LHS Front End Clunk - SOLVED - FYI

you might find this amusing:
I posted some weeks ago about the continuing front-end clunk on my '95 LHS.....LOUD clunk and twang when turning sharp to the left going
forward, or to the right backing up.
I have had the car for 6 years....the previous owner told me about it - that he had tried to have it fixed, but no one could figure it out. And for 6 years I've been going to various mechanics (I know nothing) who have thrown money at it.....ball joints replaced, sway bar bushings, steering box bushings, etc., etc. replaced....no improvement. 2 Chysler dealers took it in a came up with 2 different opinions: replace the struts ($1200 or so) or, replace the entire steering gear ($2400+).
A couple of you were kind enough to make suggestions, among them engine mounts, mount brackets, transmission mounts, lower A arm or tension strut bushings. Took it to my mechanic who checked all and found OK.....noise persisted.
2 weeks ago, I dropped a screwdriver in the garage and it rolled under the Chrysler and I'm doing the lowcrawl with my flashlight and looked up: noticed that on the 2 headpipes that come back to join the inlets on the converter, there were the "U"s of muffler clamps.....but not the rest of the clamps.....just the "U"s hangling loosly on top of the pipes. Nothing bent or scraped....everything uniformly rusted suggesting that the clamps had never been completely installed. And it's the original exhaust system.
My mechanic charged me $7.50 to put 2 new clamps on.......and the clunk is gone.
So, that gives me several things to think about:
was that the way the car left the factory?
nice to have all those new parts, that cost several hundred bucks, on there that weren't needed.
glad I didn't spend $1000 to $2500 more on an old car.....that wouldn't have helped the problem.
and......think about how many times.....in 110,000 miles... that car was on a lift getting oil changes and other repairs, and not one "Master Certified Techician" ever noticed that the exhuast system wasn't clamped together.
Makes you start thinking more about a Honda or Toyota.
Thanks to those who reponded to my first post!
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I am having the same problem on a 99 300M. Up to recently the car was under an extended warranty and every bushing, front struts, and steering rack was replaced under the service agreement. But clunk persisted and the last trip was on my dollar ($600 approximately) and they decided that maybe the original new left strut was bad. Also replaced the mount bearing and bottom half of steering column. Car was declared fixed. It remained fixed for about 10 miles when it clunked again and I just left it for them again. My wife was in the passenger seat and she felt it under her feet.

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Art wrote:

Art - Under precisely what conditions does it "clunk"?
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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If I knew precisely under what conditions it would clunk I could duplicate it at will and so could the dealer and we would have know it wasn't fixed without a 10 mile drive to do an errand during which I was sure it was fixed until the very end when it clunked again. I would say that usually a turn of the wheel is involved but you might turn the steering wheel 20 times each direction without it doing anything.
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Art wrote:

Hi Art...
I'm pretty sure I'm barking up the wrong tree, but if you'll keep my lack of qualification in mind...
I once had a GM product that did similar to what you describe... I believe it was an 85 Olds 98. Drove me crazy for a long time.
Turned out to be the dirt shield? Splash shield? Heat shield? (I warned you :) on the inside of one of the front wheels, covers the pads or brake cylinder from the motor area. (see, I warned you :)
Anyway, it's flimsy metal, and it would on occasion thunk like if you pressed the top of a tin can, or one of those kids toys that they click.
Cure was a simple as bending it a bit with a pair of vise grips.
Take care.
Ken
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Interesting because for a while I was thinking that it could be something hitting the inner fender.

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Clunk continues.
I left the car at the dealer and they had the technician take a ride. He drove around for quite a while with no clunk and was about to declare me crazy and made a left into the dealership and got the big clunk exactly as I did. They don't have a clue. The bottom half of the steering column had been replaced. Also the steering rack. The front struts had been replaced and the strut bearing on the driver side was replaced. Some pads were replaced. Technician said when parts were out all of the bushings were declared in good shape and reinstalled. They are going to drive it for a while and see if they can figure out anything else. I invited myself there to look at the car on the lift to see if I could find something stupid they missed. The exhaust system was completely tight. Everything looked good as new underneath.

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sway bar links which can be checked by pushing the car up and down while placing a hand on the link and feeling for the klunk then i would inspect the sway bar bushing's to make sure they not wallowed out and the bar is not bouncing inside of them then i would recheck the struts to make sure the nuts are good and tight also outer tierods are a big issue
Art wrote:

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philthy wrote:

If it were sway bar related (end links or bushings), then it would clunk everytime the front wheels went over uneven pavement (going across a dip at an angle, small pot holes, etc.). Swat bar clunking ony happens when one wheel is going up and/or down in opposite directions from the other wheel (on the same axle). I don't get the impression that Art is hearing the clunk every day, which he would if it were the case. That's kind of why I asked a description of exact conditions under which it happens.
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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By the way we did switch to a Honda but the 300M was a totally satisfactory car and we are giving it to my inlaws once we can get rid of the clunk. The 300M did not drive us to Honda. The Honda minivan is just plain outstanding and very reasonably priced even taking Chryslers rebates into account. The other car we had was a Toyota Avalon and it sucked compared to the 300M. We traded it for an Accord because the Chrysler 300 windows are just plain too small.

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LOL
Yup your right, the Honda/Toyota techs would have found it

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Actually the previous generation Toyota Camry was famous for developing a horrible clunk that the dealers found impossible to diagnose until after your warranty was over. Then it would turn out to be the front strut mounts.

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been there - done that: my Jeep Wrangler developed a clunk everytime the front wheels hit a sharp bump.....a very ominous sound like something major was going to fall off.
Over a period of a year and a half, the dealer came-up with a series of diagoses and replaced: shocks, sway bar bushings, all spring bushings, all suspension & steering bushings, front wheel CV joints, front wheel bearings, ball joints.......
turned-out to be a loose hood hinge pin.
they're in the business of making money, not happy owners.
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I doubt it. Its possible, but I doubt it. Probably some previous owner decided to hollow-out the catalyst for "more power" or because it started buzzing.

That doesn't surprise me a bit. .

For heaven's sake WHY?
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I think we should start a pool on when the clunk comes back.
We could have diagnosed better if you'd brought this "twang" up before... that's the first time I've heard of that!

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