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Clunk from the Front...NOT the usual suspects

Dec 26, 2018
774
668
TX
Hi folks,

I have a clunking noise coming from my front driver side when going over rough roads (not 'smooth changes' like speed bumps).

I have checked the usual suspects:
  • Sway Bar end Links - replaced with new
  • Fore Arms - checked bolts, checked bushings with crow bar
  • Aft Arms - checked bolts, checked bushings with crow bar
  • Wheel Hub - replaced with new
  • Steering Rack - replaced with new (by SC)
But no avail. It truly sounds like a horribly worn bushing, or some large component rattling, but I can't find anything that's loose and the car only has 40k miles.

I have ordered a suction mount so I can record some video with a gopro, but I'm curious if anyone has any other ideas before hand.

The thing that keeps me thinking suspension is: when I floor it, the car pulls to the left. But the alignment is proper, and I can't find any obvious loose components.
 
1. Did you checked all ball joints for slack as well? Also the front upper control arm joint?

2. About the car pulling to the left when accelerating the rear toe link rubbers could be the problem. I know a guy with exactly the same issue: no slack on the wheels and alignment ok but swerve like a crab when hitting the accelerator and centers again when releasing pedal and driving constantly.
 
Dec 26, 2018
774
668
TX
1. Did you checked all ball joints for slack as well? Also the front upper control arm joint?

2. About the car pulling to the left when accelerating the rear toe link rubbers could be the problem. I know a guy with exactly the same issue: no slack on the wheels and alignment ok but swerve like a crab when hitting the accelerator and centers again when releasing pedal and driving constantly.

Actually, I don’t believe I have checked the ball joints for slack. Or the upper control arm, other than tapping on it with the rubber mallet to see if it makes any clunking noises. Any advice on how to specifically check them for slack?

Now that you mention it, If I lift the rear left of the car off the ground and put my hands at three and nine on the rear wheel and apply some force, the wheel does have a couple millimeters of motion. The service center told me it was normal, but I never thought so. Perhaps that couple millimeters is enough under acceleration to make it swing to the left?
 
Actually, I don’t believe I have checked the ball joints for slack. Or the upper control arm, other than tapping on it with the rubber mallet to see if it makes any clunking noises. Any advice on how to specifically check them for slack?

Now that you mention it, If I lift the rear left of the car off the ground and put my hands at three and nine on the rear wheel and apply some force, the wheel does have a couple millimeters of motion. The service center told me it was normal, but I never thought so. Perhaps that couple millimeters is enough under acceleration to make it swing to the left?
This one has a bit much but you get the idea, better use a long iron stick to put more strength onto it.


If you can move the wheel by hand that easily is not ok.

Alignment is tens of milimeters so 1mm play is much and under load I bet the play is even more so if I where you I would change it.
 
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Dec 26, 2018
774
668
TX
This one has a bit much but you get the idea, better use a long iron stick to put more strength onto it.


If you can move the wheel by hand that easily is not ok.

Alignment is tens of milimeters so 1mm play is much and under load I bet the play is even more so if I where you I would change it.
Oh man, that’s exactly what my noise is like - I don’t recall having play where I can move it just by pushing down with my hand, but I suppose it’s possible that there’s just a super minuscule amount of play that is just enough to cause noise when under load.

Good call on the tie links. I figured as much, but the SC feedback threw me off.

I’ll replace that link and see if that fixes the pull, and then put some force on the upper control arm to see what happens.
 
Oh man, that’s exactly what my noise is like - I don’t recall having play where I can move it just by pushing down with my hand, but I suppose it’s possible that there’s just a super minuscule amount of play that is just enough to cause noise when under load.

Good call on the tie links. I figured as much, but the SC feedback threw me off.

I’ll replace that link and see if that fixes the pull, and then put some force on the upper control arm to see what happens.

Good luck, I think best is to replace both toe links since there not that expensive and after all they are the same age.

Let me know how it turns out.
 
Dec 26, 2018
774
668
TX
Good luck, I think best is to replace both toe links since there not that expensive and after all they are the same age.

Let me know how it turns out.

Ordered both toe links and bolts from a local place that has them NOS. My SC is very slow to respond to parts requests, so who knows when I’ll be able to order new upper fronts.

I put the car in very high and tried pushing on my front upper control arm and didn’t feel any movement like that guy got in the video, but I think that’s the easiest thing to replace, so I’ll start there. Video coming shortly as well.
 
Ordered both toe links and bolts from a local place that has them NOS. My SC is very slow to respond to parts requests, so who knows when I’ll be able to order new upper fronts.

I put the car in very high and tried pushing on my front upper control arm and didn’t feel any movement like that guy got in the video, but I think that’s the easiest thing to replace, so I’ll start there. Video coming shortly as well.
You can only find slack when there is no weight on the suspension so the best way is to lift the car, if there is no slack I think I wouldn't change it.
Here’s my noise. I still can’t find any suspension components with obvious slack, and the strange thing is - the noise is not consistent. Only hear it on some bumps, not all, and not even necessarily on the biggest bumps.


Starts at about 12 seconds

I see now you have the Tesla air suspension, front air struts could rattle with this generation. Maybe @jcpetit recognized this sound?
 
Dec 26, 2018
774
668
TX
You can only find slack when there is no weight on the suspension so the best way is to lift the car, if there is no slack I think I wouldn't change it.


I see now you have the Tesla air suspension, front air struts could rattle with this generation. Maybe @jcpetit recognized this sound?

I think you might be on to something, reading through @jcpetit ’s thread.

My struts were replaced in 2019 due to rattling (different kind of rattle, but still a rattle). And I understand a lot of these rattle.

I legitimately can’t find any other suspension components that rattle, so unless something else unrelated has come loose, I can’t think of another component that would be causing this.

I’m going to take out the front tub, and do some recordings of the steering rack and other stuff up front while going over bumps to see if there’s anything else moving - but the struts could certainly be it.

That said:

The Arnott struts are $2800 all in, and are truly plug and play.

The Unplugged Performance struts are $2400 all in, are adjustable, but require disassembly of the factory front uppers.

@jcpetit , any thoughts between the two?
 
Dec 26, 2018
774
668
TX
Watching my own video more closely, it does sound like the noise lines up exactly with compression and expansion of the strut - if it was something else rattling, I’d expect it to just kinda….rattle. Not be in line with the exact moment the strut moves. Interesting. Going to read through jcpetit’s thread more and see what other testing I can do. Might just need to swap them struts side to side and see if the location of the sound changes.
 
Dec 26, 2018
774
668
TX
SOLVED!!

Today, I depressurized the factory strut and took of the sway bar end link so I could shake the suspension around freely and see if I could find the loose element.

Turns out that Firestone didn't tighten the inner eccentric bolt on my aft arms when they did my alignment, and that was rattling around. A quick tighten and the noise is gone!

 
Dec 26, 2018
774
668
TX
NOT ACTUALLY SOLVED!!

Well, Anticlimactic update - The inner bolt for the aft arm was definitely looser than it should be (thanks, firestone) - but when I tightened it up, the play in the bushing went away and the noise seems to have slightly improved, but still present.

So, I don't think the Aft Arm was the true culprit after all. After I tightened it up, I removed the air strut altogether, disconnected the sway bar end link, and rapidly moved the suspension up and down.....I couldn't find any suspension component that made noise or had play in it.

While the noise certainly does seem to align with suspension movement, there's no obvious play in anything that makes me thing a replacement is needed.

At this point, I'm pretty stumped. Maybe subframe mounts?
 

Roberthr74

New Member
Dec 12, 2021
2
0
PA
Here’s my noise. I still can’t find any suspension components with obvious slack, and the strange thing is - the noise is not consistent. Only hear it on some bumps, not all, and not even necessarily on the biggest bumps.


Starts at about 12 seconds
Bush where strut attaches to lower arm is bad on mine makes same noise
 

Roberthr74

New Member
Dec 12, 2021
2
0
PA
Hi folks,

I have a clunking noise coming from my front driver side when going over rough roads (not 'smooth changes' like speed bumps).

I have checked the usual suspects:
  • Sway Bar end Links - replaced with new
  • Fore Arms - checked bolts, checked bushings with crow bar
  • Aft Arms - checked bolts, checked bushings with crow bar
  • Wheel Hub - replaced with new
  • Steering Rack - replaced with new (by SC)
But no avail. It truly sounds like a horribly worn bushing, or some large component rattling, but I can't find anything that's loose and the car only has 40k miles.

I have ordered a suction mount so I can record some video with a gopro, but I'm curious if anyone has any other ideas before hand.

The thing that keeps me thinking suspension is: when I floor it, the car pulls to the left. But the alignment is proper, and I can't find any obvious loose components.
Just found my lower control arm bushings that air strut attaches to were bad making clunking noise same as yours
 
Dec 26, 2018
774
668
TX
Just found my lower control arm bushings that air strut attaches to were bad making clunking noise same as yours

I do think the Aft Arms are the problem, like you said. Car is in the SC right now, hoping they’ll replace them with the revised version used on the X, and then this problem should go away.

I am supposed to get it back tomorrow, I’ll let y’all know what we find!
 
Dec 26, 2018
774
668
TX
Just found my lower control arm bushings that air strut attaches to were bad making clunking noise same as yours

Diagnosis from the Service Center is that the inner brake pads were rattling, so they applied grease to the slides. I'm not totally convinced, because this certainly sounded much more substantial than that - but I've had good experiences with my Service Center thus far, so let's see. I pick it up tonight.

Worst case, aftermarket replacement aft arms aren't terribly expensive, and are super easy to install.
 
Dec 26, 2018
774
668
TX
Well folks, on initial testing, it seems the Service Center was right!!

I would have NEVER thought to check the brake pads for such a substantial sounding rattle, but after they greased the pins, the noise seems to be gone. Here's the note from the invoice:

"Verified customer concern. Found clanking noise coming from front inboard brake pad in both sides. Applied Brembo brake grease to front brake pins and found noise is no longer present."

I put in StopTech brake pads a few months back, guess I forgot a crucial step!
 
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