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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Denver, CO
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Front Suspension Help??

Hi All-
I just finished my greatest 914 accomplishment - flares. I am very proud. I ordered 8" wheels for all four corners and they look outstanding. As I was mounting the passenger side front, I noticed some play in the front suspension. Using the new wide wheel as leverage, I am able to cause a "clunk" when I rock the wheel - almost like the lug bolts are loose. I cannot get it to make the same noise when I try to rock it with the wheel off of the car. In everyones past experiences, does this sound like a ball joint, wheel bearing or tie rod problem? There is not any bearing noise and the front struts are new. Other than that, the front end is a 100% stock 1972. Any help is GREATLY appreciated. Thanks! Scott S
Old 10-21-1999, 12:32 PM
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I'm going by memory, so bear with me. I think if the wheel bearings or tie rod ends were bad, you would also see that when weight was off the wheel. I think I would check the ball joint or the receiver in the bottom of the strut where the ball joint is clamped. On the 72, they used a bolt to clamp the strut onto the ball joint. The 73 and later had a little different assembly. The 72 I had actually wobbled a bit at that joint but was not nnticeable when the wheel was off the ground. When I turned hard right (or left, I can't remember) the front end seemed to "jerk" a bit as the car turned. I thought I read somewhere that this was a commom problem. The best fix is to upgrade to the 73 and newer struts and ball joints. That fixed the problem for me.
Old 10-21-1999, 12:54 PM
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If there is no wobble with the wheel off and you try to wiggle the brake rotor, then check to see if it is free play in the torsion bar adjuster by trying to move the rotor up and down. If not, then I would take it to an alignment shop that is familiar with 914s or even one that is not since the front end is pretty critical to safety. It is about the only thing I don't work on. Good luck.
Old 10-21-1999, 02:07 PM
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I just got done replacing my front rotors and bearings. The Haynes manual said to set the locking nut at a position such that the washer behind it could be moved easily with a screwdriver. Once set to that "value", I found I had no more twisting play in the front bearings when I twisted on the rotor. Any looser and there was a little "click-click" of looseness of the bearing mount....which I suppose could become a "clunk" with the wheel on... but this is starting to sound goofy... What I am trying to say here is that if your bearings were loose you should be feeling something even with the wheel off based on my recent experience.

It is a simple thing to check tightness of the bearing set up by testing washer movement as described above or adjust it if necessary. Should only take a few minutes if you already have the wheel off.

Hope that helps eliminate something.

- Dave

Old 10-21-1999, 03:32 PM
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Try this:

Jack the whole front off the ground so that both front wheels are in the air. Working one side at the time, grab the front wheel at the top and bottom (north / south) and try to rock the top and bottom ends in and out. If you feel movement top to bottom then the problem is most likely wheel bearing play or ball joint or strut tower problem.
Next grab the wheel side to side (east west) and push/pull side to side just hard enough that you dont move the steering wheel. If you feel play here then the problem is most likely in the steering system (tie rod joints, steering rack, etc...)
Old 10-21-1999, 04:14 PM
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Thanks all-
I found it to be the bearing. I cannot find in my Haynes Manual the correct amount of end play. There seems to be a fine line between the rotor feeling loose and having it bind. Any of you know the specs? Sorry to be a pain!
Scott S

[This message has been edited by S Schroeder (edited 10-25-1999).]
Old 10-25-1999, 06:40 AM
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I always tighten till snug then back off a 1/4 turn. Reinstall wheel, put my hands at ten o'clock and four and shake to check for play. Very rarely does that find a problem.
Old 10-25-1999, 09:01 AM
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The proper procedure, right out of the factory manual, is described in Haynes. Tighten the nut until the washer behind it can just be moved with a screwdriver. Be careful not to scrape the roller bearings or the bearing races.

Then wiggle the rotor. You should just get a little teeny bit of "click", not a real "clunk". No motion/feeling at all is either right at the tight end of OK, or too tight. Since I can't tell the difference between "almost too tight" and "too tight", I leave just a little bit of movement in them.

--DD
Old 10-27-1999, 01:12 PM
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