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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2008 Sienna has a clunk that can be felt as much as heard when turning with steering wheel full lock to the left. My wife noticed it when backing out of a parking spot.

It doesn't sound like the worn CV clicking I'm used to hearing, but kind of acts like a bad CV joint, so I won't discount that possibility.

I've read other suggestions that it could be a lower control arm, but the thing is that the clunk will repeat continuously if I drive in a full circle several times without changing steering at constant (slow) speed. I'd expect one clunk if it were a LCA for every hard turn, not multiple ones.

It feels like a small lunge or shift with each clunk, like a knee giving out or something similar.

Any suggestions before digging into it? It drives fine otherwise.
 

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First check is to jack up the wheel and make sure the wheel is on fully with the lug nuts fully seated/torqued. Then, give the wheel a side-to-side and a top-to-bottom vigorous shake to check for bearing play and steering play. If nothing obvious pops out, it's probably the half shaft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First check is to jack up the wheel and make sure the wheel is on fully with the lug nuts fully seated/torqued. Then, give the wheel a side-to-side and a top-to-bottom vigorous shake to check for bearing play and steering play. If nothing obvious pops out, it's probably the half shaft.
I did that yesterday and there was no play when shaking from top-bottom, but there was play when shaking side-side. I crawled under it with my son shaking it, and it could be heard , but I could not locate it. The sound/play was not coming from the wheel area as far as I could tell. Driving it again, there was so much a sound as a feeling of giving/play at certain points of rotation of the wheel, but not completely repetitious.

What part of the half-shaft goes bad? The inner tripod bearing/joint is the only thing I can think of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I took it to a mechanic friend of mine and he drove it without noticing any problem. We did tight circles in his drive, and whenever I pointed out what I felt, he said that was just a crack in his drive. I went back to the school parking lot and did the same, convincing myself that I was feeling it. But then I noticed that every time I had the slip/lunge feeling, it was when I was crossing a painted line. Looks like he was right - no actual problem with the van. My wife swore she heard something initially a few days ago, which was what started this whole thing, so we'll keep an ear out for it, but that's about it for now.
 

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The thing is, if you had side-to-side play and it wasn't the wheel bearing, it's likely the steering joints. That can be totally not seen/felt on a smooth, flat area. It often only seems to manifest in heavy traffic in a work zone with jersey barriers on one side and certain death on the other.
 
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