Binding/humming | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Well-Known Member
August 9, 2009
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
04 xlt
2004 xlt v8. automatic 4wd.

This spring devloped a humming in the front end. Thought it was a wheel bearing, changed it (oem one). No better on the humming noise. Rotated tires, tried the spare, no better/ worse.

Today- got new tires ( same size but different brand) Humming is still there. Coming from the front. Can hear it at 40mph.

So I figure I would try the 4x4 High and see what it does.

Now when I turn it jerks/ shutters.

Something aint right and I need help.

Things replaced- rear end clutch packs at 33k(that was a different kind of binding. In 4x4 auto/normal 2 wheel drive it acts normal.
New rear end ring and pinion per the TSB.
Brand new tires
New ring and pinion seal up front/ fluid.
New left front bearing.

Help me out!

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Going to take it to ford here soon. But wanted to get some ideas on what I am in for, or if anyone has this type of issues.

Does the humming, binding, etc occur at slow speeds as well as at 40? There are quite a few TSB related to humming/binding

New ring and pinion seal up front/ fluid.
Help me out!

sometimes a leaking seal will indicate the bearing is going to bad too. . .

I am dealing with this on my '03 right now. Same thing you are describing and I've done almost the same repairs as you LOL!

Post back when you take it in. I just haven't gotten around to it yet.
I've already priced out rebuilding my front differential and it doesn't look that hard to take out & reinstall. Should cost me about $500 total.

Let me know what you find out on yours (hoping it's some easy repair we've overlooked).

thanks for the reply.

The binding only happed when I was turning at about 15 mph maybe? Just a normal turn. Road was crappy pavement.
My thing is I never drove it in 4wd high on dry pavement. Only time I put it in 4wd high was when it was a foot of snow and I went about a mile.
Other ford guys I have talked to said their trucks jerk when using the 4wd on dry pavement.

WE leave it in 4wd auto obviously and when it is snowing, back tires slip front kick in and away we go. everything seems to have worked fine that way.

So we will see what the ford shop says. I have a feeling this wont be easy. But I will mention that the front ring and pinion seal was changed. It was just seeping very little , no drips and my extended warranty was about to run up so I complained about it. Wish I had one more year on my warrenty as it was a 5 year/ 60k miles. I am at 63k miles and 6 years.

I will keep updated for sure!!!! wish me luck.

canceled my appointment at ford.

I need new brakes so I used that 100$ I would have spend on the brakes. The rears are only riding on 1/2 the rotor. I have heard of brakes making noise.

So off to do a brake job and I will post back. Hopefully with good news.!

new brakes on, no luck. Stops better.

NExt is front struts. left one is leaking and clunking a little.

My thought- no fluid in strut= nothing to quiet the noise ?

Regardless I have to fix the struts up front.

after that= right wheel bearing.

help me !

Let me know if that right wheel bearing does it.

My truck def. sounds like loud road noise from the tire (newer tires & rotated around so see if that would fix it - no). Mine is worse when I turn the wheel to the right and can barely hear it when I turn left. It's the drivers front but I can't figure out what in the world it is. Replaced the bearing already and bought a new axel shaft. Just haven't installed it yet.

Awhile back I had teh same front bearing noises. I sore up and down it was the left front. It got louder when turing to the right, etc... I had both of them replaced and told teh mechanic to keep them so I could see them. The Right front was worse than the left front. Both were not loose or anything like that. They were just difficult to turn by hand and did not turn smoothly at all.