back to them with the trailer on it and have them ride with me for a couple of miles. I got the thump on almost any type of bump in the road. It send shudders through my spine when I feel/hear the noise. Maybe I'm a bit anal about my truck, but I want the suspension to feel solid and not sloppy/clunky. I can't just turn up the stereo and tune it out. Although the 7-speaker stereo in this thing is so awesome!!

I'm trying to think this one through. So a trailer will put extra weight on the back of the truck and will take some weight off of the front wheels. The front suspension will move more freely I am guessing. Does this give us any additional clues about the cause of the thump? Does it apply more credence to the LCA bushings being shot? What do you think? :dunno:

BTW, my truck is at 184,000 miles. About the same mileage as yours when you replaced the LCAs.

Between all of the weird sounds (there's another weird thing going on with the blower motor in the cab - another time/thread) and the abysmal gas mileage, I'm starting to get pretty frustrated with this truck. I still have my 2000 Tundra, and I just put new pads and rotors on the front wheels. I could sell the Titan instead!
 

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I’ve been reading all these different threads on these trucks. I too have a 2102 Titan with 42,000 on it & have the same thunking noise over small bumps, like speed bumps, rr tracks, small bumps in road. It’s like someone taps on the bottom of floor board. I took truck to shop the only thing they found was a loose tie rod end which they replaced & re aligned. Noise is still there he said someone put a 2” leveling kit on it which he offered to remove also suggested new struts. Not sure what the next best step is so any advise would greatly appreciated.
 

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LSturbo,
Sorry about the late reply...sidetracked by the holiday. Yes, as far as I know these are the original cam bolts holding the LCAs on. I tried tightening one, and it turned, but I didn't check the other 3 yet to see if they turn or are seized. What are SPC cam bolts?

So I took my truck in to my regular Toy/Honda/Nissan repair shop to look over the front suspension, to see if they can see anything worn out, which would be responsible for the clunk noise. The mechanic came back after driving the truck and said that the front suspension is making all kinds of noise. He put it up on the lift and about 5 minutes later came out and got me to come into the shop to look at what he thinks the issue is. Both the mechanic and the shop owner blame all the noises that I am hearing from the front end coming from the TC arms and uniball style ball joints that those arms use on top of the strut. He pushed on the wheel and got a slight amount of play (which they think is part of the design for those control arms and I tend to agree), and he demonstrated the knock noise that is generated by that metal-on-metal design. They told me that the TC/uniball design is tough as hell, but noisy, and that is probably what I am hearing when going over bumps. Basically, they found nothing wrong and told me to turn the stereo up!

As much as I wanted to believe them (I am definitely tired of spending money on this truck), I don't agree with their opinion. Yes, that upper arm set-up is noisy, but that little bit of play does not cause the knock/thump that I hear and feel in the floor of the truck when driving over sharp speed bumps, or at-grade RxR tracks. In fact, I towed a trailer yesterday (empty utility trailer), and the "thump" (I think thump might be the best adjective) was so much more frequent, that I think I should bring the truck back to them with the trailer on it and have them ride with me for a couple of miles. I got the thump on almost any type of bump in the road. It send shudders through my spine when I feel/hear the noise. Maybe I'm a bit anal about my truck, but I want the suspension to feel solid and not sloppy/clunky. I can't just turn up the stereo and tune it out. Although the 7-speaker stereo in this thing is so awesome!!

I'm trying to think this one through. So a trailer will put extra weight on the back of the truck and will take some weight off of the front wheels. The front suspension will move more freely I am guessing. Does this give us any additional clues about the cause of the thump? Does it apply more credence to the LCA bushings being shot? What do you think? :dunno:

BTW, my truck is at 184,000 miles. About the same mileage as yours when you replaced the LCAs.

Between all of the weird sounds (there's another weird thing going on with the blower motor in the cab - another time/thread) and the abysmal gas mileage, I'm starting to get pretty frustrated with this truck. I still have my 2000 Tundra, and I just put new pads and rotors on the front wheels. I could sell the Titan instead!
there should be no play in the UCA uniball. Its a teflon lined joint. Replace those Uniballs. It'll tighten everything up and be nice and quiet. Only use Tri- Flow lube on them. Snap ring in the cup, remove that, the uniball will pop out. TotalChaos has the necessary parts.
 

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Does the noise go away if applying the brakes? I've seen multiple Titans, including both of mine that had a clunk in the front end over bumps and it was the brake pads (after market and nissan value advantage) have excessive play (up and down) I know it sounds crazy but its a something to check out.
 

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Remove your sway bar and see if it continues. If not then your sway bar mounts are bad. I had to change mine for the same reason, speed bumps and railroad tracks would cause noises.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Rugman and others following this thread:

I got my clunk noise and clunk in the floorboard to go away by removing the front sway bar. I took my truck to an off-road shop and they noticed that the sway bar appeared to be hitting a tie rod on one side due to marks on the bar and the tie rod being a little bent. So, I thought why not remove the sway to see if that may be the source of the clunk. Guess, what? No more clunk! I read up on the disadvantages/advantages of removing the sway bar before I did it. I figured with my stiff 650lb front springs, not having a sway bar might be ok on my truck. Well the sound is gone, and the sway bar being gone has not changed the handling of my truck by much at all. It took one day for me to get used to the slight (very slight) difference of not having a sway bar when going into curves on the interstate, and other similar driving situations. On a Titan with stock springs, it might be different, but I installed the Bilstein 5100 HD shocks/650lb springs earlier, and I believe that might be why the truck is handling so well with out the sway. Bottom line is that I believe my problem was: with the 2" front end leveling, the sway bar had "flipped" over and was essentially upside down, which allowed it to knock into the tie rod, thus causing the clunk.

So, I am much happier when driving my truck over RxR tracks, speed bumps, potholes, etc. No more clunk and no more sway bar!!

But here is the kicker. When I pull an empty utility trailer, the loose, clunky, floorboard knock, somethings is seriously wrong, knocking noise and vibration returns with a vengence when I hit the afformentioned bumps. What the hell??!! So here is a quick timeline: I had the clunk problem all of the time. I remove the sway bar and the clunck goes away. Then I pull an empty trailer and the original clunk returns?? When my trailer is loaded, it doesn't clunk! Does anyone have any possible explanation for this phenomena? I am all ears! I have thought it through, and I am out of ideas.
 

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Something on the trailer is clunking or do you still feel it in the front/from the truck? It seems like the trailer is the culprit if loading it affects the clunk.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
When pulling the trailer and hitting bumps, it is the same knock/clunk, loose/broken sound/sensation coming from the front, all over again. I can feel it in the floorboard as well. The symptoms that I am experiencing are basically the same as I experienced before I removed the front sway bar. I don't know how a trailer in the back would affect the front suspension in this way.
 

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I had a similar sounding clunk (felt like someone tapping right under my foot with maybe a 8 ounce hammer..) it frustrated me ... badly.
I did all the same things.. jacked it up, pry bars, looked at bushings, tie rods, ball joints, you name it... 12 with 70K on it... I missed looking at one thing.. probably the simplest thing...
When i was putting the bilsteins in I found it.
The lower strut mount bolts were loose. the holes were slightly egged out..there was no visible sign till i took the bolts out....then it was crystal clear...
I dint need new parts at all...loose lower strut bolts. I did put the bilsteins in as I already owned them and they are really pretty... noise gone.
 

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Hello all, I have a new to me 2012 4x4 SV Titan with 53,000 miles. I didn’t notice the “front end clunk” until I took the truck home for the first time. Our road is a rough country road with frost heave cracks all across it looking like a washboard. It felt like the front suspension was going to come through the floorboard. If I’d drive over a speed bump or ride in the passenger side it was quiet and smooth. We took it back and the shop tech found the hood bumpers up front were off causing the noise, but the clunking didn’t go away. After reading and researching I swapped out the front struts with new ones and the truck rides like my brand new Chevy. I wouldn’t believe struts could cause that much noise and harshness through the front floor board, but they sure did. All other suspension components were in good order. Truck still has the stock suspension with no leveling kit.
 

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See the pic. It's the piece of frame that the top of the coil/strut bolts into. When your wheels droop (drop off a bump) the UCA drops and hits the bucket. You'll see a scratch or a notch on the coil bucket. It's most likely solved by your aftermarket UCA's, but it's still possible and is the easiest thing to check since it takes 5 seconds to look.
 
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