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Old 07-18-2011, 10:56 AM #1
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Steering clunk... clunk over hard bumps

Quick question for folks... I have a 99 4Runner that I just got setup to do some wheelin. I lifted it (OME lift) along with some new Duratracs and hit the road. I've noticed what I think is something steering related that is causing an annoying issue.

When I go over moderate bumps with the front wheels, I can "feel" and hear the steering wheel make what I can best describe as a clunk... clunk sound as the wheel travels over the bump. I don't suspect it is suspension related (i.e. struts etc), and think the culprit is likely in the steering box, or related components.

Any thoughts? What do the poly bushings on the steering components help with? I suspect my issue may be as simple as the old rubber bushings being rotted / shot.

Oh, and the obligatory picture of the Runner. Not great quality, but shows the progress so far.
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Steering clunk... clunk over hard bumps-img-20110708-00079-jpg 
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:23 AM #2
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My guess is worn ball joints.
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:41 AM #3
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You should also check the swaybar end links. They are known to break and can cause a similar sound.
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:41 AM #4
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Yeah, I suspect the ball joints might be an issue as well... need to look into that. They are originals and the truck just rolled to 140K miles.
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:41 PM #5
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Would worn LBJ also cause loose steering at highway speed and possibly a slight shimmy/shake at 65-70mph? That is the other issue I am troubleshooting now and it sure would be nice if the LBJ is the curlprit for the clunking noise and the loose feel at highway speeds etc.
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Old 07-18-2011, 02:34 PM #6
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One other key to this mystery... I initially thought unrelated, but now I am thinking more and more might not be the case....

I have the 65mph+ shimmy on the highway, vague feel to the wheel at speed... clunk, clunk noise over bumps, and a shimmy when braking most of the time. I know the roters are good as those were just done. I am leaning more and more towards LBJ being bad. Gonna have it checked out soon regardless.

Best price I've found online for LBJ is $77.40 from Toyotapartsales.com. I definitly want OEM parts for this if it is in fact the cause of my issue(s).
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Old 07-18-2011, 02:43 PM #7
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I just got rid of my steering clunk.
How to: Replace steering rack guide- Pictures

Jack up just the drivers side. Grab the lifted tire on the front and back, rock it and watch the end of the rack (inner tierod end).

***NEVER GET UNDER A RAISED VEHICLE THAT IS NOT SUPPORTED BY JACK STANDS AND WHEELS CHOCKED***
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:37 PM #8
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Ah, that's interesting Gerdo. I will check that out for sure. On your clunk... did you feel it like I do over bumps etc? How about a shimmy at 65-70mph? Regardless, this seems easy and simple to both check and correct if this happens to be my issue. -Cheers.
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:47 PM #9
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kruegs, I am having the same troubles as you. After my lift a few months back it started the same exact clunking. I have replaced lbj's, tie rod ends, sway bar bushings and endlinks, steering rack bushings and the clunk is still there when I hit large bumps and is very annoying whenever I head off-road. Any other ideas on what could cause this???
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:57 PM #10
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Have you checked that all lift-related bolts are still tight, including the tops of the struts?


One of my current clunks appears to be the left lower control arm bushings. I finally got rid of the broken grill holders clank and the license plate bang and the steering rack thunk.

Over the past few years I have replaced steering/suspension-wise:
Front sway bar links
Sway bar bushings
Steering rack bushings
Steering rack and inner tie rod ends
Struts as part of a lift
Lower ball joints as maintenance, they were still good
Outer tie rod ends
CV shafts (boots went after lift, joints were fine)

Last edited by habanero; 07-18-2011 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:06 PM #11
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Yeah, I think that my top strut bolts etc. are good for now. Only reason I say that is that my lift is only a week old at this point... and I had the same exact symptoms prior to the lift install on my OEM shocks and coils. Sure would be nice if the Rack Guide fix that Gerdo posted above is the curlprit... ;-)
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:10 PM #12
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I'm betting it's the guide that Gerdo linked to or the inner tie rods (the ones inside of the boots on the steering rack).
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:39 PM #13
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I had (and am still having) a similar issue... Seems like alot of people run into this after installing a lift. I came to the conclusion that it's the sway bar... fyi...here's a link to the thread I started RE my issue.

Front end noise over big bumps w/SS 1.2 Lift... Your thoughts please?
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:40 PM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habanero View Post
Have you checked that all lift-related bolts are still tight, including the tops of the struts?


One of my current clunks appears to be the left lower control arm bushings. I finally got rid of the broken grill holders clank and the license plate bang and the steering rack thunk.

Over the past few years I have replaced steering/suspension-wise:
Front sway bar links
Sway bar bushings
Steering rack bushings
Steering rack and inner tie rod ends
Struts as part of a lift
Lower ball joints as maintenance, they were still good
Outer tie rod ends
CV shafts (boots went after lift, joints were fine)
I coulda told you that, i went through a similar list with the jetta in the winter, turned out to be the new LCA bushings i installed a year prior, too bad i didnt see the thread till now.
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:58 PM #15
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I changed my lower ball joints, outer tie rods .
And finaly changing the sway bar end links got rid of the clunk, but I didnt grease my polly bushings so the squeek alittle.

Its on my list of things to do within the next couple of weeks ...
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