A lot of parts in the E34 can produce "clunk",
"clink" and other "clank" noises.
The trick is to check the cheapest parts first.
Check list from the more probable to the less.
Loose strut housing nut
If you changed your shocks, you may have a loose strut nut. Take
a monkey wrench a tighten it. You don't need to remove the shock
assembly, just jack up the side.
Sway bar links
Place you car on ramps or stands then shake the link and check for
"clink" noise and play. You can also remove it and drive
slowly over bump to see if the noise is still here.
Shake the link for play. Check the ball joint.
How to check ball joints for play and noises:
Did you check for play with the car on the jack stands? If
yes, the joints may be still bad. You need to check with a
large channel lock type pliers and the car at ride height,
on ramps for example. If you can squeeze the joints top-to-bottom
when they are in their normal position, they are finished.
Time to replace the arm or ball joint.
Thrust arms (upper control arms)
Cause the infamous shimmy (50-60 Mph) and severely enhanced brake
shimmy. If the bushings had not been tighten under load, they will
be damaged. Check the bushings for cracks, jack up the front with
the wheel on and shake the wheel to locate the noise.
Use a pray bar under the arm to check ball joint play (they "clunk"
Control arms (lower control arms)
Check the bushings for cracks, jack up the front with the wheel
on and shake the wheel to locate the noise. If the bushings had
not been tighten under load, they will be damaged. Use a pray bar
under the arm to check ball joint play (they "clunk" when
Strut bearings / shock mounts
BMW mecanics say that the front ones last for a long time. Lift
the front of the car, shake the shock absorber for play.
Steering box mounting bolts
I had a vicious clunk in my front end during slow turns, mostly
backing in and out of parking spaces. I tightened the large gland
nut at the top of the strut insert, and replaced the sway bar links,
but it made no difference. Finally I took it back to the guys who
did the shocks and thrust arm bushings. They tightened the steering
box mounting bolts, and the bolts that hold on the front subframe
and it totally fixed the problem. (Information
from J. Calhoun)
You can easily locate noises by placing a screw driver with the
handle against your ear and the tip against the part to be checked.
If any of the ball joint boots are damaged, it is just a mater
of time before the ball joint goes bad, change the part.