UPDATED: I fixed it. Well, "fixed" it. Here's my fix.
Thank you again to everyone who helped me.
I'm writing here because I don't have authorship on the auto forums, and I'm hoping someone will know the answer or can share it to the car-smart people for me.
I have an 03 Jeep Liberty which for about a year has made kind of a "scroing-creak" noise coming from the front end, only when going over bumps/dips/speedbumps. I took it to 3 or 4 shops, none of them could figure it out. I recently had a several day road trip over some truly awful roads, and at one point I came over a set of railroad tracks and straight into a giant pothole.
My car now goes "kerWHAM!!", with the end "WHAM!!" sounding like a hammer hitting a rock, and a hard jolt I can -feel- running through the car.
I immediately took it in to the shop right after it started happening, and they said my boot(?) cv joint (?) (something under there, sorry) was bad and they replaced it and assured me the noise-and-jolt was fixed.
It is not fixed.
I'm still temporarily in a town with god awful roads, in fact I won't use the main street because it's a source of many many kerWHAM!! noises if I try.
Can anyone give me a good actual idea of where to start, that won't cost me more than the car is worth to fix?
-The noise-feeling *seems* to come from the front end, which has been looked at many times and recently had a thing replaced
-My car does not sit lopsided
-My car does not bounce crazily when someone jumps on either bumper, nor when driving
-There are no creaks or clicks or noises or resistance when steering
- There IS a persistent veer to the right (passenger side), which I tried to get fixed via alignment and it's still there. Same place that "fixed" the noise...sigh.
Any help would be appreciated. I really really need to know what to tell the mechanic to look at/for. Also, any guesstimate on how much it would cost to fix would be appreciated.
If I can't figure this out, my solution to fix it will be to get a new(er) car.
Thank you for your help, GT/Jalopnik/Oppositelock!