Aimee's beloved 1997 Toyota Camry, which we bought for only $3,500 four years ago, when it had only 44,000 miles, has developed a nasty driver-side clunk that won't be diagnosed, and it's driving me nuts trying to figure out what it is. It's also costing a lot of money in parts.
It all began when Aimee convinced me that the struts needed replacing. We were down in VA visiting with her family, driving around with extra passengers, which we rarely do, and the suspension kept bottoming out on small potholes and bumps that shouldn't have been a problem.
Accordingly I went out and bought a new set of lifetime warranty front struts and one day when the weather wasn't too cold, I pulled the Camry into my shop and switched out the struts and the sway bar links. The car no longer bottomed out, but Aimee came home a day or two later saying that there was now a new noise, a clunk that occurred while turning left.
Wives and car noises, I find, do not go together well. It's best not to have both together at any time if you can help it. Either you fix the noise, or you remove it from the environs of the wife. No compromise between these choices will end well, however reasonable and rational said compromise may seem to the husband.
So I took my floor jack and a long pry bar and went at the Camry, trying to make the noise happen. I pushed up and down on the fenders. I drove around the driveway in ever-decreasing circles with my head out of the window, trying to figure out where the noise was coming from and when it was happening.
I couldn't narrow it down, except that the control arm seemed a little loose and the ball joint could be inspected easily as the old control arm was being removed, so I ordered a new control arm with bushings and fitted it, inspecting the ball joint thoroughly at the same time. I put it back together and the noise was still there.
So again I took my floor jack and a long pry bar and went at the Camry, trying
to make the noise happen. I pushed up and down on the fenders again and again. I drove
around the driveway some more in ever-decreasing circles with my head out of the
window, trying to figure out where the noise was coming from and when it
In a moment of faith-based inspiration I decided to switch out the driver side driveaxle and cv joints. The old one was bad -- the upper joint was bone dry and clicky, but not completely shot. I put it all back together, but the noise was still there.
I even tried to crowd source the solution on Facebook, but none of my Facebook friends seemed able to come up with a new idea.
I'm not completely at my wits end yet, and will try some more today with the pry bar and floor jack to make the noise happen, but I am very, very frustrated that I can't diagnose what seems to be a simple car clunk of a kind I've successfully repaired many times before.