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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been a long time since I posted here (GaryD) and I am back with a question. I have a heavy sounding thunk noise when going over a bumpy road (lots of dirt roads here in Colorado). It sounds like its coming from the right front or center front of the car so I took the front wheels off to look at the shock mounts. In the attached photos you can see there is a spacer bracket with rubber bushing, nuts and bolts on the left side of the car. On the right side I have nothing there. Looking at the photo, there may have never been anything there despite the bracket being formed the same way as I see no markings on the plastic and there is only one hole. So - my question for anyone with an early Elise (mine is 2005) is your shock mount set up the same way or am I missing parts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Um - never mind. I took the top grill off and that's just lightweight plastic with an electrical box mounted on the other side. I amy have to take the front clam off and look at the ac condenser etc to see if all is still secure.
 

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Make sure condensate tube is secure at the end first that easy one.
With wheel on and car jacked up do you feel any play rocking the wheel in and out at 12 and 6 o'clock? How about 9&3? From the little I can see your a arm bushings look ok. Look for play in your ball joints but what you describe may very well be your steering rack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well I have the plastic wheel wells out and the top panels and grill off. Can't see anything obviously loose. I'm thinking I will put the wheels back on and drive it like that repetitively over a bump and see if that helps me nail it down.

CatSailr27 - I will look at the condensate line. I cannot feel the thunk in the steering wheel and I can drive down the road moving the steering wheel back and forth hard like an F1 driver trying to heat up the tires and it all feels tight. When I put the wheels back on, I will try wiggling them side to side and up and down before I lower the car to the ground (should have done that already - doh!)

But the car tracks fine and I only get a noise going over a bump (or lots of noise going over washboard). I will also turn on the ac and see if the fans sound normal....
 

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Well, in reality, I was explaining the use for the mount as pictured. Still think it is brake related. It is currently in use as designed on the left as you have a left hand drive car. If you had a right hand drive vehicle the bushings would hold the brake assembly on the right hand side.

But ultimately not the source of your sound I suspect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
But ultimately not the source of your sound I suspect.
[/QUOTE]
No not the reason.
I just drove again and if the right wheel goes in a pothole that does it. Left wheel no problem. I guess I will check the torque on all the bolts in the suspension on that side.
 

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I also have a 2005 and am having this problem with my right front as well. I recently had front suspension components replaced (just wanted nicer shocks) and when it came back I noticed a bump. Very clearly associated with right front. I really thought it was coming from steering / tie rods being loose, but my mechanics triple-checked that.

I probably need to tell them to investigate the condenser tube but it feels like it’s related to steering somehow.

Out of curiosity if you step on the brakes and crank the wheel side to side in a parking lot do you feel anything through the pedal?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I also have a 2005 and am having this problem with my right front as well. I recently had front suspension components replaced (just wanted nicer shocks) and when it came back I noticed a bump. Very clearly associated with right front. I really thought it was coming from steering / tie rods being loose, but my mechanics triple-checked that.

I probably need to tell them to investigate the condenser tube but it feels like it’s related to steering somehow.

Out of curiosity if you step on the brakes and crank the wheel side to side in a parking lot do you feel anything through the pedal?
No feel through the pedals - however I am pretty sure I just found what the problem is. My previous wheel wiggling was not up to snuff - I just went out to start checking the torque on all the front suspension bolts and I decided to move the suspension without the wheel on. I pretty quickly discovered that by gripping the wheel assembly (not the disc brake - it moves without the lug nuts and wheel in place) I could get some movement that would, if the weight of the car was behind it, replicate the "thunk". The lower ball joint at the wheel end of the lower wishbone has play in it. So probably new ball joints all around the front end are in order. The car has 121,000 miles on it - so not surprising (although I don't recall if or when they were replaced before by Criswell when I lived in Maryland - and I am not going to bother going back through papers to find out). I found something else out that just makes me mad... unless they are all like this. I'll post that next.
 

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That will do it! With that many miles a full suspension refresh is in order and you'll be amazed at how good it will feel after a proper alignment afterwards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I also have a 2005 and am having this problem with my right front as well. I recently had front suspension components replaced (just wanted nicer shocks) and when it came back I noticed a bump. Very clearly associated with right front. I really thought it was coming from steering / tie rods being loose, but my mechanics triple-checked that.
This is a helpful video if it turns out to be your ball joints

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That will do it! With that many miles a full suspension refresh is in order and you'll be amazed at how good it will feel after a proper alignment afterwards.
I was thinking the same thing - all the bushings and ball joints fore and aft. Now I just need to decide if it’s me that’s going to do it, get bloody knuckles and let the expletives fly - or pay someone else :).
 

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I was thinking the same thing - all the bushings and ball joints fore and aft. Now I just need to decide if it’s me that’s going to do it, get bloody knuckles and let the expletives fly - or pay someone else :).
I did mine just before and just after after having S1 fused and I'm a old out of shape guy lol. Lots of DIY threads here between them, YT and the service manual it wasn't too bad. I got ball joints and bushings from BWR and even refinished the a arms with 2K cast aluminum spray with satin CC. Finished off with Penskes. Mine started rubbing with track wheels and that's when I discovered the bushings backing out. When I took them out I found three different colors of bushings which told me it had minor upkeep but not a full refresh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I replaced my shocks and brakes with kits from Inokinetic in 2019 and have only driven the Elise around 500 miles since then. I will read some more but looking at their complete suspension refresh package with OEM ball joints and monoballs. I'll look at BWR and Eliseparts as well to see what the differences are.
 

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