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2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking


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Toluno
Novice

Jul 13, 2020, 10:19 AM

Post #1 of 18 (426 views)
  post locked   2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

I’ve got a 2009 Mazda 3 2.5L with 112k miles.
There’s a frequent clunking when going over even tiny bumps in the road. This clearly points to a bad sway bar link, tie rod, control arm etc. but upon inspection every component in my front suspension seems to be in fine shape — no movement/play at all. An important detail is that the sound goes away entirely when the wheels are turned either direction.

The driver side cv axle does have some play to it and can mimic the clunking sound. From what I’ve heard however, this play is supposed to be there for wheel maneuverability. Here’s a link to a video of me moving the cv axle. https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZyNsjxyZAqASQzRf7

I am unable to discern which side the noise is coming from. It has a similar volume when hitting bumps on either side. My sway bar bushings are all functioning and there is no play in the actual bar either.

The fact that the noise goes away when turning is the biggest hint I’ve got right now.

Any insight is greatly appreciated! :)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 13, 2020, 11:46 AM

Post #2 of 18 (415 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

Bad strut or ball joint will do that too.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Toluno
Novice

Jul 13, 2020, 12:07 PM

Post #3 of 18 (411 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

Any ways of narrowing it down before ordering new parts? I cant find any signs of these being damaged. Does this seem like a situation where I should just get a professionals diagnosis?


(This post was edited by Toluno on Jul 13, 2020, 12:09 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 13, 2020, 12:15 PM

Post #4 of 18 (403 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

You can usually find a bad strut by find a real quiet area and shut the engine down and grab the side of the fender and lift it up and down while listening.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Toluno
Novice

Jul 13, 2020, 12:27 PM

Post #5 of 18 (398 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

I'll give the struts another once over. I should have included this detail in my original post, but so far I've been unable to reproduce the noise besides when driving.


(This post was edited by Toluno on Jul 13, 2020, 12:29 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 13, 2020, 12:44 PM

Post #6 of 18 (391 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

You checked the inner tie rod ends with the wheels off the ground?



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
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Jul 13, 2020, 2:36 PM

Post #7 of 18 (376 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

Dang noise that go away? OP said this, quote ">
The driver side cv axle does have some play to it and can mimic the clunking sound.<"


If that ONE can "mimic" the noise otherwise no other visuals kind of suggests something is wrong there? Sway bar sounds are pretty clear some of the Asian types escape me vs some simpler ones it is hard to blame one without help if there and intact pry on it harder just maybe it's not so great?


OP - you said it's otherwise all front end parts are good? It's just not always that easy to know for sure till way too obvious but seems like it's there maybe not checking it properly or forces applied when things would show up like ball joints,


T



Toluno
Novice

Jul 13, 2020, 4:49 PM

Post #8 of 18 (369 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

Yeah, checked both with wheels on and off the ground


Toluno
Novice

Jul 13, 2020, 5:11 PM

Post #9 of 18 (367 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

I also worry that perhaps I'm not applying enough force to these components in order to see their flaws. It's bizarre that I cant replicate the sound by bouncing the car when it's parked. When driving on a dirt road the sound is constant, and seems like it's coming from right in the middle of the 2 front wheels. Why wouldn't violently bouncing the parked car create any racket Unsure?


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 13, 2020, 5:55 PM

Post #10 of 18 (363 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

You don't want to violently jounce it. Gently lift it up and down while listening and feeling the top of the strut.

If there is a gap in the strut, it only takes slight movement to feel it.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Toluno
Novice

Jul 13, 2020, 6:25 PM

Post #11 of 18 (358 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

Just tried the more delicate examination and unfortunately didn't feel/hear any movement in the struts.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 13, 2020, 6:27 PM

Post #12 of 18 (352 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

Sounds like you better start over and check everything again. You missed something.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Toluno
Novice

Jul 13, 2020, 6:53 PM

Post #13 of 18 (348 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

Yeah I'm gunna get underneath it again tomorrow and look around more. Might stick a goPro in different places to see if I can at least isolate where the sound is coming from. Maybe I'll get some useful video to post here too.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 13, 2020, 6:56 PM

Post #14 of 18 (344 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

This is what you need

https://www.amazon.com/...Squeak/dp/B000IHIAES



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Toluno
Novice

Jul 13, 2020, 7:09 PM

Post #15 of 18 (339 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

Hahah that's very cool. It'd be perfect if those mics where Bluetooth. Gives me an idea... maybe I'll tape some Bluetooth earbuds in the suspension and give them a call hahaha.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 13, 2020, 7:11 PM

Post #16 of 18 (335 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

They do make a wireless version but it's more money.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Toluno
Novice

Jul 14, 2020, 5:09 PM

Post #17 of 18 (298 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

Alright, turns out the solution was the most obvious one...the sway bar link. I eventually got it to make noise by having all the weight on the wheels and pressing directly up on the bottom joint of the right sway bar link. Glad it’s just the link but I feel a bit silly for missing it for so long Tongue

Replaced it and the noise is gone.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 14, 2020, 5:47 PM

Post #18 of 18 (291 views)
  post locked   Re: 2009 Mazda 3, Front end rattle/clunking  

Yep, sometimes starting over is the key to finding things.

Closing this now as solved.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.







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