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Discussion Starter #1
I have a rattle noise coming from the passenger side rear on my Spirit. It's gotten worse in the past couple of days and I can't figure out what's making it. The noise happens over light bumps, which barely even transmit into the body of the car. At higher speeds it seems to be less prevalent, but this could be just because of the wind and road noise drowning it out.
Here's what I've done so far:
-Tightened the fuel tank and exhaust. Visual inspection confirms that they are not moving when the car is jostled.
-Re-tightened wheel bearings. The bearings have less than two years and 8k on them on this side. They're Timkens, with new races to match when they went in.
-Torqued all lug nuts
A bit of investigation reveals that there is some play in the wheel (I checked by pushing on the wheel with the car on the ground, the triangular jack points in the rear are too decayed to safely support the car now, I need a better location), enough to make a clearly audible sound. There is a squeak from the top of the shock when it goes down and a clunk when it comes back up that can be felt in the body of the shock. Shocks are Monroe and are newer than the wheel bearings. I had to replace the bolts with hardened steel metric bolts of what appeared to be the same size from Lowes because the original bolts had to be cut. I did this on both sides, but only one is making noise.
I need a good solution to this one, I have sunk way too much into this car this summer and I don't want to put any more in for parts it doesn't actually need.
 

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Check to see if the jounce bumper rotted off and fell inside the coil spring, as happened to me once. Inspect the spring perch for the coil springs on the rear axle, and also at the top of the springs. Lots of rot occurs there on these cars.
 

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Must be a Danvers car disease going around. My 2006 Sebring just started the same thing yesterday. Sitting at the shop now waiting for a diagnosis Monday morning.
 

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I would check the upper shock mount area. I have seen this area rust out. If your spring perches check OK, I would smear grease on its top and bottom. You will not have to worry about future rust out.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The spring perches on the axle still look OK-- the center area where the jounce bumper hits is gone on both but they both have just surface rust. I lost a jounce bumper earlier this summer when I was working on the car; it fell right out on the ground. Now the car does not have them on either side. I don't recall which side it came off, though. Upper shock mount looks OK, still covered in factory undercoat or whatever that tar-like substance is in the rear wheel wells. Inspection from the inside of the trunk reveals pristine condition-- no signs of rust at all.
I'll re-inspect tonight, what should I be looking for on all of these parts? My definition of "OK" is no flaky rust or pieces falling off and seems solid. Is this correct?
 

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I hear clunk from left rear. It is more noticeable when rear seat loaded. Just traced the cause is the wheel bearing. There is play on left rear wheel, none on right rear. Re-installation with new grease did not solve the problem.
 

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I'd pull the brake drums and check all hardware. It's not unusual for hold-down spring nails, or springs, to break. A brake shoe might flop around a little bit. Also check the cotter pin and re-adjust the wheel bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update:
Pulled the wheel and drum last night. The brake hardware looked fine, so I repacked the outer wheel bearing (I didn't have a grease seal handy and I didn't want to risk ruining the one I had in there trying to remove it, so the inner bearing stayed in), stuffed the hub full of grease and reinstalled. While I had the car up and the wheel off, I figured I'd check the shock and mounts. The mounts checked out good, but I noticed some rub marks on the bolt I used at the top. Turning it over, I saw the SAE hardness markings instead of the "10.9" like I was expecting. There was the tiniest bit of play between the bolt and the sleeve. I did a quick couple wraps of electrical tape since the sky looked about ready to open up and a dab of bearing grease and... the noise is gone! I know the tape won't hold for too long considering how quick-and-dirty I had to do it, but at least I THINK I know what the problem is if the noise returns.

Rai Rai- I'm starting to think that maybe your bearings aren't seated correctly. I do my rears by tightening the nut with a socket and ratchet. I spin the drum, and as soon as it starts to drag, I stop tightening. This indicates that the side loading on the bearings is getting too high because they're being squeezed too hard against the races. Then, I back the nut off a quarter turn and tighten by hand. This removes the side load from the bearings, but leaves them seated properly. If you have the bearings out, you unseat them, and just hand-tightening the nut won't necessarily get them properly seated again.This leads to wobbling and accelerated wear. I also use a paper towel when tightening the nut, since I find that that the nut is too greasy to get a good hold on. The main concern with not tightening the nut the final time using a wrench is to eliminate forces on the bearings that they aren't designed to handle.
 

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Proper technique according to the FSM is to seat the bearing by tightening to 20 ft-lbs, then back off 1/4 turn, then hand-tighten.

With wheel off the ground, there should be no play when grabbing it and trying to wobble it. Always use a new cotter pin, so you don't risk the wheel coming off.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've found that 20ft-lb is too low. I have a big click torque wrench that goes down to 25 ft-lb, so I tightened the nut to that the last time I adjusted this side a couple of weeks ago, and then backed it off and hand tightened it. It was just about as loose when I took it off last night. I figure I didn't go above about 30 ft-lb with the regular wrench. I think the concern is really leaving that sort of force on there. My book has a range of torques, so I don't think this is really a critical application. YMMV, but my method has worked for me. As long as the side force is removed from the bearings, I don't really think a higher torque is going to hurt much considering that it's hardened steel on hardened steel, and preventing them from wobbling and destroying themselves is really the aim here.

I found that the best bet on the cotter pins is to buy the big assortment rather than the blister packs. It's more convinient and you always have enough on hand to pin whatever you need to pin. After trying to straighten a couple of rusted, mangled ones, I think the big box is worth the extra cost in avoided frustration alone.
 

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Concerning the bearing, I know the principle of tightening, spinning the wheel, then loosening and tightening by hand. Don't think my problem is there. Repacked also the other side years ago and that's still fine. Never used torque wrench here though...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
And I can't imagine that SAE bolts are altogether that common in Finland... so that essentially eliminates the issue I was having. Does the stub axle move with the wheel?
 

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Nope. Need to get new bearings some day. I just hate doing those bearing "cups" or whatever they are called, out from the hub.
My main concern at the time seems to be engine rear main seal, meaning I'd better invest in new clutch as well now as the trans need to come out...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The bearings for these are pretty cheap, even for the high-grade Timken ones. I had a local shop do my races. It cost me $10. Apparently, it can be done with a hammer and chisel, which is how they did it, but I deferred to their experience on that... well worth the headache too. The mechanic told me (and this is heavily edited to keep things at a family-friendly level) that you would have [very little] chance getting the races out without a [very good] chisel and [equally good] hammer.
 

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Unless the races in the rear hubs are scored or otherwise damaged, I leave them in place and have never had an issue. A mechanic once tightened up my rear wheel bearings too much while trying to solve another noise issue, claimed that they were loose. Within 5,000 miles they were roaring, and they seized to the spindles. I had to cut them off with a Dremel tool. Nevertheless, the races appeared undamaged, and I drove the car another 40K miles with those races and new bearings, with no problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I wouldn't advise that. I don't know how the bearings are treated, but if it's a case-hardened race or if the race has some other treatment that makes the outermost layer of metal harder than the base, you risk wearing out the races and damaging the bearing itself. If there's slop, the whole thing needs to be replaced. You may be able to get away with leaving the race in for a noisy bearing, but if there's excess play, you have no way of telling whether the issue is the race or the rollers.
 

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lol something started to bump in my car this morning. The only thing i did yesterday was tighten the rear speaker. I wonder where my flashlight went too......
 
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