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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2000 LX 143000

Noticed a clunking sounds on bumps beginning yesterday. Last night, the clunking sounded as if it was in the right rear. This AM I went out to take the car for a test ride. Now sound is most definitely coming from the FRONT left, not the rear. Sound is accompanied by a jerking motion felt in the seat AND the wheel.

I didn't even get the car out of the driveway before noise/jerking motion occurred. I moved back and forth, rolling just a few feet each time until clunk happened. After the third switch to reverse, car wouldn't move. Rather than force it, I shut it down.

I jacked the car and pulled the wheel.

Observations:

One of the five wheel studs is loose. (May be coincidence).

There is a lot of fresh grease all over the top of the ball joint and on the inside of the steering knuckle. There is also grease distributed around the inside of the perimeter of the wheel itself. It looks like he grease was sprayed and moved by centrifugal force.

The boot appears tight, with no obvious cracks. When I squeeze the boot, I get a slight hissing.wheezing sound from it as air escapes. Not sure if that is normal.

I had the ball joints replaced professionally in the last two months. I started the job, but pros had to finish job because I couldn't get the spindle axle nut back on as the spindle axle was stripped. The car had to be dragged onto a flat bed with the wheel hanging off pathetically. Could that have damaged the axle?

Before today, the axle/CV joints gave no symptoms at all. Everything was fine until the clunking started yesterday.

What to do?
 

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Sounds like it could be related to the outer CV joint. Put the car in the air, take the wheel off and jerk the axle shaft in as many directions as possible(try rotating it as well). There should be a bit of play, but not much. Compare to the passenger side for reference. That grease had to come from somewhere so get in there and look around. I've had CV boots crack inside the folds and look O.K. on casual inspection.
Also take a look at the wheel bearing and wheel nut, not likely but good to check.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
OK...put the tire back on with the car in the air. There is no play in the wheel at all.

I checked the other boots by giving them a squeeze and they didn't hiss or wheeze. There is clearly a hole in the outer CV boot. Could the joint have failed and damaged the boot?

I had a Nissan Altima that ran well for several months with a cracked boot. It clunked on turns until it was replaced. Why would the Taurus' boot break and strew grease everywhere all at once?

How would I check the bearing or the nut?
 

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Right, you checked the bearing by attempting to move the wheel. You also checked the ball joints and tie rod ends as well. As for the axle, you need to grab the shaft itself between the inner and outer joints. Give it hell, pull every way imaginable including rotation. Its similar to checking for slop in U-joints on a RWD vehicle. If you have experienced a catastrophic failure of a CV joint the axle should move quite a bit. Again, use the good side as a reference. If the axle is good, then its time to move up the chain... to the transaxle.
 

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Before you get carried away, support the car so that you can spin the wheels manually. Since the clunk seems to be at the left wheel, have someone turn the steering wheel to the right as far as possible and hold it against the stop. If the joint has failed it should make the clunk when you spin the wheel. Remove the wheel and examine the boot by spinning the brake rotor while the steering is turned. This will open the folds of the cv boot so you can see any cracks.

The other thing to consider is the lower control arm mounts/bushings. The back and forth clunk, as well as the steering jerk, could indicate damage to the control arm, the bushings or even the subframe. I once bought a Taurus for parts because the subframe was rotted at the forward mount for the driver's lower arm. The car was scary because it would try to steer one way or the other depending or whether the driver was accelerating or not. It's possible that damage was done to your car putting it on or off that flatbed you mentioned.

Good luck, Popeye
 

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I don't understand why you're still trying to diagnose the problem. Before I read the part where you said there was grease everywhere I was thinking you need an axle. Then I read about the grease and I"m like, yeah, replace the axle.

It's 10 year old rubber that constantly flexing and contracting, it wears out, the grease flies out, the joint goes bad.

If, for whatever reason, you want to do what popeye is suggesting, you're going to get power steering fluid shooting out of the resevoir.
 

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When I said to hold the steering against the travel limit I thought it was obvious that the engine should be off and the wheel spun by hand. I didn't think there would be anyone stupid enough to stick their face or ear anywhere near a wheel spinning while powered by a running engine. Also, the reason to continue to diagnose the problem is because there can be more than one issue involved in the problem.

I'm sure BP are wishing they double-checked that blow-out preventer now. Ya think!

Popeye
 

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True.

I was referring to having someone turning the steering wheel, front end up, engine off. ps fluid shoots about 15 feet. Funny to see happen, sucks to clean up.
 
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