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NG900 & OG9-3 Workshop NG900 (1994 to 1998) & OG9-3 (1999-2002) & '03 Convertible Technical Forum

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  #1  
Old 30th November 2009
Frogdude Frogdude is offline
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Default Front end clunk

I get a clunking sound from my front left suspension area. It only happens over the first few bumps I go over first thing in the morning when it is cold. After that it is silent for the rest of the trip to work. I've recently changed my struts, thrust bearings and strut mounts, but the problem is still there. I checked the ball joints as well, but they don't seem loose. Any thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 30th November 2009
Johnny82 Johnny82 is offline
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There is a post already on this with alot of information. have a look around for it.

Quick answer is it is the bushings causing this. They are surrounded by a rubber which over time becomes hard. This is a well known problem with the 93 and should not be of any concern. Mine does this on cold mornings all the time for about 1 minute or so. Most Saab nuts just put up with it. You could invest in polyurethane bushings which last longer than the stock ones but the problem may still reoccurr after a length of time.

Johnny
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  #3  
Old 30th November 2009
Frogdude Frogdude is offline
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In that case I probably won't worry about it. Just to be clear though, is it the bushings in the control arms, or the ones that hold the front sway bar?
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  #4  
Old 30th November 2009
Johnny82 Johnny82 is offline
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Not 100% sure which it is to be honest. I'm sure one of the other guys will know.
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  #5  
Old 30th November 2009
hummvee2134 hummvee2134 is offline
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jack up your car and check your ball joints with a pry bar. You wouldn't want one of those coming apart on ya.
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  #6  
Old 30th November 2009
Frogdude Frogdude is offline
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I checked the ball joints last month when I replaced the struts. There wasn't any play in them, so I can't see how they could cause a clunk.
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  #7  
Old 30th November 2009
brewtide brewtide is offline
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Usually the 'big bushings' in the control arms; The ones where the stancion (sp?) arms connect into. They honestly could be 'dead', as well -- They are oil-filed bushings, and usually, if you decide to hack them out and replace just the bushings, you'll find that there is no longer any oil inside.

They do creak when cold; and typically 'clunk' when shot, as the stancion arm hits the control arm, if I remember correctly. There is only a little amount of play between the two.

If you replace with poly, your clunk will probably go away, however, in the cold of winter, it'll be replaced with a few serious creeky sounds for the first 5-10 bumps. First time I heard it, I thought something broke in half...!

Lubrication of these new bushings helps the issue, but eventually fails. I believe the bushings from genuine saab also can include new 'bolts', that take care of more issues, although I think there is a requirement (like, post '95 model' or something...)

If it really gets to you, check these bushings, and my suggestion is to just replace the control arms; that way, you get a new bushing AND a new balljoint.

The cheaper way is to replace with poly, on the two arms.

And the cheapest way, if your balljoints are good, is to ignore it until they become an issue =)

=Benjamin
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  #8  
Old 30th November 2009
Frogdude Frogdude is offline
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Thanks Benjamin, that is good info. Guess I'll ignore it as long as I can.
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  #9  
Old 30th November 2009
brewtide brewtide is offline
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Just make sure that's where the sound seems to be coming from. You said you checked the ball joints, as they are a complete safety issue.

New bushings will make it handle better, etc, but I'm not sure I'd consider it a hugely pressing issue. Just look underneath now and then to make sure nothing is breaking in HALF. You'll probably see where the arms are clunking into each other!

-Benjamin

EDIT: Also note, it's worth checking the tightness bolts that hold the strut housing into the top of the car (the 3 or 4 smaller ones), as well as the larger nut that holds the strut insert down... Since these were just replaced, it is POSSIBLE that they are loose after a little 'settling'... (ask me how I know... =)
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  #10  
Old 30th November 2009
rotate rotate is offline
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I think the sound is coming from the sway bar bushing. I had it lubricated by the dealer with moly grease and the sound went away for only one winter and it came back. It was done under warranty.

The job requires removal of the subframe which is a lot of labor so I just live with it.
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  #11  
Old 3rd December 2009
Frogdude Frogdude is offline
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I have a new symptom to add to this problem. Last night the "clunk" happened when I started to back up to parallel park.... on a perfectly smooth road. Just one single "clunk", then not again for the rest of the trip home. Anyone have any thoughts? thanks.
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  #12  
Old 3rd December 2009
IanT54 IanT54 is offline
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It could be some play in the stanchion arm bushings - either the rear or the front (where it attached to the control arm). The control arm/stanchion arm joint is known for causing pops/clunks on accel/braking if its not tightened enough. This is hard to retorque because the half shaft is in the way of the bolt. You pretty much have to remove the hub assembly/half shaft to get a torque wrench on the bolt.
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  #13  
Old 4th December 2009
Frogdude Frogdude is offline
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Thanks Ian, I'll check that out.
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  #14  
Old 5th December 2009
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swaves1 swaves1 is offline
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check the left engine mount, mine was doing the same thing and I found the mount was broke
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