Rear clunking noise (the checklist)
Well I finally found the clunk that has haunted my car for way too long. And it wasnt the obvious swaybar endlinks or bushings in the control arms. Its something that some of you may be running into...and dont even know it.
My car suffered from a clunk due to the aftermarket E-brake cables I bought from O' Reillys Auto Parts. My car is lowered alot on Koni adj. struts and Ground Control coilovers...and the cables were binding on the plastic wheel well plastic liner. The driver side cable was just rubbing the cable ever so gently on the wheel well plastic liner. But the passenger side was tapping one of the rubber isolators (the two big rubber hunks on the E-brake cables that isolate it from tapping on the underbody) on the wheel well liner. It was binding so hard that the passenger brake caliper was moving enough to make the caliper tap and "clunk" metal to metal on the top tabs of the brake pad. Sounds crazy I know...but it can happen. I will provide a checklist of things to consider when looking for the "clunk" noise that seem to be common with age on these cars. My car also had a caliper spring and pin issue too...so the caliper was already loose compared to the properly done driver side. So that didnt help the matter either...but the cable was the main cause of all the damage and led to the spring and pin issue (I had previously fully rebuilt and powercoated ALL the calipers on the car with new seals and hardware and such).
There are some differences in the design of the aftermarket cables compared to stock...and if I remember correctly they dont have holders (or keepers to keep them from sliding in and out of the tab with the plastic bushing underneath the car "C shaped one"). So that means they can just slip through the mount freely (when they are supposed to stay locked in one place if I remember correctly). And the rubber isolators are a tad different than the stock ones too...maybe even the overall length. Cant remember for sure...I will know when I get some factory cables (on order). So I will edit this paragraph if I am mistaken.
But here is a checklist of some things to check and consider when trying to find the "clunk" noise in your car.
-Sway bar bushings and mounts
-Swaybar endlinks and bushings
-Control arm bushings
-Control arms being bent
-Toe arms being bent
-Hub bushing (the bushing that is in the rear wheel hub itself)
-If using a bigger aftermarket sway bar(check for clearance to the rear subframe...I had a shiny spot before on my Addco swaybar...until I fixed that clearance issue)
-check for the infamous cracked swaybar mount (common with the "hook" style bushing mount and single bolt design)
-also check that the swaybar pivots freely in the bushing (sometimes the "hook" style bushing mount will be bent and bind the bushing too hard on the swaybar) this will not cause the "clunk" but a squeaky annoying suspension! lol And it could bind hard enough to break the swaybar endlinks...so just something to consider
-check also that the strut mount top bolts are tight
-check the struts nut for proper torque
-check top strut mounts for wear or being completely broken (have heard of issues of metal to metal just from the rubber being worn too much...even if the mount wasnt broke like most)
-check E-brake cables and brake calipers as noted above (especially with a lowered car...clearance can become an issue with the e-brake cables)
-check hub bearings (they can make all kinds of crazy noises)
-check that the strut is bolted tight in the rear wheel hub
-check that all control arm bolts, swaybar, and subframe bolts are properly torqued (any rear suspension bolts for that matter)
-check to make sure fuel lines are not loose or bent and banging on the top of the rear subframe
-if using aftermarket swaybar endlinks...make sure the heim end is not wore out.
I am sure there are more things I cant think of without being under the car. But this will give you some things to think about as you try to hunt down that annoying "clunk." Good luck in your fix... and feel free to PM me if you need any advice. My car has had MANY of these issues...and most times it was multiple ones at the same time.
2000 Silver Frost SVT Contour 3L #1633 of 2150
2009 F150 FX4 Blue Flame/ Sterling Grey
1979 Mustang Notchback 357CI Windsor Street/Strip/Show