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Clunking from front suspension

Tim T

Tim T

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T6 Ocean 204
Ok, a bit of a long post here. In part to gain some advice and also to order my thoughs and correct my *terminology* when I discuss this with the bods down at the VW service center.

We did have a fairly frequent but intermittent problem with loud *crack/boing* sounds from the front suspension. It was as though the springs were re-seating themselves, as though there was tension on them that was being released. As far back as the first service I was asking VW to inspect the front set-up as I was advised and felt myself (I'm handy with a spanner but guessing here) that there was something other than the tracking that was out of line.

Tyres on the front last 10k and are usually slightly more worn on the very inside edge, but have taken them down to the wear indicators without *excessive* wear on the inside edge, and I'm fussy about safety... Standard wheels and VW replaced OE tyres and tracking adjustments.

So, on the last service they found the top mounts on the suspension to have excessive wear and so replaced them. They feel the problem is fixed, I'm wondering if the wear caused the issue or the issue caused the wear...

But the other day something happened that made me sit up and say, "whoa, that's not right!"

I've not driven the van in snow before as I haven't needed to, but over the last two weeks in Scotland temperatures have been as low as -12 and we've had a covering of snow over ice, really nice powdered snow.

Anyway, van in reverse, onto full lock to turn round in the yard over the snow. You could feel the tension build up then release as the front wheels tracked out of sync with each other. This wasn't just a small creak but a definite release of tension and it happened *at least* every meter if not more. I know that the front wheels MUST track on different radii as you turn but this was as though they were both on different directions relative to the van and as they tried to pull the wheels apart (or squeeze them together) it put tension in the tyres until they exceeded the level of grip and *POW*, the tension was released.

Again, this was not just a *little creaking* but a very decisive *clonk, clonk, clonk*.

I'm sure this isn't the correct way the van should be, I always thought that the steering should be set up to account for the different turning circles at the front to the point where you don't notice on any surface. It's not going to be the wheels are *suddenly* out at full lock, but a progressive difference as more steering lock is applied. At speed you generally use very little lock, so there must be a tolerance. But what is it and what is the technical term for this? How do I tell the VW service center that I think the van is wrong, and has always been wrong? I certainly don't want to have to maintain an expensive warranty or face the cost of new upper strut mounts every 20k if this is in fact the cause.

Any advice of corrections of terms/assumptions will be appreciated.
 
Perfectos

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Hi Tim,

does your van have standard suspension set up ?
Has it ever had lowering spring fitted ( factory of otherwise) or new shock absorbers ?

edit, re reading I see your dealer carried out top mount replacement
 
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Perfectos

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Some reading
 
ArunAlec

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Could it be one of the front struts.
I had the top mount/bearing go on my T5.
Used to make clunk when driving on uneven surfaces.
 
Perfectos

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May be worth doing a nut and bolt check.

do you experience wheel spin when pulling away ?

I have known drop links to cause a loud clonk with no visual issues, could be bushes, drive shaft, spring cup, anti roll bar link / bush, all manner of things can cause strange noises, get the dealer to tighten everything up and see if it still does it ?


 
Tim T

Tim T

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Lanark Scotland
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T6 Ocean 204
May be worth doing a nut and bolt check.

do you experience wheel spin when pulling away ?

I have known drop links to cause a loud clonk with no visual issues, could be bushes, drive shaft, spring cup, anti roll bar link / bush, all manner of things can cause strange noises, get the dealer to tighten everything up and see if it still does it ?
I'm not really that bothered about the loud clunk you sometimes get from suspension as it can just be a spring resettling. Bumpy campsites etc...

What does worry me though is that the top suspension mounts were replaced on it's first MOT, at about 20k. Lots of noises sound like a *clunk/clonk* but are not necessarily the same thing.

The thing about the snow surface was that the level of grip and the uniform nature of it showed up something that isn't apparent on other surfaces such as gravel or tarmac. That the front wheels don't appear to be *aligned* on full lock. The clonk/clonk/clonk here was *not* a mechanical sound but one of the front tyres periodically releasing the tension that was built up as the two front wheels didn't both track true to the turning circle. You could feel the slight jar through the van and wheel, and you could see on the snow that the tracks didn't leave a clean *tread pattern*.

It's difficult to explain, but the question is an exact one regarding how true should you expect your front wheels to track on full lock and is there a technical term of this, and is there a tolerance here? It's like the wheels are aligned when straight ahead (tracking) but get progressively more toe-in/toe-out near the limits of steering lock (relative to the turning circle of the vehicle and not each other).

What I'm asking might not be a problem at all, it might have been all fixed. But I noticed it the other day and it's in for another service/MOT in March, so I would like to get them to check it again. If this is causing wear on the top suspension mounts then am I now stuck with an expensive repair every couple of years?

My main problem is in communicating clearly with the bods down at VW so they know the question I'm asking and can answer it. Before my extended warranty runs out...

I'm fully happy that they checked the front suspension and that everything they have checked is correct.

Thanks for the help so far.
 
Perfectos

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Sorry I thought the title was “clunking from front suspension“ ?
my Bad
 
Tim T

Tim T

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Sorry I thought the title was “clunking from front suspension“ ?
my Bad
Why are internet discussions like this? I'm trying to be as clear as I can.

The suspension on my van made a loud clunking sound virtually from new, the top mounts/bearings where changed as a result of investigating the clunking at it's first MOT.
Will the wheel alignment that seems to be out on full lock cause the mounts to wear again, (did it cause the wear and clunking in the first place) and so will the suspension clunk again?
What is the term for this so I can discuss my concerns and worries with VW before my warranty runs out?

I'm sorry you jumped to the wrong assumption when reading the title, I did try to say at the beginning that I would appreciate some clarification on technical terms.
 
Tim T

Tim T

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Lanark Scotland
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T6 Ocean 204
Could it be one of the front struts.
I had the top mount/bearing go on my T5.
Used to make clunk when driving on uneven surfaces.
Thanks, I'll have that checked.

I've been trying to discover the pattern to this seemingly random clunks. At first I thought it was bumpy ground, extending suspension, but it seems to be linked more to the use of full steering lock.

Thing is, it might have been the wear on the mounts/bearings that caused the clunking rather than the clunking causing the wear and now I'm just worrying too much about nothing, hearing every noise...
 
ArunAlec

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Thanks, I'll have that checked.

I've been trying to discover the pattern to this seemingly random clunks. At first I thought it was bumpy ground, extending suspension, but it seems to be linked more to the use of full steering lock.

Thing is, it might have been the wear on the mounts/bearings that caused the clunking rather than the clunking causing the wear and now I'm just worrying too much about nothing, hearing every noise...
My "clunk" didn't seem to be related to steering but whilst googling I do recall that many suggested that the top strut "clunk" was more noticeable when turning at low speed. Incidentally, when I asked my VW dealer to give their opinion (when it was being serviced) their less than helpful answer was to confirm that there was a knock. Went to an independent why diagnosed the fault within a couple of minutes.
 
Eber123

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Good afternoon,

I must admit I haven't read each post (yet), but that what I have read is that make me think, could it be a wheel bearing that causes the problem?

In my Tiguan I had the problem that there was a "clunking" sound driving around bends (especially right bends). As it turns out the wheel bearing needed to be replaced (after only 3,5 years - of course after warranty :oops: )

Regards,
Eberhard
 
AlanC

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On full lock, my off side driveshaft made a clunking noise until the steering was straight. This was a worn drive shaft. Quite common on older vans but not so at the age your is.

When the steering is on full lock the wheels do not run parallel. This is due to the diameter of the turning circle between the inner and outer wheels, so I would not worry about the track in the snow looking wrong.

I also think your issue may still be a problem with the front Mcpherson strut mountings.

Alan
 
Tim T

Tim T

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Location
Lanark Scotland
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T6 Ocean 204
On full lock, my off side driveshaft made a clunking noise until the steering was straight. This was a worn drive shaft. Quite common on older vans but not so at the age your is.

When the steering is on full lock the wheels do not run parallel. This is due to the diameter of the turning circle between the inner and outer wheels, so I would not worry about the track in the snow looking wrong.

I also think your issue may still be a problem with the front Mcpherson strut mountings.

Alan
Definitely not the driveshaft, I've had that problem in other vehicles. It didn't clunk on turning but often did when you hit the next bump after some full lock turns.

I do understand about the front wheels not being parallel, that on full lock the outer wheel runs a wider arc than the inner one so they are essentially pointing in slightly different directions. I know a visual inspection is useless.

But even though they track on different arcs the tracks should be set up to be parallel. What I'm trying to describe is that on my van the tracks are not parallel at full lock (though they are when straight) and either have a slight convergance/divergance.

I'm not actually sure that this is a problem as most driving is done with relatively little lock and full lock only for limited times at very slow speed. But this is the first vehicle I've driven where it's been so obvious, I've never noticed it on any other.

This is the problem I'm having, describing it, as you can see. ;-) If anyone has the right language for it I'd be very grateful.

Appreciate the help.
My "clunk" didn't seem to be related to steering but whilst googling I do recall that many suggested that the top strut "clunk" was more noticeable when turning at low speed. Incidentally, when I asked my VW dealer to give their opinion (when it was being serviced) their less than helpful answer was to confirm that there was a knock. Went to an independent why diagnosed the fault within a couple of minutes.
Interesting, thanks. :)
 
vmaxkiddy

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Definitely not the driveshaft, I've had that problem in other vehicles. It didn't clunk on turning but often did when you hit the next bump after some full lock turns.

I do understand about the front wheels not being parallel, that on full lock the outer wheel runs a wider arc than the inner one so they are essentially pointing in slightly different directions. I know a visual inspection is useless.

But even though they track on different arcs the tracks should be set up to be parallel. What I'm trying to describe is that on my van the tracks are not parallel at full lock (though they are when straight) and either have a slight convergance/divergance.

I'm not actually sure that this is a problem as most driving is done with relatively little lock and full lock only for limited times at very slow speed. But this is the first vehicle I've driven where it's been so obvious, I've never noticed it on any other.

This is the problem I'm having, describing it, as you can see. ;-) If anyone has the right language for it I'd be very grateful.

Appreciate the help.

Interesting, thanks. :)
Perhaps this might help.
 

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