Post Lift Never-ending Clunk
It's been over a month now since I had my OME HD lift installed and I'm finally at the point where I can say that I love this lift; it feels just right, as it should from the factory. This isn't going to be a review of the lift, you can find plenty of them here, but rather I wanted to share my experience post-install so that hopefully it helps others deal with clunking.
First of all, I want to say that I did not install the OME lift myself. Though it seemed rather simple I do not have the time for a major project. The Commander being my primary vehicle and daily driver I needed it to be done rather quickly so I ended up taking it to my trusted mechanic. Since my XK had 84K miles at the moment I wanted to change a lot of parts as preventative maintenance while it was going to be in the shop. Along with the kit I purchased the JBA upper control arms, all new Moog parts (lower ball joints, sway bar bushings, strut mount kit, coil isolators), and new Crown bump stops. After the lift was installed, I immediately got my alignment done too.
That week I was experiencing some clunking and I decided to take it back to the mechanic to torque everything down again. He torqued down what he could and said everything was fine. The following weekend I decided to go off-roading. Unfortunately, during off-roading I ended up hitting a ditch pretty hard with the passenger side front tire which created a new more prominent clunk. Since I was having my performance exhaust system installed the week after I decided to wait until it was in the shop to tell my mechanic about this new clunk.
Once I got to the shop I explained what happened and he said he didnít find anything wrong with the suspension, he suggested possibly something in the bumper that was rattling around since it has been a bit loose due to a minor fender bender from the previous owner or possibly the sway bar end links. During that week I did more research and found a few threads saying that sometimes the strut nut isnít tight enough or mightíve backed out a bit causing the strut to make noise. I decided to cut the top of the strut nut open through the inside of the hood so that a socket would fit without having to remove the strut assembly just to get to the strut nut. They were tightened again and it did help a bit but I was still hearing the clunking.
On the following weekend I replaced the bumper bracket myself along with a few broken rivets, replaced the sway bar end links with Moog replacement parts, and the clunking was still there. Out of frustration I started kicking the passenger front tire to see if I can hear the clunk and I was surprised that I did. I realized that if I kicked it hard enough near the brake I could hear the sound. I then hit the caliper itself and I was able to make it move.
I crawled underneath to look at the caliper bolts and sure enough I could see the slide pin boot was torn, indicating something was wrong. I then took the Commander back during the week to the shop and explained my findings. Turns out the boot had ripped and the slide pin had seized. Apparently a bushing was also missing. This mustíve happened when I hit the ditch while off-roading. All the slide pins were replaced on the front wheel and this took care of the loudest clunk. I drove it around and still heard a milder clunk that was felt through the accelerator. Not as bad as before but I was willing to live with it.
I was already set on living with this mild clunk until I realized that I never addressed the lower control arm bushings. All other bushings, isolators, and ball joints were new and all that was left were the lower control arm bushings. I placed an order for all six bushings and took it to the shop where I get my alignment since they do suspension too. I would need to get it realigned after replacing the bushings anyways. While it was there they told me that the sway bar had lateral movement. Since the end links and sway bar bushings were new they said the bushings might not be the right ones. I explained they were new Moog parts and I believe they were the right ones. They ended up placing a shim to prevent the sway bar from moving laterally since it was hitting the bushings causing a slight clunk. They also replaced the three lower control arm bushings on each side and performed the alignment.
Once I drove it home I was happy that I finally addressed everything and I no longer have any clunking from the front end, itís nice and quiet, the way it should be. My point is so clichťd- never give up, never surrender. Haha, just kidding. I guess the takeaway is- everything has a solution. Since my Commander has 85K miles now it was worth replacing everything. At one point I was told by my trusted mechanic that maybe itís the nature of the lift but I refused to believe that. I still trust him but I just donít think we looked in the right places. Since he installed the lift we were more concerned about any of those bolts having come loose.
Just thought Iíd share this experience in case anywhere else out there is experiencing clunking after having installed a lift. Iím glad it was all related to the suspension and not part of the driveline. I have read cases where the differential or transfer case bushings have gone bad and causing clunking but usually you can hear that when you put it in gear too. I wasnít experiencing that which is why I didnít go that route. I hope this helps and good luck with your clunking.
2008 Commander Limited 5.7L HEMI QDII
Mods: AFE Magnum Force Stage 2 CAI, OME HD Lift w/OME Shocks and Struts, Goodyear Wrangler All Terrains w/Kevlar 255/70R17, JBA Gen 6.7 Upper Control Arms, Hypertech Speedo Calibrator, Magnaflow cat-back system, Custom Retrofit HID Projectors, LED Conversion Kit for Fog Lights, Rigid Industries D2 LED Driving Lights
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Last edited by LuvMyCommander; 11-13-2015 at 11:29 AM.