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Old 11-23-2018, 12:22 AM   #1
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1988 blue bird all american front end clunk

Hello everyone i have been doing some searching around on the site and i have not be able to find anything on what im looking for ... i have a 40 foot blue bird all american the front end had a weird clunk when i pull into a drive way or if i have any kinda sideways movement to the out side of the tire like going down a dirt road as the bus moves back and forth there is a loud metal on metal sound ... sounds like its coming from the front right wheel well.... not sure if i have a worn out steering link or if wheel bearings are lose or worn out .. please help ... thank you

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Old 11-23-2018, 07:56 AM   #2
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check to make sure its not something simpole like aloose spring clamp. or an exhaust clamp.. on my red bus if I hit adriveway a little fast the front springs compress quickly and i'll get a clunk / scrape sound.. I get some rattling when I drive on wash-board-crap roads and from what I can tell on mine its simply the exhaust system rattling a bit and the bushings where the fiberglass hood has the pins near the bumper..



you can also jack up the front end and take a long bar to it.. attempting to flex and jiggle the wheel knuckles and such.. king pins, tie-rod ends, etc

-Christopher
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Old 11-23-2018, 08:35 AM   #3
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If you have a clunk, that means something is loose. You'll have to jack up the front end and see what's worn out. Check spring bushings, shock bushings, drag link ends, king pins, wheel bearings, and on.

This is one of those things were you're just going to have to get your hands dirty in finding the problem. Or take it to a mechanic and pay them to do it. It's not something we can do over the internet for you.
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Old 11-23-2018, 02:41 PM   #4
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Mine has a sprung hood hinge spring that speaks to me and a decent bump it will make a thump.
For my front engine bus you can look at the hood to fender/body line and tell.
I didn't thank that was it until I checked everything suspension and steering and never noticed cause I was to busy turning, driving , etc into tight/crazy/pothole spots?
Now I know?
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Old 11-24-2018, 02:53 PM   #5
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Loud clunks on turns can be lots of things. You'll need to jack the front end off the ground.

From outside to inside, here's the moving parts that can be loose that go clunk:
  • Outer wheel bearings, inner wheel bearings, spindles
  • Upper and lower king pin bearings
  • Tie rod joints, tie rod itself (very rare)
  • Steering linkage joint to pitman arm joint, and also the steering box itself, and it's mount.
  • Axle leaf spring u bolts, mounts themselves on the axle casting.
  • Worn leaf spring bushings, and possibly leaf spring pins.
  • Worn or loose leaf spring mounts, or leaf spring shackles.
  • Worn shock mounts, or worn shock absorbers.


As an example of my last suspension work, I had an unsettling "clunk" and it felt like the vehicle would shift from side to side when turning tight and accelerating out of the tight corner.

This was due to the bushings and pins on the leaf springs being extremely worn, and turning tight would bind up the springs a bit and lever the step worn in the pin and bushing out of it's wear groove. Then, when accelerating and letting the steering straighten out, the vehicle would fall back into the spring/bushing grooves and you'd feel/hear the thump.

There's a lot to check out. If you haven't ever done this sort of work before, I suggest finding some other people into your loop who have some sort of experience with this. Doing it wrong, incorrectly, or ignoring it is a safety hazard.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 88BlueBird3208 View Post
Hello everyone i have been doing some searching around on the site and i have not be able to find anything on what im looking for ... i have a 40 foot blue bird all american the front end had a weird clunk when i pull into a drive way or if i have any kinda sideways movement to the out side of the tire like going down a dirt road as the bus moves back and forth there is a loud metal on metal sound ... sounds like its coming from the front right wheel well.... not sure if i have a worn out steering link or if wheel bearings are lose or worn out .. please help ... thank you

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Old 11-26-2018, 08:49 PM   #6
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Front Spring Pin Bushings

From your noise description I suspect your front leaf spring pin bushings are worn. I work at a Blue Bird Dealership and when a customer gives us this noise complaint, 9 out of 10 times it is the front spring pin bushings.

To check this, you need to lift the front of the bus off of the ground and support the bus underneath the frame. This will allow the front axle and front suspension to hang unloaded. Having the front suspension unloaded is the most accurate way to check for play in these bushings. If the axle is on the ground, the weight of the bus can make the wear harder to detect. Insert a large pry bar in between the rear front spring hanger and the rear spring eye. Use the pry bar to lift up and down, most likely you will find excessive free play in this joint. There should be no up and down movement between the spring pin and bushing.

The most common cause for this failure is lack of lubrication. This usually happens from trying to grease the front spring pins with the axle loaded. The axle needs to be unloaded for proper lubrication per DANA / SPICER.
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Old 11-27-2018, 09:36 AM   #7
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I like Diesel Fery's suggestion, and this is something that will not be obvious without very thorough inspection.

As a CDL driver, and being familiar with the process of inspecting the aforementioned components on a daily basis, I can tell you that you should also pay close attention to leaf springs and related mounting hardware, if so equipped -- both at the frame and at the axle beam. Leaf springs on heavier vehicles like these are known for cracking and shifting, and this can create very unsafe operating conditions. This, and cracked/loose spring-to-axle mounting bolts are just a few of any number of problems in the front end that this noise could be caused by.

If closer inspection doesn't reveal anything obvious, I would highly recommend taking it to a truck shop to have a professional look at it. If you've got steering or suspension problems, this is not something you want catching up to you at speed.

A carrier I once drove for put me in a truck that had a frame bent to the point that the truck was literally *TAP-DANCING* on the steer tires under load and at speed. It was nearly impossible and nerve-wracking to keep the truck going straight under those conditions, and even with experience as a professional driver, it took a few weeks for me to find real evidence of the problem -- eventually the right side leaf springs cracked under the disproportionate stress from the frame being out of square. I've only been scared twice in my OTR career as a semi driver, and that was one of them.

A suggestion to all members here, as skoolies were technically Commercial Motor Vehicles as originally purposed, I highly recommend that anyone get a copy of a commercial driver's manual so that they can take the time to familiarize themselves with a typical pre-trip inspection process. This will arm you with a wealth of information that could potentially save your life and that of others when problems develop. With heavier vehicles like this, small problems can turn into some big, serious problems very quickly.
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Old 11-27-2018, 12:07 PM   #8
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I would second the notion that it is a spring issue and most likely in the spring hangers.

But if it isn't a spring hanger my next guess would be a broken spring. If you get under the bus and examine the spring pack you will be able to see very clearly if you have a broken spring. The broken off end might already have fallen out. If it hasn't fallen out you will see the break as a vertical line in the spring leaf with a rust trail running down from it.
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Old 11-27-2018, 11:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
If you get under the bus and examine the spring pack you will be able to see very clearly if you have a broken spring. The broken off end might already have fallen out. If it hasn't fallen out you will see the break as a vertical line in the spring leaf with a rust trail running down from it.
Keep in mind, however, that cracks have also been known to develop underneath the spring-to-axle mount bolts / shackles.
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