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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

To give you a background on what's going on, here goes:
* Recently bought a lightly used 2016 Frontier (SV, 4x4)
* Installed 2.5" front strut spacers (busted driver side cv boot in the process...getting that replaced this week)
* Alignment on front end
* Installed new struts (Bilstein 4600's...kept old coils) and rear shackle lift (1.5")

After the recent change of my struts, I here a metal-on-metal noise whenever I hit the tiniest bumps in the road, even at crawling speeds (I know it's not the UCA's). I called the mechanic who replaced the struts and he told me I might have to bend back my dust cover on the brake rotors. Upon looking at the covers, nothing seems to be causing the noise there.

I just figured I'd reach out to yall to see if I could gather some more thoughts/ideas.

Any input is greatly appreciated!
 

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Hey everyone,

To give you a background on what's going on, here goes:
* Recently bought a lightly used 2016 Frontier (SV, 4x4)
* Installed 2.5" front strut spacers (busted driver side cv boot in the process...getting that replaced this week)
* Alignment on front end
* Installed new struts (Bilstein 4600's...kept old coils) and rear shackle lift (1.5")

After the recent change of my struts, I here a metal-on-metal noise whenever I hit the tiniest bumps in the road, even at crawling speeds (I know it's not the UCA's). I called the mechanic who replaced the struts and he told me I might have to bend back my dust cover on the brake rotors. Upon looking at the covers, nothing seems to be causing the noise there.

I just figured I'd reach out to yall to see if I could gather some more thoughts/ideas.

Any input is greatly appreciated!
Can I ask how you know it's not the UCAs? I installed the OME 1.5", and only have about an 1/8" gap between my UCA and coil bucket. I would jack the front end up, until the wheels are off the ground, and see what is contacting. I plan to install a 1.5" spacer as well in the future, but I need adjustable upper control arms to avoid coil bucket contact.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Can I ask how you know it's not the UCAs? I installed the OME 1.5", and only have about an 1/8" gap between my UCA and coil bucket. I would jack the front end up, until the wheels are off the ground, and see what is contacting. I plan to install a 1.5" spacer as well in the future, but I need adjustable upper control arms to avoid coil bucket contact.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
I can tell by the variance in noise. I've been getting tiny little clunk noises, but if I take a speedbump a little faster than normal, then I can here the UCA hit against the strut.
 

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I can tell by the variance in noise. I've been getting tiny little clunk noises, but if I take a speedbump a little faster than normal, then I can here the UCA hit against the strut.
I would definitely recommend jacking up the front end and looking under there. If I had to guess, I would say the UCA is hitting the coil bucket on the lighter bumps. Our coil buckets have a slight flair, so your harder hit, the UCA could be pushed past the coil bucket and hitting the strut/coil over. In fact, I would take off one tire, Jack up the side without the tire, and look at it in increments as you jack it up.

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My money is on improper strut assembly. This happens all the time when shops do the install, especially with Bisteins. They forget to install the collar and the shock shaft pokes thru the lower washer so the stud mount is not secured and makes knocking noises.

Take a look at this and compare to what is installed. (and I know it says 5100 but the 4600s are assembled the same way)
http://www.clubfrontier.org/forums/f26/bilstein-5100-strut-coil-assembly-diagram-134113/
 

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I called the mechanic who replaced the struts and he told me I might have to bend back my dust cover on the brake rotors.
That guy is full of you know what.

OVRLND gave the quickest, easiest way to check if it's UCAs. Jack it up, take a look. If the UCAs aren't hitting the coil bucket, then I agree with glamisdude - I'd guess it's incorrect strut assembly. I've seen/heard what you described many times over the years, and it's almost always one of the following:

A. Top nuts (center shock shaft nut and/or top hat) aren't tightened completely
B. Missing shock shaft washer/sleeve/spacer/bushing (or they didn't put then in the correct order)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So it turns out I'm just dumb and the UCA was hitting the bucket the whole time. It's just hitting at a much quicker rate now than it did in my 2013 Desert Runner for some reason. I ended up ordering some SPC control arms to correct the issue.

I appreciate the advice and feedback!
 
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Just glad we could resolve it! Also, when you install the control arms, could you show how much clearance you have when it's jacked up? I'm curious, as I will be doing this in the near future.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just glad we could resolve it! Also, when you install the control arms, could you show how much clearance you have when it's jacked up? I'm curious, as I will be doing this in the near future.

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Yea I'll definitely definitely that. I should be getting the new UCA's within the next 2 weeks. I'll take a side-by-side comparison pic of the two arms as well.
 
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Just glad we could resolve it! Also, when you install the control arms, could you show how much clearance you have when it's jacked up? I'm curious, as I will be doing this in the near future.

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clearance where/how? I have SPC. if you're referring to clearance of the balljoint boot to the spring bucket, you will need to use a grinder there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
clearance where/how? I have SPC. if you're referring to clearance of the balljoint boot to the spring bucket, you will need to use a grinder there.
Originally I was referring to the coil bucket hitting against my UCA, but I actually just replaced my UCA's today with the SPC's because they came in the mail early! I'll post some pics of those, but now my knocking problem is all resolved. Just got to get the truck re-aligned now since the toe is a little bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
SPC UCA's installed!

The first two photos show the old UCA with cool bucket contact (truck jacked up.

The third picture shows the truck jacked up the same amount and no contact (new SPC control arms).

::grin::
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So I still have a noise whenever I go over relatively small bumps. I'm now thinking it might be the coils? I replaced the OEM struts with Bilstein 4600's, but I left the old coils over the new strut. I also made sure the bottom bolt is not touching my sway bar and creating a knocking noise. I'm also 99% sure it's not the UCA hitting the coil bucket, because when I jack it up now it doesn't touch.

I'm open to hearing any suggestions as this thing is driving me nuts. Every day when I drive to work it's all I listen to and I slowly lose my sanity lol.

Here's another breakdown of what I've done to the truck so far that could be affecting the noise:
* Installed 2.5" front strut spacers
* Alignment on front end
* Installed new struts (Bilstein 4600's...kept old coils) and rear shackle lift (1.5")
* Installed new UCA (made by SPC)
* Turned bolts around (180 degrees) in the bottom of the strut because it looked like it was hitting the sway bar just enough to create the metal-on-metal noise
* Got another alignment

Thanks again for all your help!
 

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Check all the shock, UCAs, spacers and make sure all their fasteners are tight. Did you torque everything properly to spec? Check the sway bar links if they're tight. Lug nuts. Maybe a tool is rattling around in the engine bay. At this point who knows what it is, you were 100% sure it wasn't UCAs, then 100% sure it was, I think you're just looking for excuses to buy more parts LOL j/k

Start with all the fasteners, in the right place a bolt that's snug but not torqued properly to spec can make that noise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Check all the shock, UCAs, spacers and make sure all their fasteners are tight. Did you torque everything properly to spec? Check the sway bar links if they're tight. Lug nuts. Maybe a tool is rattling around in the engine bay. At this point who knows what it is, you were 100% sure it wasn't UCAs, then 100% sure it was, I think you're just looking for excuses to buy more parts LOL j/k

Start with all the fasteners, in the right place a bolt that's snug but not torqued properly to spec can make that noise.
Definitely will do. I'm going to take it apart tomorrow after work and get to cranking down on everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Just to finalize everything, I FINALLY figured out what the issue was. I did everything imaginable to try and figure out what it was. I replaced my upper control arms, took out my cam bolts and put the factory ones back on, turned the bottom bolts around on my struts because I thought it was knocking against the sway bar, and even cut out a good portion of my strut tower in case anything was hitting (even with new UCA's). Turns out, I needed a SLIGHTLY bigger washer in the new Bilstein 4600 struts. I read up on another form that talked about an issue with Bilstein not issuing another washer when you bought new Bilstein 5100's, and told the guys at the shop and they took everything apart and did it right.

It was like pulling teeth getting them to take it back in though. The only reason I didn't replace the struts myself in the first place is because I don't like dealing with compressed coils.

Anyway, I hope this helps someone out there!
 

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Just to finalize everything, I FINALLY figured out what the issue was. I did everything imaginable to try and figure out what it was. I replaced my upper control arms, took out my cam bolts and put the factory ones back on, turned the bottom bolts around on my struts because I thought it was knocking against the sway bar, and even cut out a good portion of my strut tower in case anything was hitting (even with new UCA's). Turns out, I needed a SLIGHTLY bigger washer in the new Bilstein 4600 struts. I read up on another form that talked about an issue with Bilstein not issuing another washer when you bought new Bilstein 5100's, and told the guys at the shop and they took everything apart and did it right.

It was like pulling teeth getting them to take it back in though. The only reason I didn't replace the struts myself in the first place is because I don't like dealing with compressed coils.

Anyway, I hope this helps someone out there!

Dude, could have been fixed over a month ago when we said:

... I agree with glamisdude - I'd guess it's incorrect strut assembly. I've seen/heard what you described many times over the years, and it's almost always one of the following:

A. Top nuts (center shock shaft nut and/or top hat) aren't tightened completely
B. Missing shock shaft washer/sleeve/spacer/bushing (or they didn't put then in the correct order)
 
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