Windstar clunk front end?


fordbronco24
01-10-2006, 01:36 PM
I have a 2001 Ford Windstar LX. It has about 77,000 miles on it. I have had for almost a year. Since I have had it, it has been making a clunking noise in the left front end. It doesn't do it that often, just every once in while. It usually does after I've hit some bumps moving at around 10-15 mph. Turning usually doesn't have to be happening. Some times it's louder than other times, but it is the same clunk. Can anyone give me a clue?

12Ounce
01-10-2006, 02:19 PM
I recently replaced, on the left side, a link that connects the torsion bar to the strut assembly. Its about 12" long, with a flex-joint at each end.

It was quite worn. Both dust boots were broken open. I think it was a noise maker ... but not sure.

There are many "opportunities" for clunking ..
Tie rod ends
Strut assemblies
Subframe mounts
Engine mounts
...etc, etc.

LeSabre97mint
01-10-2006, 03:51 PM
I recently replaced, on the left side, a link that connects the torsion bar to the strut assembly. Its about 12" long, with a flex-joint at each end.

It was quite worn. Both dust boots were broken open. I think it was a noise maker ... but not sure.

There are many "opportunities" for clunking ..
Tie rod ends
Strut assemblies
Subframe mounts
Engine mounts
...etc, etc.

I agree with 12oz. Replace your sway bar links. Your clunk should go away. Tha is if every other item is tight. I had one go bad on a 93 Taurus.

Regards

Dan

atlanticbluejetta
01-10-2006, 10:48 PM
On my 2000 clunking in the front was caused by loose sway bar bushings. To check unbolt one end of the sway bar at the sway bar link and move up and down to check for play in the bushing. You can also check the links at this time. Jack up both sides of the front to take tension off the sway bar. The shop manual says to lower the back of the subframe to change the bushings, but I found that it was easy to change the bushings without lowering the subframe. When I bought the bushings at the Ford stealership they said that they sell lots of them.
HTH

Riordan3
01-25-2006, 11:35 PM
Ditto!! Had the same problem on my 98 Windstar. Sway bar links were worn causing the noise. First one side went then the other side. After both were replaced noise went away completely

so2315
03-19-2006, 09:26 PM
Anybody have a picture of the sway bar or detailed instructions on how to remove the bushings? I belived the metal frames holding the rubber are up near the frame and I can see the nut, but there is no way I can get a wrench in there!

Windstartled
08-21-2012, 04:01 PM
Anybody have a picture of the sway bar or detailed instructions on how to remove the bushings? I belived the metal frames holding the rubber are up near the frame and I can see the nut, but there is no way I can get a wrench in there!

I am reviving this thread because I'm in the process of replacing the sway bar bushings. On the second-generation Winnie those bushings are fastened by two brackets (one on each side) which are bolted to the lower part of the main frame. Each bracket is held in place by two 13mm self-threading bolts that go through the frame and into nuts welded to the frame on the opposite side. In true Ford fashion the welded nuts are easy to reach but cannot be removed (obviously), while the removable bolts are nearly impossible to get at. Why engineers chose not to install this the other way around boggles the mind.

Like someone above mentions the shop manual states that the subframe must be lowered 2-3 inches in order to get sufficient clearance to gain access to the bolts, but the instructions are far from clear. It says to use "suitable jack stands" to support the subframe and then lower it. HTF am I supposed to lower the subframe with jack stands holding it up? If they had said just jacks it would make sense I guess but you can't lower a jack stand when it's loaded so WTF? :screwy:

12Ounce
08-21-2012, 06:45 PM
I think they meant to set the jack stands with some "drop" clearance... and loosen the screws holding the back of the subframe up ... not too many turns, just enough to provide some clearance.

scubacat
08-21-2012, 07:20 PM
A box end wrench + a little patience will replace lowering the subframe. I did mine that way. Just be prepared to turn each nut the tiniest little bit before having to reposition the wrench. It really isn't that bad.

12Ounce
08-21-2012, 09:11 PM
I also did mine without lowering the subframe. But it was tedious.

northern piper
08-21-2012, 09:46 PM
I've replaced the sway bar links on both sides twice. Not that I'm super human mechanic, but it's a pretty quick job when you've done it once. Here's what I do.

Put the van up on ramps at the front and block the rear wheels. Get 2 bottle jacks or some sort of hydraulic jack and use it to push up the motor mount support area. Loosen the attachment bolt and gradually lower the bottle jacks. I found that the 2 to 3 inches is not right, I don't even know if they'd lower that far honestly. Regardless, by loosening the bolts and lower the frame about an inch you can easily get a ratchet or box wrench in. Once the bracket is off, replace the sway bar bushing and tighten the bracket, push the sub frame up with the bottle jacks and torque to spec. I can change the bushing on each side in less than 20 minutes so it's not a hard job.

Windstartled
08-21-2012, 11:30 PM
It's done http://www.opeonthenet.com/phpBB2/images/smilies/icon_025.gif

Took me 4 hours but got rid of that stupefying clunk at last.

I wasted 2 hours trying to do it without lowering the subframe but gave up when I realized that having to wrap my arms around the cats and being forced to use my left hand to try and wiggle that bolt from Hell free was going nowhere. Soooo I placed jack stands at the lift points underneath the doors and a pair of scissor jacks in front of each of the rear bolts of the front subframe. Having by then long lost any shred of patience I grabbed my air impact wrench and whizzzz! whizzzz! there go flying the subframe bolts. Man I love that sound, nothing beats air tools for brute force.

Now who is the idiot that said replacing the donuts was a 44-step process? Oh wait it was me. Anyway on with the bushings. I cautiously (sort of) lowered each jack an inch at a time half expecting to see the engine and tranny come down crashing but this calamity did not occur. Now the bracket bolts were more accessible but contrary to what the shop manual says there is no way I was ever going to be able to sit a socket on the rear bolts. But I was able to do that on the front bolts so I started with those.

Now I did not use the torque wrench but no need for me to have it to be able to tell that the last person who did this job grossly overtorqued the bolts, I guesstimate it at 100 lb-ft which is more than twice the recommended value. No wonder I was never gonna get those bolts off without lowering the subframe, no way in Hell a 6-inch long 13mm wrench would budge these if there is no room to slip a length of steel pipe over it to get some real torque going. I ended up doing just that for the rear bolts and even then I had to apply considerable force on the pipe to break them. Next I wanted to re-align the subframe after using the official Ford procedure to determine misalignment of the subframe but was intercepted by wife while hauling tools from the shed to the driveway and ordered inside to fix leaking sink drain. Oh well

northern piper
08-22-2012, 10:30 AM
.... so dare I ask... did you replace the sub frame donuts?

Reason I ask is, I'm thinking of doing mine as well and have a 2000 just like yours.. (too bad for us eh??)

Just kinda wondering your experience..

Windstartled
08-22-2012, 01:29 PM
.... so dare I ask... did you replace the sub frame donuts?

Reason I ask is, I'm thinking of doing mine as well and have a 2000 just like yours.. (too bad for us eh??)

Just kinda wondering your experience..

I did not replace them but it wasn't for lack of wanting to. After noticing how relatively easy it is to lower the subframe without having to use an engine hoist/cradle/whatever I went to fetch the replacement donut kit I had purchased months ago and stored in the tool chest that's bolted underneath my snow removal tractor's cab. Unfortunately that chest can only be accessed from one side and the way the tractor is parked against a brick wall during the off season meant I would have to move it to access the toolbox and I knew that the sound and vibration of that big diesel engine would A) annoy the neighbours (it was getting late) and B) attract wife attention to me still being outdoors when I was supposed to be inside fixing the sink. Not worth the risk.

Unbolting the subframe got me thinking though. It's pretty obvious that replacing the donuts could be done simply by using the same method we used for replacing the sway bar bushings. Not only that, but I'm quite sure that one using 4 bottle jacks (one for each corner) and a floor jack or jack stand set underneath the oil pan to support the engine could allow replacing the engine mounts without using a hoist or cradle, and realign the subframe prior to bolting it back on. Tedious for sure, but feasible methinks. I always keep in mind that the procedures described in the shop manual sometimes require the use of pricey special tools, forcing the driveway mechanic to come up with imaginative alternatives to get the job done. I still remember that one time where I ended up spending $150 worth of tools to remove a stubborn hub nut because I didn't want to pay $40 for the appropriate socket... which I ended buying in the end anyway, and only used once. When I told that to a mechanic buddy of mine he advised purchasing a $50 air chisel and be done in seconds with any stubborn nut or bolt I ever encounter.

12Ounce
08-22-2012, 01:47 PM
.............and realign the subframe prior to bolting it back on........

What do you mean by "realign the subframe"? I've had my '99 subframe down and back up .... and about to replace it because of bending damage ... and I never noticed any adjustments.

northern piper
08-22-2012, 03:03 PM
12ounce..ya beat me to it!

what does that mean?

And while we're on the topic.. you wouldn't happen to have part numbers or maybe a dorman reference to the rubber mounts would you? I looked for that a few years ago when I was trying to take care of some general "looseness" in the van but didn't find anything and gave up...

Windstartled
08-22-2012, 06:14 PM
What do you mean by "realign the subframe"? I've had my '99 subframe down and back up .... and about to replace it because of bending damage ... and I never noticed any adjustments.

There's a hole on each side of the subframe that's lined up with a corresponding hole in the main frame. These holes are meant to check subframe alignment by inserting a 19mm dowel through both holes. If the dowel inserts straight your alignment is fine, if it's crooked you need to adjust. That's the reason the subframe bolt holes are oval, it allows for some play to fine tune the alignment. You can only perform this with all 4 bolts loosened. From what I heard misalignment of the subframe usually only occurs either as the result of a collision (even minor) or when the 4 bolts are removed for servicing procedures. The most visible symptom of improper subframe alignment is exaggerated wheel camber on one side, but it affects handling as well. It's not always easy to tell, because symptoms are similar to bad wheel alignment, ball joint failure, bent control arm, shot wheel bearing, etc. That's why you need to check with the dowel to confirm or eliminate subframe alignment as a factor when you experience these issues.

Windstartled
08-22-2012, 09:14 PM
12ounce..ya beat me to it!

what does that mean?

And while we're on the topic.. you wouldn't happen to have part numbers or maybe a dorman reference to the rubber mounts would you? I looked for that a few years ago when I was trying to take care of some general "looseness" in the van but didn't find anything and gave up...

Oops, had missed this post. FoMoCo/Motorcraft part numbers for the donuts are 5C148 (upper) and 5C149 (lower)

scubacat
08-22-2012, 09:19 PM
Have fun replacing those back donuts if you had the recall done. They so kindly glued the bushings to the subframe with that metal adhesive and I have yet to figure out how to break it loose.

Windstartled
08-22-2012, 09:36 PM
Shucks, no more clunks but now I have a wiggling noise coming from the passenger side, I suspect wheel bearing has taken ill :(

Windstartled
08-23-2012, 06:33 PM
Shucks, no more clunks but now I have a wiggling noise coming from the passenger side, I suspect wheel bearing has taken ill :(

False alarm, t'was just a loose caliper bolt http://www.charmedcrafttalk.com/forum/images/smilies/phew.gif

Windstartled
08-23-2012, 06:50 PM
Have fun replacing those back donuts if you had the recall done. They so kindly glued the bushings to the subframe with that metal adhesive and I have yet to figure out how to break it loose.

I had the rear axle recall done but not the front subframe, so I get a reminder letter from Ford every other month or so. My subframe looks good and I don't want serviceable parts to be superglued to it.

scubacat
10-30-2012, 10:21 AM
I had the rear axle recall done but not the front subframe, so I get a reminder letter from Ford every other month or so. My subframe looks good and I don't want serviceable parts to be superglued to it.

Sorry to resurrect an old thread out of the blue but two quick things:

1. My friendly neighborhood exhaust shop got the bushings out with they're patented BFH. I guess I just wasn't persistent enough!

2. Windstartled: Where exactly do I look for these subframe alignment holes and how would I do it? Just loosen the bolts on the side and try and shift it with a prybar? My transmission vibrates into the subframe on right turns and I'm wondering if this will fix it. A curb jumped out and whacked the tire when my wife was driving (if you catch my drift..)

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