Front End Squeak | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Front End Squeak

Tyleryac

Well-Known Member
Joined
April 3, 2014
Messages
633
Reaction score
5
City, State
NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Ford Explorer XLT
While driving yesterday, i noticed this squeak when going over bumps. So, I crawled under and found a ripped ball joint. I'm guess this is what is causing the problem?

I attached pics of ball joints and struts.
 

Attachments

  • Left Ball Joint.jpg
    Left Ball Joint.jpg
    39.4 KB · Views: 359
  • Right ball joint.jpg
    Right ball joint.jpg
    49.8 KB · Views: 362
  • Left front strut.jpg
    Left front strut.jpg
    58.4 KB · Views: 351
  • right front strut.jpg
    right front strut.jpg
    65.3 KB · Views: 350



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.





While driving yesterday, i noticed this squeak when going over bumps. So, I crawled under and found a ripped ball joint. I'm guess this is what is causing the problem?

I attached pics of ball joints and struts.

Yes, that ball joint grease shroud is toast in the 2nd pic, so that joint has probably lost most or all of it's grease. The one in the 1st pic looks fine from that photo angle. You can test the movement within the ball joint with a pry bar to see if that joint is bad by now. Just type a question into the search bar at the top of the forum for past posts on "how to check for a bad ball joint in your generation Explorer". You'll also find posts on how to repair the upper ball joints as well and what tools you will need. As far as the squeaking noise you hear, bad ball joints usually make some kind of "thud" sound going over a bump, not a squeak to my experience with them. The squeak noise could be coming from old, but working struts and according to my mechanic who told me it is normal for 3rd gen Explorers to have squeaky, but still usuable good struts. A strut goes bad when they leak hydraulic fluid from them and the one in your pic looks dry, so I'd say it is still working okay. Your squeak issue could be coming from dried out "sway bar bushings" which is very common on these Explorers. I just changed my sway bar bushings 2 weeks ago, very simple job to do as long as the bracket bolts will loosen up. There are posts in here for that job as well. Hope this helps.
 






I would bet that the squeak you describe is from the sway bar bushings.

That said, your ball joints aren't looking good, but as the previous poster said, they usually don't squeak - more of a thunk or clunk.

I did upper control arms and bushings on my '02 XLT, along with sway bar bushings. Not a bad job, really.

I bought aftermarket upper arms that came pre-assembled with bushings - Dorman I think - they seem to be holding up well.

A word of caution - I actually think I installed the wrong sway bar bushings. It appears there is more than one size (diameter) available, so make sure you get the right ones. I think the ones I got were a little too big.
 






I wish I could get it on video. It's defiantly something with he front suspension. It's like an air spring noise. It's Lina hard to describe.
 






I
A word of caution - I actually think I installed the wrong sway bar bushings. It appears there is more than one size (diameter) available, so make sure you get the right ones. I think the ones I got were a little too big.

Yeah, there is more than one size in the sway bar's and bushings so you need to measure the diameter of the sway bar. I used a large crescent wrench to get the measurement by closing the jaws snuggly around the sway bar, then took a metric ruler to get the metric diameter from jaw tip to jaw tip. I did it this way because I don't have a digital caliper tool to take the measurement. My sway bar is 31MM in diameter.
 






I wish I could get it on video. It's defiantly something with he front suspension. It's like an air spring noise. It's Lina hard to describe.

I'm fairly certain I hear the same thing as you on mine and my mechanic said it was common for 3rd gen Explorer struts to become squeaky with age, but as long as they weren't leaking hydraulic fluid, they were okay to use. Just crank the stereo up with some heavy metal tunes from the 70's and 80's (Hair band stuff) and you won't notice a thing!
 






Haha I'm more of a country person. I'm going to swing by my mechanic tomorrow and set an appointment for him to look at it.
 






Haha I'm more of a country person. I'm going to swing by my mechanic tomorrow and set an appointment for him to look at it.

What I forgot to mention previously was, after I changed the sway bar end links and bushings, the front end of my Ex is much quieter when hitting bumps in the road. I know one of my previous end links had several splits in one of the bushings (was a bit over tightened when installed) and this caused excessive play and noise when the suspension compressed and the old sway bar bushings were quite dry (no grease) but were intact. Changing them definitely made a difference in how the front end sounds when hitting bumps in the road or turning corners. Before I installed the new sway bar bushings and to make sure I measured the sway bar correctly, I placed the new bushing (Moog OE) along side the old (factory OEM) one and they were exactly the same size, shape and dimensions as each other. I also had to remove some light rust from the sway bar that formed under the old bushing due to it being dry of grease.
 






Does the squeak sound like this?
 






Not quite.
 






It's alot like the noise in this video.

 












One way to isolate the problem - I used this successfully.

Put a small squirt of silicone spray lubricant in/on/around the area that you believe to be causing the squeak. Let it sit for a minute then try to replicate the squeak. I used this stuff: http://www.liquidwrench.com/pressroom/IMAGEGALLERY/detail.asp?t=image&i=9

If you go through the suspect components (ball joints, sway bushings, etc.) one at a time, you may be able to figure out which component is causing you problems.

This is NOT a "fix" for the problem, as any help from the spray lube will quickly go away - you need to replace the problem component. This may just help you find the culprit.

I suspected my sway bushings because they looked terrible. One quick shot of silicone spray lube on the bushings, right where the meet the sway bar, stopped the squeak immediately, so I knew that was the problem.

Maybe this will help save you some cash.
 






It's alot like the noise in this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CscrvojGj9U

That noise sounds just like mine did (haven't noticed it lately), but mine isn't as bad and I don't believe that noise is coming from any ball joints. It sounds more like dried out sway bar bushings or an old squeaky strut. I changed the lower ball joints on my Ex not too long ago and my uppers are fine (checked regularly), so it isn't a ball joint noise to me. Prior to changing my bad lower ball joints, I would hear a "loose sounding thud" type noise when driving over a bump in the road and you wouldn't hear that thud just pushing up and down on the fender of the vehicle.
 






I think it's the strut. I made an appointment with my mechanic this Friday. I'll let him check it out. Thank you all for the help.
 






I think it's the strut. I made an appointment with my mechanic this Friday. I'll let him check it out. Thank you all for the help.

If you are going to pay a mechanic to install new struts, better off having him change the whole "strut/spring assembly" as one whole unit. It is quicker and less labor time (cheaper) than separating the strut from the spring. Primechoiceautoparts.com sells a brand of strut/spring assemblies called "Strutteks" and they cost approx. $75 each and are much cheaper than Monroe's and other brand name struts. Several people in here have used them and like them. Ask the forum Moderator "Bigrondo" about them, he has them installed on his EX.
 






Got the ball joint replaced, and that seems to have taken out a lot of the noise. Some creaking remains but I think thats the struts. With the new Monroe promo, i'll order 4 of those.
 

Attachments

  • New Ball Joint .jpg
    New Ball Joint .jpg
    57.1 KB · Views: 242
  • Old Ball Joint .jpg
    Old Ball Joint .jpg
    42.9 KB · Views: 244






I got 4x Monroe quick struts. What is a good price to have a mechanic install? I got a quote today for $375 to do front and back.
 






That seems about right - I bet it's about 4 hours labor for a well equipped experienced shop to do all 4. I did my rear struts myself and it took me probably 6 or 7 hours, but with no prior experience and no lift (jack stands and a lot of cussing).
 



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.











Back
Top