Front end binding then popping | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Front end binding then popping

lwadef01

New Member
Joined
October 12, 2018
Messages
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City, State
Shawnee, Oklahoma
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Explorer XLT
Hey all. I've got a 98 explorer with the auto 4 wheel drive. (Auto 4 high & 4 low on the selector) It currently has 205k on the 4.0 engine. About a month ago I started to notice what seemed like a drag coming from the front end then my wife said that it was grinding & popping when she turned. A friend noticed that the brakes were down to metal on metal & all 4 ball joints were really bad so we replaced everything. Initially I thought we had it but my wife now tells me it's even worse. I finally got it to pop when I was driving. It feels like its binding on deceleration & a loud metallic clunk when you turn. I've read & watched every YouTube video I can find & still feel lost. Is it transfer case? Does it need friction modifiers in the front diff? I've even seen a video on a 02 mountaineer where the transfer case blew out. I really need help figuring this out. Thanks in advance.
 



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Unfortunately, it sounds exactly like how mine did when the transfer case self-destructed. Cost me about $800 to have it rebuilt at my locally owned transmission shop.
 






Sounds like the T-Case. I personally would just swap with a new one if that's the case vs. rebuilding it. The junkyards are full of trucks with wrecks and blown motors
 






Why does it only do it on rolling turns?
 






Hey all. I've got a 98 explorer with the auto 4 wheel drive. (Auto 4 high & 4 low on the selector) It currently has 205k on the 4.0 engine. About a month ago I started to notice what seemed like a drag coming from the front end then my wife said that it was grinding & popping when she turned. A friend noticed that the brakes were down to metal on metal & all 4 ball joints were really bad so we replaced everything. Initially I thought we had it but my wife now tells me it's even worse. I finally got it to pop when I was driving. It feels like its binding on deceleration & a loud metallic clunk when you turn. I've read & watched every YouTube video I can find & still feel lost. Is it transfer case? Does it need friction modifiers in the front diff? I've even seen a video on a 02 mountaineer where the transfer case blew out. I really need help figuring this out. Thanks in advance.
 






Hey guys I've got an update. I drove the explorer today & going straight down the road the 4x4 high & low lights would flash 4 times then stop. This happens about 1 time every mile or two. Could I have a bad sensor? A local transmission shop swears its because I have mismatched tires. Please any thoughts or tips are appreciated.
 












Hey all. I've got a 98 explorer with the auto 4 wheel drive. (Auto 4 high & 4 low on the selector) It currently has 205k on the 4.0 engine. About a month ago I started to notice what seemed like a drag coming from the front end then my wife said that it was grinding & popping when she turned. A friend noticed that the brakes were down to metal on metal & all 4 ball joints were really bad so we replaced everything. Initially I thought we had it but my wife now tells me it's even worse. I finally got it to pop when I was driving. It feels like its binding on deceleration & a loud metallic clunk when you turn. I've read & watched every YouTube video I can find & still feel lost. Is it transfer case? Does it need friction modifiers in the front diff? I've even seen a video on a 02 mountaineer where the transfer case blew out. I really need help figuring this out. Thanks in advance.
 






Hey all just an update on my explorer. I dove it this morning & going straight down the road @ about 55mph the 4x4 high & 4x4 low lights on the dash flashed 4 times then would stop & flash again a few minutes later. Could I have bad sensors ? A local transmission shop is convinced its because I have mismatched tires. It's an older vehicle & I don't have & don't want to spend a ton on it. Any thoughts or tips are greatly appreciated.
 






Your mechanic is on the right track. It's imperative you run all four tires with same make, size, tread depth and air pressure to prevent eventual harm to your transfer case with these Control Trac type drivelines. It may already be too late for you...but, it's worth a shot to get new tires and see if it makes a difference. You'll need to do this anyway if you have the t.c. replaced/rebuilt and want to continue to drive it without future issues.
 






Get the codes read, then most likely 4 new tires and a junkyard transfer case.
 






Probably doesn't need to be said...but, you are always taking a chance on a junk yard t.c. Willing to bet more than a handful of owners have sent their Explorers to the boneyard because of it. And, unless you feel especially lucky and/or love crawling under your truck more than once to replace one should it be defective, I'd strongly consider a rebuilt one.
 






I think most v6 Explorers end up in the scrapyard due to the 5r55e, and the SOHC. If you have pick and pulls there, just yank one from a wrecked Explorer, and not one that went to the boneyard for a mechanical failure.

The transfer case isn’t that heavy, or hard to replace.
 






I'm all for using used parts when reasonable...but, disconnecting drive shafts and maneuvering 65-70 lbs laying on your back isn't exactly something I want to do more than once. If I'm going to go to this trouble, it's one and done with some peace of mind that it isn't going to fail in the near future due to previous owners neglect or abuse. But, to each his own...
 
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I think most v6 Explorers end up in the scrapyard due to the 5r55e, and the SOHC. If you have pick and pulls there, just yank one from a wrecked Explorer, and not one that went to the boneyard for a mechanical failure.

The transfer case isn’t that heavy, or hard to replace.
It's been a great little truck. We paid $1700 for a super clean 140k mile auto 4x4 & we've had to do the basic wear items such as alternator @ starter but over 3 years & 60k later this is the 1st major issue. A local shop has reccomend disconnecting the 4x4 & turning it into a 2wd since motor & trans are strong. What are some thoughts on that?
 






It depends on the actual problem. You can pull the front shaft, and “brown wire mod it”. But a problem with the front diff, or transfer case could still be an issue depending on what it is.
 






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