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Old 04-14-2019, 11:41 PM #1
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Horrible creaking on front right suspension

After a hard ride out in the desert with some water, mud, dust, and dirt my vehicle has started giving this absolutely horrendous creaking sound anytime i turn the wheels and anytime the suspension flexes on the right hand side.

I've been trying to figure out what it is for a while now and i'm stumped. I took silicon spray grease and went to town on anything and everything i could find that moves under there and the creaking has not gone away. I did find what appears to a broken boot on the lower ball joint but it doesn't appear to be spraying grease and filling it with lube didn't make it happen any less.

Here's a video of the problem.

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Old 04-15-2019, 08:18 AM #2
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Horrible creaking on front right suspension

For me, the kid I bought my 97 project from had replaced the lower ball joints and tie rod ends.

I developed the creek on the drivers side. Same as you. Turning or just moving the suspension.

I looked at the lower ball joints and seen there were grease zirc holes. So I installed some and greases the lower ball joints. No more noise and steering is a lot easier to turn.


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Last edited by 19963.4lsr5; 04-15-2019 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:58 AM #3
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That is most likely the LBJ. My old ‘96 made the same sound intermittently for weeks before the driver’s side let go. The day it let go the steering also got tight. I wouldn’t drive it until you replace them.
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:18 AM #4
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No direct experience, but just looking at what it COULD be based on your video, LBJs would be my first suspect. When you're just sitting still and turning the wheel there are very few parts moving...LBJs, UBJs, tie rod ends, steering rack...that's about it.

Something you could try to help nail down the noise is use a 2-3' length of vacuum line. Hold one end to your ear and use the other end to probe around for the noise. It helps isolate and amplify noises that are hard to pin down. Also great for things like squeaky pulleys, exhaust leaks and engine ticks.
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:48 AM #5
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I agree with what others have said. Since you did notice a tear in your lower balljoint boot and just did some desert wheeling, you might have just taken your balljoint to the edge of failure. Depending how long that boot was ripped, the joint might have been mostly dry and now add in some dry, sandy wheeling and you probably got some grit in there that accelerated the demise of that joint.

It's sound advice to leave your rig parked and replace your balljoints. It's not worth risking a failure that could cause significant damage to your rig and potentially cause an accident hurting you and others.

If you're willing to do this, jack up your rig and check for play in the joint and film it for us. But, even if you don't see play, I'd replace them anyway. Here's a video you can use for checking the play:




Here's a video you can use to swap out your balljoints. Do yourself a favor and buy Toyota OEM balljoints. Don't cheap out with aftermarket ones. You'll be sorry that you did.

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Last edited by mtbtim; 04-15-2019 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:15 AM #6
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Assuming it is safe to do so, you should be able to place a hand or finger on whatever part is making that loud of a groan and feel it.
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:21 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pluton View Post
Assuming it is safe to do so, you should be able to place a hand or finger on whatever part is making that loud of a groan and feel it.
Yea i did that, its all 'groaning'.

What's funny is that when i bought my 4runner i got on here and heard the horror stories of the LBJ failures so i did some preventative maintenance by changing them out... only have to one fail in 3k miles. Whoooooops. I'll be going OEM this time instead of o'reilly. Whats interesting is it doesn't look like the boot failed, it just... came unseated.. Like it is entirely intact, just not protecting what it should be.

I'll try the vacuum line thing. Its soo damn loud and high pitched i couldn't pinpoint where it was coming from.
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:50 PM #8
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In my opinion and my experience with the same issue, the groaning is from the either the ball joint stretching out the cup and being very close to pulling through or from missing all the grease from inside the boot or a combo of the two. By the time this noise happens you definitely need to address it right away. I’m not surprised an auto parts store LBJ failed fast but wow, 3k miles?!
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Horrible creaking on front right suspension-a130cc73-9876-4052-b344-b4c0140f00c7-jpg  Horrible creaking on front right suspension-39daeb9d-ab58-4620-a036-4afc984b13f6-jpg 
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Old 04-16-2019, 06:10 PM #9
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lbj's

Was going to chime in but everyone has pretty much said what I thought. I just recently had the same noise and it went away after replacing my lbj's.
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Old 04-17-2019, 03:59 PM #10
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Mine was making a horrendous racket, even after I did my ball joints and tie rod ends. Ended up being the control arm bushings.
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Old 04-18-2019, 01:04 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 19963.4lsr5 View Post
For me, the kid I bought my 97 project from had replaced the lower ball joints and tie rod ends.

I developed the creek on the drivers side. Same as you. Turning or just moving the suspension.

I looked at the lower ball joints and seen there were grease zirc holes. So I installed some and greases the lower ball joints. No more noise and steering is a lot easier to turn.
If they have grease zirks, they are not OEM. If they made noise, they are about to fail. Replace with OEM ASAP!

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Old 05-02-2019, 11:16 PM #12
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Welp after the change the noise has gone away so i guess it was 100% the LBJ!

Interesting as it had plenty of grease still and the boot wasn't 'torn'. The ring locking the upper part of the boot to the top of the joint had come off and allowed the boot to slide down.

Got OEM from amazon for under 100$ and now i can't remember why i didn't go OEM before...
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Old 05-02-2019, 11:32 PM #13
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After doing some reading over the last few days on LBJ failures, I have become really paranoid about mine letting go, at 195k miles. Driving down the road, I try to not stress them by turning while going over curbs, bumps, etc. I have been picturing my wheel letting go, and me going for a few rolls in my T4R.

I found that Camelbak will sell me all of the parts I need for $230 shipped, while my local Toyota stealership wants $350, and they don't even have the parts in stock. I will order them tomorrow from Camelbak, and probably replace them sometime next week. Then I can get paranoid about something else.
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Old 08-31-2022, 12:42 AM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLStout View Post
Mine was making a horrendous racket, even after I did my ball joints and tie rod ends. Ended up being the control arm bushings.
Was it the same noise as in the video he posted?
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Old 08-31-2022, 12:45 AM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kilowhisky View Post
Welp after the change the noise has gone away so i guess it was 100% the LBJ!

Interesting as it had plenty of grease still and the boot wasn't 'torn'. The ring locking the upper part of the boot to the top of the joint had come off and allowed the boot to slide down.

Got OEM from amazon for under 100$ and now i can't remember why i didn't go OEM before...
The lbj replacement got rid of that awful noise completely? My rig is making the same exact noise when i turn the wheel while parked. But i didn’t think it was the LBJs bc for preventative maintenance i replaced the old ones with new OEM ones and its only been 15k miles and they sound like that. Maybe off roading or something caused dirt or something to get in and cause them to fail. Very annoying to have to drop money on new ones already. Hopefully it takes care of the noise
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