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86 Laser, some kind of front end noise

Discussion in 'Daytona and Laser' started by Laser86, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. Laser86

    Laser86 Member

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    So as spring approaches up north here the 86 Laser is going to be hitting the road once again soon ...... but there is an issue that needs to be dealt with, some kind of front end noise .......

    the entire front end is new ( less than 5 thousand miles ) :

    control arm bushings
    strut bushings
    wheel bearings
    lower ball joints
    struts, springs, and supposedly the strut mounting plates
    rack and pinion

    here is the problem, after the front end alignment last spring I heard a slight thumping coming from what sounded to be the front passenger side, I raised the car by the frame and pushed and pried and pulled SEVERAL different times but I was unable to find or see anything lose, very aggravating especially after all that work I put into her .... however, luckily I suppose, toward the fall I started hearing a creaking type sound coming from what appeared to be the front passenger side front while sitting at a stop and turning the steering wheel VERY slowly side to side ..... this noise only appeared after I drove the car for around 15 minutes or so, it did not make the sound when the car was cold ...... I did not have anyone to turn the steering wheel back and forth while I was underneath trying to hear where the noise was coming from, I will try to do that at some point soon if I can.

    any ideas what that noise may be ? it almost sounds as if it is coming from the strut assembly but not sure .....


    and hope everyone has been good and your cars are still on the road performing well !!!!!!!!!!!
     
    #1 Laser86, Feb 21, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
  2. Laser86

    Laser86 Member

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    oh, the " thumping " sound appears when I hit moderate size bumps on the road, and it makes an even louder, annoying type sound, if for some odd reason it appears to hit a bump, even a smaller bump, a certain way ..... very annoying sound ........
     
  3. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    By lifting and supporting the car by the frame, the front suspension is hanging and under tension. You probably won't get any play like that.
    It needs to be all 4 tires on the ground with the weight of the car on the tires. Safely parking on ramps or straddling a curb will allow you to slide under the car to look.
    A 'thumping' would suggest to me that rubber parts are worn, like the left and right side, inner and outer sway bar bushings at the front control arms and/or crossmember? Very common. See item # 16 and # 17 here. I recommend OEM for these:
    4e379af2a10077dff9aa42228d1ea862.png
     
  4. Laser86

    Laser86 Member

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    Right, I tried pushing and pulling and prying with the car on the ground, on ramps, and supported by the frame, I was unable to find anything lose ( I just got frustrated AGAIN and stopped driving the car, AGAIN ), also, I never reinstalled the sway bar because I didn't want to have to remove the sway bar AGAIN to get to whatever needs to be repaired, so its not the sway bar bushings, both control arm bushings and strut bushings are new too, but that may or may not mean anything, but I did eyeball them and they did look good, plus too I used a very long bar ( 6 ft ) to try and put pressure against things to see if anything moved, nothing ........ now when I had the struts / springs assembled the automotive parts shop mentioned something about me needing another strut plate, upper or lower or something like that, at least I had to pay extra for something, are these plastic, can they crack ? because after you drive the car awhile there is a creaking sound when you slowly turn the wheel side to side, it almost sounds like a " plasticy creaking sound " ..... but I don't know, I ll have to get underneath her while somebody turns the wheel ..... just thought somebody may have an idea ...... it could be the strut or control arm bushings ..... don't know ....... I was thinking about ripping the strut assembly back out again and having it taken apart to inspect it but that would mean another alignment ( which would be free for 3 years ), but last time NTB aligned the car the steering wheel wasn't straight ( what a shocker ! ) so I had to equally adjust the tie rods myself, but it was quicker and less hassle than taking the car back in.
     
    #4 Laser86, Feb 21, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
  5. Laser86

    Laser86 Member

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    the " plasticy creaking sound " was not always there even when the slight thumping sounds was, the slight thumping sound was there in the spring right after I had installed the last of the front end parts and had the car aligned, and the " plasticy creaking sound " just started to appear last fall right before I stopped driving the car, but I think the sound is related to whatever is making the slight thumping sound, actually I was happy to hear the " plasticy creaking sound " because maybe it can help me identify the problem....... and occasionally when I hit a bump even though it may be a small bump its as if it catches the tire somehow and shifts something and makes a real weird thumping type sound ..... that why all this car ever does is sit ... : (
     
    #5 Laser86, Feb 21, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
  6. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    It's possible that, if the struts were not assembled correctly, they could be making this noise.
    Years ago I bought Gabriel struts and new springs and mounting plates, etc. Tried to assemble the new struts, but the strut WOULD NOT center itself in the coil spring. No matter what I did, the spring was bowed around the strut. Made certain I had it indexed as the instructions indicated (there is an index mark that MUST be followed). It made a scraping noise as the spring touched the wheelwell when turning. Finally concluded that the Gabriel struts were defective, that the lower spring mounting plate must be welded on at the wrong angle and distorting the spring. Threw them away and had the dealer install OEM struts, and the problem disappeared.

    Two other things to check - inspect ball joints and tie rods by jacking the car and tugging on the tires. Any looseness at 12 and 6 o'clock indicates bad ball joints. Any looseness at 3 and 6 o'clock indicates bad tie rods.
    Other thing is, make sure the bracket that holds the steering rack to the crossmember has not cracked, rusted away or broken. Mine rusted and broke when I was trying to unscrew the right inner tie rod. Had to have a new one welded together and installed.
     
  7. Laser86

    Laser86 Member

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    I am hoping that is not the struts but it may be .... this may be helpful ..... I forget the exact spring number I used when I had them installed on the new struts, i suppose i may be able to look at my rock auto purchase history to see, but i looked at a chart and tried to figure out a 2.2 in a 2.5 car without AC and came up with the spring I thought would best work ...... well the car sat higher in the front than I think it should have after everything was installed but I figured it would settle down some, and it has, but only on the drivers side, not the passenger side ..... and with maybe 3 or 4 thousand miles on the springs/struts I just measured and the passenger side is still high being 1 full inch higher than the drivers side, but then most of the time no weight is on the passenger side ...... maybe that has something to do with it ... the rack clamps were good when I replaced the rack and both ball joints and outer tie rods are new ....
     
    #7 Laser86, Feb 21, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
  8. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    The front driver's side spring is a different P/N and a different spring rate from the passenger side front spring. They come labeled as to driver's side or passenger side. Hope you didn't reverse them.
     
  9. Laser86

    Laser86 Member

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  10. Laser86

    Laser86 Member

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    K
    well, I am thinking that I did not reverse anything, but maybe they did somehow get reversed ... I do not remember exactly but I am thinking I ordered the fronts springs and struts from rock auto and then dropped them off at the auto shop, I do not recall if anything was marked left or right, I may not have even opened the boxes, I remember the guy telling me I needed mounts so we ordered mounts and then he called me back and told me I needed upper mounts too, I think, I do not remember exactly ...... however assembling them correctly as to left or right was not my job to do, I guess I was assuming that the shop would put things together correctly and when I received the assembled struts back that they would only fit in the car one way or be marked left or right, I do not recall if they were marked left or right but if they were then I am thinking since I am not completely stupid that I would have noticed them being marked left or right, now it is possible that the assembled struts fit either side but then they still should have been marked, I do not remember ....... now should I have known to make sure the shop assembled them appropriately and kept track of the left or right springs ? maybe, but then maybe I didn't know there was a difference, I really do not remember, I really try to do my job well so maybe I expect other people to do their job well also, like marking them left or right if they needed to be marked .......... but moving forward here that may explain the passenger side being higher, maybe, but maybe not, but it would not explain the thumping or creaking sound unless of course the struts / strut mounts / struts can only be installed on the appropriate side strut or if they were not assembled properly ...... so are the struts themselves designated one side or the other ? are the strut mounts designated one side or the other ? do the springs only fit in the appropriate side strut or is the only difference the spring rate ? maybe the shop screwed up the whole assembly, or maybe it is something else completely ....... the thing for me to do, now that the " plasticy creaking sound " has appeared, will be to get under the car and try to locate the noise while somebody turns the steering wheel ..... but even if the springs are switched I am thinking that with only 4 thousand miles or so on the springs that there shouldn't be a 1 inch difference in the height, but then I do not know ...... you have to understand that I am spending good money and valuable time here so dealing with other peoples mistakes is not very pleasant at times ....... not that I do not make any, of course .... just like I bet you were completely thrilled to have to deal with your strut saga ........ I suppose it is possible the assembled struts could have been marked left or right, I do not remember, I do think that if they were marked then they obviously weren't marked to where the marking would have jumped out at me, but I do not remember ..... I do know that I bought a rocker panel for my van and it was marked wrong as to what side it went to .......
     
    #10 Laser86, Feb 21, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
  11. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    The springs look identical. Mine came with a label wrapped around the coils. Once you take the label off, you won't know which is which. And the strut assemblies will look identical. A professional should have known this and kept track of which spring went on which strut assembly. Not the owner's responsibility to know this or be able to tell. They might have done it right, that's just one scenario. But the mounting plates have an index mark that needs to line up with the part of the strut at the bottom where the bolts go through. I'll post the directions that indicate that. Not sure if there would be a noise from not indexing them correctly.

    http://boblincoln.com/strut-info.pdf
     
  12. Laser86

    Laser86 Member

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    I do not recall the struts being marked left or right or installing a certain strut on a certain side ( I think I wondered if the springs may have been rated differently because of the constant weight on the drivers side, but I don't remember ) ....... I purchased MOOG CC 756 springs and Monroe 71770 struts, I thought it was a good purchase at that time, neither one are available now ....... but the springs are variable rate springs ..... I originally tried to get Raybestos 5871052 springs but rock auto cancelled the order because they were out of them ...... I was thinking, and I thought I researched afterwards, that variable rate springs may have a smoother ride but you sacrifice handling somewhat, whats your thoughts on that ? I called a buddy today he is going to stop by some afternoon after work and help me find this problem to hopefully get to the bottom of this ...... I am thinking it is strut related ..... and if that's the case then the one is coming back out and hopefully its not the spring or strut because then I wont be able to match them up .... who knows maybe the springs were not marked in the first place, maybe this isn't even the problem ..... but the passenger side is 1 inch higher than the drivers side and I have fully inflated pretty much brand new tires on the car with brand new rear springs and rear tires also ... so it should be sitting evenly ...
     
  13. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    Variable rate springs are fine. It's the springs that have the label on them. The installer may have removed the label, so that the completed assembly can't be tracked anymore.
    One way to determine which spring is which is to put a weight on one side of the car, measure the deflection of the car downward, then put the weight on the other side and measure the deflection. With all new components, the driver's side spring should deflect just a little less. If it's the opposite, then you need to swap the struts. And make sure the spring isn't bowed, that the strut is centered in the spring all the way up.
     
  14. Laser86

    Laser86 Member

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    FRONT END NOISE DISCOVERED ! ! !

    well, I haven't posted for awhile, and by the time I get all the odds and ends on this car all worked out who knows how many years that will be ........

    well, I finally got around to having a friend turn the steering wheel while I crawled up underneath to see if I could observe where this noise was coming from, and it is from the rack and pinion sliding around, I replaced this rack a few years ago and either I did not tighten them all the way ( obviously ) when I installed the rack or they worked their way loose which mean I still did not tighten them properly when I installed the rack ..... anyhow I guess the creaking noise I heard was from the rack sliding around on the side that has the clamp / rubber holding the rack opposed to bolts ( I think I have a Saginaw, 2 bolts on one end and a clamp on the other is what designates a Saginaw rack I believe but don't hold me to that )

    anyhow I am in the process of installing a gear box / power steering pump / power steering hoses ( after I do a slight welding job to repair some rust on the frame ) on my van so I do not have the space to put her up on ramps in the drive way and tighten the rack bolts but I surely will VERY SOON ! I am sure this will eliminate the creaking sound and hopefully the " thumping " sound too ( I hope ! ) !

    the passenger side STILL sits pretty high in the front compared to the drivers side so I am thinking the front springs are in fact reversed ..... I will place some weights on the front end and check the spring deflection as advised ......

    the car sits for months on end with out being started but she does EVERYTIME I try to after around 10 or 15 seconds of cranking ..... although the " POWER LIMITED " light has been coming on intermediately lately and now pretty it is pretty much steadily on, I will check the " flashes " and make another post to helpfully get some help figuring that out .....

    how has everyone been lately ? good I hope ..... well thanks for all the help once again ......

    whats up with the new Dodge Demon " ? ? ? WOW !
     
  15. Laser86

    Laser86 Member

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    ok, so I was able to get the car up on ramps this morning and I tightened the two bolts on the drivers side of the rack unit that bolt it to the support member, they were not very lose, but loose enough for the rack unit to slide side to side slightly ( that was my creaking sound, the rack was sliding against the rubber mount / clamp in the passenger side ), it eliminated that creaking sound when I turn the steering wheel and I believe it may have also eliminated the " thumping " sound I was hearing too, I ll need to drive it a bit more to be able to tell but I believe it did.

    so I either forgot to tighten the bolts all the way OR did not tighten them enough when I installed the rack, but they are tightened now ...... when I removed my old rack one of the " feet " were broken where one of the bolt holes were so I didn't even bother trying to return it to get my core charge back, and since I think the rack is either cast aluminum or cast steel I may have been worried about over tightening the bolts and breaking the new rack so I may not have tightened them enough, obviously .......

    so WOW, this is the FIRST TIME this front end seems somewhat solid since I owned the car and its only 2017 ! YEAH !
     
    ImperialCrown likes this.
  16. Laser86

    Laser86 Member

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    Actually, the " thumping " sound is still there, I believe it is strut related, I took her up to the shop that assembled the struts and they seem to think it is strut related also, they told me to remove the strut and bring it to them and they will take it apart and look at it, so she STILL doesn't drive right after all these years .... I still have my van apart welding some patches on the frame so I am forced to drive her for now ....... : (
     

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