Front end "jumping" when making tight turns and noisy front end | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Front end "jumping" when making tight turns and noisy front end

pet575

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 11, 2008
Messages
529
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City, State
Kansas City, MO
Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 Limited
2 questions:

1. I've replaced both ball joints and the outer tie rod end on the driver's side of my 2005 Ex Ltd. I've been told that all of my ball joints needed to be replaced, so I'm working on doing the passenger side ASAP. When I make a tight left hand turn (like when parking) the front end feels like it is jumping. Should I expect the ball joint/outer tie rod end on the passenger side to fix this?


2. When I back up out of my driveway and go down the curb, or when I reverse and then put the vehicle in forward, I hear clicking noises. Similarly, I hear a "groan" from my driver's front side when making sharp turns at very low speeds. Sounds similar to a wheel bearing but it seems different. Also, seems like I have a lot of rolling resistance when I have the steering wheel turned all the way in one direction and try to move from a stop-MUCH more resistance than when going straight ahead. Finally, I have what is a very low frequency and soft "thumping" sound coming from my driver's front side at highway speed that goes away when coasting or not doing a major acceleration. I've changed the wheel bearing in the last month and, while it was worn, I've not seen a huge change in noise reduction. I'm starting to suspect the CV joints are making these noises. Anyone agree/disagree with that?

Vehicle has 167K on it and the CVs and struts are stock.
 



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Yep, sounds like CV joints to me.

Might want to also make sure 4x4 is disengaging. When a truck is in 4x4 on dry pavement it "hops" when making tight turns.

Could be a combo of both problems. If it's been engaged for a long time now there's a good chance it's taken out your CV joints.
 






You might also want to ensure all of your lugnuts are tight on all of your wheels (tighten in a star shaped pattern), and that all of your tires are inflated to an equal pressure.

I experienced some similar noises when I had loose lugnuts on my new wheels.

Unequal tire pressures can trigger the auto 4x4 to kick in.
 






Thanks guys. This is AWD. I've owned it since there were 20K miles on it and it just started doing this a month ago. I've checked the lugs and know that that the tire pressures are right.
 






Well AWD engages on it's on so it can still be engaging the front wheels when it shouldn't.

AWD or 4WD it will still hop when the front wheels are driving on dry pavement.
 






Thanks guys. This is AWD. I've owned it since there were 20K miles on it and it just started doing this a month ago. I've checked the lugs and know that that the tire pressures are right.

If it is a AWD (4wheel drive no switches on the dash) that a symtom of the Viscous in the transfer case giving out. It can fail open or closed. You would have a Borg Warner 4410 (similar to the 4404 on which there are many threads). The diagnostic is to remove the front drive shaft is the binding goes away its most likely the Transfercase. How many miles?
 






Just to be clear, this is a new symptom and it does not do it when I'm turning to the right.

167K miles on it.
 






Hmm...I'm kinda out of my knowledge base here but if it's only one direction could it be a bad CV joint?
 






Still working on finding the time to get my passenger-side upper & lower ball joint and outer tie rod changed. Am going to get an alignment afterwards.

Since my last post, I've noticed that the noise I referenced originally has progressed to more of a louder hum from only the driver's front of the vehicle. It ONLY does it when accelerating or putting the vehicle under load. Goes away when coasting.

Does this help anyone with a diagnosis? Would hate to be a parts changer and replace the CV on that side and not have it go away (although at 170K on the original, it is not going to hurt anything to change it without reason-other than my wallet).
 






Have you changed tires recently? I thought I could get by just changing the rears since they were the most worn. The front started hopping under load and when turning corners. Two new tires on the front and the problem went away.
 






Still working on finding the time to get my passenger-side upper & lower ball joint and outer tie rod changed. Am going to get an alignment afterwards.

Since my last post, I've noticed that the noise I referenced originally has progressed to more of a louder hum from only the driver's front of the vehicle. It ONLY does it when accelerating or putting the vehicle under load. Goes away when coasting.

Does this help anyone with a diagnosis? Would hate to be a parts changer and replace the CV on that side and not have it go away (although at 170K on the original, it is not going to hurt anything to change it without reason-other than my wallet).


UPDATE:
Changed upper ball joint and outer tie rod end on passenger side. "Jumping" improved some but not completely gone. Still need to do the lower, hoping to have the time to do that within the next week.

As for the CV's, the noise I've been hearing continues and now has sort of a grinding noise that is constant at all speeds above 15 or 20MPH. Sounds more like friction of a brake pad on a rotor, but I have verified that the brakes are working properly and are not actually rubbing-I am just describing the sound I'm hearing. It started out VERY quietly and has gotten a bit louder.

Been starting to wonder if it isn't coming from the front differential to where I need to look in that direction. Rode in the passenger seat the other day and the grinding/friction noise sounded more isolated to the driver's side. Was expecting it to sound like it was coming from the center of the vehicle but that was not the case.

Does this help anyone? I think I'm looking at a CV replacement regardless since I'm facing 170K on this vehicle.
 






Everything (in my opinion) seems to keep pointing to a CV. And with those you need to do both at the same time, regardless of whether or not they both make noise.

Roll your window down and make tight turns on asphalt (slowly) and see if you can hear the noise get worse during a turn. If it "pops" or "clunks" at any point during the turn I'm inclined to say CV joint :(.
 






This weekend produced a revelation for me on this issue. When I pulled the wheel to begin inspecting and preparing for a half-axle change, I found that the rubber bushing inside of the hole which mounts the upper driver's side corner of the front differential has been compromised.

It appears to me that this corner of the differential merely hangs on a stud or peg-like structure and then bolts in on the passenger side. If so, the damaged bushing has the front differential tilting toward the driver's side of the vehicle a bit. To me, this explains all of the noises I'm hearing and performance issues I'm having.

I plan to still replace the CV's since I'm at 170K miles. Thoughts on the rest of this problem?

I see it coming out one of two ways;
(1) I replace the bushing and having the front differential back in its proper place makes everything fine again. Anyone think that is possible or am I facing #2 below?
(2) The front differential has been damaged and will have to be rebuilt.

Assuming it is #2, anyone have any guidance on how difficult it would be for ME to crack open that front differential and rebuild it myself? I'm handy but I've never done any transmission work. I've changed u-joints and CV joints before, but that is the extent of my extensive drivetrain repair experience.

Any help or guidance on all of this would be welcome. I'm going to start a new thread on front differential replacement/rebuilds as well.
 






Shouldn't be too hard to find just that bushing and replace it. See what happens after that.

If #2 then maybe you could go to the salvage yard and pick up a used front diff? I would think they see less wear than a rear diff so you could prob find a good one.

Rebuilding it yourself could save money but without the right tools or know how you could mess something up and end up having to put a used one in to replace it or take it to a shop to fix the damage.
 






Rebuilding it yourself could save money but without the right tools or know how you could mess something up and end up having to put a used one in to replace it or take it to a shop to fix the damage.

Well, I guess that is my question. From what I've seen in only a very VERY brief search online over the weekend, the front differential is a case full of parts that you can buy in an entire set. What kind of tools and/or "know-how" are we talking about to rebuild it?
 


















Hey man what did end up fixing ur expo. What happened to yours sounds the same as mine now.
 






I have not fixed it. My "fix" was to remove the front half-shaft. I know for sure that my front differential was/is bad. However, since that time I've grown to suspect that the transfer case (specifically, the viscous coupler) is what is causing the jumping/groaning on the low speed turns. I hooked it back up for the recent snowstorms and it is worse than before. I'm nearing 230K and I probably will get rid of the vehicle before next winter comes so I'll probably just unhook the front again and drive it until I get rid of it without fixing it.
 



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