high pitched chirping at slow speeds | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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high pitched chirping at slow speeds


November 3, 2004
Reaction score
City, State
Indy, Indiana
Year, Model & Trim Level
'96 Sport 4x4
Hello everyone. Thanks for reading my post. I have a 96 Explorer Sport 4x4. Basically in the last couple of weeks I have noticed a high pitched chirping coming from under the driver's side. I took off the front wheel today to check the brake and rotor. Everything seemed ok there. It only makes this annoying noise when im driving at 10 - 15 mph. When I get up to higher speeds it goes away. I have no clue what I should check and I dont have the $ to have a diagnoses by a pro. Any thoughts or ideas are much welcome. Thanks guys.

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I think I might have this problem too.

Did you notice that this chirp happens only when it is hot and dry? The chirp goes away when it is raining. I went on a diagnostic drive (in light rain) with the lead hand at our dealership and the problem didn't come up. He said it could be a rock or something lodged between the rotor and caliper and that would explain why the sound would go away when it is wet.

He recommended I coast down a hill with engine off and tranny in N to see if the chirp goes away. In my case,the chirp didn't go away so I know it is not an engine or tranny issue.

Lately I haven't heard it so I am not too worried about it.

Keep us posted on your troubleshooting.

Gixxer1000 said:
He recommended I coast down a hill with engine off and tranny in N to see if the chirp goes away. In my case,the chirp didn't go away so I know it is not an engine or tranny issue.

You can't say that the transmission is out of the question. Your gears in the differential(s) are still moving, which causes the driveshaft to move, which will cause some movement in the transmission. But yes, more than likely there is not a problem with your engine/tranny.


hello. explorerdmb and izwack made me aware that it maybe my u joint going bad. izwack described the exact same sound and under the same conditions 10 -15 mph.
so this is where ill be diving into today to inspect my u joints and hopefully get it fixed up! thanks

Could be a u-joint, could be the dust excluder seal. There is a TSB to cover the dust excluder seal. Common problem around here a few years back.... not so common now.



hello. today was the first day ive had to get under my x and examine the squeek. after taking off the skid plate and turning the d. shaft by hand, it seems that gijoe is right. the noise is coming from the seal between the shaft end and the yoke for the tranny instead of the u joint. now that ive narrowed it down to that im going to read up on what joe suggested. thanks a lot for your suggestions :)

The sound you describe is quite possibly either the serpentine belt tensioner or the idler pulley or both. A very easy fix you can DIY.

Good luck .........

Same Problem


Have the same problem and noticed it getting louder on a recent trip to Yellowstone. Loud enough to hear at slow speed going through small towns (sound reflects off the buildings) but no sound at higher speeds.

From reading it seems that the front yoke seal on the transfer case is sometimes the problem. I'm hoping for a u-joint or a dust seal.

Let me know what you find and I'll do likewise.

My problem was fixed by spraying some silicone spray on to the rubber dust excluder seal. basically i turned the d. shaft by hand and sprayed the seal. now the squeek is all gone. bandlow, i suggest that you take off the skid plate 4 bolts and get to where you can turn your drive shaft by hand and really see and hear where its coming from. mine squeeked from the rubber seal where the double cardon u joint meets at the transmission.
thank you to everyone and good luck band low :confused: