Front end popping - can't diagnose!

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I have a pop/knock coming from the driver's side front of my van. I've replaced nearly every part recently, including: sway bar links, control arms, struts, strut mounts, strut bearings. Some of these replacements were purely maintenance-based since the van is getting old, others were to try to find the pop. The pop sounds an awful lot like a bad strut bearing, but I know it's not that, since the sound didn't change after new bearings. It usually shows up when turning and breaking, so when the part is loaded up I imagine. I'll get one or two loud pops. Something also sounds loose when going over bumps, but I cannot find the issue. I also have an intermittent and inconsistent steering wheel shake at highway speeds, and I believe this is related. It is not tire related, I've already ruled that out. The noise is also NOT from a CV axle; I know what that sounds like. Any ideas? The only front end parts that are original are the inner/outer rod ends (which seem fine), and the sway bar chassis bushings (which seem fine).
 
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Even though you say it is not that, a bad CV joint can definitely cause both a popping noise and a vibration especially when turning the wheels.
 
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Ugh, why not take it to a front end specialist and stop replacing parts that did not solve problem...
 
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If its not a ball joint or other ball/socket part my bet is on the inner CV joint which does not make the same clicking sounds as the more commonly failed outer.
 
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Originally Posted by Trav
If its not a ball joint or other ball/socket part my bet is on the inner CV joint which does not make the same clicking sounds as the more commonly failed outer.
^^^ This. Also is the vehicle rusty? I've seen bad shock towers on vans from the metal flexing because it's weak, although this sounds more like creaking and generally with road bumps / steering under stress. It can also be the spring in it's seat or top mount, that was common on some Hyundai/Kia vehicles from around that era.
 
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check the ball joint first, cracked retainer cage in the outer CV is second but most people swap axles instead of actually slicing a boot open to satisfy curiosity. (it's MESSY)
 

Klutch9

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Originally Posted by vw7674
check the ball joint first, cracked retainer cage in the outer CV is second but most people swap axles instead of actually slicing a boot open to satisfy curiosity. (it's MESSY)
I'll check these out. The complete control arms including the ball joint are less than a year old, but I've had them fail in about the same time before in another vehicle. Thankfully they're easy to remove and check. And it's only been a year, surely they haven't rusted shut yet LOL
 
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Swaybar bushings been replaced? They loosen up and allow excessive swaybar movement. The vans of that era are known for subframe bushing failures too. Make a heck of a lot of noise when they fail.
 
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Some vans are notorious for having steering column/shaft CV joints that wear out. They will make a popping sound, especially at low speeds. Toyota Siennas (as well as V6 RAV4s and Highlanders) are known for this.
 

Klutch9

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Well I removed one ball joint, and although I couldn't feel movement, it felt hard to move and sounded/felt like the ball was encased in sandpaper. Not like how a new joint feels snug and hard to move, but rather that it was completely void of lube and was machining itself. It also didn't have a smooth range of travel. Very ‘jerky'. Since the control arm bushings are already splitting on both sides, I'm just replacing them with OEM parts. I've recently decided to go all OEM for replacement parts after being burned multiple times, but when I last replaced these arms/joints I was still buying aftermarket. These fine examples are Mevotech, only 8 or 9 months old.
 
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Originally Posted by Trav
Originally Posted by Klutch9
These fine examples are Mevotech, only 8 or 9 months old.
No surprise.
Isn't that the brand which has Ball Joints for $3.50-$7.00? I always wondered how that could do it. I guess they can't.
 

Klutch9

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Originally Posted by WyrTwister
Did you get the problem solved ?
Unfortunately, no. Got the new control arms+ball joints in today. The ride is firmer and steering is more responsive, so clearly the 9 month old Mevotechs already degraded. OEM parts in there now, but the binding clunking that happens when turning and braking simultaneously, as well as the high speed shake is still there. I'm at a loss. Might have to just pay someone to fix it. Hard to find the time since I need this van for work. We'll see.
 
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