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Grind sound/whirling sound when turning


Active Member
January 25, 2015
Reaction score
City, State
Oklahoma, OK
Year, Model & Trim Level
2017 Explorer Sport
2008 explorer 4x4. Starting to notice a grinding/whirring sound from the front when making a left turn.

The best way for me to describe the sound is this:

If anyone is familiar with the 4x4 IWE system on F150’s, then the explorer is making the sound when the IWE’s are going out. where the vacuum is unable to fully disengage the hubs thus causing the hubs to be half engaged thus making a grinding sound.

Now I’m pretty sure that the 2008 explorers don’t use a vacuum system to engage/disengage the hubs and I don’t think the 08 explorers have an IWE system like the trucks do.

Could this be the signs of a hub going out? Or could it be something in the front differential? Or transfer case?

I don’t want to put hubs on it if I don’t have to, looks like a time consuming job.

Right front wheel bearing is most likely. Its a very common thing on the explorers. The wheel bearings on this car are not the easyest thing for a diyer with basic tools but it can be done. I recommend if you plan on doing it yourself check out some wheel bearing threads on here to get some idea of what you may need. Also feeling for play in the wheel usually doesnt work for diagnosing a bad wheel bearing on these vehicles.

Front end is live all the time.
Front drive shaft has a clutch on it at the transfer case.
In AUTO the clutch engages when the tires spin as needed.
In 4x4 the clutch is always engaged.
For 4x4 low you need to stop, hold brakes, and shift into neutral before it will transfer.

If the hub is that far gone you should be able to figure out which one it is with some certainty, if you want. Jack the whole front end up off the ground so both tires can spin. Have someone hold the opposite tire still so only one turns at a time, if it vibrates as you turn the tire, its bad.

These hubs are not super easy to get off. I bashed one off a few weeks ago on mine. The first time I changed one I took the knuckle off and punched it out. This past time I just hit it from the sides with a sledge hammer and wiggled it out without having to take off the knuckle. It beat the old hub to hell but it worked.

NAPA carries SKS, they're like $325. There are cheap ones on the internet. Check rockauto, I bet you can get one for like $125, might not last long though.