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I just recently bought my 03 Element from a new car dealer in my area. As i drove it home, I noticed a "popping/clunking" noise as i drove over a railroad crossing. I thought it was just a noise, insignificant, but called the dealer and dropped my car off the next day for them to look at it. of course, they did nothing because i bought the car "as-is" and the problem is now mine.
As i drove the next couple days i heard the noise more and more. I took it in to a repair shop and he rode with me. He determined that it was the front struts, and we went about replacing them to the tune of $875.
it seemed to have fixed the "popping" but only temporarily. the struts were replaced 5 days ago and the noise is back.
Does ANYONE have ANY IDEA as to what this could be. it is rather annoying and i don't want it to turn into a major issue.
 

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If you can get it in there air (put on jackstand), grab a hold of the right wheel with one hand on each side of the wheel. Shake it right to left. Then, shake it up and down. You are checking to see if there is ANY play in your ball and socket joints (tie rod end or lower ball joint). If there is any "click" as you are doing this shake, then it's one of the two. Up and down is the lower ball joint, side to side is the tie rod.

If everything is tight (no play), grab the sway bar and sake, again, ANY play, and it's bad. (honda sway bark links :rolleyes: ).
Really, this is the true of almost everything chassis related on the car. Shake the ever-loving **** out of it, and if it moves, find out where and fix where necessary.
 

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^^ That will work ^^

It's old school. but a tried and true method of finding a suspension related noise!

Dom
 

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Old school? How else do you figure it out? Strap the new guy to the undercarriage with bungee cords and then go for a test drive?

Another thing to do, is to pry at a few joints with a pry bar (be careful not to tear boots and bushings) and see if you can get any deflections. But in my experiences, pops and clunks coming from bumps and turns can only be found by a good ol' raise-n-shake. Even small deflections can cause an extremely audible clunk.

And if you want my humble opinion, if the mechanic that the OP took the problem to determined the problem ONLY from the test drive, then he went about his diagnosis ALL WRONG.

Take customer concern
Verify Customer conern (this is the test drive)
Inspect and Test to determine (too many techs leave this part out, causing a mis-diagnosis)
Repair
Confirm repair (test drive to make sure it worked...many techs also forget this).
 

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Double posting.

I had a newer Civic come in to my shop today, with BAAAAAAAAAD lower ball joints. Here's my new suggestion on how to check the ball joints on the E (I forget that Honda tie rods are waaaay up top, sometimes).

With the car on the ground, grab the tire from the backside (make sure you don't have exposed steel belts) at the 45degree point (of the bumper side) then shake it towards and away from you. If you hear a clicking sound, or feel any free play, and you DON'T see your tie rod end deflecting, have someone look at the lower ball joint to see if it is deflecting. Do this with the car in the air as well. Deflection means the part is bad.
 

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^^ That will work ^^

It's old school. but a tried and true method of finding a suspension related noise!

Dom
This is EXACTLY the procedure used by my dealer when I took it in. Quite frankly I was a little concerned when I looked down the tunnel and saw these guys shaking the bejeus out of my Element.:-x:smile:

Learn something new every day.:cool:
 

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I had the same problem and it turned out to be one of my rear shocks. Take a look at the top of the rear shock and see if there is any oil lsweating out of it and if so it will need to be replaced but also the away bar bushings will cause the same noise.
 
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