A Variety Of Concerning Sounds Coming From My Front End | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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A Variety Of Concerning Sounds Coming From My Front End


New Member
August 19, 2018
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2007 Explorer XLT
Hey everyone,

I just bought a 2007 Ford Explorer XLT, 4.0L V6, 4x4. When I purchased it a few days ago it test drove just fine other than a humming noise which the owner told me was due to a bad wheel bearing. 2 days ago I put a new wheel bearing and hub assembly in on the passenger side and that fixed the humming. I initially thought it was the drivers side that needed replacing and I had the drivers side calliper and disk off, but decided to double check before going further and determined it was the passenger side that needed replacing so I put it back together. Once I got to driving it around a bit more, I started noticing a variety of other concerning issues that seem to be coming from the drivers side front end:

1. While reversing with the wheel at full lock in either direction there was a loud click/pop and the vehicle lurched through the turn as if it were in 4x4, but it's not. The loud pop doesn't happen every time, but the lurching/slipping does. Here's a link to a video of this happening, there is quite a bit of noise from the wheels crunching over the gravel on the road, but you can clearly hear the pop at 8 seconds in: https://photos.app.goo.gl/MoPk6jc4qCbHnFak8

2. While driving straight in reverse with my foot on the gas a bit I'll start to hear a grinding noise and a similar lurching feeling. It feels like resistance builds up and then breaks, builds up and breaks. This does not occur when allowing the vehicle to idle in reverse, only when you get going a bit faster. This happens every time as well.

3. When slowly crawling forwards (no foot on the gas) there is a loud howling/whining noise. The noise gets louder when applying the breaks, and then goes away as the vehicle slows to a stop. The noise also goes away when I accelerate. The noise became slightly fainter when turning left and right, but not in a very repeatable manner. This issue seems to be intermittent. Here's a link to a video of this happening: https://photos.app.goo.gl/pXfL4JeDMrPmeRB88

4. I put the vehicle in 4x4 to see if that changed anything. The vehicle made the same loud pop and lurching feeling when turning right at full lock, but this time going forwards! It did the grinding/lurching in reverse going straight. It did not do the howling/whining noise while driving forwards, but that is an intermittently occurring noise.

All of these sounds seem to be coming from the drivers side front wheel. Aside from the one time in 4x4 and the howling/whining I mentioned above, the vehicle seems solid when driving forwards and turning. No lurching when turning at full lock, no grinding, no banging or popping. I've had it up to highway speed and there are no vibrations or other strange sounds. The brakes seem to be working just fine.

I double checked the work I did with the hub replacement. All the bolts are on and torqued to spec on both sides. Nothing seems to be catching or snagging when I turn the wheels back and forth. I haven't had a chance to get the vehicle up on stands yet, but I did slide my head under when it was on the ground and inspected both sides, everything looks to be in order. I have no clue if these issues were there before I bought the vehicle or if they showed up after my fix because I barely drove the damn thing before doing the wheel bearing. I didn't ever turn in reverse at full lock, step on the accelerator in reverse, or drive around in 4x4 before I fixed the wheel bearing. I can't help but wonder if I royally screwed something up while fixing it, but it's such a simple job, I'm sure I did it right.

Any ideas, suggestions, or over-the-web diagnostics would be greatly appreciated!

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Hi and welcome. Just want to check 4WD or AWD There is a viscous coupler in the transfer case of the AWD that can do this. If AWD disconnect the front driveshaft from transfer case to differential. If problem stops may have transfer case issue. Also check the fluid in the case
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It's a 4x4, not AWD. It has 3 settings, 4x4 Auto, high and low. I checked all the fluids, front diff, rear diff, transfer case, and tranny, as well as everything under the hood. It's all good.

Let me guess, the tires are not a match set.

I would still disconnect the front drive shaft. If the noise is still there then it's more then likely in the front axel. If the noise is gone then I would suspect the transfer case may have issues. As tech By Trade said check tires must be all the same size. Also many folks here had front end noise and though it was front bearings when in fact it was the rear bearings.

I agree, check your rear hubs too, they are hard to diagnose.

easier than disconnecting driveshaft is to unplug the 4x4 control module, its behind the glove box. even though you have 4wd vs awd, it is automatic and will engage 4wd based on the ABS if it senses tires turning at different speeds. if you have mismatched tires or they haven't been rotated and are uneven, it will cause the system to go into 4wd when it shouldnt...