Suspension noise - Vectra C

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Hi

I have just started hearing a "clonking " noise from the suspension when driving over poor road surfaces. When I bounced the car to locate the sound, it was clearly from the front left. Jacking up that corner and twisting the wheel didn't give a clear result, but possibly a slight movement compared with the other wheels.
Viewing the different parts didn't show any signs of torn or damaged rubber mounts, and none moved/rattled when shaken, however I did notice a light aerosol of oil ( not a complete film ) on the shock-absorber: this is very light at the moment, no drops and not enough has leaked to leave any traces on the lower retaining plate. The tie-rods were replaced in January for the MOT and the mechanic/tester made no remarks about visible wear on other components.

Oddly I have never had any problems with suspension components before, so have no experience to fall back on.

My questions are:

1) Is what seems to be an early stage of failure sufficient to cause this clonking ? It (clonking ) only started in the last 200 miles .
2) Once a damper starts leaking, how quickly does the leaking usually progress ?
3) The car has done 106 000 miles, so which other related components would you change at the same time ? The dampers are GM components so may well
be original.
4) Would you also do the other damper unit at the same time as is usually recommended ? When I had a broken spring on another Vectra, I only changed one
and noticed no difference/problems. My driving style is fairly relaxed, no high speeds, screeching through corners etc.
5) Any idea of hours required for changing unit, and possibly top/bottom mounts/bearings ?

Look forward to your advice. Thanks
 
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Just some wild guesses here, but many suspension knocks come from the drop links ( also referred to stabilisers) that connect the anti roll bar to the front struts....unfortunately it’s quite difficult to determine because of the strong suspension loads placed on these components. Anti roll bar bushes are also possible if they are worn, usually that’s easier to see.
The strut top mounting could also knock, and with the car jacked up and suspension dangling pulling the spring to and fro may emphasise things. I always replace these if spring replacement is necessary. Do check the springs for breakage too....sometimes a break on the very top coil is difficult to find.
1) cheap drop links can fail before 12 months use
2) Damper leaks are usually slow to develop, but if they are gas type ( which also include some lube) you’d never know if the gas has gone
3) At that mileage I’d expect the suspension struts to be past their best, but again you can’t really test them unless the spring is off. The strut top bearing should be replaced too.
4) Its recommended that dampers and springs are replaced as pairs.....personally I don’t and haven’t noticed any
difference in the vehicle stance.
5 ) estimate 1 1/2 hours for each side, but it could be quicker than that, and any pinch bolts should be replaced.
Regards
John
 
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but many suspension knocks come from the drop links ( also referred to stabilisers

Ha! Wrong description from me already. When I wrote "tie-rod" I did mean "drop-link" I did check the springs both visually and by feel, but will check the top again.
 
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Burnerman has covered pretty much everything.

Is the noise more prominent in a straight line or turning? Might help narrow it down a bit
 
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Just had the drop links done all round on our 164K Honda. The rears were replaced before, but were cheap and didn't last.

Now the ride is eerily quiet!
 
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Jack the front of the car up and place it on axle stands. With a pry bar lever against the various suspension and steering components to see if you can detect any movement. You dont have to go daft just reasonable pressure to see if anyof the movement is excessive compared to the other side.

DO NOT get under the car unless it is properly supported and if you don't know how to do it, take it to a garage.
 
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Hello

Sorry for silence, but I haven't been receiving any notifications of answers. Anybody else having this problem ?

The garage drove it around the yard and then put it up on the hoist and diagnosed a bad drop-link. This is pretty aggravating as they were supposedly changed in January for an MOT and I made a point of asking the garage- owner if they used o.e. quality parts (although I was more concerned about the timing-belt and water-pump in that respect) and he told me they absolutely did.

I don't know if the garage will be able to do it this week and I am going on holiday at the week-end. I will probably be driving about 2 000 miles. If It can't be repaired, I don't think there is any major problem apart from the aggravation of the clonking, is there ?

Thanks
 
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Unlikely to be of any real issue, apart from the noise, unless they are about to break or fall off, which sounds unlikely if only 8 months old.

But I'd expect the garage to be squeezing you in as it should be a warranty issue.
 
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"
Unlikely to be of any real issue, apart from the noise, unless they are about to break or fall off, which sounds unlikely if only 8 months old.

But I'd expect the garage to be squeezing you in as it should be a warranty issue.

Originally fitted in Britain, now back in my French mountain home.
 
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Don’t worry about these, I’ve seen broken ones that the owner didn’t even notice!
If your replacements were FirstLine make, I’m surprised they lasted as long as they have!
John
 
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Thanks John. I obviously have no idea what they are, but will be in contact with the garage when I do know. It does make me concerned about the cam-belt kit components as I had told the guy that I wanted Gates or equivalent and he assured me that he always used high-quality components, but there was nothing marked on the invoice.

He was recommended by a friend who always had her cars serviced satisfactorily there.
 
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Just to give you the result and maybe an insight into French garages.

This is a little two-man operation in a small village in the mountains: nearest other independent is almost 20 miles away. Prices include 20% VAT translated at today's exchange rate.

1 x Moog drop-link - £ 38.30
1/2 hour labour - £35.05

The Moog part was twice the price of the same , delivered, from the Net, which is about what I would expect, and the labour rate is average for the area. French social charges on wages are very high, close to double UK rates, so take that into account when considering the labour.

The faulty part bears no markings or numbers, so is not what I would expect from a "top-quality " part as I was assured it would be. Strangely (to me ) it shows no signs of failure when I move the bushes: there is significant resistance and no signs of sloppiness: is that what you would/might expect ?
 
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For sure, it’s almost impossible to manually apply the loads that the anti roll bar can but like you I’d expect the ball joint to show some play.
I’ve never heard of Moog products, but that means nothing.....I go for Febi Bilstein where possible.
Over here, independents in Northumberland are around £50 per hour, .plus 20%.
Has the noise gone away?
John
 
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Has the noise gone away?

Oh yes John. Oddly the steering also feels a lot tighter which is unexpected.

I thought Moog was quite well known. Over 100 years old, currently owned by Federal-Mogul who bought them from Cooper Industries.


As for choice of brand, it was what was being stocked by the local wholesaler, of course.
 
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If your replacements were FirstLine make, I’m surprised they lasted as long as they have!

Hello John
I have just received confirmation from the supplying garage that the part was Borg & Beck which is now owned by First Line ! B&B used to be a quality name but mainly for cluches. On checking I see that they are only qualified to ISO 9001 which is miserably low, and they certainly won't be getting any o.e. business at that level.

Is it your opinion that all products produced by First Line companies are crappy quality ?
 
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