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Old 07-27-2020, 03:27 PM #1
Renol Renol is offline
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Loud crack/popping noises from front end after lift

I hate being "that guy" who posts stupid stuff all the time, but I need some help from people who have lifted their vehicles or are knowledgeable.

Ever since I had my lift installed I've been getting popping/cracking noises from the front end. Specifically, its always after the car has been sitting parked for several hours and always in conjunction with sharp slow turns in parking lots. After those few initial pops (always 2 or 3) there's no more sounds. If I park the car and come back in 20 minutes nothing. Today alone it did this in the same spot when I went out for lunch and again in exactly the same manner 4hrs later.

Parts list so far: new bilstein 5100 struts, ome 884 springs, jba offroad uca, stock replacement lower control arms, and a new cv axle assembly on the driver's side. Also did toytec springs and bilstein 5100 shocks in back but noise feels and sounds like the front. By feel I mean you can feel it through the floor and even brake pedal. Tierods feel tight and pass the wobble test, sway bar links are solid as well.

I don't have money to randomly throw more parts at it. The lowers and cv axle ran me nearly $2k after all was done and the shop wants to charge me another $120 to just take a look. Any suggestions or additional tests I can do to confirm an issue would be greatly appreciated. I am considering the other cv axle but again need confirmation as I don't have the means to do it myself.

I've attached a link to a short 30 sec video to demonstrate exactly what the sound is.

Front end popping noise 4th gen 4runner post lift - YouTube
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Old 07-27-2020, 04:47 PM #2
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My 4runner is currently on stock suspension, but I can give you a few things to think about. Hopefully they can lead you, or another commenter, towards a solution. Don't worry about asking a dumb questions, you did a good job of explaining your situation, recently installed parts that could have affected things, and provided a video of the noise. This is much better than the generic "Front End Noise, What is it?" posts with not much context.
  • Start by checking all suspension mounting hardware to make sure its tight. Especially the cam bolts, if the tech didn't tighten the snot out of them, they can come loose or bump out of alignment

  • Next would be to track down the side that the noise is coming from. Is the noise coming from the side of the new CV or the old CV?

  • What was the order of parts install? Was every listed part installed at once? Or was the suspension installed and drove around, CV boot tore, and then new CV was installed? Did the noise occur before everything was installed? Also what CV brand/manufacture was installed, some of the cheaper axles will bind at high angles.

  • You mention that it only pops 2 or 3 times. Is that just within the time you need to back out of a parking spot? What if you just drove in circles, do you think the noise would occur periodically with wheel rotation? Try and find an empty parking lot to see if the noise coordinates with a wheel rotation.


Consider how a CV works. If you were on stock suspension, your CV angles would likely be negative or flatish. With a flat or slightly angled CV, the balls or tripod won't have much "left to right" movement, see gifs below. If somehow the CV lost lubrication or for whatever reason, the balls could wear a little channel in the bearing cups. When turning, your outer joint will be angled as shown below and the balls will travel in and out while in the bearing cup. The balls jumping over the worn groove from previously unlifted can also cause a popping noise.

Inner Joint Tripod


Outer Joint CV Balls


Hopefully these questions can at least stimulate some conversation in the comments and get you headed in the right direction.
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Old 07-27-2020, 07:26 PM #3
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Unhappy

Much obliged for the response. To answer your questions, the front struts and springs were installed and then I started noticing the noise. I assumed it was due to one strut having the spring seat installed upside down.

The lower arms and joint was replaced a short while after as everything was rusted solid on the old arms which were pretty much shot. The old joint started slinging massive grease soon after the lift. I assumed the new bolts were tight but I'll take a look. Actually had a bad experience on a previous car where the bolts came loose and one day I noticed my car had positive camber so bad it had to have been several degrees off. By the time I noticed the tires were shot. The camber supposedly was adjusted with a front end alignment at the time of install, but considering I still have a slight pull, the shop never gave me a proof sheet of specs and I swear my tires are showing additional negative camber wear in spite of it all so I'm gonna look real hard at those bolts.

As for circles, I actually tried just that a while ago. I found a corner of a lot and did circles both forward and back and didn't notice anything nor did I get any popping even with wheels at lock. I've considered that other cv axle but I just hate to throw parts at a problem. It does seem plausible. What has been giving me pause is how it feels/sounds like its coming from the driver's side which was the one replaced. I realize sound transmits as well, but my impression is that the sound comes from separate areas. First pop usuallys feels like the driver's side and the second further in. Again, could be my imagination.

Side note - for anyone lifted have you done the cv boot stretch mod or have you left everything as is? According to what I saw it'd make sense that one failed soon after lifting.
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:25 AM #4
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Sounds like I’m in about the same boat as you. Pretty much replaced the entire front end, including new front diff. New Napa axles and calipers, new wheel bearings, brake pads, lower control arms w/ ball joints, Bilstein 5100 shocks on FJ springs, new upper shock mounts, Sway bar bushings and more. Never had any noises previously, but now and just like you, I’ve got a pop noise coming from the front end. Nowhere near as loud as yours though. Will only do it after it’s sat over night. Get out the next morning, creep forward a bit and press the brake pedal and POP! Usually a single pop noise, primarily from the right front, but sometimes it sounds like it comes from the driver side. Occasionally after driving out of our neighborhood and making a right turn, it will make a second pop noise but it’s very faint. Anyway, once it makes the pop noise, you can drive all day long and it will never do it again until its sat for the majority of the day or sits over night. Pretty predictable that it will do it. Drives me nuts not knowing where it’s coming from. Was thinking it’s brake pad shift because at least for mine, it seems like it does it when I press the brakes after it’s sat for a long time. Pulled the pads out and used a heavy duty grease on the ears of the pads and back side of the pads, but it didn’t change a thing. Since replacing practically everything up front, I’ve changed too many things to know what’s causing it. Haven’t really done anything else to figure it out though. Yeah it’s annoying, but so far it doesn’t seem to affect anything other than piss me off every time I hear it. Well good luck tracking your noise down. If I come up with anything on mine, I’ll let you know!

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Old 07-28-2020, 06:20 AM #5
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My 2005 has had the same noise since 60k and has 200k now. its been happening for years before and after redoing the complete front suspension. I think the noise could be coming from the front bumper brackets where it mounts to the frame. I think there was a thread on this and figured thats what the noise was and have just lived with it. wondering if that could be the noise you are hearing and just a coincidence that it started happening after the suspension work?
I think if I remember correctly, the guy loosened the mounting bolts and the noise went away. I would think they needed to be tightened but I think he loosened them instead.
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Old 07-28-2020, 08:36 AM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renol View Post
I hate being "that guy" who posts stupid stuff all the time, but I need some help from people who have lifted their vehicles or are knowledgeable.

Ever since I had my lift installed I've been getting popping/cracking noises from the front end. Specifically, its always after the car has been sitting parked for several hours and always in conjunction with sharp slow turns in parking lots. After those few initial pops (always 2 or 3) there's no more sounds. If I park the car and come back in 20 minutes nothing. Today alone it did this in the same spot when I went out for lunch and again in exactly the same manner 4hrs later.

Parts list so far: new bilstein 5100 struts, ome 884 springs, jba offroad uca, stock replacement lower control arms, and a new cv axle assembly on the driver's side. Also did toytec springs and bilstein 5100 shocks in back but noise feels and sounds like the front. By feel I mean you can feel it through the floor and even brake pedal. Tierods feel tight and pass the wobble test, sway bar links are solid as well.

I don't have money to randomly throw more parts at it. The lowers and cv axle ran me nearly $2k after all was done and the shop wants to charge me another $120 to just take a look. Any suggestions or additional tests I can do to confirm an issue would be greatly appreciated. I am considering the other cv axle but again need confirmation as I don't have the means to do it myself.

I've attached a link to a short 30 sec video to demonstrate exactly what the sound is.

Front end popping noise 4th gen 4runner post lift - YouTube
Is it possibly your sway bar contacting your skid plate? This happened to me after my lift - cracking/popping noise during slow turns. It was my skid plate contacting the sway bar - it would get caught on a spring and bind up, then when I turned and the sway bar slid off of the spring it would run into the skid plate and make the noise. I put on the relocation blocks to move it slightly forward and down and then some washers between the skid plate and the mounting holes for it to space the skid plate down and no more noise.
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Last edited by Zero0575; 07-28-2020 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 07-28-2020, 05:08 PM #7
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Only thing i can think of

you replaced the driver side CV and the popping seems to be when the steering wheel is turned to the right..id say its you pass CV binding and then releasing..
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Old 01-08-2023, 08:41 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spdrcr29 View Post
Sounds like Iím in about the same boat as you. Pretty much replaced the entire front end, including new front diff. New Napa axles and calipers, new wheel bearings, brake pads, lower control arms w/ ball joints, Bilstein 5100 shocks on FJ springs, new upper shock mounts, Sway bar bushings and more. Never had any noises previously, but now and just like you, Iíve got a pop noise coming from the front end. Nowhere near as loud as yours though. Will only do it after itís sat over night. Get out the next morning, creep forward a bit and press the brake pedal and POP! Usually a single pop noise, primarily from the right front, but sometimes it sounds like it comes from the driver side. Occasionally after driving out of our neighborhood and making a right turn, it will make a second pop noise but itís very faint. Anyway, once it makes the pop noise, you can drive all day long and it will never do it again until its sat for the majority of the day or sits over night. Pretty predictable that it will do it. Drives me nuts not knowing where itís coming from. Was thinking itís brake pad shift because at least for mine, it seems like it does it when I press the brakes after itís sat for a long time. Pulled the pads out and used a heavy duty grease on the ears of the pads and back side of the pads, but it didnít change a thing. Since replacing practically everything up front, Iíve changed too many things to know whatís causing it. Havenít really done anything else to figure it out though. Yeah itís annoying, but so far it doesnít seem to affect anything other than piss me off every time I hear it. Well good luck tracking your noise down. If I come up with anything on mine, Iíll let you know!

Did you ever find out what was causing the sound ? what you described is what I have . It does it after seating all night, slowly creeping out my parking lot and here it is POP. does it same when reversing into the space. I tired to replicate the sound by driving under 3mph but wouldn't doing when worm , only doesn't it when i try to brake. After driving for few hours it won't do it all. wondering if you found out what it is ?
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Old 01-10-2023, 05:39 AM #9
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Originally Posted by 4runnerLT View Post
Did you ever find out what was causing the sound ? what you described is what I have . It does it after seating all night, slowly creeping out my parking lot and here it is POP. does it same when reversing into the space. I tired to replicate the sound by driving under 3mph but wouldn't doing when worm , only doesn't it when i try to brake. After driving for few hours it won't do it all. wondering if you found out what it is ?
I’d check for axle binding. This can be done by jacking up the truck until both front tires are off the ground (at full droop). Spin the tires slowly by hand. If both spin freely, that’s likely not the problem. If an axle is binding, the affected side will only go about 1/4 turn in either direction.
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Old 01-12-2023, 12:20 AM #10
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Iíve had this sound too and did a very thorough inspection within 5 minutes after. Everything seems mechanically sound. The only thing that makes sense to me is the bushings in the LCAís release tension and pops really loud. If you lifted your vehicle and didnít torque everything with weight on the wheels your bushings will be torqued at unsprung and then driving and turning will have more torque and they will pop when it can to release tension.
I broke torque and retorqued everything and havenít had it back.

I donít know, thatís my theory. There are way smarter people out there, so hopefully someone can vouch for my theory and experience. But nothing is out of spec on anything else. And I know everyone has unique issues and this is just my story. Hope it helps.
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Old 01-13-2023, 04:52 PM #11
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I’ve had this sound too and did a very thorough inspection within 5 minutes after. Everything seems mechanically sound. The only thing that makes sense to me is the bushings in the LCA’s release tension and pops really loud. If you lifted your vehicle and didn’t torque everything with weight on the wheels your bushings will be torqued at unsprung and then driving and turning will have more torque and they will pop when it can to release tension.
I broke torque and retorqued everything and haven’t had it back.

I don’t know, that’s my theory. There are way smarter people out there, so hopefully someone can vouch for my theory and experience. But nothing is out of spec on anything else. And I know everyone has unique issues and this is just my story. Hope it helps.
I'm not one of those smarter people but it's actually not a theory, it's what the FSM says. On any suspension installation pages, the manual says "stabilize the suspension (see pg. SP-15)" before torquing to spec. Here's that page:

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Old 01-13-2023, 05:52 PM #12
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I'm not one of those smarter people but it's actually not a theory, it's what the FSM says. On any suspension installation pages, the manual says "stabilize the suspension (see pg. SP-15)" before torquing to spec. Here's that page:

Nice! Iíve bought paper ones for my FZJ80 and 87í pickup, but canít find any paper ones for the 09 4Runner. Is that a dl version? Iím sure itís in the stickies. Iím going to look.
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Old 03-05-2023, 02:37 AM #13
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Is there a way you car torque the camber bolts properly since the rack and pinion is in the way for a torque wrench ?
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