Toyota Corolla



December, 21, 2006 AT 2:35 AM

Toyota Corolla 1997 50000km Hong Kong

Back to 2 months ago, I started to hear uncomfortable clunky noise from the rear left when the rear wheels go over speed-ramps in carpark, when climbing up a slighty bumpy slope, when driving in the town in speed < 30km/hr. The noise is best described as the noise of the walking horse-shoes. It is not very lound but as the driver, you would be able to tell that there must be something gone abnormal. I checked my trunk and made sure there was no items (scisscors jack and spare tyre, etc) in an insecue position.

Going over speed ramp, the noise is produced in two instants. One when the rear wheels go up the speed-ramp and the other when it runs down the ramp and hit onto the trailing edge of the ramp.

The noise is more pronounced when it is loaded..E. When there are passengers in the rear seats, e.G. Two adults and two kids < 4 yr-old.

I checked out the rear suspension by giving hard pushes on the rear part of the body, no spring-like bouncing and the damping was good. I talked to several mechanics about the symptoms, all of them advised me the shock absorber / strut assembly should have gone to the end of its life. Okay, I took it to the garage and have both the rear strut assembly replaced.

However, the problem did not go away with the struts replacement. I took my car again to the garage but the mechanic said there was not anything wrong with the suspension (the bushings and the suspension mount) and he asked me to put up with the noise as after all it is not a new car or I would need to replace all the suspension components (the bushing does not come alone but must be bought with the suspension rods and suspension arms and there is no OEM parts available. Geniue parts would cost me a lot to get rid of the noise.

I did a check myself, I took out the rear sway bar and the associated end-links, in an attempt to isolate the source of the noise, whether the noise comes from the end-links (due to deteriorated ball-joints), or the sway bar or the assoicated bushings, and further to isolate the noise if it comes from the left suspension or from the right. Up to the moment, I managed to isolate the problem and confirmed that the noise comes from the left suspension.

From there, what I managed to do was to tighten up the 4 bolts of suspension crossmember to the chassis and apply lubricant to the 12 bushings (left and right, more precisely - the gap between the busings and the pole of the bolt body but not the nut/thread end of the bolt as to avoid it comes loose one day when the car in motion). However, what I did does not help stoping the noise at all.

Now I am thinking of replacing the left struct mount since it was not replaced when the strut assembly was replaced and I am now looking for the spring compressor.

I checked with the dealer, strut mount failure is not a common fault and they do not keep stock for the struct mount parts => I start to question myself if I am in the right track, and I am not too sure if the intended move would be the ultimate fix to the problem. But, on the other side, since there are only 4 joints for which the entire wheel rolling set is privoted to the chassis.

Except the strut mount, which moves vertically, the others (the suspension rods parallel to the length of the car body, the #1 and #2 suspension arms parallel to the axle of the wheels) are just on a plane perpendicular to the vertical motion when the wheels go over a bump. And becasue the other 3 joints rotate about the privoting bolts (circular movement), while the strut moves in a vertical way with a greater range of displacement/movement. I intend to convince myself and go for the strut mount replacement.

Yet, on the other side, may be the noise comes from some lossen bolts I just did not aware of.

Seeing so, I would like to have the guru's advice on my situation and please could anyone out there enlighten me a little bit more on fixing out the noise problem with my car. It is even so annoying to drive along with the unpleasant noise.

Thank you very much to your words.



6 Answers



December, 21, 2006 AT 3:09 AM

Hey Duck,
Wow, long post LOL. OK, easy way to TRY to diagnose these gremlin noises (and I use this on those rattly jeeps all the time) You'll need a min of 3 people to do this. 2 people stand on either side of the car and literally shake the living crap out of the vehicle! (Side to side) the 3rd person (with a good flashlight) looks for the source of the noise. I mean get that car really rockin' back and forth! Pay very close attention to all the suspension parts as this seems to be the source! Let us know!




January, 2, 2007 AT 4:07 AM

I tried but unfortunately I am not able to locate the source of noise. It seems that noise are generated only when the car is in motion and while the body is moving up and down.

Last Sat, I disassembled the bolts and nuts of the left and right, 2 suspension arms tying up to the axial carrier. I removed the rust, and re-tighten them up. Nows looks better but noise still there at a lower level. The suspension rod (parallel to the side of the body) was too hard to be loosened and it gave up the trial. How would be the chance of getting a faulty upper suspenion mount (the top of the strut assembley mounting onto the chassis with 3 bolts)? Looks like they are just a metal mount with rubber base.

I am trying out another way. I attach a FM mic close to the bushings and different pivot points of the suspension in turn and I have my ear on when I am driving. Will let you know my findings.


Service Writer

January, 2, 2007 AT 6:12 AM

I'm gonna throw this out there only because I have seen some strange things. I'm probably way off base based on this statement: " I did a check myself, I took out the rear sway bar and the associated end-links, in an attempt to isolate the source of the noise, whether the noise comes from the end-links (due to deteriorated ball-joints), or the sway bar or the assoicated bushings, and further to isolate the noise if it comes from the left suspension or from the right. Up to the moment, I managed to isolate the problem and confirmed that the noise comes from the left suspension.&Quot; First it is definilty not the exhaust hitting the body?

Second, I found a lumina we had a challenge finding a rear susp. Noise. The rear bushings the the sway bar monted to the body were slightly worn. The fix was to lower the rear sway bar, and place a rubber shim around it and re-tighten.
Good luck.



January, 8, 2007 AT 1:06 AM

Thanks a lot for your hints and advice. The noise problem was finally resolved.

It was the broken jounce bumper which caused the clunky noise when going over bumps. On the other side, the spring seat was found worn too. The spring was found to come in contact with the metal support plate of the strut. That explains why the noise was more pronounced when the car carried more loads and little noise produced when it carried just the driver alone.

It was a good lesson for me. To learn more about the suspension components as well as learning how professional the gargage was. Why? Since the components were broken badly and worn out seriously, the signs were very obvious and the mechanic just changed the strut but irrespective of the broken pieces. Furthermore, a follow up re-inspection by the mechanic did not reveal at all the cause of the problem.

Anyway, my mind can now have a good rest without having thoughts of how to get the problem diagnosed.

Thanks again for your generous help!



Service Writer

January, 8, 2007 AT 5:14 AM

Glad to hear it worked. Becare of painting all garages with a broad brush. There are only as good as how management runs the shop, how dedicated the tech is to solving a problem, and what a person is willing to pay to get a problem diagnosed.



January, 11, 2007 AT 9:57 AM

Totally agree with you. I did not mean to piant all garages with a broad brush. I do believe there are still a large portion of them are in good professionism and dedicated to get problem resolved for the customers, like you do. I thought I just did not have the luck when I picked the garage. There are really a lot of automobile service shops here in Hong Kong and they deviate a great deal in terms of their professional knowledge/experience and how devoted they are towards solving customers' problems. The one I picked does not charge cheap (that is why I thought they are good as I believe quality and the amount to pay are two things connected in a direct proportion to each other). However, it turns out just not the way I thought. That is a good lesson for me anyway.

Thank you very much again for your advice. This website / forum is really useful and I would definitely introduce it to my friens who keep a car.

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