front end noise when 4WD kicks in | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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front end noise when 4WD kicks in


Well-Known Member
October 25, 2008
Reaction score
City, State
Chicagoland, IL
Year, Model & Trim Level
98XLT 4WD SOHC,94XLT gone
I noticed last year, while driving on snow, that I was starting to hear front end noise when the 4WD kicked in. I've had the 98 since it was new and it was definitely a new noise. It was kind of a clanking sound. I don't use the SUV that much and once the snow was gone and the 4WD wasn't kicking in, there was no noise in 2WD

This year the noise is much worse.

A little more background info. I had to replace the lower ball joints on both sides and a tie rod end. I pulled the ABS sensors during that job. When I put it all back together. The ABS started kicking in when I braked hard or when braking while going down hill. I thought that it was from the driver side front brake (but not 100% sure) I pulled the sensor and saw grease on it. So I cleaned that up. But that did not fix it. I had also noticed that the rotor was scored so I went ahead and replaced the front rotors and pads. I'm still having intermittent problems with the ABS.

The grease on the ABS sensor makes me think that the Hub may be going. I also see that new hubs (from autozone or Adavanced) come with new ABS sensors.

I'm tempted to just go ahead and replace the hub and the half-shaft to try and fix the ABS issue and the noise issue.

Is the grease on the ABS Sensor an indication that I need to replace the hub?

I hate to start just throwing new parts at the problem (I'm not 100% sure that the ABS and Noise problems are from the side that had grease on the sensor). Any suggestion on where to start troubleshooting this?


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