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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I am replacing both of my front LCA's on my 2015 MDX and I would greatly appreciate it if there is anyone here who can give me the correct torque specifications?

I have the correct spec for the ball joint, but there is one large vertical bolt going through the front bushing and then several fasteners on the sway bar dampener end of the arm - these torque value I do not have?

Any help is greatly appreciated, thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I believe that I have a bad bottom ball joint - they both feel loose. So, I'm going to replace both arms.

Symptoms are clunking at low speeds especially turning with bumps - if you disconnect the ball joints (I did this) there no detectable play but they seemed too loose to me.

I have already replaced the struts (one was leaking), the sway bar links and the inner and outer tie rods - those are all new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So I found this thread here that I had missed earlier... it provides the necessary torque details (in the attachments) in case anyone finds my thread instead:


Looks like the big single 16mm diameter bushing bolt gets 109 ft.lbs and then the rear flange bolts (and a nut) each get 65 ft.lbs

The bottom ball joint also gets 65 ft.lbs.

Thank you MDX'ers org!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
So I changed the LCA's and the sway bar bushings this morning.

It's really relatively simple to do for a capable home mechanic with the necessary tools - it all went very smoothly.

Steering seems markedly better and the clunking sloppy steering feeling is certainly diminished BUT ... sadly I think it is not completely resolved. I still feel a slight clunk here and there turning at low speeds.

So far I have replaced: struts inserts, strut top bearings, inner and outer tie rods, sway bar linkages, sway bar bushings and now the lower control arms (ie. bottom ball joints and bushings).

All the parts used were genuine OEM Acura. $$$'s!!

On the freeway the steering seems more positive and there are no unusual noises... turning at low speeds I still feel a slight clunk here and there. Perhaps I am overly sensitive to it now? But it is very annoying and not what you expect on a $50K car.

I'm thinking about all that's left are the drive axles, steering rack itself and/or perhaps an engine mount? Wheel bearings seem OK too. The top strut mounts looked to be still good when I replaced the struts, it's possible I should have replaced those too but I'd hate to have to redo that strut job.

Car has ~77,000 miles. Also wondering if one of my new Acura replacement struts was perhaps a lemon ... but neither is leaking visibly.

I'd be curious if anyone else has had these experiences? Really I am not impressed with the suspension on this 2015 MDX SH-AWD. What a PIA!!

My 2006 Honda Pilot has been uber reliable by comparison ... everything still original at 200K miles!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Followup...

I've been going over checking things again (naturally this is all very annoying). I now believe that the issue might really be with the car's inner CV joints ... particularly on the passenger side.

I have found some sideways play (slight looseness) in both inner CV joints where I believe there really should be none at all.

This was something that I missed in all my previous checks, but it probably accounts for the remaining symptoms I have been experiencing.

Which are: an occasional click sensation turning on uneven surfaces felt through the steering that feels almost like backlash or looseness in the drive-train. (I believe that a bad outer joint would give a regular click or clicks - I had one on a previous car).
 

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Thank you for the update, please keep us posted if you replace the inner tie rod as well. I too have a slight clunk noise when turning the steering wheel which can be felt in the wheel and audible but it's behind the steering wheel. The car is at the dealer now and I'm willing to bet they will say they can't reproduce the problem. If they are unable to fix it, my next step is to spray silicon lube on the top strut hat, I can't tell if the rubber top bushing is dislodged or not (there is a tsb for it but doesn't apply to my year). If that doesn't fix it I was going to remove the steering wheel/airbag and apply some grease or foam felt on parts inside the steering wheel. Someone did suggest lossening the LCA bolts and retorquing but you've already done that. The sound sounds like if your car is off and you rock the steering wheel back and forth but more faint. Like a lose clunk.

Before I was going to do all this I was going to replace the items you have replaced.By chance, did you have an alignment preformed before this?

I ask because a dealer aligned my car but couldn't get the steering wheel exactly centered, they made it better but I wondered if they removed my steering wheel or messed something up with the tie rods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
No, I haven't done an alignment yet (I counted the turns and fractions of them very carefully on the threads when I replaced the OEM tie rod parts - it seems fine after thousands of miles). I do recall that both sides were exactly the same (15-1/2 turns I seem to recall) ... that's likely how they fit them real fast at the factory.

Note that only toe can be adjusted on this car and I am pretty sure that it is very close to spot on (but I probably will get a real one done before I replace my almost finished tires). Or I may do a "string" self alignment ;)

(see YouTube if your interested - you could straighten out your steering that way if you make individual tiny changes on alternate sides)

Steering wheel on my car is almost perfectly straight - you have to really study it driving for a while to see that there's a tiny tilt to starboard on flat surfaces (yes I'm a little anal about my ride ;) ).

The tie rods in my case were a complete red herring. I did (OEM Acura) inner and outer tie rods. Made no difference whatsoever to the "clicky/clunk" sensation.

Tip: Reach in through the coil springs and slide up your plastic strut boots ... if you see an oil or oily dampness it's a bad strut (I had one of those myself which I replaced - that was a pain to do on my own as the re-assembled strut was very heavy and these big coil springs are pretty dangerous compressed). And I replaced the sway bar links at the same time.

Your dealer has likely looked at your struts for leaks already.

I also replaced the strut top bearings (top strut bushings were near perfect) the old strut top bearings were perfectly good (I had already bought them with the struts so it seemed like a good move to fit new at the time).

The car drove much better after the new struts were in and some of the sloppy clunky feeling was resolved.

So... Last weekend I did the LCA's and the sway bar bushings. It sure feels nicer on the road ... especially on the freeway but there is still that annoying clicky clunk at low speeds when turning on uneven surfaces.

I got under the car as I said earlier and checked the inner CV joints .. I noticed that there's some play in them. Side to side play which I believe is a sign of wear. The passengers side one is the worst and that's where I hear the click mostly ... that's the one with the gray colored boot that appears to be leaking.

And that's the boot that seemed to be always covered in what I used to think was simply spilled engine oil.

Spraying silcone in there is very unlikely to fix your problem BTW. My guess would be your same inner CV joint .. try the test I did. Wish I'd done that weeks ago but I had mistakenly assumed that it was always the outer CV joint that failed first. My bad!

Oh ... and for checking your inner CV's turn the wheel alternate directions with the car up in the air. These joints are designed to slide in and out and the pitting or wear can be anywhere in the cavity. Mine are tight in the dead ahead position which is probably why I am not seeing worse symptoms in normal driving (might even fool a few mechanics).

It's really very driveable... but if I decide to replace the drive axles because the noise finally got to me or it got worse I'll post about it here. If an inner CV joint gets really worn it will eventually cause vibration during driving (and I have given enough $'s to Acura for a bit ;) ).

(The CV axle job extremely simple to do but it is around $500 in OEM parts! They simply pull out of the transmission once the hub is released. Hardest step would be that annoying bottom ball joint)
 

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So out of all those replacement parts you would have replaced the axle first then?

Yeah the axle is $$ from acura, I've replaced one in a previous car before, removing wasn't the problem besides the ball joint. For me, it was popping it back in because of that c ring. I hope my incompetent dealer finds the issue. If not, i'll plan to take it to a different dealer. Does replacing the lower control arm make the steering feel any tighter or the outer tie rods?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No, the leaking strut I found was correctly diagnosed and once I had them off the car there was no question that I had replaced a bad strut (simple compression test).

So, the "mistake" (ie. the unnecessary work I did) was replacing the inner and outer tie rods. Dah! (In my own defense I was at my wits end at the time trying to find some play somewhere in something).

I had previously inspected the drive axles but frankly I did only a passing inspection only on the inner CV joints - that was my second mistake. (Not realizing that inners can go bad too).

Now that I understand the source of the occasional click/clunk (turning on uneven surfaces) I may just drive it for a while. There is no looseness with the wheels straight.

The inner CV joints consist of a cup with grooves that three roller type bearings slide (in and out) in as the car turns. With the wheels straight ahead these bearings show like zero play (no noise or vibration driving straight).

But as the half axle slides out of the cup during turns and bumps there is significant play on the passengers side and some on the other too (clunkity/click ... a backlash sensation during bumpy turns!).

Been thinking about this ... I'd be willing to bet that many rushed professional mechanics (with the car up high in the air) might never find this issue. It might explain some of the things I had read about multiple components being replaced and still not fixing the MDX click noise.

Especially if you have the car up high ... not so easy to turn the steering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Product Font Automotive lighting Auto part Event



The inner CV joint is on the right here. It's nearest the center of the car.

The outer joint is next to the wheel.

The inner CV joint has a cup and roller design like the one in the picture below ... this allows the shaft to slide in and out to lengthen the shaft as necessary when the car turns corners and or goes over bumps (outer shaft and rubber boot removed in this picture). Longitudinal play is normal, excessive lateral play here is generally bad.

Grab the cup section with one hand a look for sideways looseness in the shaft indicating worn rollers and/or grooves.

Tool Rim Automotive lighting Auto part Cylinder

This is an earlier Acura replacement (entire shaft shown) - inner joint on the right:

Coil spring Coil Auto part Fashion accessory Font
 

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Update: My advisor told me that the tech heard noise from the driver front strut and will be replacing that. While I'm happy to get a new strut, I know that won't fix the problem. I don't see how it can cause a small clunk when turning. Good thing I have another appointment with a different dealer. Will keep this thread updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update: My advisor told me that the tech heard noise from the driver front strut and will be replacing that. While I'm happy to get a new strut, I know that won't fix the problem. I don't see how it can cause a small clunk when turning. Good thing I have another appointment with a different dealer. Will keep this thread updated.
Good luck! It's not impossible that you have a bad strut I reckon. I certainly did ... but it wasn't the source of my clunk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So... Did fitting a new strut fix your clunking? Keep us posted.

BTW, I have acquired a new tool to confirm my diagnosis of this problem - Steelman Wireless ChassisEAR.
 

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So... Did fitting a new strut fix your clunking? Keep us posted.

BTW, I have acquired a new tool to confirm my diagnosis of this problem - Steelman Wireless ChassisEAR.
So replacing the strut made the frequency of the clunk noise and feel behind the steering column less but it's still there and not as loud. I removed the 10mm bolt from the u joint of the steering rack near the pedals and lubed it too, doubt that makes a difference. I'm actually dropping it off to a different dealer tomorrow. Will update, but not holding my breath.

I'm guessing the new shock absorbs better hence making the bumps less noticeable on the clunk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So replacing the strut made the frequency of the clunk noise and feel behind the steering column less but it's still there and not as loud. I removed the 10mm bolt from the u joint of the steering rack near the pedals and lubed it too, doubt that makes a difference. I'm actually dropping it off to a different dealer tomorrow. Will update, but not holding my breath.

I'm guessing the new shock absorbs better hence making the bumps less noticeable on the clunk.
Exactly what happened to me. Yes I needed a strut and replacing those (along with the sway bar links) cured one part of the noise I originally had.

I was left with a lesser clunk (like you) that has worsened in the months since I did the struts. Most obvious and repeatable turning left at low speeds (hinting at my passenger side axle/CV joints).

I haven't had a chance to fit my new Steelman ChassisEAR to confirm that the inner CV joints are actually the source - stay tuned, I will update.

I'm leaning towards replacing the front drive axles... it is getting annoying.

But rather than potentially swap another perfectly good part(s) (as happened with my inner and outer tie rods) I want to confirm the cause with these radio mics.

Replacing the shafts is trivially easy for any shade tree mechanic ... but they're not cheap.
 
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