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Front end creeking

awhughes

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City, State
Kernersville, NC
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 exp, xlt sohc, 4x4
I am experiencing a front end creek that is audible at slow speeds, i.e. coming to a stop and starting from stop. Its probaly occuring at higher speeds but with the road noise you cant hear it as well. The slip yoke lube removed the louder clunking but the creeking is still there. Milege is 120,000 on a 1997 4X4 EXP.

What is the typical cost in replacement of the many front end bushings? I have heard high quotes from people replacing ball joints, what about the other bushings? All of the bushings appear to be intact, and not cracked including the shock mounts. I can bounce the front end up and down and hear this noise. Any suggestions?
 



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cjbarron5

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May 20, 2004
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City, State
Ashland Mo USA
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 XLT
my 96 started this at about 120000 also ive just been to lazy to replace the bushings yet i saw a post on the board about the swaybar bushings being one of the bushings that can cause this problem and those are easely replaced at home
 






silvermelon19

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Waldorf MD
I just got the radius arm bushings down cuz they were really bad and the truck was making a very loud squeak and creeks when stopping and turning. Every place i called wanted 200 for each side but i took it to my gas station up the street with my own parts and got it done for 200 for each side, it took them 5 hrs.... cuz its hard as hell
 






awhughes

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City, State
Kernersville, NC
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 exp, xlt sohc, 4x4
I looked into the creeking. When I turn either wheel to the locked position and have someone push up and down on the bumper, I can feel a thud/creeking in the tie-rods as the vehicle raises and lowers. I felt the ball joint arm while doing this and dont feel the same thud in the part.

The tie-rod ends are inexpensive, what about their replacement ease? Can you visually place the new ones in the same position as the old rod ends or are you guarteed a new alignment. I need new tires, so I may go ahead and replace the tie-rods and have them align with the new tire installation.
 






JasonF

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2004 XLT 4x4 4.0
The creeking is most likely your ball joints. I had one that was unbearably loud when you turned the wheel or went over bumps. A set of new Moog Greaseable ones took care of that problem in a hurry, but the install was challenging.
I also just did my tie rod ends. This is a much easier task and yes, I was able to preserve my alignment by counting the number of turns and keeping the locknuts in place. Rockauto.com has great service and prices for the Moog parts.

Jason
 






awhughes

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City, State
Kernersville, NC
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 exp, xlt sohc, 4x4
Ok, Now I am convinced it is my tie-rods. I placed a 12" crecent wrench on the flats of the tie-rod and when I rotate the wrench thus rotating the tie-rod relative to its mount in the steering knuckle, I can duplicate a similar creeking noise.

The joint feels like no lubrication exists (sticky motion) and that is probably the case and root cause. One way to definetly isolate the problem is to remove the tie-rod from its mount in the steering knucle to see if the noise is eliminated when raising and lowering the front end. I will have the parts on hand to install if this test prooves out.

My noise is mainly audible when the vehicle starts to move, is coming to a stop or is rocked while sitting still. I know what a CV sounds like and this isn't it. The ball joint arm moves nicely (quietly), hopefully they are ok. (big bucks for them and not so DIY)
 






cjbarron5

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City, State
Ashland Mo USA
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 XLT
tie rod ends require an alignment afterwards but you can get them very close if you are good
 






awhughes

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City, State
Kernersville, NC
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 exp, xlt sohc, 4x4
Just replaced the outer tie rods to address my creeking noise in the front end. What a simple job. It took longer to remove the wheels than to replace the rod ends. I used OEM parts to obtain the exact geometry. I cut open one of the boots on the rod that felt the worst and it still had a small amount of grease in it and to my surprice the grease had not seen any contamination in 120k miles. Well of to the alignment shop for good measure with a quiet front end.
 






96XSport

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OC, Ca
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Expo Sport
Ok, I am glad I found this post. After reading through this I am still a little in the fog on where the noise is coming from. I have a 96 Sport with a small TT. Whenever i turn the wheel I hear some really loud clunking. Sometimes I can even feel it through the floor. How can i identify which ball joint, if there is one, that is bad.
 






goobenet

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May 29, 2004
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City, State
Waite Park, MN
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 XLT
I'm getting a similar noise in my 94 XLT. You can feel it in the brake pedal when going slow, or turning, but going fast either you can't hear it or it's doing something bad. :)

Sounds like when a nut has been rusted onto something for a while, and when you try to remove it, it makes that sound. Tie rods is the consensus? I was just hoping it's a lose caliper. :/
 






96XSport

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OC, Ca
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2003 Expo Sport
camburg has a pair of nice tie rod ends, i am 90% sure thats where it is coming from, i am going to put some of those babies on and i'll keep you posted on the results.
 






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