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Discussion Starter #1
So I've got the motor and trans sorted on the 03 MDX, now I'm trying to eliminate the "clunks"that I hear from the front during gravel road driving. So far I've done the drop links, ball joints, outer tie rods, and stabilizer bar bushings. I've also inspected the bushings in the lower control arm and they appear solid. Steering is tighter, clunks are fewer, but still present.

Just a tip for anyone removing the stabilizer bar bushings, the driver side is a bear. I found it necessary to shorten a socket on my grinder so it's depth just covers that bolt head on the rear of the bushing bracket. Even with a thin ratchet, I'm fighting for room. Solution: unbolt the engine cradle from the frame, use a pry bar and open the gap. I then wedged something (I used another random socket) between the mounting point and the cradle. This gave enough space to get it out. Others have slotted this bracket, but I found all was necessary was to clean up the radius at the back to enable more sweep with the ratchet.

I am taking delivery today of new struts up front ,new shocks, stabilizer bushings and drop links for the rear. By Saturday night I hope to banish all clunks.

I have reason to believe that shocks, struts, and bushings are factory original with 236000 miles on rough Midwestern roads.

Carry on and fear not the DIY.
Bratcop

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Im new to the mdx world, but as for my other car mazda it had that same issue on the rear driver side. All i had to do was change to a new strut and the clunk nouse wwas gone. It could be the same for your X.

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Discussion Starter #3
I love the concern for future diyers shown by previous owners. This guy/po replaced one of the rear drop links, just one... One Moog, one rotten original. That's thinking. Oh and if anyone wants to teach their children some lessons in patience, let them turn a wrench on the bolts holding the stabilizer bushings, front or rear, one click per ratchet if your lucky.... It's kinda trying my patience to be honest... Carry on and fear not the DIY.

Bratcop

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Discussion Starter #4

Worn out front struts...I collapsed them by hand 13 hours ago, still haven't returned to length...


New Monroe oe spectrum shocks, Moog drop link and stabilizer bushings... Oddly enough( at least to the previous owner), I did both sides..... Note to diyers, put a jack under rear diff for support, and unbolt it, slowly lower the jack keeping eyes on hoses and abs line. This gives plenty of space to do bushings on the back...



Monroe oe spectrum reflex struts, Moog ball joints, outer tie rods, drop links and stabilizer bushings... Not sure I'd compress the springs with rental tool again, quite the pain and it exploded on me twice, minor cuts and bruises to show for it lol...

and some new shoes, general grabber stx, $103 each at the big "W"...

Must have tool for this job....
... And of course the matching compressor.... Couldn't imagine it without those.... Carry on and fear not the DIY.

Bratcop

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Did you replace the rear swaybar bushings (the one up "inside" the rear subframe)? I hear they're a real bear (or at least, it requires dropping the entire rear subframe enough to get access to them). I ordered a pair with my rear shocks (chasing a squeak that ended up being my spare tire), and never put them on. FWIW, the rear shocks didn't really change much, either, but after 180,000 miles, I figured it wouldn't hurt to swap them out, "just because".
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I did, that's where I talk about dropping the frame to make space... Just test drove, still got a front end clunk on pot holes, grrrrr

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I betcha the clunk comes from the top hat in the strut its often overlooked when doing the struts to change the Top Hat and Bearing in the McPherson Struts.
 

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What are the part numbers for those MOOG Sway Links? I find the MOOG parts but they dont look like those.

EDIT: Nevermind I see now that its the 1st gen MDX..
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Was back out looking at it and I think it's the inner tie rod ends, they don't pass the wiggle test

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Why is the KYB shock cut from the spring base?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I notched it to make room for the spring compressor so I could use my impact

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How do the Monroe Feel vs the KYB?
As far as previous experience go I would say the Monroes are Softer than the OEM and way more softer than the KYB.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Only drove with worn out kyb, so I got no comparison for ya. They feel great so far, much less dive or rise when braking or accelerating. Also much more stable in corners

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Discussion Starter #15
OK, new inner tie rods ordered, 4 wheel alignment scheduled for Friday. One other thing I noticed on reassembly, the driver side coil spring lacked its rubber base up at the top hat. Clearly they had been apart b4 and someone left that out, wtf. Anyway a new one ordered and that strut will come out and apart one more time.... Boy this is fun.... Fear not the DIY.

Bratcop

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Sounds like you found the clunk (funny how something bad usually follows someone deleting a part). ;-)

The tie rods should make the handling feel better - my handling was really pretty good when I bought my MDX (at 160,000 miles) but there was a little looseness in the steering under braking, so I replaced the tie rod ends (inner and outer). Note that you have to have a special tool to take off the tie rod ends. I bought what I thought was the right one, but it was too small to fit over the original parts (though strangely, it did fit the new aftermarket tie rod ends). I ended up using a generic Autozone remover - it's a lot clunkier, but there was room to swing it so it worked out fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I've done the outer, now I need the inners. I've never done them before, but assumed I just thread them out? I'll just learn as I go I guess

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Discussion Starter #18
https://youtu.be/XYYeE3BD6PE. I hope this isn't a violation, but talking about tie rod DIY, this is hilarious. Comedy gold. Maybe it's just my sense of humor, but I envision this guy's knuckles all busted up and many a nut stripped on anything he works on... Lol

Bratcop

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Would you please elaborate on the rear sway bar bushing replacement, specifically what to unbolt and how far did you lower the rear subframe? Will I need another alignment after doing this service?
 
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