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Popping/grinding in steering when turning

Satz

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2011 Explorer XLT 302A
165k 2011 . I had a werid clunk and it turned out the spring it was jumping at an angle change. Monroe strut with spring and the noise cleared up. Werid as I have seen this spring jump case ever before.
 
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dont slow down

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Been searching for something and haven’t found much, however I did find what’s called a steering rack limiter and seems to be mustang related. It’s a plastic clip that snaps over the rack shaft and acts as a bump stop. While it obviously won’t offer the same shock absorption as the washer with rubber it may be a temporary fix for those that have to remove the mangled washers and rubber. It will at least keep the rack from traveling past it’s designed range of motion. It also wouldn’t require disassembly to install. Just cut off the existing washers and install the clips and boot. I’m wondering if the real stops are available in the aftermarket sector and maybe an alignment shop would know about them. Seems like explorers aren’t the only vehicles with these stops. I’ll see if I can find a knowledgeable alignment tech to talk to.

Also since we are on the topic of the inner tie rod area I thought it would be good to share this note that I found in the Ford Explorer factory service manual.

NOTICE: When servicing inner tie rods, a new bellows boot and clamps must be installed. The boots and clamps are designed to provide an airtight seal and protect the internal components of the steering gear. If the seal is not airtight, the vacuum generated during turning will draw water and contamination into the gear, causing failure of the steering gear components. Zip ties must not be used as they do not provide an airtight seal.

NOTICE: The inner ball joint grease is not compatible with water contamination. Do not allow water to become trapped in the grease or degradation and failure of the joint may occur.

EB54A5B5-6D49-4366-830B-463EA617CE1A.jpeg
 

k2dub125

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Came here with the same symptoms and same year and trim as Maxud. Preparing to take a look at my Explorer but may instead check extended warranty paperwork for coverage if the solution is likely a whole to rack for something so simple.

Maxud: thanks for the details and pictures.
Took my 2016 Explorer Sport to the dealer with this clunking issue. Didn't get pictures but the root cause sounded like the same as Maxud's. Fortunately, my 3rd party extended warranty covered a new steering rack.

Not looking forward to this washer failing again after that warranty expires. Without the warranty, it would have been ~$2200. Hopefully, there will be an aftermarket solution by then to replace just the washers and not the whole rack.
 

Maxud

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I too am here because of the same symptoms, narrowed down to passenger inner tie rod area. Even went as far as to start sourcing new inner tie rods and preparing to order them. I see this has been found to be the steering stops inside the rack. And it seems absurd that these stops are designed they way they are. I am currently on my second rack from ford. First one was replaced around 30k miles, now I’m at 106k miles. I hope Maxud would be kind enough to share if the mustang stops fit or work in this rack. I don’t feel comfortable removing them completely, I feel this may extend the rack beyond its limits and cause damage to the rack. I will start looking for other options and alternatives to this part, hopefully we will be able to find something to replace this part with instead of replacing the entire rack. Maxud, can you give any estimated dimensions of this stop? Inner and outer diameter, possible thickness? Thanks so much for sharing the information you found!
I threw away the old parts, right before it dawned on me what they were. I will be following up with the repair, so this time, I will measure things up and provide resolution.
 

dont slow down

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Came across this site that sells rack and pinion rebuild kits. Seems like a fairly stock photo but I wonder if the stops would be included in the kit? The photo shows two stop looking things but I'm not sure if they would be stops or the actual end seals? I will email the company and ask. Here is the link and a pic.

2011-2015 Ford Explorer Power Steering Rack and Pinion Seal Kit

genericseals-6-640.jpg
 

dont slow down

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I contacted that company about its kits and they responded, the bump stops are not included in the kit and are not available separately. That's disappointing.
 

dont slow down

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Still searching for something to use, haven't found anything yet.
 

Maxud

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As promised, coming back here with resolution. Hold my beer.
Here are the parts I purchased:
https://www.amazon.com/1979-2004-Mu...op+Spacers&qid=1573233017&s=automotive&sr=1-1

Worked like a charm. I first installed one spacer, put it back together and tested, it was not enough, so I put second
stopper, that was Perfect. So I ended up with 2 spacers on each side.
Spacer spec is as following: 6.5mm depth, about 23mm inner, 32mm outter diameter. The great part is that its plastic and meant
to spread apart.
The passenger side shaft is 30mm, inner diameter of the rack tube is about 47mm
The driver side shaft is 28mm, inner diameter of the rack tube is about 47mm

Here are various Ford spacer part numbers I found
N804842-S Steering Limiter - 6.5mm <- this is the ones I bought
N808506-S Steering Limiter - 10.65mm (blue)
N807853-S Steering Limiter - 2.4mm
W705003-S Steering Limiter - 4.25mm
W705004-S Steering Limiter - 7.25mm

Unfortunately I dont know original thickness of the limit stoppers, so best I can guess is that they are more than 6.5 mm and less than 13mm.

Here are pictures of the completed job. Spacers fit snug, I snapped them right after inner tie rod at the outer edge of rack.
They stay in place and not gonna move anywhere.

Picture of single spacer

sp1.JPG


Rubbing mark on wheel well liner
sp2.JPG



Rubbing mark on Lower control arm

sp3.JPG


Passenger side with two spacers

sp4.JPG


Driver side with two spacers

sp5.JPG



Driver side, shows the inner tube
sp6.JPG


I am fully confident in this repair, feel free to spent $15 on 6 spacers, vs $1500 on a new Rack.
Nice job Ford.
 

dont slow down

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That is great news! Those were the only thing I could find that would be relatively close to working. Thanks so much for sharing the pictures. What did you use to resecure the boot to the rack? The factory clamps require a special tool I believe and I was thinking about doing hose clamps until I read the not about the seal needing to be airtight.
 

Maxud

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That is great news! Those were the only thing I could find that would be relatively close to working. Thanks so much for sharing the pictures. What did you use to resecure the boot to the rack? The factory clamps require a special tool I believe and I was thinking about doing hose clamps until I read the not about the seal needing to be airtight.
I have the special tool, but its of no use here, because there is no space to use it. I used zipties, get it nice and tight and its as good as factory. As a matter of fact, because I had to do the job twice, the original zipties I put on held perfect. Yes, given the perfect world, I would have used oetiker clamps, but in this case, there is just noway.
Don't stress out too much about the factory requires statement. Factory requires a whole new rack if your steering stops fail.....
 
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gideon123

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Below are cut off washers with remnants of rubber donut.

View attachment 175353



Passenger side steering exposed, beat up washer just hanging on the threads

View attachment 175354


Close up on the washer

View attachment 175355


Driver side steering exposed

View attachment 175356

Thanks so much for the pics. I am almost certain I have the same issue with my 2014 Explorer LTD. I'm located in Korea and the dealer wants to charge me approx 2000 USD for parts and labor!!!

Other shops won't touch my Ford because the mostly know about Hyundai and Kia so they are uncomfortable. What will eventually happen if I just ignore this problem and let this rings wear down after extended periods of turning the wheel? Eventually, what will happen? I don't really have the cash to get it repaired at this point :(
 

Maxud

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Thanks so much for the pics. I am almost certain I have the same issue with my 2014 Explorer LTD. I'm located in Korea and the dealer wants to charge me approx 2000 USD for parts and labor!!!

Other shops won't touch my Ford because the mostly know about Hyundai and Kia so they are uncomfortable. What will eventually happen if I just ignore this problem and let this rings wear down after extended periods of turning the wheel? Eventually, what will happen? I don't really have the cash to get it repaired at this point :(
I would highly recommend to not just ignore it. This is most definitely a safety issue. Piece of that washer can get wedged between the steering arm and the outer housing, rendering you unable to turn. Right (passenger side is especially bad, because of the shape of the arm.
 

henautio

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Oh this thread was my savior! Had same symptoms in my 2015 Explorer. Semi random clunking sound normally when driving in garage etc, but 100% reproducible when I reversed from drive way and steered right. I hope I would have found this thread before I replaced strut mount bearings on both side.

20200101_152523.jpg
20200101_152542.mp4

Is that washer originally located near the sealant or what is the purpose of that thing?
 
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Mekks082

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Had this popping on the pass side. Pulled the boot today and sure enough the metal ring just loose and bent all up. The rubber "bumper" was just crumbled and in like 20 parts. Cut the metal ring off with tin snips and installed 2x of the mustang plastic stops someone posted here. Also pulled the driver side but the stop was still good so I left it. I was unsure about zip ties so I used some worm clamps.

The only advise I can give is to pull the end link off the sway bar on both sides and rotate it up. Made a lot more room.

*EDIT* Now after going back over this thread... I only had one metal ring floating around. Their should be two correct? I poked at what could have been a second ring inside the rack but it didnt budge. Should I attempt to pull it out?
 
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