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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have a rattling noise in my 3 when going over small bumps. Replaced driver side front strut bearing, inner and outer tie rods, and sway bar end links. None of those seemed to do anything for the noises. Ordered lower control arm and tried putting it on today, except there was some issues that I encountered. I have a 2.0L A/T and right off the bat the bolt holding the ball joint in would not budge. I hit it with PB blaster, undid nut, more PB blaster, tried loosening bolt but just spins, hit it with 3 lb hammer but it doesn't move. So I skip that and go to front bushing bolt. While loosening it I notice I don't have enough clearance to remove bolt without taking out transmission drain pan. Great, a whole other job I have to do completely unrelated to suspension, not to mention I had already dropped the pan and flushed the fluid about 6 months ago. Is there something I'm missing or is this just the dumbest design of lower control arm bushing and bolt/transmission pan placement ever?
 

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Demon Spawn
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my 08 3 m/t actually had a control arm bolt back loose. the underside of the 04-13 is almost exactly identical, there are a few things in the way of getting at the bolts easily I do not know on the a/t if you absolutely need to drop the pan or not (hope not as I now have an 11 a/t and it eventually will need control arms) a lift helps tremendously as I could not do it in my drive way with jacks and jack stands I ended up taking it in and paying to have it done. I do not know that its really a bad design just one with a lot of bulk, there is a reason the 3 out handles all other small economy cars, look at how bulky the control arms and bushings on them are. on to the noise you get, is it a squeak or a clank or what? that could also help us diagnose with you a little better. have you checked the condition of the passenger side motor mount? these are notoriously weak spots on the 3 and fail regularly lucky they are cheap and easy to fix. it is the mount right under your coolant tank, look at it and see if any fluid is leaking out, if so its bad, if not check the rubber, if it has tears or is very very soft its failed or failing and if it is torn it may have lost the fluid and dried up already. rock auto and autzone oriellys etc do not list a passenger side mounts for 2010+ 3's but the 04-09 mount is the same dimensions and appears as though it will work just fine in the 2010-2013 non skyactiv motors. you may look at this before chasing suspension anyfurther. especially if on top of the noise you have noticed any higher than normal vibration at idle or harsh gear shifts in low speed. especially if the vibration/noise sounds like the passenger side of the car from inside. just food for thought and my 2 cents
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bolts were tight. It was more of a rattle. Motor mounts didn't seem bad. Found out I could've just raised the engine and transmission to gain access to bolt, but tranny got a nice drain and fill anyway. Also noticed that my transmission pan has a big dent in it. Gonna have to replace that someday. Also wondering the thread size and pitch of drain plug. I wanna put a magnetic one in. New lower control arm didn't solve it, new Koni STR.T struts did. I could easily push stock struts in, actually there was hardly any resistance except until the last couple inches. Also the new struts seemed a bit longer, assuming they will settle?

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Demon Spawn
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yes, new struts tend to be somewhat longer especially if replaced at higher mileage. my 03 protege 5 the new struts we put on were about that much longer than the old ones
 
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