Little clunks in steering - NOT the steering rack thread - Page 2 - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #21 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-14-2009, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fpitas View Post
No clunks felt, but my front lower ball joints were barely tight, so be sure to check those too.
I have noticed that the nut connecting the steering arm to the upper mount loosens up and it causes a clunk or chatter when driving over rough road especially if turning.

Tighten the nut up and the chattering goes away. If left too long it can distort the tapered hole and ruin the steering arm.

While your there check these as well!
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post #22 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-15-2009, 06:40 AM
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Great find!!! I didn't think it was a steering rack! Guess the off season will require a lot of inspection etc. Sounds like a good time to replace the dampers etc, get a schematic and basically tighten every nut/bolt I can find to spec again. Should make for a new car feel in 2010. Now my only decision will be whether I go SC or just get the 5700rpm cam changeover.

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post #23 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-16-2009, 03:46 PM
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holy shizer!!! the past month or so, I've been feeling some small clunking in the steering and after reading all the horror stories about steering racks, i was dreading having to get it replaced. I came across this thread and figured, why not, it can't hurt to try. so i spent about 25-30 minutes today tightening down the bolts that the OP posted about. there was only 1 bolt that was "loose" and i tightened everything else down to 20 ft. lbs. thinking it wouldnt make any difference.

Holy huge effing difference batman!!! After tightening down the bolts from the mentioned in the main post and the bolts that hold the suspension in place, the clunks are completely gone and my steering tightness is WAY better.

THANK YOU original poster for finding this... you just saved me a LOT of money. This thread should really be a sticky, or in the uberpost!

2005 Krypton Green Lotus Elise
1993 Black BMW 325i
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post #24 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-16-2009, 04:40 PM
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From the service manual:

The Service Schedule specifies that the security of the front and rear suspension is checked at each service. For cars used on race tracks, or in similar conditions, suspension components and torque checks should be carried out between sessions. This operation requires that all the principal suspension pivot bolts are torque checked, noting the following points:

Where a bolt is tapped into a housing or weldnut, and relies on a thread locking compound for security, it is important to appreciate that if the bolt is disturbed, the locking compound must be re-applied. The following procedure should be adopted for all such fixings:
- Check the torque of the fixing.
- If the specified torque is attained without the fixing being disturbed (moving), take no further action.
- If the bolt moves, the locking action of the thread adhesive will have been compromised. Remove the bolt completely, clean off all old adhesive using a wire brush and acetone, and apply new adhesive as specified.
- Refit the bolt and tighten to the specified torque.
- If for any reason a bolt is found to have become loose, and the car has been operated for any period in this condition, the bolt should be renewed as a standard precaution and related components carefully inspected for hole ovality or wear.

Torque Settings: Nm
Upper and lower wishbone pivot bolts 45
Upper swivel joint to steering arm 55
Lower swivel joint to plinth 55
Steering arm to hub carrier - 8.8 grade 45
- 10.9 grade 68
Track rod end to steering arm 30
Damper to lower wishbone 45
Damper to top anchor bracket 45
Damper anchor bracket to chassis 25
Hub bearing unit to hub carrier 90
Brake caliper to hub carrier 45
Anti-roll bar rubber bush mounting clamps 25
Anti-roll bar drop links 45
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post #25 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-16-2009, 05:18 PM
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good info! another reason why this should be a sticky

2005 Krypton Green Lotus Elise
1993 Black BMW 325i
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post #26 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-16-2009, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zygotesoup View Post
...
THANK YOU original poster for finding this... you just saved me a LOT of money. This thread should really be a sticky, or in the uberpost!
You're welcome.

While the manual does say to check the suspension torques every service interval, I suspect that because these upper damper bracket bolts are not accessible without removing the damper/spring unit, that most people (including the Lotus service techs) are not checking them. I'll repeat again that it is easy to remove the damper/spring unit.

So far, we have three people reporting in this thread who have checked those bolts, and so far, there has been at least one loose for each of them. That is a 100% problem rate so far. More people should check those bolts.
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post #27 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-16-2009, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
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So far, we have three people reporting in this thread who have checked those bolts, and so far, there has been at least one loose for each of them. That is a 100% problem rate so far. More people should check those bolts.
It is either 66 or 100% the same passenger side lower bolt. I wonder if it is only a set range of 2005 cars? Chris, I believe our cars were delivered about the same time and dealership.

I had originally thought my bolt was either stripped or about to shear after I put 2 full turns and it was not getting any tighter. Now on further examination of the bolt it might have been 1/4" loose but still in the nyloc. Note the damaged threads 1/4 way down from the head.
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post #28 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-16-2009, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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All four of my bolts were badly under-torqued. The passenger side might have been a bit worse based on some marks in the bracket bolt holes on that side (could be an indicator of slippage, but the bolts themselves were unmarked).

By-the-way, mine was a February, 2005 build date.
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post #29 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-17-2009, 03:48 AM
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Might only be a 2005 problem, my shock bracket bolts were tight when I installed the Nitron brackets. Although I'll admit I didn't check the torques, as I was just trying to get the brackets off.

Francis
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post #30 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-17-2009, 04:53 AM
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mine was the passenger side upper bolt

2005 Krypton Green Lotus Elise
1993 Black BMW 325i
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post #31 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-17-2009, 07:29 AM
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It's not just a 2005 issue as about a month ago I found loose suspension bolts on my 2007. I was just doing my routine maintenance, torquing everything, and at that time I didn't even think about it being a widespread problem.
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post #32 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-19-2009, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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After market brake pads can also cause clunking. In my case it was Pagid Blue front pads, which are slightly too small for our calipers and can cause clunking, as well as chattering, rattling and buzzing sounds. I just posted my solution to this problem in the following thread:
https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f91/...ke-pads-78816/
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post #33 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-19-2009, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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And the saga continues

When I first really started noticing all the little clunks from the front suspension and steering, I had also noticed that it got worse when the weather was hot after I had driven the car for a while. I figured that whatever was causing the clunking was temperature dependent.

The loose upper damper bracket bolts (post 1) and the brake pad shims (post 32) eliminated the clunking problems I was having when I tested at moderate temperatures (below about 80 degrees F). The last few days have been very hot where I live, in the upper 90s. And, I have clunking again. However, when I drive it at cooler temperatures at night, no clunking. So, it appears that I have yet another source of clunking. This symptom now seems like what Craig was describing in post 10.

I hope that there is only one more source of clunking, and I am really hoping it isn't the dreaded steering rack. I am trying to think of what it could be, keeping in mind that it only occurs when the suspension is hot. When I try to wiggle the suspension and steering components (wheels off, up on jack stands), I don't feel any sloppiness, but I have only done it when the suspension is cool. I have also rechecked again all the suspension torques, and everything was tight. Some possiblities are:
1) Wishbone arm pivot bushings
2) Shock absorbers (dampers) and springs
3) Steering rack (please no!)
4) Anti-roll bar links (can't see how temperature would affect this)
5) Upper and/or lower ball joints (can't see how temperature would affect this)
6) Anti-roll bar rubber mount (don't think so - looks and feels good)

I think the first three are the most likely. Any suggestions on how to best continue trouble shooting would be appreciated. Obviously, getting the suspension heated up on a spirited drive on a hot day, and then immediatly jacking up the car and wiggling the suspension components to find the culprit(s) is something I should do.
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post #34 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-19-2009, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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I checked the bolts this afternoon and found that the passenger side lower bolt was stripped and would not tighten down. I went to the local auto zone and replaced all 4. Replacements are stronger as suggested by Chris and have flanged heads. So, shorter works without washers. ...
Your replacement bolts were 20mm long. How long are the originals? If you haven't thrown them out yet, could you measure them? The parts list says 25mm, but I have found errors in the parts list descriptions before.
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post #35 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-19-2009, 10:59 PM
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Your replacement bolts were 20mm long. How long are the originals? If you haven't thrown them out yet, could you measure them? The parts list says 25mm, but I have found errors in the parts list descriptions before.
Old bolts were 24.5mm, [email protected], elongated bolt at 26.6mm. (as measured from flange to end of bolt. Each old bolt had 2 washers @ 1.5mm. Autozone only had 20mm and 30mm bolts.

The replacements work because I did not want the washers to take away from the bite of the flanged head & nut. Also the nyloc nut is deeper than the replacement.

I took the car to the Woodie festival in Encinitas this morning but parked in the shade so the heat of the morning did not create clunks. But after 20 minutes in the parking lot at Frys, the noises were back.

Another data point to the clunking list is that I am running Poterfield aftermarket pads. I wonder if they have smaller backing plates as well. In the past the noises always seemed to come from the passenger side. Today I noticed them from the drivers side.
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post #36 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-21-2009, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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I have the base suspension with 53,350 miles on it and over 4 years old. Last year I bought a set of used (3,500 miles) LSS dampers/springs for $350 from an EliseTalk member who had upgraded to Ohlins. I hadn't put them on, so I decided to try them out to see if they eliminate or at least diminish the remaining clunking. I have also had squeaking sounds when going over speed bumps, entering my driveway, etc., and was wondering if that could be the shocks as well.

So, on Sunday night, I put the LSS damper/spring units on (took about an hour and half).

I test drove it Sunday night on some good twisty roads, and a bunch of bumps. No squeaking. There was also no clunking, but the temperature was cool so I wasn't expecting any.

By-the-way, with the old shocks, I had tried lubricating the rod multiple times to see if that would eliminate the squeaking. It didn't. But, replacing the shocks did work. I wonder if that was an indicator that something was wrong with the performance of the shocks.

I drove it today for about 130 miles on the freeway in warmer weather, but not what I would consider really hot. Still no clunking, although I think I can feel just a very slight play in the steering judging by a little click I can feel when starting to turn a bit.

Now I just need a really hot day again, but I am on a business trip near the water, so it won't be until Friday that I can really try it. The weather forecast predicts Ramona should hit 101 F that day, so it should be a good test.

If base or LSS shocks are bad, can they be rebuilt (cost effectively with full performance restored), or do they have to be replaced?

Is there a good quantitative way to test the shocks and springs? Preferably a way that can be done by a rig at home.

Last edited by ChrisH; 09-29-2009 at 05:34 PM.
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post #37 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-22-2009, 03:51 AM
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Now that you mention it, the front end squeaking in mine went away when I put on the Nitrons. Another piece of evidence it's the stock shocks. They had squeaked since the day I bought it (new).

BTW, the stock Bilsteins can be rebuilt, and even re-valved for different spring rates.

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post #38 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-27-2009, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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After replacing the shock/spring units (see post 36), I test drove in hot weather (over 100 F) multiple times this weekend. The clunking/clicking at high temperatures is definitely much less than it was with the old ones. And, no squeaking anymore! However, there is still some clicking in the steering left, and it is worse at higher temperatures. I am pretty sure what is left is in the steering mechanism (not necessarily the rack). It could be the rack, or other linkages. However, the steering does feel pretty tight except for a very slight play associated with the clicking, and I'm not sure if it is worth doing any more at this point. The next time I am upside down under the driver's side dash, I'll check out the steering column linkages.

There sure are a lot of things that can cause clunking/clicking in the front suspension. It is like peeling an onion - layer by layer.

Here is a link to Bilstein for getting your shocks rebuilt:
Bilstein
They want $65 each, as compared to new shocks from lotusgarage.com at $210-$216 each. They may be cheaper somewhere else, but I didn't look up the Bilstein part number to do a search. For those of us in San Diego County, the western location of Bilstein is close - just in Poway. You could just drive them over. I read on the web that they rebuild shocks there. They had some problems with long delays in early 2008, but I read that it was because the person who did the rebuilds had died. I would think they are up to speed again by now, but I don't know how long it takes.

Here is a link to Bilstein with some interesting documents to peruse. It includes some stuff about how they rebuild some types of shocks (not necessarily ours).
Bilstein
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post #39 of 282 (permalink) Old 09-27-2009, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadDad View Post
From the service manual:

...
Torque Settings: Nm
Upper and lower wishbone pivot bolts 45
Upper swivel joint to steering arm 55
Lower swivel joint to plinth 55
Steering arm to hub carrier - 8.8 grade 45
- 10.9 grade 68
Track rod end to steering arm 30
Damper to lower wishbone 45
Damper to top anchor bracket 45
Damper anchor bracket to chassis 25
Hub bearing unit to hub carrier 90
Brake caliper to hub carrier 45
Anti-roll bar rubber bush mounting clamps 25
Anti-roll bar drop links 45
The steering rack bolts inside the cabin can also be loose (mine were not). Their torques (from the manual) are:
45 Nm for the top bolts
22.5 Nm for the bottom bolts
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post #40 of 282 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 11:34 AM
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I have the minor clunks and clicks in steering, too, on my 07 S. So, last night I pulled the wheels and wrenched on the bolts. Most were tight. Several needed a little torque. The one under the shock was a little loose. I did not remove the shock and used a couple of wrenches, so I did not torque with anything other than my calibrated elbow. With the small wrenches, I was not able to reef on it and did not want to. Both sides were loose and only took a small amount of tightening.

For the steering rack mount bolts inside the cabin, the top bolt on driver's side was tight, bottom on both sides was a little loose IAW torque value. I could not get to passenger side top bolt since a large wire bundle was in the way. Any tricks to get around this?

The upper swivel joint to the steering arm was not near the 55 NM on either side. I got several turns with the torque wrench and stopped before "clicking" because it kept turning. I am afraid to go to much tighter on those. It seemed like too much.

I drove today and it is much better. Great post!

Rob

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