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Old 06-02-2014, 08:37 PM #1
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Mysterious clunk in driveline (not the clunk you're thinking of)

I can't replicate it reliably if my life depended on it, all I know is that it happens when I apply the brakes while backing up.

It happens more so while turning and braking in reverse, but I had it happen while reversing in a straight line and braking. The clunk sounds identical to the noise you hear when driving over a wobbly man-hole cover.

I don't have access to too many tools and I don't have a jack/jackstands, so I can't really tear anything apart.

I definitely have not heard it while braking while driving forward, it only happens in reverse, and happens randomly.

Has anyone experienced anything similar? Anything I can check? I thought maybe my caliper bolts were loose and the caliper settles when applying the brakes, but my half-assed pry with a multi tool through the wheel didn't show any movement.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:32 PM #2
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I forgot to mention, it's a 4x4 V8.
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:51 PM #3
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You are not giving us enough information. First, is this vehicle new to you? If not, have you or anybody else recently done any work on it? Did this problem start suddenly out of the blue, or did it insidiously start small and get louder. When, exactly, does the clunk occur during backing up: at the start, during movement, or right at the point of brakes being applied?

The answers to these questions will help myself and others better understand your situation. I have some ideas, but need to know more first.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:51 AM #4
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Check sway bar, lower control arm bushings, front driveshaft.

I had a similar issue and serviced all these areas and it went away, it was almost as if it was a combined effort by all three areas to create the noise.
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:22 AM #5
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Sounds as if the brake pads are shifting around in the caliper. It is normal but sometimes they get louder with mileage.

I also agree on checking the control arm busshings as well as the cam bolts on the LCA.
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Old 06-06-2014, 12:29 PM #6
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i feel like i may have heard the same sound in mine. its more a higher pitch clink than a clunk and i do not hear it forward, only reverse. do you hear it more in the driveshaft or in the wheels, like around the front axles? i believe mine comes from my CV's or somewhere in that area.
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Old 06-06-2014, 01:52 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by preacher35 View Post
You are not giving us enough information. First, is this vehicle new to you? If not, have you or anybody else recently done any work on it? Did this problem start suddenly out of the blue, or did it insidiously start small and get louder. When, exactly, does the clunk occur during backing up: at the start, during movement, or right at the point of brakes being applied?

The answers to these questions will help myself and others better understand your situation. I have some ideas, but need to know more first.
It's new to me for about 4,000 miles. I've only noticed it recently and it just appeared.

No work has been done to it besides the brakes / tires that were done at the dealership that I bought it from.

80% of the time it happens it happens when I start to apply the brakes while backing up, but it happens occasionally when just driving in reverse. It doesn't matter if I'm turning or not.
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Old 06-06-2014, 01:53 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snarf View Post
i feel like i may have heard the same sound in mine. its more a higher pitch clink than a clunk and i do not hear it forward, only reverse. do you hear it more in the driveshaft or in the wheels, like around the front axles? i believe mine comes from my CV's or somewhere in that area.
It kind of sounds like it's coming from in between the wheels, but I'm not too sure. Definitely from the front though.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:43 PM #9
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Honestly without any way to really interpret how "loud" or "clunky" it feels (mainly because its a very subjective experience and without being there I can't qualify it properly) it does sound a lot like the pads are shifting in the brackets.

I would check and see if all the hardware is where its supposed to be. The brakes may be dragging on the rotor and you hear mainly the clunk from the pads shifting front to back when reversing.

Does it happen once or so when backing up from Drive to Reverse or it clunks every time you brake in reverse.

i.e. You shift from Drive to Reverse and it clunks, but won't clunk again until you shift from Drive to Reverse again?
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Old 06-07-2014, 04:27 PM #10
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Honestly without any way to really interpret how "loud" or "clunky" it feels (mainly because its a very subjective experience and without being there I can't qualify it properly) it does sound a lot like the pads are shifting in the brackets.

I would check and see if all the hardware is where its supposed to be. The brakes may be dragging on the rotor and you hear mainly the clunk from the pads shifting front to back when reversing.

Does it happen once or so when backing up from Drive to Reverse or it clunks every time you brake in reverse.

i.e. You shift from Drive to Reverse and it clunks, but won't clunk again until you shift from Drive to Reverse again?
It happens once I'm moving. It hasn't happened the second I shifted into reverse, only once I'm already moving.

I'll swing by the "hobby shop" at a local base later this week and take some things apart to take a close look at it. Besides brake pads/hardware, is there anything else I should take a look at? How much play in the front axles is normal?
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Old 06-18-2014, 10:08 PM #11
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Well, I think I found out what the clunk is since I've found a way to almost always replicate it.

BlackWorksInc and gm350reratliff nailed it, it's the brake pads. I haven't taken apart the brakes yet, but I believe it to be the pads shifting because of how I discovered it:

Once I come to a complete stop, I shift into neutral, release the brakes, and shift into reverse. Once I'm moving in reverse, I depress the brake pedal with moderate speed and I hear the clunk 9/10 times.

I don't hear the noise when I come to a stop, shift into reverse without releasing the brakes in neutral and SLOWLY release the brakes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gm350reratliff View Post
Sounds as if the brake pads are shifting around in the caliper. It is normal but sometimes they get louder with mileage.

I also agree on checking the control arm busshings as well as the cam bolts on the LCA.
I have owned several high mileage cars, actually, all my cars have seen higher mileage than this car is at right now... is it really that normal for the pads to shift in the calipers? If they have shifted in my other vehicles, they have never shifted hard enough for me to actually hear it.
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Old 06-18-2014, 10:35 PM #12
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My oversized tires will rub the front while I'm in reverse, turning and braking.

If its not your brakes, check to make sure you aren't rubbing your tires.

It only does it on certain angles but its always when I'm in reverse.
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Old 06-18-2014, 11:12 PM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by netchemica View Post
Well, I think I found out what the clunk is since I've found a way to almost always replicate it.

BlackWorksInc and gm350reratliff nailed it, it's the brake pads. I haven't taken apart the brakes yet, but I believe it to be the pads shifting because of how I discovered it:

Once I come to a complete stop, I shift into neutral, release the brakes, and shift into reverse. Once I'm moving in reverse, I depress the brake pedal with moderate speed and I hear the clunk 9/10 times.

I don't hear the noise when I come to a stop, shift into reverse without releasing the brakes in neutral and SLOWLY release the brakes.



I have owned several high mileage cars, actually, all my cars have seen higher mileage than this car is at right now... is it really that normal for the pads to shift in the calipers? If they have shifted in my other vehicles, they have never shifted hard enough for me to actually hear it.
I consider it normal. You don't actually hear it on most vehicles but the pads are shifting around a little. If the pad fits too tight in the caliper it may stick and drag against the rotor.

I never heard the OEM pads shift until the 4runner hit about 70k miles. I changed them out with EBC pads at 110k. The EBC pads were really loud when they shifted in the caliper. Due to botched rotor machining and tons of brake dust, I ditched them shortly after for new rotors and pads from brakeperformance.com. With the new setup, I hardly hear them shift around.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:26 PM #14
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Hey did you ever find out what was making this noise? I have the same thing going on while in reverse. I saw somebody post a video of the noise i think on one of the FB groups but i can't find it now but somebody on there said it was coming from the U joint. What do you guys think?
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Old 07-27-2014, 04:21 PM #15
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Brake pads should not shift inside the caliper.

The sound you are most likely hearing is the parking brake shoes shifting within the rear rotor/drum assembly. Very common when the parking brake shoes are out of adjustment.
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