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Random clunk from rear/passenger side

BrianDye

I'll have another...
Joined
March 1, 2009
Messages
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City, State
Monroe, MI
Year, Model & Trim Level
2006 XLT
Been driving lately hearing this clunk sound. Sounds like a really bad ball joint clunk, but it's not coming from the front. The Explroer drives perfectly fine, no noises at all until I hit certain fairly bad bumps in the road I get this clunk from the rear end. It seems to happen more at low speeds vs highway speeds.

Before I go out and look on my lunch break, what possibly could be clunking? I have felt it through the floorboard if I have my feet flat on the floor too but very light.

Like I said, it drives perfectly fine, no weird feelings, or anything acting out of the ordinary just that noise on some bumps. Seems more common on bumps where the truck rocks back and fourth like if I hit a big bump on only one side and the truck sways a bit.
 



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Check the rear links. They usually go bad.
 






I feel like a dumbass. Didnt even think about the rear sway bar. Probably because ive never changed the end links on a rear one but damn. Rookie mistake lol. I didnt have a chance to run out there yet, but i'm pricing parts out on RockAuto, are there any preferred brands?

Almost positive thats what it is, because I had the exact same noise (in the front) when the fronts went on my second gen.
 






My OEM lasted maybe 80k, I got some Moogs and they are still fine 140k later.
 












Got out and looked earlier finally...all 4 links are perfectly fine. Look newer actually like they've been replaced shortly before I purchased it.
 






Then my vote is on the strut assembly.
 






What should I look for? Everything "looks" normal upon just a visual inspection laying on my back.

When I had the windows open, it almost seems as if it's coming from the middle of the undercarriage and typically only on bumps that either rock the Explorer back and fourth or front to back. I wish I had a floor jack so I could quickly jack it up and check for play in the wheels, but it's about 10 degrees, heavy winds and heavy snow right now. :(
 






Mine is usually louder in freezing temperatures. I think just because all the rubber bushings are hard like a rock. But you need to lift the rear, and use a long pipe or crow bar and try to move thing up and down.
 






It's the struts in the back. Only real way to know if those ae for sure blown is if you get a clunk like you have. Get good ones; don't cheap out you'll regret it.
 






This seems like a weird noise to be made by a strut, but I wont rule it out.

I finally got out there and jacked up the rear passenger side, got the wheel off and nothing looks bad or worn out. Rusty, but nothing out of the ordinary. I tapped with my big 4lb mini sledge hammer all over, nothings loose, or wiggles at all.

Would a bad strut only make noise like that? Wouldn't I notice a decrease in ride quality? Its only when that back tire hits a good enough bump, but whatever it is pops/clunks so bad I can feel it right underneath my feet/seat, almost as if its gotten worse since it started.

Anything else at all I should check while im down there?

To better describe the sound, think of a really bad ball joint failing and how they pop when you turn the wheel, but 10x worse/louder.
 






A strut may be intact and not leaking, but the seat on the top where it is mounted may be bad. Also check all the bushings. Use a crow bar and try to pry things instead of hammer. Jack the car up, leave the wheel on, put a crow bar or a 2x4 on some support close to the car with one end under the tire, and use it as a leverage to lift just the wheel up and down imitating the road bumps.
 






Is the seat part of the strut? Or is that part of the Explorer? Sorry if thats a dumb question, never worked on springs/struts before.

Checking on RockAuto seems to be about $70 per Motorcraft strut alone. I've never dealt with compressing a spring, that seems like quite a daunting task, no?

For about $480 I can get all 4 springs and struts (I think they called it a suspension kit?)

I am planning on the Traxda lift sometime in the near future, which is a strut spacer, I would probably want to do that at the same time since I think you have to take the struts off or something to install it.
 






Check the 2nd sticky on the top of the page from TowingExplorer.
He used quick struts that come together with the springs, no need for the spring compressing tool.
 






Jesus, that thread made me really scared to tackle this job as I am damn sure I have 10x more rust than he did.

Looks like ill be ordering the strut kits with the springs already in place. Gonna just deal with this clunk for awhile because while im down there, im gonna replace as much as I can just for peace of mind, and with 90k rusted miles, im sure it'll feel good.
 






My Sport Trac is doing something similar but only over speed bumps or medium sized bumps. It also seems like its coming from the passenger rear but visual inspection shows nothing. Plus drivability is perfect. Took the spare tire down to see if that was it. It was not.

Mine sounds like hard plastic hitting metal. Its a hollow kind of klunk. Not a high pitch metal on metal. There is no jingle like a bad end link.

Edit: it was a bad end link. The top snapped completely off.
 






Something else worth investigating that I haven't seen specifically addressed in this thread is the control arm bushings. But yeah, clunk sound during suspension compression could definitely be a bad strut. Sometimes the valving in them goes bad.
 






Brian -

I think the rear struts are one of the easier jobs on the Explorers. Do not bother with removing the 3 nuts with wrenches. Just get a 12" metal blade and a sawzall and just cut them off.
 






Ditto the comment above. If you buy the Quick Strut (Spring and Strut in one unit already assembled), they come with new hardware for attaching the upper bolts.

That only applies to the uppers though :)

I loosened mine up a bit to get the blade in, then cut a chunk out. the bolts snap quick then. Makes the whole process go a lot faster.

Used the monroe Quick Strut product, been happy so far.
 



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Sorry guys never saw your replies til now. I appreciate the tips, I'll definitely cut them instead of trying to take them out.

Gonna just deal with the clunk for a bit right now, but I am almost positive it IS the strut now. I swear I can almost feel the tire bouncing over bumps. Wish I could stick my head out of the window and see it lol
 






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