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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Have been having a clonk from the front end of a 1995 24v 3.0 164, UK spec.
It mostly happened on steering inputs but not always.
No play in front suspension bushes and even changed the engine mounts - were shot anyway.
Think narrowed it down to the front strut lower bearing so took the suspect one off today - only 6 months old! It looked fine and felt fine, hand wise. Was evidence of impact on the lower spring pan, suggesting it had been hitting on the strut - which would account for the impact noise heard. No evidence of damage on the strut rod itself - harder steel?
Anyway, I had a new lower bearing to put in so did so - and it didn't fit. Out come the vernier calipers. 1mm internal difference (1mm less for replacement) and 1mm height/thickness difference. In the end, I used a file on the strut to remove any 'bumps' and then it sat OK.

To cut a long day short, I think corrosion in the lower spring pan had caused the bearing to sit badly. Rust takes more space than normal steel. These bearings are a tight fit out of necessity and the two (plastic!) halves are barely held together unloaded - as designed to sit under constant load. They must sit square to keep their two halves properly together.
Sorry for the lack of pics. I should have taken loads but was too busy actually getting the job done.
If you have a front end clonk, often steering related, maybe consider your lower bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi,
very happy to say this has fixed the clonk.

Yes, checked everything else on the strut as pulled the whole thing to pieces before re-assembly.
Think it had indeed been some raised point of corrosion above the lower strut bearing, where it sits under the spring pan, causing the bearing not to seat properly. Seems cleaning this area up with a circular wire brush on a drill and then treating the entire spring pan with rust converter, to prevent future such issues, has done the job. It did seem to be sitting properly, top and bottom of the bearing, before re-assembly and driving the car now seems to confirm that. Yay :-D

BTW, does anyone known the correct torque setting for the four M10 lower strut to hub bolts?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
An update is, I still have some front end clonk - though much better than before. Possibly from the other strut or possibly from A-arm or even the joints on the rack. So hard to pin down. No obvious play anywhere, even using a thick screwdriver to load joints.
Ironically, the front end feels really tight driving wise and handles beautifully. Am tempted to give up looking for the source until after the winter. Suspect the rear A-arm mount. Anyone found any other causes, struts aside?
 

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Have you looked at the steering rack bushings? As I understand, they are a known failure point, which produces a knock or clonk.

B

P.S. Depending on what it looks like, when I dive under there, I plan to do mine with either a sheet of neoprene, or by casting urethane into the gap vacated by rubber that turned to dust.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Have you looked at the steering rack bushings? As I understand, they are a known failure point, which produces a knock or clonk.

B

P.S. Depending on what it looks like, when I dive under there, I plan to do mine with either a sheet of neoprene, or by casting urethane into the gap vacated by rubber that turned to dust.
Thanks, have actually been wondering about these. Given the weather now, am aiming to put off further checks until spring. Don't think bad enough for any danger, just frustrating more than anything at moment.
 

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Have you looked at the steering rack bushings? As I understand, they are a known failure point, which produces a knock or clonk.

B

P.S. Depending on what it looks like, when I dive under there, I plan to do mine with either a sheet of neoprene, or by casting urethane into the gap vacated by rubber that turned to dust.
Given my recent escapades with our LS's power steering rack, I'm heavily biased to assume any 'clonk' is steering-rack-related.. As SPEZIA suggests, the rubber bushing on the passenger side clamp especially, can wear out and let the tube 'hop' and strike the steel U-clamp, resulting in an intermittent 'clonk'... You can check simply by grabbing the steering 'tube' near the passenger side and give it a shove... You'll immediately notice whether it has enough play to give you the 'clonk'.

Best wishes!
- Art
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Many thanks.
I've come to suspect the steering rack less. There seems to be no play in rack or rack joints, as I can tell so far.
What have concluded so far, given how rebuilding the left front strut temporarily cured the issue, is that the seating of the front spring pans on their bearings remains the actual issue.
Mostly get horrible noises close to full right lock, though by no means always.
Have resigned from curing it this side of winter as sure nothing is about to break. In the meantime going to strip down some spare struts and bring their spring pans back to 'new', along with some more new front bearings to put in them and make sure are absolutely 100% perfectly seated.
Did notice the old new bearing I took out had almost 1mm of lateral play on the strut, due to a slightly wider inner diameter. The one I just put in was a snug fit, although the bearing itself seemed less rugged. Alfas....
 
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