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Brad, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 2366
Experience:  ASE Certified Master Technician
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My 1997 Ford Escort LX sometimes makes clunking noises as i ...

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My 1997 Ford Escort LX sometimes makes clunking noises as i turn, usually when i turn sharp. It will start going "clunk, clunk, clunk" but only if i'm accelerating. Then when i pull out of the turn and start going straight it will sometimes continue and sometimes stop. But it only happens when i accelerate. If i let my foot off the gas it stops and then when i accelerate again it starts up again. The mechanic told me he couldn't make the car do that when he tested it out but he told me that my axles looked fine and that he thought it was one of my motor mounts. Also my car shakes when i get up to about 60 mph, again ONLY when i'm accelerating. i was wondering if the front end just needed to be re-aligned or if there is a bigger problem and if it's somehow linked to the first problem i described.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Brad replied 9 years ago.
HelloCustomer and welcome to!

Based on your symptoms, I kind of have to agree with your mechanic. Most likely you've either got a bad axle, a bad motor mount, or both.

A bad motor mount is simple enough to diagnose. You simply "brake torque" the engine (with a wheel chocked and while standing on the brake pedal, you put it in gear and hit the gas pedal, while someone else watches for excessive engine movement) in both forward and reverse gears. From this a good technician should be able to identify a bad engine mount.

In order to properly identify a bad axle joint, sometimes the axle must be removed from the vehicle and the joints moved by hand checking for excessive binding or play in the joint. It is not possible to 100% identify an axle as good just by inspecting it on the vehicle.

Sometimes an axle joint can go bad just from normal wear and tear, but a bad motor mount can accelerate this wear by increasing the engine angle, thus putting the axle in a bind during acceleration.

A rhythmic "clunk,clunk,clunk" that increases with vehicle speed during acceleration, especially during turns, is a classic symptom of a bad axle joint. It's often less expensive to replace the entire axle than to replace just the joints, as there is less labor involved (no need to disassemble the axle once off of the vehicle).

I hope this helps.. Good luck!
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