Front end clunk - NOT ball joints | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Front end clunk - NOT ball joints


Well-Known Member
June 3, 2000
Reaction score
City, State
La Mirada, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
93 Limited
I checked the ball joints, there is very little/no play in the tires. The ball joints are not new but only 85K on truck and easy miles. I noticed when I jack the front end up, the cross link/steering bar can be rotated forward and back until it hits the front end axle/cross bars. The steering cross bar bushings look warn. I think when the front end bounces off the ground the steering cross bar hits the front end and makes the clunk. How sturdy should that steering cross bar be - should it not move?

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If that is what is causing the noise, there should be a mark where it hits from it hitting so often. If there's no mark then I doubt that's what's causing the clunk. Usually when someone talks about a clunking noise fix on here it's not something physically hitting something else. It's usually some kind of joint or bushing.

Have you lubed the front end lately? Check radius arm and sway bar bushings.

I did not see any zerk fittings to lube anywhere on the front end. The sway bar bushings are looking old and dry - but not lube fittings, can I just slap some grease around them?

Also, your radius arm bushings and/or sway bar bushings may be shot. Those were the reasons for my front clunking.

Replace the sway bar bushings. You can get Energy Suspension greasable with the grease fittings. I don't know if that's what's causing the noise but since you say they look old and dry, it wouldn't hurt to replace them.

Well, like most other people, I finally figured it out - it's the RA bushings. the passenger side is what is making the clunk, it's actually missing the inside rubber bushing and the ring is rattling when I drive. Just ordered Poly bushings from EE, but noticed they don't provide hardware - only bushings.

When you get into this further, you will likely find chunks of the cross member support missing where the bushing mounts. The manuals say you should replace the cross member if that happens, but the poly bushings seem to take it easily. I just cut the new bushing lengthwise to the center and slid them over the RA. Over 60K and no problem.