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Popping noises from front, toe/camber problems

ron0429

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hey all, my 93 has been having issues in thr front end. ive been hearing these popping noises that can be pretty loud at times, and ive been having problems keeping my toe and camber aligned. my truck has recently been lifted 6" and ever since then it has thrown my alignment out of whack. ive brought it to a shop and had it aligned only to find it is toe-ing out again in the front as i can see the wear pattern on the inside of my tires. Also, she gets speed wobbles like a b*** over 40-45 mph. I've replaced my hubs and tie rods in the front. this leads me to believe i may need to replace my ball joints? could this be the cause of my alignment problems as well? any help is greatly appreciated. On another note i am running with 2" wheel spacers idk if this could be putting extra stress on the hubs or ball joints up front?
 
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Gadget X

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The spacers will put extra strain on the bearings and ball joints. Have you checked you radius arm bushings? I'd bet that it's one of those things. Good luck!
 
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ron0429

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i have not but i will, thanks for your input. since the lift i havent had a chance to get those 35's ive wanted bc im afraid they will wear unevenly with my current problem i hope this problem isnt persisting because my tires are too small for the lift? but once i get wider tires and rims i wont need these spacers.
 
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Anime

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The popping noises usually means ball joints, especially the lower ball joints, though sometimes the radius arm bushings cause such noise when they are worn out as well.

You can check if the ball joints are bad by lifting up the wheels at the axle, then either grabbing the bottom and pulling to see how much play there is, or getting some kind of long handle stick tool or long piece of metal/wood and sticking it under the tire from the front, then prying upwards with the leverage and looking at the ball joint/steering knuckle to see how much play there is. If the ball joints have play, it will probably be so much that you'll see them move quite a bit with the lower part of the steering knuckle and the tire.

I'd suggest getting the new ball joints from NAPA, they have heavy-duty greasable ones with a lifetime warranty. Stock replacements from Ford are ok, but most other ball joints aren't going to be up to the task of the loads and stresses from larger wheels and tires and off roading.

Wheel spacers in general are a bad idea. They move the tire contact point outwards, and basically extend the axle and increase the forces and leverage on everything. Having smaller tires, like 31"-33" with a 6 inch lift doesn't cause issues, except maybe a slightly high center of gravity for the tire width. You can get 33's that are as wide as 35's, too. With 4.10 gears though, even pushing 32's or 33's is a bit much. You'll need 4.56 gears before stepping up to 35's.


You can read up here on the TTB front suspension and steering, it's actually pretty easy to adjust the toe in/out yourself, and can be done in small incraments so you tweak it to get it right without needing to take it to a shop each time:

http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/Alignment.shtml

http://www.therangerstation.com/Magazine/winter2008/steering_tech.htm
 
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ron0429

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great info thanks:thumbsup:
 
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cmhaah06

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I've had the same problems lately. I run extremely soft springs (300ppi) with the stock dana 35 Ibeam front axle, 6" skyjacker class II lift brackets and James duff long arms. I recently replaced all the ball joints, steering linkages and tie rods. I have the extreme drop pitman arm but can't seem to keep the camber and toe in check. I think it's mainly because of the soft springs. Luckily, I bought the lifetime alignment from my local Firestone shop. However, I was told to go to my local 4wheelparts and have them do a alignment. IDK. I just pulled a new/used steering gear box from the local pick n pull and plan to swap that in to see if that maybe a contributing factor. If you find something before I do, let me know. It's the last little noise my ex makes while driving down the road and I'd love to get rid of it! I'll do the same for you if my fix works.
 
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BKennedy

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I could never keep my Explorer aligned with that much lift. One good off road trip and it would knock it out again. You are at the limits of the TTB suspension without modifying the beams.
 
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ron0429

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I could never keep my Explorer aligned with that much lift. One good off road trip and it would knock it out again. You are at the limits of the TTB suspension without modifying the beams.

are there aftermarket beams that they make that would help my situation bkennedy?
 
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cmhaah06

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We'll I replaced the pivot bushings and that cleared up some of the popping. I plan on swapping out the steering gear soon. The steering gear that's on the explorer is the only item on the frontend that's left untouched. Hopefully that solves my issues.
 
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BKennedy

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are there aftermarket beams that they make that would help my situation bkennedy?

Yes. Several fabricators will cut and turn your beams or sell you new. PM Maniac. He seems to be happy with his.

Sent from my XT907 using Forum Runner
 
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BKennedy

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We'll I replaced the pivot bushings and that cleared up some of the popping. I plan on swapping out the steering gear soon. The steering gear that's on the explorer is the only item on the frontend that's left untouched. Hopefully that solves my issues.

How are your springs attached? You have spring clips at the top? Mine used to shift and creak a bit. Sometimes the lower bolt would loosen and allow movement, which transfered into noise.
My steering also used to pop and creak as it bound up.
Also might have a loose alignment cam.

Sent from my XT907 using Forum Runner
 
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jd4242

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What lift do you have?? Do you have drop pivot brackets AND drop radius arm brackets? ? What drop steering pitman arm do you have?? 6" of lift with a proper lift kit is NOT the max for stock arms.8" is more like the max with proper drop brackets and steering arm..
 
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4x4junkie

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8" lift on a TTB is gonna require a very custom steering linkage...

6" lift can be tolerable if using the Skyjacker # FA600 drop pitman arm, but it still won't be completely correct without some custom fab work.

I suspect the OP's drop pitman arm is much too short (jacking the linkage up from the axle at a steep angle), and is what's exacerbating his issues (the wheel spacers ain't helping either).

Anime already posted this link, but it seems it's impossible to emphasize enough that this is the cause of a lot (a majority?) of problems on lifted TTB suspensions.
http://www.therangerstation.com/Magazine/winter2008/steering_tech.htm
 
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jd4242

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I run 8" with fa 600 and stock steering. .now my passenger is past the max and is chamber but plan to remove about 1/2" so its within specs but other than that its ""not bad"" at 6" everything was fine and had plenty of room to go up..
 
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4x4junkie

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... its ""not bad""

I guess everyone's tolerance level is different...

I drove a buddy's truck back to my place to do some work on it (had 6" lift and a 'regular' (FA400) drop arm, so same 4" disparity in the steering) and I about near wrapped the thing around a tree in a left curve the tires started squealing and trying to drive under themselves so bad. :eek: I could never put up with that kind of scariness in day-to-day driving (this was why I was driving it, I preparing to install a modified K-link steering on it for him to fix this issue... Clearly I had no idea just how bad it was until actually driving it.
Once the K-link was on, the handling problems had completely vanished, but not before his tires were ruined from the previous 10K miles of driving with the jacked up linkage).
 
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jd4242

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Well I had 6" drop pivot,6" springs, fa 600 steering and james duff RA arms..it definitely wasn't bad at all, still isnt bad now beside the passenger being slightly to high..7.50" of lift honestly is the max before cut and turn beams are needed. .
 
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cmhaah06

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I have the Skyjacker 6" drop brackets, 6" springs, fa600 pitman arm and JD radius arms. The steering linkages are still stock. But everything on the front end (sups & steer) is new or has been replaced in the past year. Alignment is ok... has a pull to the right but, my tires aren't getting eatin up.
 
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ron0429

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So it seems my wheel bearings were shot. came loose inside enough to even let the spindle chip away a groove in my locker caps. that would explain my camber/toe problems. As for the popping, i had someone look under my truck while turning the wheels back and forth and he noticed the radius arm bushings popping and snapping. so now with the bearings redone its on to new arm bushings! hopefully that solves everything for me. Then after that im getting myself a JD steering damper =D... friggin bump steer
 
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jd4242

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So it seems my wheel bearings were shot. came loose inside enough to even let the spindle chip away a groove in my locker caps. that would explain my camber/toe problems. As for the popping, i had someone look under my truck while turning the wheels back and forth and he noticed the radius arm bushings popping and snapping. so now with the bearings redone its on to new arm bushings! hopefully that solves everything for me. Then after that im getting myself a JD steering damper =D... friggin bump steer

Save your money and get the FA 600 steering arm..
 
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ron0429

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the dick cepek lift i ripped off another exploder came with a dropped pitman. you think that would really do much if i got the skyjacker arm? im on a ight budget right now haha saving up for 35s and some bilsteins
 
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