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Front end rattle/clunk in 98 Escort wagon

03-08-2007, 09:45 PM
I am hoping that somebody can help shed some light on this, i have gone as far as i possibly can in troubleshooting this rattle, to no avail.

here is what i know:

There is a rattle/ clunk in the front end. Actually there seems to be clunking on both sides but the passenger side is much more prevalent. It happens when going over bumps but not on the compression side of the bump, rather on extension or rebound. Hence it is much more prevalent when the wheel hits a hole than when it hits a bump.

I have done most of the obvious troubleshooting including checking for loose tie-rods and ball joints (by jackign upt he car and trying to rock the wheel back and forth from the 6 and 12 and 3 and 9 o'clock positions). The lug nuts are properly tightened.

I have checked for looseness in the CV joints, but not taken them off. The boots are in fine shape. I have checked for looseness in the rack and pinion. Stabilizer links are fine. There is no play at the top of the struts (where they bolt to the car, under the hood). I have also looked for signs of the exhaust hitting something as well as worn engine mounts. Where appropriate i have investigated these things while the suspension was fully extended (car jacked up...wheels hanging in the air) as well as with the suspension compressed (either with the car on the ground or with the car on axle stands and using a spare jack to push up on the lower ball joint.

Interestingly, (and i think this is a key piece of information) the rattle goes away when i apply the brakes while going over a series of bumps. My first thought was that maybe the caliper was loose or the sliders were worn but they are fine.

Any clever ideas?

thanks, Dave

03-09-2007, 01:02 PM
Excessive air in the tires? Front wheel bearings? Lower strut mount? Worn out front struts? Front brake hardware and springs. Are pads loose in the caliper?

03-10-2007, 09:16 PM
I have been having the same trouble for some time with my 98 wagon. Like you I have tried to find out what is wrong, although I have not gone into as much detail as you. I have given up and have carried my car to my local front end/brake shop. He will look at my car Monday and I will post the results. Also, my front brakes chatter when I apply my brakes and the rattle seems to disappear. The rotors seem to be in good shape, although I have not pulled them or put a dial indicator on them. I am an industrial mechanic and pride myself in fixing my own stuff. This one has baffled me.( Of course I will place the blame on not having a car lift!)

03-20-2007, 03:15 PM
I found out I had a bad hub cap on the right front wheel. The fix was to move it to a rear wheel where the noise is less noticeable.

03-20-2007, 04:08 PM
I found out I had a bad hub cap on the right front wheel. The fix was to move it to a rear wheel where the noise is less noticeable.


03-22-2007, 09:31 AM
Maybe its something in the control arms (A-arm).

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