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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Relatively new to the forum. I have searched this forum as well as others but I have a front end clunk. I thought it would be ball joints, bushings, etc. but I am sure I probably wasted some money. My truck is 2002 Dakota 4x4 and has about 186,000 miles on it.

I replaced the upper/lower control arms with ball joints and bushings, inner/outer tie rod ends w/bellows, sway bar bushings, shocks and hubs. Basically all new...but I still have a clunk when hitting decent cracks in the road and kind of a squeaky groan going over a relatively deep divot/depression. Sounds like it is behind the the front wheels, not sure. Torsion bars, any ideas?

Thanks,

Gregg
 

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You've replaced everything I can think of that might clunk. You didn't say you replaced the CV shafts, but I've never known one to be the source of a clunk. I've had a "squeaky groan" that makes itself heard when temperatures get colder that I found to be the sway bar bushing that ties the sway bar end to the control arm. This is an annoyance rather than a concern, and when it comes back as we get into fall, I'm going to experiment with lubricants to see if I can eliminate the squeak.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. I did not replace the CV shafts but I think they are okay. My issue sure seems to be coming from behind the front tires like where the torsion bar connects to the chassis. I had the clunk for a little while and started buying suspension parts. Ended up having a shop install all of it. I thought for sure it was ball joints but like I stated before, I miss diagnosed this. I read on another thread that someone had tightened up the torsion bars to a higher riding height but not sure I want to do that and knock out the new alignment. Sure would like to get this resolved without spending a bunch more cash.
 

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Also, could it be something going on inside your rack & pinion?

Looking on the bright side, with 186K, I wouldn't consider that work you did to be a waste.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the reply. The clunks do come separately from side to side, the left not so much, but the right is definitely more noticeable. The steering is tight especially with the new parts, there is no play in the steering wheel so not sure if the U-Joint would be it but something to put on the checklist.
 

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Probably not the intermediate steering shaft then, nut it is cheap from ROCK AUTO & an easy DIY. Read up on the symptoms of a failing rack & pinion (that's a DIY also, but not as cheap) & see if any of those symptoms match what's going on.

I had a similar issue with my '03, except it was only coming from the drivers side. I replaced all the parts that were (for me) DIY, wheel bearing, sway bar bushings, shocks, intermediate steering shaft, rack & pinion, & I still had the "CLUNK". But when I had the front end elevated I wasn't finding any play in the wheels, &, like yours, the steering was tight, &, Pa. being an inspection state, it never failed inspection, so I was about at the point I was thinking I would live with it.

I replaced my worn out tires to get it through the 2019 inspection, & since I had never had an alignment done after changing my rack & pinion, I took it in for that. The guy was like "Oh man, your driver' side upper control arm is so bad, you shouldn't even drive it out of our parking lot!" (Which was hyperbole, but . . .) even though I could have saved a ton by changing that myself (the UPPER control arm doesn't look to bad) I was feeling like, "let's just get this finished." Anyway, I paid to get that changed & it solved my problem.

You've already had that done, so that's not it. But, like I said, maybe do a google on the symptoms of a rack & pinion going bad.

Good luck, & let us know what you find out on this.
 

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I am assuming that you changed both sway bar links also? They can make a "knock" type of noise when they go bad & they are a real cheap & easy DIY.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Doing some research from your response but as far as a failing rack and pinion, I replaced the inner and outer tie rod ends, would the rack have an issue towards one side and not so much the other?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes, all four bushings were replaced on the front sway bar. No links involved like the rears.
I am assuming that you changed both sway bar links also? They can make a "knock" type of noise when they go bad & they are a real cheap & easy DIY.
 

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I am thinking probably not. If the rack was going bad, I would think you would note your issues when making a turn. (That is actually when I used to hear the "clunk" in mine.) You are hearing yours when you hit a bump, & that's what made me think of your sway bar links. That's interseting that yours does not have sway bar links. The difference with a 4wd I guess? I wonderif it might be something going on with your shocks. That truck certainly has a lot of miles on it, & do you know how old the shocks are?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Shocks were replaced as well. It sounds like the noise is coming from behind the front tires, the shop that installed the parts also made note of that. They said bring it back and we will take a look, for a price, just trying to save some coin, but it is annoying with a new front suspension. Just hope something is not terribly wrong with the frame.
 

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I hear you; I've always found that taking something to a shop was like inviting someone to rape me.

Looking back at your OP, I see that you did mention shocks & I missed it. My bad.

I'm just throwing stuff out there, but I assume that the coil springs are original?
 

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Ohhh, okay. I missed that, as well, on your second post. I had an old Dodge Diplomat station wagon that had torsion bars. I actually had one break when I went over a radical bump; it sounded like a shotgun going off. I got one from a yard & I had a blch of a time changing it; I didn't care a lot about that car & I was pretty cheap back then so I never did get an alignment done, & needless to say, I didn't get it adjusted right when I put it in. I wiped out the tire on that side.

Anyway, I wonder if it might be something going on with your torsion bars, maybe where they go through the frame?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think that is where I am at, just hoping someone could chime in that knows about a torsion bar clunk, if that is a thing.
Anyway, I wonder if it might be something going on with your torsion bars, maybe where they go through the frame?
 

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Torsion bars do not normally clunk, but your description of it's location and type of noise, behind the tire, has me thinking of another possible problem that can manifest itself as a clunk, in that location. Behind the tire is a body mount. The structure above the mount is an area known to rust out and eventually fail. Heres a picture of mine when the structure above the mount failed and made a clunk sound when going over bumps;



Hopefully this is not your problem

Ed
 

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The repair for that would have been to scrap the truck because I found extensive rust in the floors and rocker panels. Since the truck ran great, I replaced the cab.

Ed
 
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