Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

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Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby dilmah22 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:00 pm

Hi all,

I've had my lib 3.0RB for a few months now, and have upgraded to Whiteline sway bars and ALK, but I've always had a loud knocking noise coming from the Driver's side front suspension when taking mainly slower speed corners (even before the Whiteline stuff).

The issue is most noticeable when going straight through roundabouts/chicanes where one side of the suspension is loaded then it shifts to the other side when exiting. It's not a consistent noise on a set interval (i.e. not related to road speed).

I've searched the forums and seen suggestions about:
  • Replacing the top hat of the strut
  • Checking the swaybar bushings are greased, end-links are tight etc
  • Making sure the spring is seated properly into the "boot"
  • Rang up Quadrant Automotive Suspensions in Burwood, VIC and they said it was a common problem with Subaru and that it was an issue with the bearing in axle struts. They recommended changing both bearings $196 each plus $200 to remove and refit everything including alignment. That seems excessive given that through the forums there are essentially new struts and springs for $500

My question is though, are the bearings in the axle struts part of the Bilstein struts/springs?
What have other people done to fix this seemingly common issue?

Where should I start my troubleshooting. Don't want to spend money unnecessarily of course.

Any advice is much appreciated :)
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Re: Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby jdm rsk » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:03 pm

did you check the strut top nut it might be loose. it has happend before
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Re: Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby Greenman » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:03 pm

I'd put my money on end links....similar problem I had.....call me if you like.
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Re: Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby matt_3.0rb » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:45 pm

I had the same problem.
I was told it was the srtut mounts, then another more trusted, mechanic went over the car again, and the strut needed replacing, or re-valving. But with the 'new' ones available for $550 for a full set, i just replaced the lot, as it was going to be about $340 to get both front re-valved.
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Re: Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby dilmah22 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:40 pm

All good suggestions , I've checked the strut top nuts before and they seemed tight enough and when I fitted the front sway bar I did it up tight and rechecked after about 100km, I'll check it out again this weekend or next tho..
but I'm just wondering if I end up buying new bilsteins how do I know it just wont happen again in 10000km ?
for $500ish is there something better I can upgrade to with better cornering abilities but similar comfort levels?
Not really interested in lowering more than maybe 2-3cm at most if anything.

Ill keep the thread updated with my findings and research. Let me know any other suggestions.
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Re: Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby matt_3.0rb » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:01 am

The Billies are effectively new, and form the reps that i spoke to what happens is after about 120,000km + they start to go. Just a sign they need re-valving. But the reps all said the difference is that the billies make a noise where as normal, standard suspension, whichever car its on, doesnt make a noise, just goes, and gets soft and wobbly etc. So the noise is effectively the billies letting you know they need work.
So you should be safe with the replacements. There are a fair few of us that have replaced them, and i havent heard of any issues yet. (fingers crossed)
For that sort of money you will be lucky to get standard KYB struts. If your after some lowering, get the billies and then the s-tech springs from Phat. Plus the billies are OEM equipment, so you know they fit and are appropriate for your car etc. :)
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Re: Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby dilmah22 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:26 am

Wow, interesting! That's the first I've heard of that.
I just wonder why the "Bilstein Specialists" would have charged me $600 to fix bearings that wouldn't even fix the problem.
My car has done just over 110000km.

Did you have the knocking issue as well before you replaced your Billies?
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Re: Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby matt_3.0rb » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:00 pm

Yeah i did, in my front right strut.
I rang a rep from sydney and another guy who is a dealer in Melbs and they both told me the same thing. A re-condition, whatever they do, will fix it, but you will need to do both to make sure they are behaving the same way, or its just as dangerous.
I replaced mine, because it was going to cost me a fortune to get them re conditioned, plus i couldnt find anyone to do it in Tas, so i would have had to have them taken out, shipped over recondidtioned then shipped back and put in. Big dollars.
Have had no problems with my 'new' billies, And they looked brand new, i think they were just delivery km on the cars, so they wouldn't have done much work.

Plus, i figured i could spend the money getting them re-co'd just to have something else go wrong, or have the rears go or something, so i figured it was safer to get all new gear.
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Re: Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby GUNSTI » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:01 pm

try heasmans in sydney there bilstein stockists mine is booked in for next monday got quoted $660 to reco front struts plus $132 FOR WHEEL ALIGNMENT that should fix the problem they fix heaps of em very common dont worry too much like i did.
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Re: Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby sooobi » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:22 pm

GUNSTI wrote:try heasmans in sydney there bilstein stockists mine is booked in for next monday got quoted $660 to reco front struts plus $132 FOR WHEEL ALIGNMENT that should fix the problem they fix heaps of em very common dont worry too much like i did.


Hey mate.. just a word on those prices - I pay $40 for a 4w alignment if other work is happening at the same time - otherwise $60.. $132 sounds like you are being taken for a big ride..

Also you can buy a full set of near new billies on eBay for less than what you are paying to reco your fronts.. I know Heasmans do know their stuff but you can install new billies in your garage and save $$$$.. those prices are just.. um... wow..
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Re: Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby sooobi » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:26 pm

Found it: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9444

That's what forums are for hey!!
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Re: Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby dilmah22 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:40 pm

Yep, thanks guys. That's the mob I'll be contacting when ready to purchase some new Bilsteins to replace my clunky ones.
Sorta sucks that it costs more to repair than to replace. Seems like such a waste of metal to go to landfill... :angry2:
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Re: Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby jp928 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:12 pm

I have nearly 80k on my SpecB now, and not the slightest sound from them. Going soft (or even hard ) with age and wear I can understand, but noises would indicate to me something seriously worn, which would surprise me.
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Re: Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby smythie » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:03 pm

140 odd thousand on mine and no noises in the suspension operation. A little soft on rebound in the rear but no noise
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Re: Bilstein: knocking noise from the front suspension

Postby dilmah22 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:54 pm

Well unfortunately this issue is still lingering :(

I have recently done the following:
  • Replaced struts with new Bilstein shocks from the seller in NSW
  • Replaced the standard springs that came with them with Tein S-Techs from Phat-GT
  • Got the springs professionally fitted by a local suspension specialist
  • Cleaned & re-greased the front swaybar D links (Aftermarket Whiteline swaybar)

What I'm yet to do:
  • Check & re-tighten the endlinks (Aftermarket Whiteline links)
  • Alignment after fitting the new springs & struts

I'm just about ready to just give up and accept it, but at least I now have new struts & my car is about 25-30mm lower all round :D So I'm still happy overall.
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