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      12-11-2011, 05:59 PM   #1
Ihave1
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Mystery front end creaking sound with video

Ever since the air temperature has cooled down I get this weird clunk or creaking sound when I first start driving. I hear it on flat roads but also when I go over small bumps and it goes away after things heat up or on warmer days. I know it is not the sway bar end links since the sound is there with the sway bar removed and I recently installed adjustable links (after the problem started). I have KW V1's installed, everything else is stock in the suspension department. I have checked each bolt in the front end at least three times and none of the ball joint boots seem damaged or loose.

Here is a video of the noise when I pull up and down on the left fender: http://vimeo.com/33499722

Any ideas? I have spent way too many hours trying to track this down.
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      12-11-2011, 07:31 PM   #2
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what's the clearance like on the brake dust shield?
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      12-12-2011, 09:47 PM   #3
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I checked and tightened the shields. Ran my fingers around the outside and did not feel any rubbing or clearance issues. It almost like something is settling when it sits in the cold and then wobbles around when I drive. The strut top mounts look fine when I shake the car but it sounds like that's where the noise originates. There are no clunks when I turn the wheels and it happens worst when I drive in a straight line on flat pavement... weird.
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      12-12-2011, 10:19 PM   #4
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Get a friend to stick their head down there and listen and look to find out where the sound is coming from.
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      12-13-2011, 10:30 AM   #5
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Did you compress the V1 shock completely and de-compress it completely prior to installing it? That is a funky sound. Does it happen on both sides or just the drivers side? Sounds like something is binding or rubbing. Sounds like metal to metal contact or spring noise. Did you buy the V1 brand new? You might have a bad shock, which is covered under warranty. Also, some people had noisy springs and there is some kind of spring wrap that you can buy that will deaden some noise.
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      12-13-2011, 12:21 PM   #6
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Regrettably I had the shocks installed professionally (hoping to avoid any clunking) so I don't know what they did pre-install. It seems to only come from the driver side. When in the cabin and driving it almost sounds like the wheel is loose and flopping around, but I know its on there tight. I am going to check the tightness of the nut on top of the shock tonight. I did buy them brand new and am happy to have a good warranty. I also will check to make sure the spring is seated properly in the top mount.
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      12-13-2011, 03:18 PM   #7
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Yeah, check the top nut (this has to be extremely tight, a couple blasts from an impact gun should do it), 3 top hat nuts (roughly 25 ft-lb), and the bottom clamp that holds the bottom portion of the strut (not sure on this one).
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      12-13-2011, 08:51 PM   #8
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jack it up, pull the wheel, and grease the shaft of that strut a bit.

there are no pops as you turn the wheel lock to lock while stationary, right?
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      12-14-2011, 09:00 AM   #9
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I checked last night and the top nut is really right. Using a vice grip on a 22mm socket and an hex key down the center I could not get the nut to move in either direction. No clunks happen when I turn the wheel. Like something settles when it cools down and then comes un-sprung. I did notice that my springs are seated against the notch on the upper spring perch and just read that it should be rotated about 90deg for other BMW's. Is this true of the 135i also? That may be my problem. The top few spring coils show signs of rubbing against each other and the yellow paint is scraped off.
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      12-14-2011, 11:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ihave1 View Post
I checked last night and the top nut is really right. Using a vice grip on a 22mm socket and an hex key down the center I could not get the nut to move in either direction. No clunks happen when I turn the wheel. Like something settles when it cools down and then comes un-sprung. I did notice that my springs are seated against the notch on the upper spring perch and just read that it should be rotated about 90deg for other BMW's. Is this true of the 135i also? That may be my problem. The top few spring coils show signs of rubbing against each other and the yellow paint is scraped off.
Can you take a picture(s) of what you are describing?
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      12-14-2011, 12:17 PM   #11
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It kinda sounds like the noise is from the brake shield. Like slight movement causes it to amplify that noise. Such an odd sound...
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      12-14-2011, 12:55 PM   #12
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I will try to take a picture tonight but this image may describe it. See how part 8 and 9 have a little notch or lip that looks like would perfectly match up with the end up the spring? The tip of the spring coil can nestle right in there. Logically this seems to be the correct way to assemble but I have read elsewhere that the end of the spring should not be touching that notch and instead should be rotated 90deg away from it.
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      12-14-2011, 01:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ihave1 View Post


I will try to take a picture tonight but this image may describe it. See how part 8 and 9 have a little notch or lip that looks like would perfectly match up with the end up the spring? The tip of the spring coil can nestle right in there. Logically this seems to be the correct way to assemble but I have read elsewhere that the end of the spring should not be touching that notch and instead should be rotated 90deg away from it.
Totally get what you are saying... Because under compression it may just push it up against that notch that looks like it's for the end of the spring. Maybe a soft pad or material in the notch would allow you to do it without a noise if that's actually the issue? If it's only coming from one corner though and you think this may be the issue you should check the corner making the noise along with the other side to see if the spring is rotated away from the notch or not.
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      12-15-2011, 01:24 PM   #14
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I'm not sure if it's the same noise I'm hearing in my car, but whatever it is, it drives me crazy!

I'm hearing something related to the brakes for sure, and I've noticed it since the weather has gotten colder. It's a pretty loud clunk (loud enough to hear over the radio and talking) every time I initially apply the breaks. I mostly hear it from the front.

It happens every time I apply the brakes after the gas.... But if I apply the brakes, coast, then apply the brakes again, I won't hear it with the 2nd braking...

Is that the same noise you have??
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      12-15-2011, 02:43 PM   #15
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Your gonna have to go under the car and check the cables for the e-brake. Ther eis a grommet that the cable goes thru has been know to make that noise. In fact i bet in you garage, if you take the e brake off you wont hear it as much.

Give it a try
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      12-16-2011, 12:13 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ihave1 View Post


I will try to take a picture tonight but this image may describe it. See how part 8 and 9 have a little notch or lip that looks like would perfectly match up with the end up the spring? The tip of the spring coil can nestle right in there. Logically this seems to be the correct way to assemble but I have read elsewhere that the end of the spring should not be touching that notch and instead should be rotated 90deg away from it.
Gotcha... jack the car up, lower the height setting all the way, and rotate the spring away from the notch.
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      12-16-2011, 08:34 AM   #17
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Thanks for all the input! I think I may have finally solved the issue. Last night I jacked it up and did the following: tightened down the lower spring perch set screw since they were loose on both sides, lubed up the lower spring perch, put some lithium grease on the top most coils since there was obvious rubbing, and aligned the top spring mount so the end of the coil was towards the outside of the car. I'm not sure which of those things solved the issue but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that its gone for good. Hopefully it will cool down this weekend so I can tell for sure.
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      12-18-2011, 09:56 PM   #18
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I've been having the same issue since it's gotten a bit cold. I'm going to try rotating my springs.

Sounds exactly like the wheel is wobbling and I can feel a slight binding.
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      12-19-2011, 07:45 AM   #19
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Yesterday I went and wrapped the top couple coils with corrugated loom to prevent binding and then used better grease for the bottom perch. If the clunk comes back I'm going to get some thrust bearings for the lower perch.

Its 31F out this morning so I should be able to tell pretty quickly if it worked.

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      12-20-2011, 08:20 AM   #20
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Congrats on solving the issue. The lower spring perch being loose was definitely the cause of the noise. You are lucky there was no damage when driving around.
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      12-20-2011, 08:27 AM   #21
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Unfortunately the clunk is back, but not as loud. When I get the time I'm going to put some thrust bearings on the lower perches and replace the upper strut mounts. I think it may be the bearing in the upper mount that is loose and shrinks down when it's cooler outside causing the noise. Maybe I will upgrade to Vorshlag camber plates if I can get a good deal. I have a video of the clunk sound from inside the car I will try to post later.
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      12-20-2011, 08:38 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ihave1 View Post
Unfortunately the clunk is back, but not as loud. When I get the time I'm going to put some thrust bearings on the lower perches and replace the upper strut mounts. I think it may be the bearing in the upper mount that is loose and shrinks down when it's cooler outside causing the noise. Maybe I will upgrade to Vorshlag camber plates if I can get a good deal. I have a video of the clunk sound from inside the car I will try to post later.
Sorry to hear that mate. You've done a good job hunting this thing down via the process of elimination so far. Been there, done that...

Not to be a negative nancy here, but in my experience I think that if you start making modifications to a car, especially to suspension components, that you will have to live with certain noises to some degree. Every car I have seen with aftermarket suspension pieces, despite the quality of the pieces, made sounds. German cars, Japanese cars or whatever.... They all did. My friends old 350Z sounded like a 17th century naval ship. My old STi with just a simple setup (Stock springs/struts with front and rear sway bars, endlinks and camber bolts) made a fair bit of noise.

That being said, what are you using for strut tops?
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