Front Rattle Location Help

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The drivers front has this rattle on going for months. New struts,brakes last fall. Ive jacked up the front to many times grabbing suspension parts for movement and wear. After researching the forum,i replaced the sway bar bushings and end links. After torqueing front crossmember to spec i lowered the car,crossed fingers and took a drive. The rattle was much quieter and not as frequent. Still was not all gone,but better. Now after driving for a week the rattle is back as loud and frequent as before.

The rattles characteristics are....its definitely drivers front suspension area. Turning right,thus loading the left(drivers side) the rattle is much more pronounced. Turning left,the rattle is minimal or none at all. It is speed specific. The slower the speed the more the rattle over bumps. At a 55mph cruise the rattle is not noticeable,speed comes down rattle gets louder. Im sure sway bar bushings,end links,struts,spring rubbers are fine.

So i now wonder if i can tackle this myself. What else can fit the characteristics of the rattle ? Should i be checking ball joints,tie rod ends....what else? And should the suspension be unsprung (in air,tire off ground) when furthering the diagnostics? I could use some advice on what to check from here. Ive done everything i can thing of doing.

oops,failed to mention...04 auto,with 96k miles.

With front wheels off the ground, can you feel any free-play in your ball joint or wheel bearing? If you feel the gap changing with your finger between brake caliper and wheel while pushing top of tire in and out, it's the wheel bearing, or with your hand on lower ball joint to feel any movement between above and under its grease boot while pushing on bottom of tire in and out, it's the ball joint. Then with wheel removed, check control arm's rear bushing by prying arm up and down with pry bar, to see if bushing is ripped or unbonded like mine were. Inner tie-rod ends may also have free-play, especially the driver's side.

thanks for the specifics dom. i'll check as you described this weekend. hope its not a wheel bearing.

When checking for free-play in wheel bearing, you may be able to simply see it by looking at gap between caliper and wheel, and while feeling any looseness when pushing on top of tire in and out. The ball joint would be visible if you're laying underneath car while pushing on bottom of tire in and out, and feeling for any thunk thunk...

I got the day off and went under the car. There was no movement at 12 or 6 o'clock pushing or pulling tire. Like you said Dom i check the lower ball joint,wheel bearing and seemed fine. The suspension was off ground. I compared any movements to the other side,without tires also. This is just over my head. The only thing that i noticed a small difference was on the drivers side lower control arm. I could pry the control arm up at the rear bushing, the one that bolts vertically into crossmember/subframe. In comparison, the passengers side bushing made a squishing sound when pry up and took a bit more force . The drivers bushing made no squishing noise when pry up and would bottom out with little less force and make a metal on metal sound when bottomed out. Based on hearing the rattle inside the car it seems to be in that area and I'm wondering if under full weight of car thats the problem. But I'm not experienced with this. I pry the front lower control arm bushing,the one bolted horizontally and couldn't detect any play. Im going to take it to my mechanic,its beyond me and I'm just tired of dealing with it. If i knew what it was i'd give it a go,but i don't. Thanks Dom. One more comment, the rattle continues under breaking. A the car slows to a complete stop the rattling becomes more if the road is bumpy. So with the weight shifted to the front suspension under breaking it changes nothing rattle wise. That baffles me. Ive been assuming that id find something that was obviously worn or loose based on the rattle noise. The noise is such that what ever is rattling is really loose and moves freely. Maybe thats not the case ...the wear of a balljoint or bushing etc. doesn't have to be an obvious thing that moves about. But maybe a small movement of a worn component can make a lot of noise.

As I suspected, it's your control arm rear bushing, since you're able to bottom it out with little less force, and it makes a metal on metal sound when bottomed out. Replace both the right and left control arms, or just both control arm rear bushings. Either way, they need to be removed, and it's less labor replacing both control arms.

You can use Energy Suspension's urethane bushing inserts as I did to replace rear bushing in original control arms, by setting the original bushings on fire, or pressed-in replacement bushings.,carcode,1432915,parttype,10401

Well good for me i stumbled into it, thanks DOM. Couple ?'s. Thats quite a range of control arm prices and different manufactures. What i wonder is the quality of the bushings in the various price points. A Moog control arms bushing would have a higher quality than a Cardone or Beck Arny,thats what i believe we pay for. My driving style is spirited street at the most. TRD springs were installed at 9k miles. I'd like the replacements to outlast the OEM bushings,don't want do this again. So,me thinks is better quality ( different compound characteristics understood ) to go with Energy Suspensions #8.3120 front and rear bushing set ,use original control arms and do the labor,plus save some $. I found the installation PDF and its pretty straight forward. The welded in part on the vertical ,thats the metal sleeve inside the big hole i gather. Thats the only part appears could be welded in,all else comes out and the center OEM piece is reused. If i got this right,then its the bushing set. Might do new ball joints while I'm at it too.

I like mine. I only replaced the rear bushings from ES's control arm bushing set.

There is also Whiteline which has an interesting flex design, much like original. It's pressed in the control arm after pressing out the original rear bushing... You actually can replace the pressed-in rear bushing on original control arm.

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Im going with ES,just torch it,clean it and install. My style. Thanks for help.

MMMM,well i just checked out White Line rears on Ebay. Top shelf quality. Wonder how much hassle,labor to press out the old and press in the new. When you changed your rear bushes you didn't think doing the front ?. How did you decide it wasn't necessary? A simple pry test? Myself being a home garage guy i figure if the rears are shot then the fronts aren't far behind. Maybe thats not the case. I'd like to learn from your experience............maybe just get rears and save more $.

Only my rear bushings needed replacing. Replacing fronts would not be worth it, and I like their added support from the rubber's torsional resistance. You'll see when you get there... The front horizontal bolt is the hardest to remove. My 1200 lbs-ft impact wrench could not remove them. Passenger side was worse. I used a few extensions on my 1/2" drive socket to have breaker bar out in front of bumper.

If yours is automatic, you need to unbolt motor mount near battery to raise tranny pan for sufficient clearance.

Thanks for the helpful Toy Nation posts. Here it is...

tools....ramps to drive onto for less jacking up,(then wheels removed) jack stands,floor jack, 12 ton bottle jack,factory jack,cheap HF impact gun,sockets,wrenches,etc..should i assume the impact wrench is a must tool? must borrow compressor.

apparently must remove battery and surrounds to get to trans mount and loosen that. Crap!

follow factory manual procedures,much of it like R n R sway bar bushings and end links which i just did. This time must unbolt ball joints and 4 steering rack bolts,separate from sub member.

The stubborn horizontal bolt, not sure how you broke it loose. Impact wrench didn't work, so you joined bunch of 1/2 extensions onto the socket on the bolt long enough to stick out beyond front bumper. then fixed breaker bar to extension end and physically broke the bolt free? Did you have a jack stand support the extensions just before the breaker bar for a pivot/fulcrum point? Im an old guy with no helpers. You must be strong.

On the Toy Nation posts somebody said its a 10 hour job,true? A lot of labor must go into removing stuff to get to the trans mount. The R n R of the rear bushings doesn't seem a great deal of labor. Especially using Energy Suspension bushings.

Wonder when doing all this labor when it gets time to replace the bushings wish would have bought arms with bushings and bolt em right up. This will become a weekend job I'm sure,so I think the frustration from a lot labor will be manageable. Any advise on this? 10 hours? New arms more $ spent and the included bushings not as good as Energy Suspensions,Whiteline etc. Im cheap,sometimes that comes with a high price of another means.

I could NOT use the impact wrench to rermove front horizontal bolt because of the rubber bushing's redundant twisting action. I broke it loose with breaker bar without added leverage and before adding extensions, by supporting it with left hand. I did come in 2nd place against the Canadian middle weight arm wrestling champion at the BC provincial competition in 1984, and was invited to the national. I don't know how many hours. It'll be infinite if you can't get some bolts off.

It sounds like you better have a competent and properly equipped mechanic replace your rear bushings with Whiteline's (Australia) pressed-in units in minimum time. It's a beauty way to go.

Whiteline is much easier to find than Energy Suspensions bushes like yours. The E.S. bushes are what i want ,i can do it myself. Whiteline got that ' void angle' ,got no idea. I know what you mean the length of time can't be said.

I keep looking for Energy Suspesion bushes, theres a lot of miss quoted part #'s and inaccurate application descriptions from vendors and EBAY. To many sound like the correct bushing but so far I've only found Whiteline to be correct bush. Thanks for all your help. I'll post my experience when finished. Maybe a while.

I'd love to hand the job over to my mechanic. Ive recently retired and still adjusting to life on a limited fixed income. Every $ counts.

Cracking the front bolt loose is the easy part. Unscrewing it all the way out is the real challenge... Start applying penetrating fluid to the bolt's threads inside frame rail now, on both sides. You'll have to work it in and out after applying more penetrating fluid to the then exposed threads.