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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2011 R Design I’ve had for a couple of months, 97k miles automatic. I have previous owner records, front struts, engine mounts and CV axles replaced about 4k miles ago at Volvo dealership (out of state for me). Overall the vehicle feels tighter in its handling than our 2008 C30 R Design. The only physical difference I’ve noticed is that the 2011 has the OEM front strut bar. Now, in the 2011, when I first start driving the car, so before it warms up, I notice a clunking noise from the front when I go over an uneven grade or bump. So for example, backing out of the driveway and getting into our street at an angle I get the clunk. If I back up straight no clunk. The same when pulling into the driveway, if I go in straight/perpendicular from our street nothing, at an angle, clunk. The colder outside, the more pronounced the clunk. If I drive around for 30 minutes or so and the outside temperature is 50 degrees or above, clunks are gone even at an angle. The rest of the time the ride is very smooth and the handling tight, better than our 2008. No engine mount, CV, acceleration vibrations whatsoever. Where should I start looking? Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I thought I'd check back with the forum. I haven't found anything obvious. Everything seems tight as it should in the front suspension, axles, etc. No leaks or vibrations. All else is smooth. Going over bumps, inclines, uneven pavement straight on, absolutely no clunks and as rides expected. It's only when I'm at angle, so with the steering wheel turning left or right at very low speeds (0-5 mph) that I can reproduce the clunk. Whether I'm breaking or not does not change when I get the clunk. From within the cabin the sound seems to be coming from the lower front on the car. You can also feel it slightly (besides hearing the sound) in your left foot, which is not on the pedal (brake). If anyone could point me to what to check for it would be greatly appreciated. All ideas welcome, thanks again.
 

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I thought I'd check back with the forum. I haven't found anything obvious. Everything seems tight as it should in the front suspension, axles, etc. No leaks or vibrations. All else is smooth. Going over bumps, inclines, uneven pavement straight on, absolutely no clunks and as rides expected. It's only when I'm at angle, so with the steering wheel turning left or right at very low speeds (0-5 mph) that I can reproduce the clunk. Whether I'm breaking or not does not change when I get the clunk. From within the cabin the sound seems to be coming from the lower front on the car. You can also feel it slightly (besides hearing the sound) in your left foot, which is not on the pedal (brake). If anyone could point me to what to check for it would be greatly appreciated. All ideas welcome, thanks again.
There are half a dozen things it could be....Motor mounts, lower control arm bushings, strut bearings binding/releasing, ball joint, strut itself due to temperature, end links, sway bar mounting bracket/bushings.

I’ve had the same issue since I’ve owned the car and only have 37K on it. Just this summer replaced: all suspension components including installing PowerFlex poly throughout, new struts, bearings, end links, all control arm bushes, thoroughly inspected ball joints, inner and outer tie rod ends. In short everything....and still one single solitary clunk.
Now, the one thing that it could be for me, is the upper motor/trans mounts. Even though they were also replaced in the spring, I kill stock mounts pretty quick. Last set lasted one summer. Once I tear into it in the spring to install the poly mounts I can report back as to weather or not that fixed it.

I would, look at the sway bar and its connecting components if the motor mounts have been serviced recently. When you turn the wheel and the back wheels are in the street and the front tires are turned and at an angle you are loading the suspension and causing the sway bar to twist and maybe it is settling after the car has sat for a while. If you pull back in and then back out right away, does it still do it, or nothing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, I appreciate the quick response. I agree that there are so many variables. The only mount I haven't confirmed that it was recently replaced is the lower transmission one. As I understand it that one can cause vibrations in the steering column during acceleration and I haven't had any vibrations while driving. I will test in the morning going back and forth to see if I can get it to clunk on demand. The struts, top engine mounts and CV axles are Volvo parts and have about 5k miles on them. Anyway, I'll report back tomorrow, thanks again.
 

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I would check with sway bar endlinks first. disconnect the top end to see how loose they are. This will tell you if bad. Something not so obvious is to check for A broken strut spring. Sometimes they crack or break at the bottom coil. Glück.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you both again for the help. This morning leaving the house I could not get it to clunk. I tried about 10 times at different angles and probably worried the neighbors with my odd driving behavior. It is a bit warmer today for what it's worth, around 45 degrees. Anyway, I stopped by a parking structure on the way to work after about 5 minutes of driving to conduct the test on some speedbumps. Out of 5 speedbumps I got the clunk on one of them. I'm not sure if it was my angle or the shape of the speedbump (perhaps higher or longer). Anyway, I really wanted to test the back and forth, and on that particular speed bump I could get the clunk going back and forth. It wasn't as pronounced as other times but it was there. No breaking while going on the speedbumps and the car was coasting, so I was not accelerating. Speed was very slow, 2-3 mph. I will remove the sway bar this weekend and see if it makes a difference and I will also check the top strut bolts (used with the sway bar) and the strut springs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Brief follow up. Just got home and entered the driveway at an angle. I was able to get the clunking sound at will, going forward and backward, with and without breaking. Temperature outside now is around 58 degrees and the gauge in the C30 showed that the car had fully warmed up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I removed the OEM strut brace and the clunking persists. Top side bolts for the struts were all tight as expected. Later today or this weekend I will examine underneath to see if there's anything loose or leaking or obviously off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Got under the car and didn't find anything loose or leaking. The bushings on the control arms do see worn but from what I read when they go bad the symptoms are different (loose steering). Anyway, I took some pictures just in case as I'm really not sure what good bushings should look like.

Driver (from front)
116455


Driver (from rear)
116456


Passenger (from front)
116457


Passenger (from rear)
116458
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I did a little bit of testing of the control arm, similar to what you see at the 20 seconds mark of this video:
. It looks like a very similar arm if not the same. Anyway, I was able to wedge the handle of my mallet between the arm and the frame(?). It took a bit a leverage but I was able to get a little play out of it. What I'm not sure is if I should get no play at all or if a little play under leverage is reasonable.
 

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You should have very little movement if any. Visually, yours don’t look bad. But that doesn’t mean they’re not. If the lower LCA bushes are bad you usually get drivability issues....steering wanders at speed on sweeping turns, hard on/off throttle the steering wheel will tug left or right. I think it would be a turning pivoting point of the suspension thats making the noise, not the lower LCA bushes. If you do the LCA bushes, the video up above isn’t the right way or the easiest way. The bushes need to be clocked before re-installing and don’t grease the pin before pressing or drawing them onto it. Personally if you are going to replace them, just go with poly. If you go with the purple durometer from PowerFlex you’ll get a much more accurate steering response and it won’t destroy your ride quality. You also won’t need to clock them when you put them on.
116567
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks, I wasn't planning on replacing just the bushing (like the guy in the video). I was just looking for ways to test the bushings. I had someone help me in trying to determine where the clunk sound was coming from. I was able to get a few clunks and they seemed to be at the level of our feet in the car. From the outside the sound almost seemed to come from where the transmission mount is. That's one thing I haven't checked, and I will as soon as I can get back under the car. I just haven't read that a bad transmission mount can cause that, it seems it causes vibration when you accelerate and I have none. The car is really smooth accelerating, braking, turning, etc. Also, if I do end up changing the control arms I will do the whole unit instead of just the bushing. Anyway, I'll report back when I can take a peak at the transmission mount and while I'm at it I'll check the top engine mounts too (though the records show that they were just replaced).
 

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Not to go the route of throwing parts at a problem, but when I had a similar clunk, two front sway-bar end links and a right lower control arm solved all my suspension clunks. I did most of it at once so no idea what actually caused it but I'd put money on the sway bar links.

I also have brand new engine mounts everywhere with the upgraded eFocus mount for the transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks CYB3RBYTE. So were you getting the clunk at low speeds when going over an uneven surface at an angle? The sway-bar end links would be the most attractive solution since it's an easy replacement and cheap, and worth a shot. Just curious if you had the same symptoms. As I think I mentioned the engine mounts are supposed to be new, according to the records, but I'll be double checking those as soon as I have the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I watched a couple of short youtube videos on diagnosing bad (front) sway-bar end links before heading to the office so I could listen for the clunks. From the videos I got the impression that the clunks happen when going straight over a bump, pot holes, rough road, etc. My clunks are happening only at very low speed when rolling over an uneven surface (from street to driveway) at an angle. I also reached in behind the wheels and didn't have any play in the sway-bar end links.
 

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Could be strut bearings/seats. Eben lower BJs (ha)


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Good recommendation above. When I had basically the same symptoms (clunk when cold, nothing visually wrong) it was a strut mount/bearing. Had to try more than one replacement (the first replacement mount I got clunked too)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll add it to the growing list. When I had someone help me and we were able to trigger the clunk it seemed to be coming from the lower part of the vehicle, I guessed around where the transmission mount is. Would a bad strut bearing cause the clunk sound to come from below or higher where the strut bolts to the frame?
 

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Would a bad strut bearing cause the clunk sound to come from below or higher where the strut bolts to the frame?
It wouldn't really sound like it came from that low. It's less tinny and "high up" sounding than you might expect given its vertical position, but it sounds higher than the very bottom of the drivetrain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks, I'm putting together a list for the weekend and hopefully I'll be able to make some progress and report back.
 
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