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thebesthonda
thebesthonda, ASE MasterTechnician
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 3084
Experience:  26 years experience
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Honda Pilot EX John again. The Pilot has a few clunking noises

Customer Question

John again. The Pilot has a few clunking noises comming from the suspenssion when I go over bumps in the road. All from the front suspenssion. The pilot has 188k miles on it with origional ball joints and bushings. I can't detect free play on the front wheels. Which bushings go first on this 2003 Pilot? If that is the clunking...

John
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Honda
Expert:  thebesthonda replied 6 years ago.

thebesthonda :

If you have any more questions or need anything please don't hesitate to ask. If the answer I send helps you, please click ACCEPT.

thebesthonda :

Hi John!

Customer :

Hey how goes it...

thebesthonda :

Do you notice any fluid leaking from the struts? It will usually be wet around where the spring is.

Customer :

Did not notice any fluid. But was not looking for it either...

thebesthonda :

Ok, check that because the struts are usually the first to go, especially since you feel no freplay in the ball joints. You might also check the links on the end of the sway bar on each side....I have replaced a ton of these.

Customer :

I will get a light and check right now. Stand By...

thebesthonda :

Normally, a ball joint or tie rod end that makes noise will also have play that you can feel.

Customer :

Do I check the sway bars with a load or without a load?

thebesthonda :

Sounds good.

thebesthonda :

Usually they will be broken and loose from the lower control arm.

Customer :

No fluid comming from the struts. Just dry dirt.

Customer :

Sway bars have greese fittings on them. That means they are not origional. Look new.

thebesthonda :

Hmm? That also means they are aftermarket....which could be the problem. Did you try to rock the wheels back and forth with your hands at the 12 and 6 o clock position and also the 3 and 9 o clock position with the car jacked up?

Customer :

Yes.

Customer :

No slop at all.

thebesthonda :

Whew. Noises are so hard to diagnose online. With no freeplay, I seriously doubt the tie rods or upper ball joints are the problem. These will almost always have freeplay if they make noise. The struts would be the only questionable thing. They will not always leak when worn. Are they original?

Customer :

Yes they are origional. The suspension is not mushy or bouncy. Car feel stiff.

Customer :

Just noisy

Customer :

It realy does sound like ball joints banging arround.

thebesthonda :

Without actually hearing it, I would have to say the struts are the problem. If everything else feels tight and no bushings are cracked, that really has to be it. Have you tried prying the ball joints with a pry bar to check for freeplay? If these are worn enough to make noise...there should be some play...but are sometimes hard to detect.

Customer :

I also acellerated and stoped at low speed to see if I get any clunking noise or feel any slop on from the steering wheel. All checks out.

Customer :

Hum... I will use a pry bar to to do this check.

thebesthonda :

ok

Customer :

I know this is a tough one...

Customer :

John

thebesthonda :

that's ok. I like challenges

thebesthonda :

gonna step away for a few minutes..be back though

Customer :

I took the pilot to a mechanic and he was stumped by the clunking. Said to get used to it... So I like a challange too. So I am on my own...

Customer :

John

thebesthonda :

Lol! Well with 188k, a new set of struts would not be a bad idea. With no play in the joints, I really don't see how they could possibly make noise. Also check the rear cross member mounting bolts...heck....check all the bolts. I have had numerous Honda's in the shop that missed the scheduled services and ad noises only to find suspension bolts 1/2 turn loose.

thebesthonda :

(had) noises only to find suspension bolts 1/2 turn loose

Customer :

Will do. John

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