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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all! New here, with an '04 (Tundra) Double Cab, 4x4, AT - SR5 (pretty sure they all were, but whatever).

Bought the vehicle from a stealership because I kinda needed 4x4, and it runs and drives great on a smooth road, but once I get into any bumpy or soft terrain, I notice a clunking coming fromt he front end. Should I be worried about this? My parent's F-350 did the same thing, but I guess that could have had the problem as well?

Upon inspection of it this evening, my sway bar is loose - i.e., I can move it with my bare hands, yet all the nuts and bolts are tight. Is this normal?

What else could be causing this?

Looking forward to responses, and keeping the vehicle for a long time!

Thanks,

K-Dawg
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Stone!

So, should I be able to wiggle the bar around by hand? On my other vehicles, I haven't been able to - but I'm not entirely certain on the workings of this particular truck.
 

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I guess it depends....You dont want it really tight, or it will act as a damper and basically stiffen up your shocks....Making them work harder and give you a stiffer ride.
Then again, you dont it to be really loose either, or it could possibly shift more to one side than the other, and I would imagine also wouldnt do its job properly, giving you more sway in corners...??
I guess you want it snug, not sloppy, so it would take some effort to move it side to side, but again, really tight wouldnt be good either.
 

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My sway bar does not move at all and no clunking. Check the end links as already suggested above. Could be that your bushings are worn and need replacement. There should be no clunking sound from the front of your truck - maybe on something made in detroit but not an American made Tundra.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So, got back from the stealership (actually, it was nice - they didn't charge me to look at it) - but here's what they said:

Shocks are fine. Nothing appears to be loose / bent / broken / etc (from a visual inspection, with the car up on the lift) - though, he took it for a test drive, and it's definitely 'clunking' - sounds like metal on metal, as if there's a bump-stop missing, or bushing that's just gone.

Any idea where I could / should look with this information? Front passenger side.
 

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First, and easiest thing/place to check, would be to jack up the front right, pull the wheel, and with the suspension at full droop, grab the rotor and swing the whole spindle/rotor/caliper assembly full swing...While you move it, watch the top of the spindle. See if it hits the coil spring at full lock....If you have a 2nd jack, put it under the LBJ, and raise the suspension in like 1" increments...Keep checking to see if there is any spindle to coil contact by moving the spindle/rotor/caliper assembly thru full swing, lock to lock....

After that, I dont know....??
 

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Lifting the truck will place tension on the sway bar, masking the fact that it is loose and has excessive play. When the truck is lifted by the frame, the weight of the wheels/tires and the force of the springs will cause the sway bar to appear tight. No man I know has the arm strength to budge 100lbs of weight and 550ftlbs of spring. If you can move it by hand while your vehicle is on the ground, it is too loose.

A quick way to find out if it is your problem is to remove the entire bar and take a drive(careful, it will lean a lot). If you don't want to remove the whole thing, just unbolt the links and secure the bar ends with zip ties or something similar so that it doesn't catch on anything. If the sound goes away, you found the problem and you will just need to replace the bushings and/or links. If not, post again and we'll be happy to help you.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So, a couple of things I've noted.

Before I took it to the dealership (and what I based my judgement on in the initial post) - the sway bar was loose because I had it parked halfway on a curb. The passenger side (front and rear) tyres were on the sidewalk, and the driver side (front and rear) tyres were on the street (about 6" difference). The truck was leaning, and pointed downhill.

When the truck points uphill, and is level (both tyres on the same surface - left and right), the sway bar is tight.

I have yet to (but probably will tomorrow, if it's not raining) (VIVA OREGON WINTER), check it on level ground. If all's tight when level, I'll take the sway bar off (should be able to, and put it back on by hand, right?) then drive it around a bit. If I still hear the noise, what are my options?

The mechanic took it for a drive as well, and noted the problem - so at least I know I'm not paranoid.
 

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I'm in agreement with the stabilizer links. They don't necessarily have to be broken, but may be loose or the bushings junk, both of which you wouldn't know unless you checked them individually. I replaced mine and the clunking went away. A week or so later it was back. I found that one of them had loosened up so I tightened the nut and all better. Good luck.

John
 

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I would bet a pretty penny that it has nothing to do with your sway bar. On level ground you have no movement, the bushing are still intacked (if they were worn, you WOULD have play in the sway bar), AND you said it sounds like "metal on metal" when it "clunks", that will eliminate the sway bar...and that's based on how its mounted in there.

Ball joints and tie rods tend to make noise more when you turn than when hitting bumps. They will usually "pop" when they start to go.

I would look at the upper control arm mounting bolts and bushings, then (and hopefully not) the lower cam bolts and arm bushings. If they seem all good, then look at a bad shock.

Remember that the noise comes with up and down movement of the suspention, and those are the parts you need to focus on.

Good luck!
 

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Note that the sway bar ends have an oval-shaped hole and the links are round, so the end links can move around inside this oval if the bushings are shot, the nut isn't torqued enough, and/or the entire bushing assembly isn't packed with enough grease.

Been there, done that. When I replaced by sway bar bushings with Wheeler's set, I didn't pack enough grease before sliding that top bushing in place. Got all kinds of clunking noise. Pulled the nut, washer and top bushing off, packed the entire "oval" in the sway bar end with grease, reinstalled everything and.... noise gone.

I hope you find it. Tracking down noises are a PITA.
 

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I had what seems to be the exact same problem. The sway bar end links were bad, not broken but there was just enough play in them to create a clunk. Replaced them and it drives like new.
 

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A sway bar will also clunk (metal-on-metal) if the nuts aren't tight where the links connect to the LCAs. If you can move that sway bar by hand though, something is loose or worn. No matter how the truck is parked, you shouldn't be able to move that sway bar.
 

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So, got back from the stealership (actually, it was nice - they didn't charge me to look at it) - but here's what they said:

Shocks are fine. Nothing appears to be loose / bent / broken / etc (from a visual inspection, with the car up on the lift) - though, he took it for a test drive, and it's definitely 'clunking' - sounds like metal on metal, as if there's a bump-stop missing, or bushing that's just gone.

Any idea where I could / should look with this information? Front passenger side.


It is hard, no, make that impossible for me to believe that no one has noticed what you have already went through at the dealer and they STILL did not tell you what exactly was wrong with the truck?, other than "Yes, it's definitely clunking."

WTF???

Yeah, it was nice, they didn't charge you but they didn't find out what was wrong either. Like going to a dentist for tooth pain and they tell you that they have looked all around your mouth but you leave with the same pain you went in with. That is F-ed up.
 

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So, got back from the stealership (actually, it was nice - they didn't charge me to look at it) - but here's what they said:

Shocks are fine. Nothing appears to be loose / bent / broken / etc (from a visual inspection, with the car up on the lift) - though, he took it for a test drive, and it's definitely 'clunking' - sounds like metal on metal, as if there's a bump-stop missing, or bushing that's just gone.

Any idea where I could / should look with this information? Front passenger side.


It is hard, no, make that impossible for me to believe that no one has noticed what you have already went through at the dealer and they STILL did not tell you what exactly was wrong with the truck?, other than "Yes, it's definitely clunking."

WTF???

Yeah, it was nice, they didn't charge you but they didn't find out what was wrong either. Like going to a dentist for tooth pain and they tell you that they have looked all around your mouth but you leave with the same pain you went in with. Then later you go back on Do It Yourself Dentistry and ask the guys what they think the problem might be. That is F-ed up.
 

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One more thought. Are you 100% positive it's coming from the front end?

John
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hey all, sorry for the lack of reply -

I haven't had the time during daylight hours (when the weather is decent enough to get under the truck) to look at the problem... Hopefully this weekend. I'm just babying it going up and over bumps - I still haven't really taken it off of the asphalt (save for one instance).

In any case, here's a video of my problem, and how the truck is parked, when I notice the bar being loose.

Given this information, what should I look at? The sway bar bushings?


Thanks!
 

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I would replace the sway bar bushings. You should not be able to move the sway bar by hand like that at all. Make sure the bushing clamps and the sway bar links are tightened to FSM torque specs. Due to the excessive movement by hand, I would also replace the sway bar links. Seems like you are getting side to side movement which is coming from the sway bar links. The link bushings are probably shot. Check this thread out for replacing the sway bar links....http://www.tundrasolutions.com/forums/1gen-tundra/145971-downey-h-d-sway-bar-end/
 
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