Driving to Spiti in my Toyota with front suspension damage

Concerned about the possibility of a breakdown, since I can get the spare parts only from Delhi.

BHPian rrsteer recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Currently driving to Spiti in a 2004 Toyota HiAce. The front suspension on the driver side is making a knocking sound when driving over bad roads. Sometimes I can feel like something touches the floor too while making the knocking sound. Some other points to note:

  • Even on good roads but ones which have undulations, I can feel the knocking.
  • The steering is working fine.
  • Overall the suspension seems to be doing its job.

I know it's hard to diagnose only from what's written above, but can you guide what all things can be causing this? Also, what is the probability of it causing a breakdown? I will be countering bad to very bad roads over the next few days. E.g. If the ball joint is causing it - how far can it be stretched before something major happens?

Update: The van has done 220k km. The front shock absorber was recently changed as there was a lot of uneven wear on new tyres. I believe the bushes would have been changed when the shock absorber was replaced.

Will get the lower ball joints checked tomorrow. Just asking, even if their condition is terrible can they last another 500 km of bad to extremely bad roads without causing a breakdown? Since I can get the spare parts only from Delhi.

Here's what BHPian shancz had to say about the matter:

Although not very competent yesterday during a service the mechanic had pointed out a damaged rubber "arm-bush" on my wagonR's left front suspension. It was a spherical rubber bush that had a cut on one side, the right one was fine.

He told that when the damage increases, dust/debris will get inside and will start making a lot of noise. To me, this seems like your case too.

Although he might not have been able to correctly explain what I saw was a cut rubber bush but since he said he will change the entire arm as the bush isn't available separately. I decided to do it later since I wanted to double-check that and currently it's not causing any issue.

Do check it, just need to look behind your wheels and check, not sure how it looks on the HiAce though.

I am guessing the lower arm ball joint is damaged/worn out.

Just for reference, this guy is changing the lower control arm, a similar issue I guess: Credits to Providers.

Here's what BHPian Indian2003 had to say about the matter:

No problem driving a short distance with worn lower ball joints but don't speed when you don't know the amount of wear. You can easily check by jacking up the wheel and rocking it while holding at the 12 and 6 o'clock positions. No negligible play should be felt.

Since you just heard the knocking sounds, it should be safe to drive to a workshop for 500 km or more.

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