"clunking" sound from suspension | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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"clunking" sound from suspension


New Member
August 4, 2005
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City, State
charlotte, nc
Year, Model & Trim Level
'99 eddie bauer
my '99 eddie bauer explorer has recently developed a weird clunking sound coming mainly from the right from wheel somewhere in the suspension when i go over speed bumps and rough ground and such. Ive looked at it and nothings visibly wrong, then again i dont know too much about cars. does anyone have an idea about what it might be?

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Could be any number of things you can check yourself. Raise the front end, grip the tires at the 12 and 6 oclock posistion and give a good tug if theirs any play or losseness Ball Joints are going bad...then grab at 9 and 3 any play there its the tie rods.It can also be the sway bar bushing or end links on that side. Those you can replace yourself easily, bolt on and go. The ball joints are slightly more involved but not that hard with the correct tools.

I had a clunking sound and it turned out to be the shock bushings. You could tell by grabbing hold of the lower part of the shock and twisting or push and pull on it and it would move around a fair bit.

On all four shocks, the lower bushing in my 16 month old Explorer Pro Comp shocks had worn in two. I was able to get new bushings for a few bucks each and they seem to be made from stronger material.

It is a little difficult to see, but if you look close on the bushing in the shock, you can see that it has seperated in the middle. The new bushings are shown beside it.


I jacked up the explorer and tried moving the wheel like you said, and at the 6 and 12 oclock one, it was solid no movement at all, at the 9 and 3 o clock one, it moved a little side to side, but the left wheel was moving with it, it it was the steering i guess, nothing loose. I shook the sway bar when it wa sjacked up and when it was down, and there was no movement. i looked at all visible bushings, the lower and upper shock bushing, looks fine, but when it was on the ground, not jacked up, i tried shaking the shocks in the front both side, and there was no movement in the left one, but in the right one there was unnatural movement, and my intuition tells me its that, i want new shocks for a smoother ride anyways cause it rides rough as it is... but i also failed to mention in my original post that it also makes noise when i turn the wheel all the way to one side.... i dont know if that helps but thanks for the insight, and if you can make any more possible conclusions from this post, they would be greatly appeciated!


Hopefully you see this as I am having a very similar problem that I suspect is a bit more involved. I have a 00 XLT (4WD-65 K miles) with the same symptoms and this is what I found. Check the following carefully and let me know what you see:

Jack up the right side of the vehicle until the right front tire is off the ground.
(I did mine under the lower control arm)

Get a helper to move the tire. What you want them to do is grab the tire at the 3 and 9 (o'clock) position and slowly move the tire back and forth at your command. Lock the steering wheel so that additional play is eliminated.

Get under the front and observe the steering linkage on this side while the helper moves the tire. What you want to look at very carefully is the tie rod joint that connects to the right side knuckle and most importantly, the rod that leads into the steering gear. What I have seen is that this rod that goes into the gear seems to have too much play (my tie rod joint at the knuckle did not move relative to the knuckle during my test). This leads me to think I may have a problem with the steering gear. By definition-the knuckle is the part that the tire/bearing assembly is mounted on. Also, there was no observable bearing slop which would account for the movement.

Has anyone else had this similar problem ?? Would like to know what you found and what you did.

BTW- I did the test on the left side (driver) and did not see this play in the linkage there. There are no leaks in my system. Fluid levels are good. Lastly, ball joints on my vehicle are sound as well.

To me, it looks like I have an issue where the steering rod enters the gear on the right side of the vehicle. Of course, with the boot and all covering everything (boots are not cracked), I can't tell unless I get the thing out and look further. Don't want to go there yet.............



i also have a problem with somthing by the inner tie-rod..but thiers no play on the inner so i guess it somthing else in that area..

in stead of griping to tire are 6 and 12 o'clock on the tire, use a piece of pipe and put it under the tire and then pull up the the pipe..this is a better way becasue you can then be looking at your ball joints and look to see if thiers movement..

check your muffler, it could be broken off the hangar and resting on the leaf spring, thats what happened to my explorer

tom ford