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Front end noise; Please help

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by RobbyKlotz, July 2, 2011.

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    1. RobbyKlotz

      RobbyKlotz New Member

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      So heres the deal. I have a 97 Explorer, XLT. I cannot give a lot of background on it because I bought it used "from a guy". The truck is 100% stock except it has 20" wheels on it, with low profile tires.

      While driving, especially at lower speeds where it is easier to hear, I keep hearing a crunching type of sound as the wheel spins coming from the front drivers side wheel area. It makes an awful racket, but I am not sure the best way to explain it other than clanking/crunching.

      Naturally, I thought CV joint, so I replaced it however it did not solve my problem. I am not a very mechanical person, I fix things, but I really suck at diagnosing problems.

      My stress level has reached an all time high as this is my daily driver to and from work. Only other thing I can think of would be a wheel bearing, but would it make the type of sound that I have described above?
       
      Last edited: November 4, 2011
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    3. gc67

      gc67 New Member

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      Have you tried swapping the front wheels to see if it could be the actual wheel?
       
    4. mr cribb

      mr cribb US Army Retired Elite Explorer

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      It could be a wheel bearing. The only time I heard a bad wheel bearing, it was more of a growling.

      If I'm not mistaken larger wheels can cause extra stress on the wheel bearings.

      Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on this.
       
    5. RobbyKlotz

      RobbyKlotz New Member

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      Haven't tried swapping the wheels around. However, I will try it. If that doesn't solve the issue, then I will look at replacing the bearing.
       
    6. RobWilJas

      RobWilJas New Member

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      Is it a 5.0L V8 AWD? Mine makes the same noise, and I have new bearings. I can especially hear it when next to something that will echo the sound, like in a drive-through. I think it's the front driveshaft.
       
    7. RobbyKlotz

      RobbyKlotz New Member

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      I changed out the front wheel hub on the drivers side, did not fix the issue. Of course the noise is more noticeable at lower speeds, and stops when you turn.

      I am out of ideas, so any help would be appreciated as I am tired of randomly replacing parts.
       
    8. SoNic67

      SoNic67 Well-Known Member

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      Unfortunatelly, short of strapping yourself under car while driving, you cannot accuratelly tell if th enoise id from tires, wheel bearings, front shaft bearings or CV joints.
      If the noise changes when you turn I would guess is the CV joint, because that's the only part that changes "shape" during turning.
       
    9. RomeovilleIL

      RomeovilleIL Well-Known Member

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      Might lifting the front of the truck on jackstands and turning the wheels by hand to see if there is resistance or noise. If it only happens with weight on the truck and changes with turns, that crunching if might be a ball joint.

      If all else fails, go in to Pepboys or some other bigbox chain for a free inspection. They will give you a nice printed list of everything out of spec so you know what to fix along with estimates for those items you dont feel qualified to handle yourself.
       
    10. RobbyKlotz

      RobbyKlotz New Member

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      I believe I have narrowed down the sound of the noise today. I believe it is coming from the front drive shaft, where it goes into the transfer case.

      At this point my only thing to be seen is, what could have failed? To the best of my knowledge (I haven't taken it out yet) the rear of the front drive shift simply goes into the transfer case so there is no U-Joints to have failed. Please correct me if I am wrong, but where should I go from here?
       
    11. mr cribb

      mr cribb US Army Retired Elite Explorer

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      Front shaft has u joints like the rear does.
       
    12. RobbyKlotz

      RobbyKlotz New Member

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      What I am curious about is where the driveshaft goes into the transfer case. When I get under the truck and move the driveshaft in this area is where I can hear the noise coming from.

      From what pictures I can see on this site, is a cup type of thing, but no u-joint. Just this "cup" thing is what has be utterly confused.
       
    13. rdw59565

      rdw59565 New Member

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      It is a type of a cv joint. It can be rebuilt, I did mine. You can get the rebuild kit from Rock Auto. If you are marginally mechanically inclined it isn't too difficult. You have to remove the shaft to do it so replace the front u-joint while you are at it. If you are up to it, this is the part you need.

      DORMAN Part # 932201

      Here is a how-to guide

      http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=259861
       
      Last edited: November 6, 2011
    14. mr cribb

      mr cribb US Army Retired Elite Explorer

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      http://www.autozone.com/autozone/pa...o43j?counter=0&itemIdentifier=158195_76032_0_

      Is this is what you're referring to... it's called a propeller shaft. And it's repairable.
       
    15. RobbyKlotz

      RobbyKlotz New Member

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      thank you rdw for the information, should there be much side to side/ up and down play where the shaft goes into the transfer case? When I get under there I notice play, and alot of noise, even when I try to turn it. My guess is this "cv joint" is shot and should probably be rebuilt.

      Thoughts?
       
    16. Turdle

      Turdle Has Pleasure Chamber Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    17. rdw59565

      rdw59565 New Member

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      Could be. I didn't have a whole lot of movement in mine, I rebuilt mine because the boot was torn.

      Good luck.
       
    18. Joe Dirt

      Joe Dirt Explorer Addict

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      Don't underestimate the possibility of the transfer case being bad... My '97 was doing the exact same popping thing, and after replacing the front driveshaft, it ended up being a bad viscous coupler in the transfer case.
       
    19. RomeovilleIL

      RomeovilleIL Well-Known Member

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      Take the front shaft off and take a test drive to see if the noise and vibration is still present. The CV has 6 bolts, u-joint is 4 with 2 retaining straps. Simple & free test. Once the shaft is off, you can also turn the CV by hand and feel for slop or binding.
       
    20. SoNic67

      SoNic67 Well-Known Member

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      Tell him also that driving without front shaft will stress the vascous coupling inside center differential (that some people still call incorectlly "transfer case" like in the 4x4).
       
    21. RobWilJas

      RobWilJas New Member

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      It's still called a transfer case as it transfers power to the front and rear axles. Even the manufacturer calls it a transfer case.
       
    22. SoNic67

      SoNic67 Well-Known Member

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      Technically, it is a center differential with limited slip provided by a vascous coupler. Very different in functionality from a straight transfer case.

      The front/rear differentials do the same thing (transfer power to the wheels), but you don't call them transfer cases.
       
    23. RobWilJas

      RobWilJas New Member

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      I'm very well aware of what it is and how it works. Technically, it is still a transfer case, and it is called a transfer case.
       
      Last edited: November 8, 2011

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