Some 2005-10 Tribute SUVs and 2008-10 Tribute hybrid models, all built on or before Nov. 9, 2009, may produce a click or pop from the front end when going over bumps and other rough road surfaces. Mazda attributes the noise to one of two conditions: loose nuts at the stabilizer link upper strut attachment or worn stabilizer links.
To determine which problem you're dealing with, get the vehicle on a lift.
Now reach up into the upper strut area and check if the stabilizer-link-attaching nuts are loose. If they are, remove the nuts on both sides of the vehicle and replace them with revised, taller attaching nuts, part No. 9XG1-51-350M, tightening them to spec.
If the attaching nuts are tight, that condemns the stabilizer links as the cause of the noise.
Replace both links with new-design components, part No. ZZC0-34-150, making sure you use the taller nuts at the upper attachment points.
"Factory Fixes" is written by Jim DePalma, a 30-year veteran of the auto repair business who has served stints as a service manager, parts manager and ASE-certified technician. His column provides vehicle manufacturers' authentic factory technical service bulletins (TSBs) that have been condensed for easier reading. Mr. DePalma advises that techs always check with a dealer or repair information system for the latest revisions before starting to work on a vehicle. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].