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BlaineBug

2014 Transit Connect With Continual Rear End Clunk

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My Father has a 2014 Transit Connect that has the most annoying, non-stop clunking coming from the rear end.

What has been done? The tailgate glass has been replaced twice from spontaneously shattering while parked in his driveway on two separate occasions now.

What have I inspected? I have checked the jack's mounting location. I have lowered the spare tire and checked to make sure that it is secure. I have disassembled the tail gate twice now to check for a loose lock actuator or windshield wiper motor. I have inspected the rear end, bushings, springs, shocks, brakes, etc.

I can't find the source of the clunking but yet the clunking continues! Has ANYONE experienced anything similar? I've searched quite a bit and come up with nothing in regards to this issue. In my opinion it does sound like something is clunking within the body, although it is hard to say for sure. There is nothing suspect and the van does have less than 60,000 miles presently. This clunk has been ongoing for probably over a year now as well. Just decided to post about it because I can't find the source and am at my wit's ends.

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Have you driven the car with the tail gate open?  If the rattle changes it is probably in the tailgate.

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Interesting and perplexing.  I think the glass shattering is a clue.  I would look at the latch and the rubber bumpers (the tailgate rests against when closed) to make sure it is closing and latching properly.  I would look for something that is not holding the tailgate in place and allowing it to move.  If the glass is shattering it possible is under tension or pressure either at rest or while moving.  Years ago my wife had the glass in the sliding door in her Safari van shatter while driving down the road.  It was replaced under warranty.  it would tilt out at the bottom and was secured by one or two latches.  Once is random, twice is not.

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Check the end links of the rear sway bar. You will have to remove them to check them because they are always under a little tension. it doesn't take much play for one of them to make a hell of a lot of noise.

James

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Is it a van or wagon ? If it is the wagon could the noise be coming from the seats?

Any pictures?

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I would prop the lift gate open with a rolled-up towel or blanket. Secure it with a strap attached to the flexible handle. Drive around and listen for the noise. 

Edited by Don Ridley

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Hi everyone and I apologize for my 2+ month delay to response.  This forum's email notification system apparently does not work so I had no idea that there were not any responses.

 

This clunk does sound somewhat reminiscent of what an anti-sway bar that is worn out or loose would sound like and was one of the first things I attempted to check - but I found that this van does not have a rear anti-sway bar.

 

We have also taken the tailgate apart three times to look inside.  The first time was to replace the tailgate handle/decorative fascia piece when it snapped off.  We removed the interior plastic panel on two other occasions attempting to track down anything loose within and can't find anything.  I DID find that the interior and exterior sheet metal are glued together from the factory and were separating.  I thought that this might be causing the noise so I added some torn up rags to act as an isolation buffer between the two halves where the glue had come loose, which did not change anything audibly.

 

I've also jiggled the tailgate when it is both open AND closed and nothing that I have heard sounds anything like the noise inside when you are driving.  We have not driven it with the tailgate open, though.  Is it possible one of the rear shocks would be making this sound internally?  All of the rear shock bushings are in good shape, though, so the sound would have to be internal to the shock.  Which I have not experienced before.

 

As far as the rear window shattering twice, one of the men at Safelite glass said that he heard something about some Fords including the F150 trucks having an issue where the rear defroster never turns off once you turn it on, even though the light on the dashboard will turn off.  My Father says that the two times the window has shattered, he had used the rear window defroster recently.  Since the last glass breakage he now refuses to use the rear glass defroster, and it hasn't shattered again.

 

Don't forget, he also had another 2013 Transit Connect that had one of the rear glass windows shatter while he was driving down the road.  The 2013 model had the dual swing out rear doors so it had two smaller pieces of glass, versus his 2014 that has one big piece of glass instead.

Both of his vans, the 2013 and 2014, were the passenger vans with seating for 5 and windows all around.  The 2013 was totaled when it was rear-ended in November of 2017.

Edited by BlaineBug

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The Plot thickens  sounds like a run with the tailgate ajar and secured is next.  You need to check the two removable panels on on either side in the back.

the left one has the jack  some one could have put something in there.  Is the spare tire carried under the car in the normal position?  There is a second cable that is there for added safety so it has slack when the tire is up.  

Keep us posted.   

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Well, now email notifications are working.

Nonetheless, I've lowered the spare tire all of the way down, unhooked it, checked everything.  Removed the jack and all of its accessories in the driver's rear quarter panel.  Nothing is loose in there.  It definitely does "sound" as though it is tailgate related, but last summer when we were all together with two rear passengers, the passenger on the driver's side second row said they felt as though it was coming from beneath them or in that general area.

 

Not only does the clunk sound reminiscent of a loose or worn anti-sway bar joint, it also sounds like a loose door latch.  However, the tailgate's wiper motor and latching mechanism are all secure.  The tailgate hinges are tight.  And we have been through the tailgate multiple times for one reason or another.  Two rear window replacements by Safelite, the tailgate handle/fascia that holds the rear view camera broke off as well, and then removing the interior plastic panel on at least two or three other occasions to have a renewed peek inside.

The only thing I haven't done yet are to remove the tailgate's gas struts and try it like that for a test drive.  Since it's not my vehicle I don't often have access to it.

Edited by BlaineBug

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Is the TC a 5 or 7 passenger ?  Taken it out for a ride with all the seats  folded. on the Spare could the safety cable be hitting the tire when it is  up tight against the Car?

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The gas struts are applying very strong pressure even when the door is closed. If they don't wiggle or rattle when the door is open they are probably not the issue.

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It's a 5 passenger van.  60/40 rear bench with two front buckets.  It is definitely not the seats.  Folded forward or secured in normal fashion there's no difference.  Also I highly doubt it's the safety cable for the spare tire.  The sound is far too loud to be the cable slapping against the rubber tire.

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Good info.  The safety cable would hit the steel  rim if it were to hit anything. Sounds like  you need to be in back with your ear to the floor.  Keep us posted on your test ride.

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This spring we will be looking in to it more again.  I can't imagine that cable against the steel wheel of the spare to make such a racket.  It sounds like the tailgate to me but I can't imagine exactly what is causing the problem.  Hinges or latch would probably produce the majority of the noise that would be similar to the sound of a loose anti-sway bar joint.  But everything was tight......maybe I need to loosen all of the attachment points and then re-torque again.

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You need a driver and then you can be in the back with your ear in the right place and not trying to avoid hitting a tree. I am waiting for the results of the search.

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Thanks.  I'll let you know when we investigate further this spring.

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I can't give you a fix but I can relay a similar problem I had with my 2014 C-Max. The C-max had a clunking noise coming from the RH front when going over a bump. The car was still under warranty so it went back to the dealer. After more then a week trying to find the cause of the noise the dealer replaced the RH control arm . Clunking noise was gone. Just so happens when replacing the control arm the recall for the door lock latches was also done.  Year and a half later the clunking started on the LH side. Not as loud as the RH before it was repaired but sounded the same. The car is now out of warranty. Should I have it fix or live with it. My fix was to turn up the radio. My LH front exterior door handle wouldn't unlatch to open the door on occasion. This started to happen around six months after the control arm was replaced. Last fall I had enough of the door handle not unlatching. With YouTube's help I disassemble the handle and found the mechanic didn't install the handle completely. He didn't replace one fastener. After replacing the fastener and the handle worked every time. Now the neat part. With the handle be a little loose (you couldn't tell by pulling it) it was causing a vibration in the door that that sounded the same as the clunking control arm. Long story short, the noise may not be coming from where you think. Hope you find the cause.

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6 minutes ago, collinjx said:

I can't give you a fix but I can relay a similar problem I had with my 2014 C-Max. The C-max had a clunking noise coming from the RH front when going over a bump. The car was still under warranty so it went back to the dealer. After more then a week trying to find the cause of the noise the dealer replaced the RH control arm . Clunking noise was gone. Just so happens when replacing the control arm the recall for the door lock latches was also done.  Year and a half later the clunking started on the LH side. Not as loud as the RH before it was repaired but sounded the same. The car is now out of warranty. Should I have it fix or live with it. My fix was to turn up the radio. My LH front exterior door handle wouldn't unlatch to open the door on occasion. This started to happen around six months after the control arm was replaced. Last fall I had enough of the door handle not unlatching. With YouTube's help I disassemble the handle and found the mechanic didn't install the handle completely. He didn't replace one fastener. After replacing the fastener and the handle worked every time. Now the neat part. With the handle be a little loose (you couldn't tell by pulling it) it was causing a vibration in the door that that sounded the same as the clunking control arm. Long story short, the noise may not be coming from where you think. Hope you find the cause.

You know that could be it too, I suppose that would offer a noise similar to an anti-sway bar that was loose.  I recall taking a look at the rear control arm bushings and not seeing anything obvious but I never checked the bolts to check their torque.  I will be sure to do that.  Like I said this van has NO rear anti-sway bar.

Edited by BlaineBug

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