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Hyundai Sonata Front Suspension "Thunk"

dncbdncb Posts: 70
edited December 2013 in Hyundai
I've begun this Discussion topic since the thump/clunk issue relating to the Sonata suspension has been largely addressed in these forums as relating only to the rear suspension of 2006 models and a few early 2007s. However, it also seems to be appearing in the front and/or rear suspension of 2007 models - namely in mine.
I have a Limited- manufacture date Aug 2006 which has the "thunk" largely in the right front, but exists to a lesser degree at all three other suspension positions. So far, I have examined on my own (since Horne Hyundai in Apache Junction AZ said, "We can't hear anything.") the lower control arm strut bushing (as advised in other posts for clunking Azera's) without seeing any visible space as the writer of that post did in his. Next I plan to retorque the upper strut mounts to factory torque and will report my findings. Since the problem is easily reproducable on certain bumps on which I travel almost daily I plan to ask the dealer mechanic to ride with me while I drive over those areas instead of simply dropping the car off at the dealer as I did last time.
In the mean time I'd like to open this up for anyone else who has experienced the "thunk" in front positions (or rear positions if it also occurred in the front and both were fixed, or you have information which might relate to front suspensions) for 2007 models. As others have reported, when we have evidence that this is not an isolated incident then we have a much better chance of getting Hyundai to address it as an issue. Thanks for your input.


  • comet64comet64 Posts: 12
    I had the rear "thunk", and had it fixed. After the rear was fixed, my attention was directed to the right front suspension issue as discribed in the earlier post. I'm just confirming that I also have the exact problem. I have not yet addressed it to the dealer. My vehicle is a 2007 limited with the ultimate package.
  • tmporttmport Posts: 19
    Is the assumption that this is a problem for the V6 models only, as with the rear "thunk"?
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    In response to my first post concerning the possible involvment of the front strut (shocks) mounts: I retorqued the mounts (the center mounting stud with the rubber bushing under it) without effect on the thunking problem. The outer three nuts were already tight.

    In response to "comet64": regarding your rear thunk that was fixed. Do you know what they did to fix the problem? Did they replace the shock portion of the strut with different ones, or just tighten something? If you do not know, could you possibly find out? Thanks in advance.

    FYI: My "thunk" problem is able to be demonstrated every time on a road indentation (or weries of them)like a pothole that still has pavement in it, or a smooth manhole cover that has not been leveled to the road surface well. Holes which are severe also cause tire and body noise which tends to mask the "thunking" to some extent. I recently had occasion to drive on a road that was a solid city block just full of temporary paving and patches due to a utility construction project. It constantly "thunkity thunked" all the way down the block. It sounded like a 10 year-old car with worn out ball joints rather than a new car with only 3000 miles on it. Unfortunately it is a long way from a dealer.
    My next project is to find a street that will produce the "thunking" near a dealer.
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    Hmmm..... I can only tell you that mine IS a V6 and also the other writer's. Obviously, we would like to hear from all "thunkers" regardless of engine.
  • comet64comet64 Posts: 12
    The "fix" was a replacement of something. I believe it was the entire strut, but it could have been just different mounting assemblies. I know that they checked their inventory to insure that they had a couple "kits" in stock before I scheduled an appointment, so it involved more than just a tightening type of procedure.
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    Thank you for the info. I'll print it and take it with me to the dealer. I have an appointment for April 18 to take a mechanic for a ride to the road places which faithfully produce the noise. I'll report results for everyone.
  • I agree. I have a 2006 Sonata LX & the rear shocks were replaced. It helped but I feel that the front suspension needs correction also. As you say too much thunkity thunk over wash board type surface roads. I'm going to bring it up next time I go for service. As you say, you have to find the right kind of road to demonstrate or you're going to get the "sounds normal" response.
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    Well, I'm thorouly disappointed now. I took a mechanic for a ride over the bumps that make the thunk -- one of which does it three times in a row. His response? "Sounds like normal suspension noise to me." I was tempted to ask what kind of car he owned, but restrained myself. Perhaps he is used to driving a piece of junk that thunks and rattles over bumps and thinks that is normal behavior. Ok, I'm ranting now. I should have bought a Toyota.
  • craigbrookscraigbrooks Posts: 420
    No, you should have asked what he drove and if he thinks that noise is ok in his car. This thunk IS NORMAL suspension noise UNTIL THEY fix it.

    Is there another dealer near you or one that has performed the fix that you are aware of? I'm sure you wouldn't mind driving a ways to get this fixed. Correct?
  • ctc1ctc1 Posts: 66
    Have you tried these and do they help?
  • ergsumergsum Posts: 146
    I have had no noise issues with my 2006 GLS V6 with 17" rims (18,400 miles). I just happen to spot these online. They appear to block the gap at the rear of the front fenders and should help filter out some sound propagation into the cabin through the doors.

    By the way, after years with Nissan products (4 vehicles total), I was so impressed with Hyundai's new product line, we have now added a 2007 Santa Fe Limited for the wife to drive.
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    No, You bet I wouldn't mind driving anywhere in the Phoenix area to get this fixed. I'd planned to do as you suggest - call around to other dealers to see who has done the fix. It's a little hard to get the time with my job. But I will persue it.
    I'm a little surprised at the lack of others coming forward with similar problems. In a way that is encouraging? Perhaps just an adjustment rather than a defect with the parts??? I hope.
    I was just a little dumfounded that a mechanic would say such a thing.
  • altazeraaltazera Posts: 51
    denial is the normal response of a dealer/mechanic.

    I suspect the problem is related to faulty struts as it occurs in a sign number of Azeras and sonatas. i found several under-torqued bolts in the right front suspension of my azera but the "thunk" "clunk" "rattle" doesn't go away.

    I drove my mother's 1998 Plymouth Breeze today, and it was pleasure to drive around town without having to avoid every single road imperfection. I hope someone comes up with a solution soon. :sick:

    The local dealer has a 2006 Azera that they can't sell because of front suspension noises! :confuse:
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    I've found a Hyundai dealer in the Phoenix area who indicates that they have done the rear thunk fix on some 2006's. It is a start. I have delayed getting this taken care of due to the demands of my business. While procrastinating I've noticed the car getting less picky about which bumps it thunks over (not to mention the seatback creak getting louder). Soon, even the most willfully hearing impaired mechanic will be forced to admit it.
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    It has been quite a while since talking about the suspension thunking on my 2007 Sonata LTD. I do have a business to run. I decided to sit on it a while and wee what happened. It has slowly gotten worse. I finally decided to take it to another dealer after checking out an bumpy area close to the dealer. They gave me a loaner car, which I took to the bumpy area on the way out. It made the same noise! I called the dealer and left a message to that effect. They took my car for a ride and called me later to tell me that they DID hear the noise, took another car of theirs to that spot and it did it too. They then called Hyundai to find out what they wanted to do. Their response?? Nothing -- unless a LOT more people complain.
    So, three out of three Sonata's make thunking noises on filled pot hole type bumps and Hyundai wants to ignore it. I guess I've got my answer about what good that big warranty is. Nothing at all. Just denial. I should have gotten a Toyota.
  • my local dealer replaced the entire strut assembly, and voila... problem solved. Now I have a nice car.
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    Please tell me the history on your problem. My thunking problem is only getting worse such that almost any bump now causes that thunking - front and rear, but mostly front. I would like to also know what dealer fixed your problem (with phone # if you have it) so that I can take that to my dealer. Thanks.
    (All this aside from creaking seat backs (the headrest support posts - inside the seat))
  • "I should have gotten a Toyota" yeah, you should have and faced a whole new set of problems....see Consumer Reports Dec 2007 issue page 6. It seems that Toyota quality MAY be beginning a slide, oh no!!! now what car can we say we "should of could of" bought instead of Hyundai? Honda maybe?
  • Just got a 2008 Sonata a month ago. The thunking wasn't too bad at first, but getting worse. I only have 1200 miles on the thing. Started in the front right, but sometimes I think I here it elsewhere. Haven't had time to get it back there yet. Hope what I'm reading isn't what I'm in for. Oh and by the way, It's only a four cyl, so there goes your V6 idea.
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    I am sorry you too have the "thunking" - and on a 2008. I have read many forums on various problems with various Hyundai models and one common thread emerges - Hyundai's denial that problems exist even when they obviously know that they do - until several/many owners get together and stick it in their face repeatedly until denial becomes more difficult. The difference between advertising about great product and great warranty and the actual way problems are treated appears to be in stark contrast to each other.
    One owner (altazera) recently posted that his dealer replaced the entire strut assembly and it fixed the problem. I have attempted to contact him in the forum and through the "buddy' system within the forum. But so far no response. Several owners in other forum topics have had success getting their problems fixed by presenting proof to their dealer of another dealer's successful fix of the problem as reported by another forum contributor. That is my aim here to get the dealer's name who fixed the thunk by replacing the strut assembly and present it to my dealer and say, "See, here is a dealer who has fixed this problem. Please do it to mine also."
    In the mean time my thunking gets worse with increased miles. My 2007 has 10.5K now and thunks on almost all manholes, and various bumps and road surface imperfections. It's beginning to sound like an old worn out car that needs new ball joints.
    I urge you not to wait to report your problem. I suggest scouting a road which faithfully reproduces the problem which, if possible, is near the dealer you are taking it to. I found a residential street with a hard packed unpaved shoulder with washboard less than a mile from the dealer (in Tempe AZ) which provided a good 200 ft of repeated thunking. I took the loaner car they gave me to the area on the way home and it too thunked - as well as another car off the lot the service manager tested. Still Hyundai refused to do anything about it. Please keep us posted on your experience. I'm confident we will get our problems fixed if we band together.
  • I have an '06 Limited V6 with 20,000 miles on it. Purchased used with 10K on it and love it except for the front end thunking everyone talks about. I too have looked under the car and everything appears to be tight. I took the car to the local dealer and they told me everything was normal (I should have asked them to define normal). I can't believe Hyundai isn't doing anything about. Something is obviously not right. My '72 Plymouth Cuda makes less front end noise than my Sonata.....and that's just not right.
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    I'm 57 yrs old so I've had several cars. As with tywebb3, I have an old car, a 90 Lincoln Continental, that makes no front end noise at all with 137,000 on it - though I replaced most linkage parts for slop in steering (no noise) as needed between 110K-130K. As a matter of fact, no car I've ever owned has ever made a noise similar to the Sonata thunking until the ball joints were worn out somewhere between 80 and 150K miles. No Honda or Toyota has ever done it regardless of mileage.
    Upon some recent "bump tests" I noticed that the thunking seems to occur at the beginning of the extension of the suspension travel rather than the compression. Many "up first" bumps do not cause the thinking. But every single "down first" bump produces it. And most repetitive washboard surfaces reproduce the thunking, but mostly if the bumps fall withing a range of moderate. Severe washboard (an Arizona hard dirt road in need of grading) appears quiet - or as quiet as would be expected from a car with rather poor suspension sound isolation as Sonata's have.In other words there is noise, but not the defect related thinking noise on severe washboard.
    My non-mechanic conclusion: a shock (strut) internal valving defect.
  • Does anyone know if any aftermarket front struts have made it to market yet for the 2006+ Sonata's? It may be worth a shot to swap them out with something other than the OEM pieces?
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    I checked for 2007 Sonata shocks (struts) and it appears that after market shocks start around 1998 models. I'd be interested in getting stock shock specs and replacing them by spec at some major supplier like Koni.
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    I recently visited a Hyundai dealer in the Phoenix area to again address the thunking problem to find that there was a new service manager. This was good news to me, especially since told me that he had a history of problem solving in previous jobs and seemed interested in solving this problem. We took a drive to a local road where the hard packed shoulder was washboard and successfully demonstrated the thunking. We then got another Sonata off the lot and successfully demonstrated it again.
    The factory rep was this week taken for a ride and it was successfully demonstrated in two different cars. The factory rep said he would like to ride in my car as well. So we will be doing that as soon as he is back in town in early Feb (he is having surgery or it would be sooner).
    Other Sonata and Azera owners (same suspension design) are urged to take their cars to washboard areas. Turn off the radio and listen when going below 30mph (less competing road noise) over paved bumps especially sudden depressions like sunken manhole covers which do not clank on their own, or most any kind of bump that go down before going up since the thunk comes from a suspension extension rather than compression - and report your findings here. Hyundai can only be in denial until the evidence mounts to undeniability.
  • yeti55yeti55 Posts: 2
    Hey dncb, good luck with the Rep, I'm very curious to see what he says. Just wanted to also note that we had a nasty ice storm recently and I bought 300 lbs of salt. When placed in the trunk, the thunk lessened. I've also noticed that when an adult passenger of any good stature rides with me, the thunk also seems to become silent. Of course this doesn't work with my regularly scheduled 5' 2" passenger (she's a light weight). When I went back to the dealer, they denied hearing it and when I took them for a ride it only thunked on bigger bumps. I need to find a repairman thats a jockey I guess. Keep us posted.
  • I recently purchased a 2008 Sonata Limited - car is great except for the thunking of the right front suspension going over bumps. I have contacted Hyundai and the dealer. Dealer contacted Hyundai - The thunking is normal for the sport suspension according to Hyundai. Dealer is unable to do anything under warranty with out Hyundai authorization. I have spoken to numerous mechanics and automotive people and ALL agree this is not "Normal" until Hyundai gets enough complaints nothing will be done. As it is not a safety issue and does not affect the driveability of the car it does not come under the Lemon laws. Any ideas on where to go from here would be appreciated.
  • dncbdncb Posts: 70
    What a pile of "little stinky brown things" for Hyundai to say this is "normal." A car that sounds like it has old worn out ball joints? Please post dealer name and location for all to see.

    To address their comment about it not being a safety issue: Other forums document how Hyundai says this about every issue -- like a rotting frame because of an opening that lets in water and salt and can't get out -- and the car won't pass safety inspection! That's not a safety issue? Yet they are trying to dodge that one too.

    I have an appointment on Feb 19th with a district rep (at Hyundai of Temp AZ). I will not settle for an answer like this. I have written Hyundai (registered mail return receipt) documenting the thunking issue from the beginning. It only gets worse with time. If the rep dodges the bullet this time I will do as I have stated in that letter - take action according to the course of binding arbitration. If it goes this route I would appreciate information identifying others with the same problem. I'll take the car to an ASE certified mechanic and find the problem regardless of cost and then go to my lawyer and let him handle it from here. I'll get the diagnostic costs and legal fees back in the settlement. Just for some negative publicity if Hyundai runs the denial route I will get lettering done at the local sign shop for my back window advertising the reality of Hyundai's warranty integrity versus their advertised quality and warranty - and send Hyundai the photos of it as I drive all over the metro area. This should also bring others out of the closet with the same problem. Hyundai might possibly see the logic of fixing a few cars rather than be faced with a major recall if the issue gathers too many participants.
  • Yeah why don't you take the car to an ASE certified mechanic and find out for once and for all what this mysterious "thunk" is. Spend your money to find out what Hyundai is hiding. A rusting crossmember issue on 1999-01 cars (which as I understand from others here Hyundai is replacing FREE of charge..albeit with some "arm twisting) IS a safety issue to be sure but I'll bet your thunk isn't. For that matter what constitutes a "thunk" and how deep a pot-hole do you have to drop the front wheel into to hear it? I have rented various Sonata's 2006-thru-2008 model years both V-6 and as recently as this past week-end a 4 cylinder automatic driven them on the less than perfect roads of Pa and aside from normal suspension noise when encountering holes and poor repair patches I have not heard anything abnormal or anything that gave me pause for my safety. Hyundai appears to be one of the more responsive manufacturers in addressing potential problems with its vehicles (rapidly issuing TSB's) so I find I have a hard time believing this really is as big an issue as you seem to think. I guess I will remain unconvinced until your hired ASE mechanic actually finds something amiss that is common to the line and not a random fault with your car which makes it a dealer problem in not diagnosing and repairing it properly.
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