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Thread: Clunking front end on washboard roads- ball joints? tie rods?

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    Clunking front end on washboard roads- ball joints? tie rods?

    I am getting a distinct clunking from both front wheels while driving on dirt roads, especially bad on washboard. It seems to be from both sides equally, maybe a bit louder on the left. No noise while driving on pavement. Any tests that I can do to isolate the problem? Or if it is even a problem? Thanks!
    -KP

  2. #2
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    Re: Clunking front end on washboard roads- ball joints? tie rods?

    Reddone - I assume you're new to your van? By the way, welcome aboard.

    While it could be time consuming I would recommend drilling down thru the archives to see if your issue has been previously addressed.
    There are a LOT of things that can cause a clunking in the front of a 4WD van, too many to list, and without actually getting hands dirty its gonna be hard to assess.

    Common issues are all the usual suspects; str gear, joints, sway bars, shocks and 4WD ads a few more possibilities in that (stub) axles can slap around inside housings and a few other possibilities. And no, clunking is not normal.

    More information will be required to even assist you in a direction to follow.
    That said, you have 2 choices at this point, crawl under, get dirty and assess things for yourself.
    Or you can take it to a shop and pay them to assess it, knowing of course that not all techs are created equal and unless you have strong faith in your chosen shop,
    then you have to decide if you want to believe their diagnosis.

    What I mean is I have had a shop condemn my upper ball joints as there is slight play in the joint.
    Generally speaking a ball joint is a zero play item, however the vans fr uppers do indeed have a spec for max play (and I am well within that spec) but the shop argued with me till they were blue in the face, then I showed them the manual and they STILL argued the point.
    Needless to say I don't go there anymore.
    YMMV

  3. #3
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    Re: Clunking front end on washboard roads- ball joints? tie rods?

    i get a clunking from my front end as well. usually when i go over jarring bumps, more pronounced when turning. I'm thinking bad shocks or ball joints. my shocks are definitely bad, so that may be it, but I'm going to do upper control arms, lower ball joints, shocks all at once because i like to make things hard for myself, lol.

    hope you can figure it out! I'll be tackling this same issue in the coming weeks once i get my new manifolds back on.

    got a small leak at the tie rods too so ill probably need a new steering rack as well. that may be what causing it as well.

    hard to tell without getting a trained eye to inspect it. or just take my approach and just replace it all

  4. #4
    Van Fan Chardog1971's Avatar
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    Re: Clunking front end on washboard roads- ball joints? tie rods?

    there is a good thread about ball joints some where here. seems impossible to get them anymore. mine are definitely worn out

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