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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been having a recurring clunking noise from the front driver's side of my 2000 Vitara 4dr 4x4. So far I have changed the struts, strut mounts, swaybar end links, and inner tie rod end. I have checked the condition of the ball joint and the outer tie rod ends and the seem fine (i.e. the pins swivel fine without binding or too much play).

The clunk occurs usually at low speed (such as when backing out of the driveway) and with the steering wheel turned to a fairly sharp angle. I was wondering if it might be that the strut top nut is too tight. When I turn the steering wheel, the struts don't really rotate with the wheels. The rubber in the mount just twists a little. Is it supposed to be like that or should the strut rod rotate freely and turn with the bottom of the strut as the steering knuckle turns?
 

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This vehicle does not use a strut mount with a bearing in it as some others do - the strut itself rotates around rod - and that is normal.

If you can see any movement in the strut rod when you turn the steering - that is not normal - and either the nut is loose, or the strut mount itself is damaged.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Problem solved. It turned out to be an issue with the strut tower brace. I had always put it back on while car was hoisted in the air and the suspension at full droop. Seems that causes it to have some play in it once the suspension is loaded, leading a clunk as the bar comes stressed and then shifts. Apparently the trick is to just get the bolts started while the vehicle is in the air (i.e. so that the strut bar isn't under tension) and then tighten it fully once the suspension is fully loaded.
 
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