Another problem appeared recently which was getting worse each day: a clunking noise. The clunk sound happened when I stopped, and it seemed to be coming from the right hand (passenger) side.
After looking around the internet, the general consensus is that it’s typically caused by worn bushes (rubber blocks which absorb vibration) or worn out ball joints (a moveable joint, like a hip bone).
I checked my Suzuki Swift workshop manual and it recommended replacing the entire control arm if any of these things go awry. So, I bought two DELPHI brand control arms after reading good reviews about the quality of DELPHI parts, and got busy in the garage.
I’ve also included instructions, so you can do these repairs yourself.
With the wheels removed and the car sitting securely on axle stands, we can remove the offending control arms. We’ll start on the driver’s (left) side.
This isn’t a very technical job, so don’t worry. All that’s needed is a spare afternoon and a 14mm, 17mm, and 19mm socket (or wrench).
To remove the control arm, remove the three bolts shown above in order of green, yellow, and red. But before you do that, it’s a good idea to spray them with a healthy dose of penetrating oil. This will help in their removal.
Once they’ve been sprayed with oil and left for a few minutes, you can remove them. Start by removing the 14mm bolt (circled in green), then the 17mm bolt (circled in yellow) and finally the 19mm bolt (circled in red).
I reckon your 19mm bolt (like mine) refuses to move, no matter how hard you pull on it. Don’t worry, this is normal.
Don’t panic! There’s an easy solution to this bolt being stuck: play with fire!
Grab a $15 blowtorch and aim the heat at the nut (not the threaded bolt) which is the cause of the problem. Blast it with heat for 30 seconds to a minute and this will make it swell slightly. Then, while it’s still hot, undo the bolt from underneath.
Then, with all bolts removed, pop the ball joint out from the wheel assembly with a crowbar or hammer (or a wooden stick, like the picture above!).
Once the bolts are out and the ball joint has popped out, the control arm will wiggle out and you can have a good look at it.
No surprise here: the rubber bush has perished and split on the driver’s side. This means there’s excessive movement. This explains some of the rattle coming from the front.
To replace the control arm, just reverse the procedure. Start by connecting the big (19mm) bolt first, then go backwards. Seriously, get the big bolt secured first. If you don’t, you’ll be battling to line everything up.
Removing the other control arm is the exact same procedure, and once I’d got it out I had the chance to inspect it…
This is the source of my dreaded clunk. The old ball joint had not only leaked it’s greasy contents, but there was no resistance in its movement. It was completely weakened and – for lack of a better word – floppy!
By comparison, the replacement part was stiffer and sealed & full of grease.
Once again, installing the new control arm is just the reverse of removing it.
Both sides of the car now have new control arms!
Better yet, I took the car for a test drive to see if the clunking problem has gone. Watch the video below to see for yourself:
Happy motoring everyone and drive safely!