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'02 Explorer... grinding / grabbing / stuttering -- noise and feeling

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by tod728, February 16, 2014.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. tod728

    tod728 New Member

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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2002 Ford Explorer
    I have a 2002 Explorer 4WD -V8. Whenever I take off from a stop, I feel and hear a stuttering, grabbing, grinding noise... It goes away over say...10 mph or maybe 15 mph. It FEELS very similar to when you are in 4WD but on dry pavement.... It seems to be worse when I am turning, but that could be my imagination.

    It started about six weeks ago. I tried changing the diff fluid, the transfer case fluid, the tranny fluid, and the front diff fluid (no change).

    I changed the front bearing/hub assembly last week (no change).

    I was going to change the rear wheel bearings next, but I really feel like it is not coming from the wheel bearings...

    Today I jacked up the rear end with both tires off the ground. I started the car, put it in drive... the wheels go about 1/2 a turn & STOP! Then they go about 1/4 turn & STOP AGAIN! Then about a half a turn or so & stop again.


    They are being "grabbed" by something.


    With the engine off, I turn the wheels by hand... same thing-- they hit a stopping point. Then it lets go, and starts turning again... then it hits a stopping point. If I push HARD... I can force it on thought the "grab". This is exactly what happens while driving.

    Suspecting the transfer case, or tranny, or front diff is locking up, I tried jacking up the FRONT end for the same experiment.

    The front wheels turn freely with no issues.

    I am now convinced that for some reason, either my transfer case or transmission is GRABBING.

    What would cause this, and what would the solution be?

    Ideas?

    Anyone?

    Bueller? ...anyone?
     
    Last edited: February 16, 2014
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  3. wdeleeuw

    wdeleeuw New Member

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    I am having the same problem with our 04 Explorer. But my grinding is only about one second long when accelerating from a stop. I, too, haave jacked the back wheels up and run the car in drive and reverse, and I get the alternate grabbing....but I suspect that may be normal because the differential drives one wheel until the speed sensors detect a difference in wheel speed and kick in the auto 4WD. Hey mechanics out there, am I right? What could our noise be? (mine sounds like knobby tires on a jeep, but just briefly when I go from a full stop to maybe 2 mph)
     
  4. broncojunkie

    broncojunkie Member

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    I'm pretty sure the wheels spinning off and on is normal. The system is trying to find traction. Also, when you changed the diff fluid, did you add the Ford friction modifier? It's required for limited slip diffs. You'll have whining/grinding/shutter without it. Plus, you should have put in heavier fluid than it had from the manufacturer.
     
    Last edited: April 20, 2014
  5. tbone0106

    tbone0106 New Member

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    2002 Explorer XLT
    YES!!! Well described! Stuttering, grabbing, grinding... It was so much like wheel/tire bind that I removed the front driveshaft, thinking I'd just run the vehicle in 2WD -- no difference at all.

    Mine is an XLT with the 4.0 V6, 5-speed auto, 4WD. Problem is either non-existent or undetectable at highway speed. At slow speeds, especially when turning from a standing stop, it is so pronounced that it makes me wince, and I want to straighten the wheel. No popping or hopping or skipping, no loud noises. If there's "noise" at all, it's my teeth grinding.
     
  6. morbid81

    morbid81 Active Member

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    This maybe way out there, But it only happens coming from a stop, possible a caliper is hanging up and not releasing fully like it should?
     
  7. roush9799

    roush9799 Active Member

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    Put 3 bottles of friction modifier, 1 bottle from ford and 2 of the tubes from Napa and get back with me after about a week of driving. It finally cured mine after 3 bottles of it and a week of driving. It's been noise and chatter free for over a year now.
     
  8. tbone0106

    tbone0106 New Member

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    I thought about that. Inspection says no. In any case, a sticking brake caliper would be something pretty easy to detect because it would cause the car to "pull" one way or another in a pronounced fashion, and that ain't happenin.'

    Looking at the punkin, I can see that the passenger side seal is leaking. It's very possible that the diff is low on oil, and that's my next step.
     
  9. tbone0106

    tbone0106 New Member

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    Did you put it in the front diff or the rear? Or both? I have a feeling my problem is in the rear diff, mainly because it "disappears" when I let off the gas, and without the front driveshaft I'm not applying any power directly to the front diff. What say you?
     
  10. roush9799

    roush9799 Active Member

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    I put it all in the rear. I put the Ford stuff in, it didn't help much at all. I remember when my F-150 I had did this they told me to put more in. I went to Napa and got another tube of it. There's comes in a tube. It helped a bunch, but I could still slightly notice it. I put in one more from Napa and I haven't had any grabbing or noise since. I believe the front differentials are open differentials, so the modifier wouldn't have any affect on them.
     
  11. broncojunkie

    broncojunkie Member

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    I had a rear caliper freeze up last summer while on vacation. I could feel it a little, but it didn't seem to pull at all. Best way to tell is to get out and smell it after driving. Mine was very obvious. I changed it out in a parking lot. Took 20 minutes and I was back on the road. Easy to diagnose and fix.
     
  12. tbone0106

    tbone0106 New Member

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    UPDATE!!!

    I bit the ($50) bullet and invested in a couple quarts of Mobil 1 Synthetic Gear Lubricant LS and a tube of Trans-X Posi-Trac LS Gear Oil Additive. The drain plug on the punkin was stiff, but it was persuaded by enough muscle on the far end of a 30" breaker bar. But the fill plug was easy to turn -- TOO easy. I bought the vehicle just a couple months ago, and I suspect the rear punkin was "topped off" with whatever came handy.

    I drained it all (Didn't see any sawdust, but I had that Barney Fife feeling the whole time...) and refilled the diff with the new stuff -- about 45 oz. of Mobil 1 and 6-7 oz. of the additive -- until it began running out the fill plug hole. Buttoned everything back up, and headed for the nearest bit of highway....

    Eureka! LOTS of noise gone, and that pesky (ALARMING!) chattering is almost completely absent. It is quite literally like driving a different vehicle at highway speeds, and parking lot maneuvers are no longer cringeworthy.

    Thanks to all! Now it's on to solve the transmission issues! (I'll get that in another thread.)
     

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