Sep 25, 2009 update on artofruin's 1987 Mazda RX-7

Exorcising the Phantom Suspension Clunk

My FC had been plagued by a mysterious suspension clunk from the front left corner for a good 5 months or so. I was told I could not race again until it was fixed. I had three people look at the bushings and ball joints and tell me that, while old, they were in good shape. I replaced the outer tie rods, struts, strut mounts, and steering knuckles (they were bad anyways because of toasted front bearings) myself, to no avail. The steering was nice and tight; I couldn’t feel the clunk or the steering bind/slip. I could hear it when taking a left turn or hitting a bump. It was driving me insane because neither I nor anyone I talked to could pinpoint the noise.

Finally, today, I fixed the problem. I had a new set of OEM ball joints the PO gave me a with a small set of spares. Despite being told by three people with more mechanical experience than me that the ball joints were fine, I installed the new ones before work.

Problem solved.

I’m obviously relieved, as the clunk was getting worse. I feel kind of stupid for missing something so simple like that, but I’m also a little proud- I’ve never done any of the above to any car until I got the RX-7, and now I don’t have to worry about the steering or suspension for a while.


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