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1998 CRV Knocking Noise when driving

Home Forums Stay Dirty Lounge Service and Repair Questions Answered Here 1998 CRV Knocking Noise when driving

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  • #582227

      HI ETCG;

      Back with another question about my 1998 CRV EX. I have been hearing a knocking sound that I can feel in my steering wheel and under my left foot.. What is strange is when it seems to happen, it seems quite random and hard to narrow down. I just watched Eric’s video on suspension noises so I’ll just use a check list of when I have heard and felt this knocking noise.

      1) When stopped and just turning the wheel – NO
      2) Hitting a speed bump – Straight on – NO – on a slight angle – YES sometimes
      3) Hitting a big bump or pot hole – sometimes but not always.
      4) Hitting small or repeated bumps. YES. But if there were 5 bumps, it might only happen twice
      5) When I apply the brake – quite often, seems to be soft brake though, hard brake maybe a bit at the start
      6) driving over no bumps – YES sometimes just driving on fairly straight smooth road.

      Now that said, here is what I have done recently to the car in the past 1000km (600 Mi)

      1) New drivers side lower control arm and lower ball joint.
      2) New anti sway bar links on both driver and passenger side
      (ouch, my New Years gift was $1000 bill 🙁 )
      3) Because I saw Eric do it to his Element, and because they were cheap, I just swapped the rear anti sway bar bushings today. I think that did make a difference but not to the front end noise here.
      4) The chrome under carriage bush bar. (right beside the bottom of the Rad) was missing the drivers side fastener and was movable. I put a new bolt on today hoping that this was the front noise under my foot. Nope
      5) I just had a car wash, on a cooler night, at a touchless car wash about a week ago. The noise seemed to start shortly after that evening.
      6) I cannot see any red dust around the suspension parts. so no obvious clues
      7) When getting the lower control arm work done last month, the mechanic showed me my front drivers side spring was broken almost up at the top of the shock. I didn’t have another 500 bucks to get that fixed that day but he said it should be OK till summer. Eric said in the video that springs generally don’t make much noise but could this be it?
      8) I do have a slightly odd worn tire on the driver’s rear. Its safe but worn on the inside edge (it was low at one point)

      So, any thoughts of where to check next? I admit the noise doesn’t seem to affect drive ability but it feels and sounds horrible. Finger nails on the chalkboard to me. Hoping this will be a cheaper fix than before. I want to save money to get my GSR back out for Spring in a couple months. 😉

      thanks everyone! You are always so helpful!~

    Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)
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    • #582254

        Hi. You’ll recall my CRV is 1999.

        I’ve spent a lot of time getting the “slap” out of it’s suspension. The noise was traceable to the roll bar bushings that you mentioned. That rubber bushing has to be very tight around the roll bar as any little play will slap the floor pans.

        Replacing the bushing does not necessarily help as the roll bar itself can be a bit worn from dirt and corrosion.

        I’ve been tempted to try some of the more durable polyurethane bushings.

        My cheap fix was to lay a shim of about 0.020 inches thickness in the U-clamp to compress the old rubber a bit more. That seems to have quieted things for about 2 years, but it’s getting “slappy” again. The old CRV has 350Mm, is pretty close to the scrap heap, and so doesn’t deserve to much money spent. My CRV that is, not yours!!

        EricTheCarGuy 1EricTheCarGuy

          In addition to what was mentioned above, you might check the brakes. If the brake pads are loose in the caliper you will hear noise going over bumps and also during brake application as you describe. In fact I cover how to check for this video.

          I find this to be a common issue with some aftermarket brake pads. If I go aftermarket, I like to use Akebono or Beck Arnley brake pads on Hondas.

          Keep us posted.


            Thanks Guys;

            Rere- I am pretty sure the sound is coming from the front, the bushngs helped me get the second noise that was coming from the back. But have a listen to the video below maybe it still sounds like the rear sway bar. What turned me onto the rear sway bushings was I could grab the bar and move it and make a clunking noise. With the new bushings I cannot. But thanks for the shim tip because I bet this will happen again.

            Eric – Thanks so much for that video. I do think there could be a brake problem and I’ll jack the car up and take a look. I did notice there was light brown rust on the rotor last night but the car had only been parked about 36 hours. That didn’t seem normal to me and I got to thinking the outer pad may not be touching. I took the car for a quick drive last night (10 minutes down the road city driving..lots of stop and go) and when I got to my destination I saw the rust was gone, but true, maybe it is just grabbing slightly and wiggling?. So yes, I’ll look at the caliper and pads and rotors.

            And so last night I made a quick video of the noise. Sorry for the clicking noise in it (its inside cabin noise) as I believe that is the key fob hitting the dash. The knocking noise is heard there at that start and there are about 8 more that are heard after the 27 second mark. a few are close together, some are spaced apart.

            Love the site guys and thanks again for your help. I am going to jack the car up tomorrow night to look at the brakes and report back.




              That light thud sounds very familiar.

              Tighten the roll bar bushings. Those roll bar suspension forces are pretty big, so even if you can’t move anything by hand, the bushes still might not be tight enough to be noise free.

              It’s been a while since I was at those bushes, but I half recall that they are a lousy design. They are split at the top which locates against the floor pan, and they are thin at the top too. It’s too cold here to get under the car to re-school myself.

              EricTheCarGuy 1EricTheCarGuy

                Flash rust on rotors is common. I cover it in detail in this article.


                After watching the video I don’t think it’s your brake pads. To me it sounds deeper. I might be checking the upper strut mounts as it seemed to happen as you made turns as well. If the upper strut mount bushings are broken, it can make a noise like that. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to diagnose. You normally have to remove the struts and also the upper mounts to inspect them. This can get pretty involved, especially if you don’t have a good spring compressor.

                I’d also be checking the bushings on the lower control arms as well as the ball joints. Use the info in the video I posted to help you check those.

                Keep us posted.


                  Well I took the wheel off and it looks like I found the problem. It was the red dust that set me in the right direction. Reading my Haynes Manual, it says this is my left outer tie rod end. For education sake, (mostly mine haha, but for the threads sake and those reading) here is some pics of the affected area. Also through in a pic of my broken spring.

                  Here is a video of it too.



                    Might try to fix this myself. I think I have all the wrenches I need. Any tips from the seasoned techs out there? I read in my manual that I should mark the threads for where the nut should go for alignment purposes. They also said I need a “puller” tool to get the joint out. That tierod I have there seems quite broken, will it need a tool to bring it out though? I have a large “C” clamp, would that work just as good? Should I just take it to the mechanic? How long (labor costs) would be fair for that?



                      Always hard to know from a distance, but I think both tie rod ends have spherical (ball) joints to cope with suspension and steering motion. Your tie rod should rotate as you’ve done in the video, but is there a lot of vertical or sideways play? If vertical or sideways slop is present, then fix it soon as you don’t want it popping off. It sure does seem loose.

                      I think the nut on that joint pulls a taper together which can be really tight. So, clamps, pickle forks, or a well directed hammer. Likely all three!

                      Let’s us know with your informative pictures.

                      If replacement is performed, a thread count will be quite accurate for maintaining alignment. But if the CRV tracks poorly after replacement, then get to the alignment shop pretty soon.


                        Thanks Rere;

                        I noticed the red dust near the joint and thought it to be suspect. The rubber boot near the joint doesn’t look like it has much lubrication either. I know moving the tierod like that in my video was only slightly stiff at first but the got really easy after a couple of turns. I didn’t notice that it was moving up and down though. That and the car handles like a dream, it just makes that racket noise. 👿

                        And you’re right, since that is a steering part, if it was failing (or failed) I suppose I would feel that in my handling right?

                        OK..hmm back to the drawing board then. Maybe I’ll just take it in at this point. It might be cheaper in the long run. I’ll end up replacing everything but that stupid noise :-S

                        EDIT: Wait! Brain Storm last effort, what if I check the tierod on the other side? If it has the same movement and knocking, then I would know for sure. I’ll do that tonight after work and report back.


                          It was the left front wheel, correct?

                          There should be near zero play between the steering wheel and steering movement of your tire. Move the steering wheel back and forth one inch at its circumference, if you cannot see the tire move, then there too much play. And this play might be in your tie rods.

                          With the wheel/tire off, a bit of steering wheel movement would make visible the tie rod play.

                          Odd thing about the red rust patch, the photo seems to show that it doesn’t extend up to the bottom of the boot.

                          Keep at it. Diagnosis ain’t easy, but it is eventually rewarding.


                            And I meant to say.

                            I won’t put even a finger under a wheel-less car without triple redundancy of supports. The jack. The axle stand. Stout maple blocks.

                            Be well…………….

                            EricTheCarGuy 1EricTheCarGuy

                              Actually, that’s not the orange dust I was speaking of. The movement in the tie rod is normal from what I can see and because of the movement you’re making it will make that noise. You want to check suspension parts like that with the tire on, you have more leverage. Like I showed in the video I posted. I don’t think the tie rod has anything to do with it. Of corse if you have movement in it when you move the tire back and forth this would indicate that it’s loose, but if you don’t have any in and out movement on the tie rod, it’s not faulty.

                              What I DID see was an aftermarket stabilizer link. To me, that’s more suspect than anything right now. Try disconnecting it and fastening it out of the way and taking it for a drive to see if the noise is still there. If it’s gone, replace the stabilizer link.

                              Keep us posted.


                                Hi GUys;

                                Quick update;

                                For the heck of it on Friday, I took my CRV to the mechanic who did the lower control arm work and asked him if he could find the noise. He remembered the car and the broken spring. (I also mentioned it again) He took it for a quick spin around the block, came back, and told me it was the spring making that knocking sound. You can see a pic of the broken spring higher in this thread. In the pic, its cracked and broken on the last coil before the top of the tower and is too the right. (sorry if it looks blurry).

                                Do you think the spring sounds like the culprit then? Outside of checking the rubber bushings on the front sway bar (once I get some nice weather again) Any other thoughts?

                                Many thanks again!



                                  These CRVs carry the majority of their weight on the front suspension, so I think, best I can tell from the image, that the broken spring in loaded by the car’s weight and shouldn’t rattle, Even if you hit a big bump which put the wheels in the air, the spring is still loaded within the strut assembly.

                                  Even the wee bit of broken off end of the spring seems “lodged” pretty firmly.

                                  Having said that, it should probably be replaced. But I’m used to “imperfect” cars, so I’d likely just drive it.

                                  The weather should be OK for rolling around on the ground pretty soon to see if shimming (or replacing) the sway bar rubber helps to silence things.


                                    You know Rere, I am thinking you are onto something and have been all along. That’s why I posted that this morning about the spring. And yes I will replace it. I was doubting that too. The noise seems so much lower.

                                    But where you were right is I am thinking that the bushings on the Front sway bar must be it. Thats because driving the car last night I noticed the knock shifting a bit. First knock under my foot and then a fainter one in the passenger front seemed to be right after. That they felt connected. That says to me the knock is going from 1 side to the other. If both bushings are worn, what other part would travel across the car like that? I guess my doubts were the fact that the bushings look OK. I’m going to buy them and swap them anyway as like you say, its a cheap fix.

                                    That said, will a long handle 1/2 inch drive socket wrench, with lots of WD40, and taking my time, take those bushing mounts fasteners out? Or do I need a air ratchet? I must admit the car is quite rust free for being so old. The rear ones came out with a 3/8 drive. I assume jacking the car would put the bar under strain so I will need to crawl under it without raising it too?

                                    And thanks again. I’ll keep you posted. I’ll upload some pics when I get the better weather to do this job in. 🙂

                                  Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)
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