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Hey all,

I know this is literally the MOST common issue on these cars but I am at a loss right now, even after searching google and the forums. I have a 98, with 230,000 miles, and have been slowly fixing her up lately. Ive gotten sick of all the front end rattling.

One month ago I replaced:
1) Front Upper CA's (with balljoint obviously)
2) Front Lower CA's

and the noise was still there.

Yesterday I replaced:
1) Front Inner AND Outer Tie rods (w/new bellows) these items were WAY shot, and I was excited because I though it would solve the clunking
2) Both front sway bar links

Took her to get an alignment and the noise has NOT dissipated at all...

The ONLY thing I have not touched is the lower Balljoints in the front, which I have checked with a prybar, and there is no play in them, which is surprising... not looking forward to replacing them at all... But since they have no play, I have doubts they are the cause of the clunking.

What else could possibly be making this dang clunking on uneven road surfaces?!?! every bolt is tight, all listed items are brand new with bushing as applicable. Oh and also there is a huge single POP, everytime I back out of my parking spot to the left.... only when I back out to the left, there is a bang, and thats it... no grinding, roaring, not the diff. im well aware of most of the common issues, but I just cant take these noises anymore after the work ive done has fixed next to nothing... any help?

thanks.
 

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I would recommend changing the bottom ball joints. My 2000 has 222,700 miles on it and I had one break on me a little over a year ago. I had a squeak I couldn't find and thought it was the top joints until one of the bottoms seized on me and sheared off as I came to a stop light. Luckily, all I needed was a tow and an axle shaft. The actual job of changing them isn't too bad. I had air tools to help and borrowed a few tools from AutoZone. Unfortunately about 6 months later one of those new ones started squeaking so I ended up changing one side a second time in the winter. Lucky for me it was in the upper 30s so it wasn't too bad.

They are lifetime warranty and the second time took less than an hour, but still.

Later I found someone on Amazon selling Honda OEM ones for less than what AutoZone was charging. Wish I would have got those ones.
 

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I agree with Shryp. Check the lower ball joints. How about the sway bar links? Condition? Just to eliminate the noise from the links. Disconnect one of the links either the left or right. Then drive it around to hear if the noise is still there. Let us know.
 

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Make sure the lug nuts are night too. Although with all the suspension work you should have had the wheels off a few times by now. Maybe your axles are going bad?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would recommend changing the bottom ball joints. My 2000 has 222,700 miles on it and I had one break on me a little over a year ago. I had a squeak I couldn't find and thought it was the top joints until one of the bottoms seized on me and sheared off as I came to a stop light. Luckily, all I needed was a tow and an axle shaft. The actual job of changing them isn't too bad. I had air tools to help and borrowed a few tools from AutoZone. Unfortunately about 6 months later one of those new ones started squeaking so I ended up changing one side a second time in the winter. Lucky for me it was in the upper 30s so it wasn't too bad.
They are lifetime warranty and the second time took less than an hour, but still.
Later I found someone on Amazon selling Honda OEM ones for less than what AutoZone was charging. Wish I would have got those ones.
yeah not looking forward to it considering Ive done all this work in my apartment parking lot in the direct sunlight, air tools arent available to me, but i have a nice craftsman C3 1/2 inch impact wrench that I use as necessary and I love it. really havent found much videos on this, I know removing spindle, drivleine, and getting a hydraulic press :( seems like more than I have the necessary tools for.


I agree with Shryp. Check the lower ball joints. How about the sway bar links? Condition? Just to eliminate the noise from the links. Disconnect one of the links either the left or right. Then drive it around to hear if the noise is still there. Let us know.
Checked the lower ball joints with a pry bar, didnt get any play, also already replaced sway links as stated above. noise is still there after all my listed repairs.

Does it only POP when hitting the brakes?
I have no differentiation with or without brakes. it happens driving period. and on bumps, uneven surfaces, and of course the beach, just constant clunking
 

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It POP when just hitting bumps is a very good indicator that its the lower ball joint as per Shryp. Have you also checked the upper strut mount? Sorry I missed the sway bar links that you posted. I have replaced the lower ball joint by pressing it with a 4 wheel drive ball joint press without any air tool. Let us know.
 

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You don't need air tools and you don't need a big shop press. Also, you don't need to remove the spindle from the car. Disconnect the lower ball joint. Remove the axle nut and push the axle in. This will let you pivot the spindle out on the top ball joint and use a small hand held press on the ball joint. Getting the car as high in the air as possible does help give you more room though. Also a hook or wire to hold the upper control arm as high as possible.

Helpful tip - after ball joint nut is off of lower control arm, jack the arm up and wedge a wrench between spindle and arm. Lower jack and ball joint will pop out.

Tools needed:
standard metric socket set, don't remember the sizes.
your small impact
snap ring pliers for bottom ball joint lock ring.
angle grinder to cut the old ball joint nut off maybe.
hammer / screwdriver for unbending and bending axle lock nut. replacement recommended, but I reused mine.
pliers for new cotter pin on ball joint nut.

AutoZone tools:
ball joint press
Honda adapter kit. Without the kit you will need to hammer the old one out as the press receivers will be too wide to work.
36mm axle socket
1/2" drive torque wrench. the axle nut needs torqued to 181 ft/pounds and my Harbor Freight wrench maxed at 150.

Since you recently did the lower arms I am guessing yours will come apart fairly easily.
 

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The 97 I had was similar to what most go through with front end noise...at 210,000 miles the occasional rattle in the front end was the front u-joint on the propeller shaft being worn. It rattled at times when either front tire hit a sharp bump...giving the impression that something in the front end components were loose. One bearing cap was excessively worn...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
popped the lower CA's off last night and to my surprise the lower ball joints still have some life in them... cant believe it... so, my next step is replacing the front shocks, and Im going to go ahead and replace the spring seats too... will update when finished, hopefully by wednesday
 

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UPDATE:

replaced both front shocks and rubber spring seats.
both shocks were way gone and definitely had some side to side popping in them, made me feel like I solved it this time.
3+ hour job, since my craftsman C3 impact battery wouldnt hold a charge for its life. compressed and decompressed both springs by HAND with a ratchet, it was not fun, very time consuming.

got back in the car, and the noise is STILL THERE...
insert explicit language here.
 

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I certanily have to give you credit for your determination under less than perfeect conditions. Just throwing this out there, the engine/transmission cradle in mounted to left & right frame rails by four large bolts. If they are not suoer tight, everytime you hit a bump, you may get the noise your hearing. Not sure but it's worth looking at. JMHO and good luck.
 
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