1997 Toyota Camry Suspension

Tiny
GEORGEMAN
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 TOYOTA CAMRY
  • 1.2L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 138,000 MILES
Hearing like some ratchet noise coming from the front everytime I turn the wheel and then you feel a thump like you just hit something
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Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 AT 9:08 PM

6 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The most likely suspect is a binding upper strut mount. To verify that, reach over the top of a front tire, wrap your fingertips around part of the coil spring, then have a helper slowly turn the steering wheel. You should feel the spring rotate smoothly with the tire. If the upper mount is binding, you'll feel the spring wind up and build tension, then suddenly pop free and turn.
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Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 AT 10:52 PM
Tiny
GEORGEMAN
  • MEMBER
But what do you think is making that ratchet sound. How does the thump effect cause the car feel like you just hit something if its in the upper strut I am just trying to understand the way it works its driving me nuts
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Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 AT 11:08 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The upper mount carries the entire weight of that corner of the car, so to make it easier to turn the steering, there is a small ball bearing ring in it. Dirt can get in it, or the cage that holds the balls can crack. The rubber center part of the mount can deteriorate too. That will allow it to settle so the body sheet metal drags on the mount.

You have to listen for where the ratcheting noise is coming from while a helper turns the steering wheel, but the upper mount can do that if the balls are running over dirt or part of the cage. The thumping is the extremely common complaint caused by the wound-up spring snapping free and turning.

The rack and pinion steering gear can cause a ratcheting or rumbling noise too, but that is much less common. Typically by the time it gets that bad, you've had a power steering leak for quite a while.
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Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 AT 11:18 PM
Tiny
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  • MEMBER
Its weird its on both sides
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Thursday, November 12th, 2015 AT 12:05 AM
Tiny
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CAn you fix this problem or help me find some one in my area please zip 92704
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Thursday, November 12th, 2015 AT 12:09 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Sorry; can't help with finding a shop. We're all over the country. First you need to get a definite diagnosis. I gave you my best guess based on the symptoms. You wouldn't be happy with me if you had the mounts replaced and that didn't solve the problem.

The best place to go for this type of problem is a tire and alignment shop. Replacing the upper mounts requires removing the struts to disassemble them. That requires an alignment anyway. The people at those shops are experts at finding the causes of noises, vibrations, and bad tire wear.

Look for a shop that's busy. If the mechanics are standing around, there's a reason they don't have many customers.
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Thursday, November 12th, 2015 AT 1:46 AM

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