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2002 WRX
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've been scratching my head over a really severe clunk, I thought from my suspension. It is isolated to the front left wheel. It only happens when I'm turning in sharp and HARD to the left, especially if transitioning to an uphill road. It sounds and feels (through the floorboard) like the wheel is being torn off the car.

Could this be a loose transmission mount?

That was the Pep Boys diagnosis, and it sounded crazy to me, but now with it tightened down I can't recreate the problem again. Shouldn't I feel a loose transmission mount on both sides of the car, and cornering in both directions? Why would it just effect the left?
 

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2002 WRX
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Yeah, answered my own question. No, it's not a transmission mount. I guess everything was just settled in after being on the lift, because it's back now.

Subaru dealership diagnosed this as a strut top mount, which I replaced along with new struts and Swift springs, and no improvement at all. (Then they later diagnosed a squeaking noise on the same side of the car as a bad strut, because "My KYB struts aren't genuine Subaru parts.")

Pep Boys said transmission mount, tightened it and no change.

I've personally been under the car looking for loose stuff, and lifted each side on the front to wiggle the wheels and check for anything loose (ball joints, tie rods, etc.). All seems to be put together well. I've got new sway bar bushings to put in (mainly for the squeaking noise), but the ones on there now look like they're in good shape. I bought the car used so I guess the previous owner had the same issue and got a bunch of stuff replaced and no fix.

Any idea what else this could be?
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,070 Posts
any change if you are on the brakes at all during the hard left up hill turn?
 

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Give the endlinks a shake. I have a clunk in the same corner that only happens if i go over a sharp elevation change (such as a curb etc) at lower speeds. The only thing left for me is the front control arm rear bushing. I would also check your steering rack bushings (get under the car and have someone move the steering wheel, you'll probably see the whole rack shifting in the mounts).
 

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2002 WRX
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I'll have to play with the brakes, but the noise is really sudden, just a single incredibly harsh thunk, and isn't repeatable enough to completely rule things out by trial and error very easily.

It almost seems like taking a corner really hard to the left causes something to shift out of place. Sometimes after the thunk, the steering wheel wants to stay off to the left a little with the car going straight. Then it will either drift back to center or I'll get a much smaller pop a few seconds later going straight and it will be back to normal.

I did look at the steering rack bushings, and they look and feel brand new... at least as much of them as I can see. I do think the rack is moving a little though, because steering isn't always perfectly centered and is very dead in the middle. But I think the bushings may have been replaced by the previous owner, just based on how fresh the rubber looks.

The endlinks and sway bar feel tight, just based on my get under the car and wiggle everything around test, but I'll check those again too. I may just remove the sway bar completely and see if that fixes everything.
 

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TANSTAAFL
2010 2.5X Premium AFF 4EAT
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472 Posts
I've been scratching my head over a really severe clunk, I thought from my suspension. It is isolated to the front left wheel. It only happens when I'm turning in sharp and HARD to the left, especially if transitioning to an uphill road. It sounds and feels (through the floorboard) like the wheel is being torn off the car.

Could this be a loose transmission mount?
I'm curious as to what this could be. My '10 also makes a noticeable clunk when transitioning uphill to a flat if the road I'm on intersects sharply and the Sube's right front wheel unloads the vehicle's weight before the left front. It felt/ sounded like the clunk was coming from the right front though, which was the wheel that had unloaded the most weight. This is very repeatable; it happens every time at a particular intersection unless I drive across the transition very slowly...say 5 mph.
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,070 Posts
Tie rod ends? inner, outer?

or lower ball joint.

I was curious about the braking as it would indicate a wheel bearing/hub issue if the clunk was drastically reduced or eliminated under braking. The brakes would help to keep the hub/rotor/wheel in alignment while under pressure.
 

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2001 Forester
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35 Posts
I just had this problem happen in my 03 Forester on my way home ( except from the right/passenger side). I turned left, clunk. Had to make another left to get off the road, clunk again. Stopped the car, looked underneath...pushed pulled, turned everything. I couldn't replicate the noise. Drove home the noise didn't happen. I can move the swaybar more than I think I should be able to...but that's about all I can feel.
Blinking scary noise when it happened, thought something had broken and come loose! PITA when you can't replicate the problem!
 

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2002 WRX
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I may have stumbled onto the solution. I noticed that the clunk sounds like a way more severe version of a noise I get sometimes right after cranking to start, and figured maybe the engine mounts are loose or worn out. Got my wife to power brake the car and HOLY CRAP, the engine is rising a good 6 inches on the driver's side. Is that a normal amount of movement on the stock engine mounts? I'm guessing not.

Right after this, I pulled out of the driveway and made a gentle left turn and CLANK, the nasty sound hit at ~5mph, I'm guessing as the engine settled back down into its spot.
 

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2001 Forester
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35 Posts
Interesting, I'll have to check my mounts out this weekend. Was going to do the fuel filter, but might have to put my money into this.

I wish a month would go by without something going wrong on this blinking car.
 

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2002 WRX
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Confirmed, my issue is the driver's side motor mount. The nut that holds it to the crossmember is missing!

The misadventures continue... I picked up a nut and washer to replace the missing ones, torqued it down to spec (took several runs up and down to clean up the threads), cranked up the engine and was blown away by the instant improvement in throttle response and connectedness. Then, a few seconds later, CRREEEEAAAKKKK. The threads were pretty damaged from dragging in and out of the crossmember without a nut, and they didn't hold up to the torque. Looks like a new motor mount for me. But at least I know what is wrong now.
 

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2002 WRX
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
What really burns me is that I've paid a "diagnosis fee" to the local Subaru dealership for this. It's probably been getting loose for a while before finally coming completely off, so if they had done what I paid them to do, it would have been as simple as tightening the nut back down. But instead, on 2 occasions, I've been in to the dealership complaining about a noise (once a creaking, once a clunking) that is related to heavy throttle and/or hard cornering. First time they said it was a strut mount, which I replaced when I did Swift springs on GR-2 struts. After that, they blamed my "non OEM" struts, which were brand new, and offered to replace them with "genuine Subaru parts" for a huge fee. I even argued with them that time that it seemed to be related to heavy throttle and high torque, but they just kind of played me off like an idiot. Now I get to do new mounts. Yay.
 

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2002 WRX
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Couldn't get the nut back off of the mangled stud. I guess it has some chewed up threads stuck inside and bound up. Ended up twisting the stud loose from the mount trying to unscrew the nut.
 

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2002 WRX
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136 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Group N mounts went on today. No more clunking, no more squeaking, no more rattles of any kind from up front. Also, now that the engine is actually attached to the car, throttle response is improved 1,000,000% and center of gravity feels about a foot lower in turns. It even seems to understeer less, which I guess was happening due to the engine leaning over so far and rolling the car to the outside of the turn.

The only negative, and it's minor, is a slight increase in vibration from the Group N mounts. I only feel it when I'm sitting still and the engine idles down to 800rpm or so. Feels kinda like I just let the clutch out (even though I have an auto) just far enough to start engaging and bringing the engine down. Nothing rattles or anything, just a little vibration at idle.
 
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