92 SE (no ABS) steering clunking sound diagnosis
Hi! First post, I've lurked here for a long time, gaining valuable help (thanks), but I'm not very mechanical, so I can't contribute much, and never registered. I owned a 92 SE and ran it up to 380,000 miles before giving up on repairing it. I now own another 92 SE with 111,000 miles and hope to get many more.
I'm thinking wheel bearing and hub replacement, but I want to get some input before I start hanging parts.
I am getting a fast clunk-clunk-clunk noise coming from the front wheel area while making turns. There is no noise when driving straight, and it seems solid when going in a straight line. When making a turn, I get a fast clunking noise and I'm seriously afraid the wheel is going to fall off. (I've driven only about 20 miles since it started.)
The noise is much more prominent from the left, but it is coming from the right to a lesser degree. It happens turning either direction.
If I go very slowly and don't turn the wheel hard, the sound won't happen.
The sound is reminiscent of popcorn popping in an old iron pot (remember when popcorn used to be done that way?) In a normal turn, it might happen 15-20 times, so it is fast.
I jacked it up this afternoon and tested for play in the wheel. I noticed no significant play in either up-down or side-to-side directions. The lack of up-down play seems to rule out the wheel bearing, though???
I will take the wheel off tomorrow and inspect everything, but some ideas of what to look for would be appreciated.
All help appreciated.