I've read all 14 pages of this thread, and a few others. In my 05 Elise (2ZZ, 20K miles, Sports Suspension and wheels) I have the dreaded and mystical clunk (clack?) in the left (driver's) front, that doesn't appear until I've driven for a while. I live on Maui, so, I can't say it's outdoor-temperature-related, but it definitely doesn't happen until I've been on the road for 30-40 minutes. After a couple hours of sport-driving mountain/curvy roads, it is very noticeable at speeds from 0 to 25 MPH. I don't know if that's because I can't hear it at higher speeds. I can feel it (just slightly) in the steering wheel with each clunk, less so as speed increases. Once it starts happening, then at slow speeds it happens when I'm initiating a turn, or when there's any suspension movement, even if going straight. At rest, there is no clunking when turning the steering wheel lock-to-lock, and the steering is tight, whether stopped or moving. There is no visible or detectable play in the steering.
So far, I have replaced ball joints, outer tie/track rod ends, and installed Inokinetic steering arms. I've properly torqued all front suspension bolts, including the upper shock mount brackets.
I've torqued both steering u-joints and the four rack bolts (with thread locker). The inner tie rod ends are tight and move smoothly in all directions. Based on other research (
), to check the inner tie rod ends, I've released the outer tie rod ends, and put my hand into the bottom of the steering rack box channel underneath the inner rod end and pressed upward while moving and pressing down on outer end of the rod. I've pried on and pushed around the sway bar end links and they move smoothly. I haven't found anything that's even slightly clunky.
Yesterday, I swapped the shocks left to right to see if the clunk followed, and took a 40 minute drive. The clunk remained on the left side, but had definitely improved. Then I read that we should pre-load the shocks before torquing, so, I did, and re-torqued them. I went for my usual 2-hour drive today, and clearly, the clunk takes longer to show up, and is not nearly as bad as it was.
So, apparently, whatever is causing the clunk is still there, still needs to be run-in a while before it shows up, and was improved by properly mounting and torquing the shocks. I'd still like to know what's causing it, but I'm going to live with this for a while, and see if it worsens over time. It it does, maybe it will be easier to detect. If I need to, I'll go for a long drive before getting up on my mechanic's rack, so he can take a look while its happening.
Sounds like I might be down to: control arm bushings; inner tie rod ends (available at Seriously Lotus and as a kit); sway bar end links. I know that the car only has 20K miles, but it also has spent 14 years in Hawaii...so any rubber parts may have deteriorated.-rod
If it is an inner tie end, does anyone know if they typically fail catastrophically, or will more likely just deteriorate gradually with increasing clunking?
Thanks to all of you who have shared your experiences and knowledge.
If anyone has any thoughts, I'd really appreciate it.