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front suspension clunk

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by pdudley, Feb 19, 2015.

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    Car is 2002 330Ci coupe. I recently purchased Bilstein Sport shocks and struts, H&R race springs, strut reinforcement plates and a strut mount (i had another one already so only needed one additional) and rear shock mounts (Meyle HD). the control arm bushings are PowerFlex and less than a year ago I installed Meyle HD control arms - the ones with the replaceable metal ball joints.
    I put the rear springs and shocks in about a week ago, drove some on the configuration, and then put the front stuff in on Saturday. Went for a test drive and all fell good. yesterday when I went out I felt a clunk. I figured something might have loosened up. I checked every nut and bolt that I had touched in the front and all were tight (strut mount nuts, strut piston nut, strut clamp -18mm bolt, sway bad link nut). i did not check the rear bolts and nuts only because the clunk was not there after only doing the rear and based on driving, it feel and sound like it's in the front.
    so, i'm perplexed where this is coming from. I made sure the washer and cupped washer went in under the strut bearing. I can reproduce the clunk by quickly steering back and forth or when there is a transition in the angle of the pavement, more so than when running over a small bump like patched pavement on one side of the car. I cannot get any noise by grabbing the wheel arch and pushing and pulling up and down on it. the clunk is audible and you can feel it when driving.

    OK, so i took apart the front driver's side as it 'seems' like the one where the clunk is coming from. the parts are all there just like in this diagram:
    a few things I've noticed. there is a drop of about an inch going from my garage floor to the driveway. the 'drop' you get when rolling back out of the garage is the type of thing that will produce the clunk whereas a bump where the wheel is pushed up is not so likely.
    second observation is the even with the weight of the car on the suspension, i can take a spark plug socket with an open end wrench on the flats on the strut mount nut and get some rotational movement out of the spring. the nut is tight on the strut having held the strut with a long hex bit while tightening the nut. it seems to me that there isn't enough force on the spring as in it's not being compressed enough at the car's resting point. i have a 2001 325i and i get zero rotation doing the same thing on that car with factory sport suspension. doesn't make sense to me but that's what I've observed.
    could the springs be wrong? these are H&R Race springs. they were drop shipped from H&R. the box said e46 coupe on it but the packing slip says 325/330 Cabrio. Bavauto.com lists these cars as having the same spring numbers (50484-88) though.
    please let me know where you would go from here.
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    Ok noises are always fun. Have you isolated the noise to a component yet like such as the rack or one of the ball joints, strut? If not I would check a couple things one raise the front wheels up and check for any ball joint play from either the inner or outer one on the control arms. Next I would make sure your steering rack mounting bolts are tight. I know you haven't touched them but I have seen these come loose before. Also check for sway bar links for play as well.

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