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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2012 Pilot creaks in the front end. It seems to be worse turning left, and worse over uneven ground. It also seems to be coming from the left middle of the car rather than out at the wheel. At first I thought it was the steering, but then I heard t while going straight, though it is worse when turning. After some research, I've come up with these possible parts to replace:

Control Arm bushings
Stabilizer links
Sway Bar bushings
Tie Rods
Wheel Bearings
Ball Joints

The last two concern me since the others are replacing bushings which seems simpler. How complicated is this to do myself? I have a third vehicle, so this one can be on jack stands for a few days if need be. I've done some basics, and used to work on my own cars but that was years ago. Do I need new tie rods or can I replace the ends?

If it's struts or other suspension I'd have that done. I had a bad experience with a cracked spring compressor on a different car once.
 

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If the creaking is related to vertical displacement of the suspension, tie rods and ends would be low on the list of possible causes.

The anti-roll bar bushings would be high on that list. Remove the links, secure the bar up out of the way, and see if the noise goes away. If, so, new bushings and probably links if it were mine. Easy to check, easy to repair.

The rear lower control arm bushing is referred to as a "compliance bushing". They are known to crack and leak, serious enough that the factory had a silent-recall replacement program. Inspect for cracks and subsequent leaking. Replacement isn't too difficult, but you will want a wheel alignment when you finish.

The lower ball-joint play can be verified with a pry bar and maybe a dial indicator. Check for movement, easiest with suspension unloaded.

Wheel bearings tend to rumble more than creak, but the terms are interpreted differently by different people. If the noise is related to vertical suspension displacement, it's likely not wheel bearings.

On replacing tie rods when replacing the ends: I hate doing the same job twice, so I usually do both (inner and outer) at the same time. I have the tools, the car is up and wheels are off, and I need to align it again whether just one or all four pieces are moved/replaced. The parts are cheap compared with the cost and aggravation factor.


HTH!
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you bob. the problem seems worse in my gravel driveway that is not flat and is uneven, and bumps in the roads. It gets much better on flat pavement so I will start with anti-roll bar bushings. I have had bad wheel bearing on this car in the back, this does not sound like that, and the bad wheel bearing was constant (and louder as speed increased).
 

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I had a similar issue a while back. Mine was the anti-roll bushings, but the dealer diagnosis was <$80. The compliance bushings typically leak before they start making sounds, typically a crunching sound. Might be worth the diagnosis charge even if you fix yourself so you are not buying unnecessary parts. But I know some like wrenching and many of those items could be due anyway.
 

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I will start with anti-roll bar bushings.
That's the easiest (and cheapest) place to begin. Use Honda bushings.

If you go deeper, Dr. Bob's suggestion to "do it all while you're in there" is very relevant. The good news is that the most efficient way to do compliance bushings and ball joints is to replace the complete lower control arm. Steering links and sway bar links are very easy to add to that job.

If you've got 100k miles or so on your struts, they're worth doing, too. Buying a complete strut assembly (KYB Quick Struts are the consensus favorite on the forum) makes it a safe, simple job at roughly the same cost of disassembling and replacing the strut only.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just wanted to post an update... life happened, including having to replace both cats on a Subaru Outback. Aftermarket parts for that were 500.00. I just ordered stabilizers, tie rods and lower control arms for my '03 Pilot. I'll do that one for practice, then do the '12 later this month. I'll evaluate and maybe do struts at a later date. The '03 has started creaking in the rear when you go over speed bumps, so there's work to be done there, but it's also relegated to weekend duty so I'm not in a hurry.
 

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My '12 started creaking upon cold weather this season. Swell. I will start injecting heavy silicone oil w/ PTFE (using a 26ga hypodermic with tip ground blunt) where the various rubber suspension bits rub metal. When the noise stops, I'll know which parts to replace, if I become so motivated. Or I'll just inject silicone every Winter. Probably some pithy puns in there....
 

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I think the ONLY rubber bushings that have 'rub' in them are the anti-roll bar bushings, and diagnosis is simple: disconnect the links and tie the bar up, see if the noises go away. Other bushings are bonded in and out, so the rubber twists between the shells rather than rubbing.
 

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I've found Silicone oil (injected or sprayed) often useful for diagnosing upper strut mounts, worn lower control arm bushings (the non-fluid one), sway bar bushings, worn rear shock bushings, rear links, suspected front "dry" sway ball links (the 26 ga needle hole, if using a non-blunted needle, is usually self sealing). And silicone oil (injected or sprayed) troubleshoots with no tools or two disassemble/assemble cycles, should you not have same day access to replacement parts. Heck, for troubleshooting you can use WD-40, but if your goal is to find the bad part AND provide some short to medium term relief from the noise, heavy silicone stays put better.
 
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