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Ratcheting Noise and Clunk: Autohubs?

swooper

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Year, Model & Trim Level
1991 Eddie Bauer
I rotated my tires a few weeks ago and now I'm getting an intermittent buzzing or ratcheting noise. I'm also getting a clunking noise, mostly making a hard left turn, but happens with right turns too. If I engage the 4wd when I hear the ratcheting noise it will stop. (I replaced my radius arm bushings a few months ago) I did a little research and found people with some of the same symptoms who suggested cleaning the hubs with ATF, which I did, but it still made the noises so I replaced the drivers side auto hub.

Took the car for a test drive any everything seemed fine, but now the ratcheting noise and clunk from what sounds like the drivers side is back. Is it possible that I need to replace the passenger side hub or could this be something else.

Thanks and please no comments about switching to manual hubs.
 



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check your ball joints and make sure the hubs are fully disingaged
 






...I wouldn't rule out the front bearings either...
 






Thanks everyone. I'll check the U-Joints and Ball Joints. I checked the drivers side wheel bearing when I replaced the hub and it looked fine. No scoring, shavings, or abnormal wear. I didn't repack it since this was done a year ago and I don't drive the X that much. Plus I didn't want too much grease getting into the hubs, which I've read can cause issues.

I'll take a look at the the bearing on the other side, but I'm debating if I want to just go ahead and replace the other side at the same time since I'll have everything apart and see if that solves the problem
 






I went ahead and purchased an auto hub for the other side. Hopefully that will fix the problem. I'll check the bearings, ball joints and u-joint while I have it up in the air.
 






Generally speaking, it's always a good idea to repack the wheel bearings when you have them out.

As for the auto hubs vs. grease question, what you don't want is tons of extra grease on the spindle, cam, or in the hub itself. It's natural for some grease to migrate to the hubs, you just don't want to be adding to the problem.

Hope this helps.

Mike
 






Generally speaking, it's always a good idea to repack the wheel bearings when you have them out.

As for the auto hubs vs. grease question, what you don't want is tons of extra grease on the spindle, cam, or in the hub itself. It's natural for some grease to migrate to the hubs, you just don't want to be adding to the problem.

Hope this helps.

Mike

Yeah, I went back and forth on repacking the bearing. There was a ton of extra grease in the hub when I cleaned them the first time and there was a fair amount of grease in the hub when I replaced it a week later. That's why I decided not to repack them...didn't want to add to the problem.
 






Generally, I clean everything to be free of grease, then grease what I need to as I put it back together. I like clean grease in the bearings (of course, I normally just replace them at each brake job anyway).

Mike
 






I replaced the hub on the passenger side a few days ago and haven't heard the noise since. Hopefully its fixed.
 






I replaced the hub on the passenger side a few days ago and haven't heard the noise since. Hopefully its fixed.

Crap. The ratcheting noise came back today. It's been about three weeks and I haven't heard the noise and now its back. The noise goes away when I put the truck in 4x4.
 












my 91 does this have you figured out the problem yet?

I just heard the noise that one time a few weeks ago after replacing both 4wd auto hubs. Haven't heard it since. Used to hear it all the time before replacing the auto hubs, so I'm not sure what's going on.
 






The ratcheting noise is back and so is the clunking when turing. It isn't as loud as before I replaced the auto hubs. When I checked the U-Joints, it looked like they might be going bad. Could they cause the same symptoms? I've seen some good write ups on doing the U-Joints, but does anyone have any estimates on how much time it takes per side?
 






I can't remember exactly how long it takes but if the truck is out of 4x4 then the joints don't turn unless a hub or t-case isn't disengaging. The drivers side is easy just pull the rotor like you were changing the bearings then unbolt the spindle and remove it so you can pull the axle out. However long it took you to replace the bearings just add an hour and you'll have time left to drink about 3 beers. Now for the passenger side, same as the drivers side but to remove the axle you will need to remove the 3rd member and pull the c-clip to be able to remove the axle. I know a dana 44 is that way, with a c-clip on the passenger side only, but to make sure on the dana 35 pull the spindle first and see if the axle will come out because if I'm wrong I would hate to put you through all that. Also I know, as a mechanic, to check what the last person did before going anywhere else. I'm not trying to imply that you don't know what you're doing but I just don't know how good of a mechanic you are so please don't take this the wrong way. You do know that with that style hub, if it don't slide all the way to the rotor and touch, without feeling like you're pushing on a spring, then you need to spin the rotor or reclock the hub until it fits properlly otherwise you'll get a clicking noise? Again no offense.
 






I can't remember exactly how long it takes but if the truck is out of 4x4 then the joints don't turn unless a hub or t-case isn't disengaging. The drivers side is easy just pull the rotor like you were changing the bearings then unbolt the spindle and remove it so you can pull the axle out. However long it took you to replace the bearings just add an hour and you'll have time left to drink about 3 beers. Now for the passenger side, same as the drivers side but to remove the axle you will need to remove the 3rd member and pull the c-clip to be able to remove the axle. I know a dana 44 is that way, with a c-clip on the passenger side only, but to make sure on the dana 35 pull the spindle first and see if the axle will come out because if I'm wrong I would hate to put you through all that. Also I know, as a mechanic, to check what the last person did before going anywhere else. I'm not trying to imply that you don't know what you're doing but I just don't know how good of a mechanic you are so please don't take this the wrong way. You do know that with that style hub, if it don't slide all the way to the rotor and touch, without feeling like you're pushing on a spring, then you need to spin the rotor or reclock the hub until it fits properlly otherwise you'll get a clicking noise? Again no offense.

Thanks for the advice and no offense taken. Yeah, you're right about the joints not turning when the car isn't in 4x4...its just that a lot of people have suggested that as a possible issue. Unfortunately the problem is intermittent and only does it when I am unable to have someone look to see what's going on underneath.

I'm pretty sure that I did the hubs correctly. I was working with a professional mechanic when I did it and would think that I would have noticed if I had didn't seat the everything correctly.

I guess I'll just have to try and get under the truck when its making the noise to see what's going on.
 






I'm glad you didn't take it the wrong way I wasn't trying to be a bleeping bleep of a bleep:), it's just hard to tell someones mechanical ability from a couple sentences they wrote. On another note, when you replaced the hubs did the new ones come with the cam that pops on after the spindle nut? As far as the clunk have you checked the radius arm bushings?
 






I'm glad you didn't take it the wrong way I wasn't trying to be a bleeping bleep of a bleep:), it's just hard to tell someones mechanical ability from a couple sentences they wrote. On another note, when you replaced the hubs did the new ones come with the cam that pops on after the spindle nut? As far as the clunk have you checked the radius arm bushings?

No problem. You're asking the right questions. If you're talking about the white plastic piece with the spring on the end, yes, it did come with new ones.

I replaced the radius arm bushings last year with some polyurethane ones that I got from Summit. There doesn't appear to be any abnormal wear on them.
 






I went ahead and purchased an auto hub for the other side. Hopefully that will fix the problem. I'll check the bearings, ball joints and u-joint while I have it up in the air.

What you are describing sounds so much like bad Auto hubs. The fact that you switched it out for another and it ghetting the same noise is odd. Are you sure the 'new' auto hub was in working order?

That ratchetting then clunk is so typical of an Auto hub not fully engaging or fully disengaging. You would have been happier with the toughness and reliability if you bought the manual hubs. They are less expensive too.
 



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The ratcheting noise is back and so is the clunking when turing. It isn't as loud as before I replaced the auto hubs. When I checked the U-Joints, it looked like they might be going bad. Could they cause the same symptoms? I've seen some good write ups on doing the U-Joints, but does anyone have any estimates on how much time it takes per side?

First let me say that bad Axle 'U' joints my bang and clunk but that buzzy ratching sound you hear is not bad Joints.
OK, I just did my Axle 'U' joints Saturday. Passeneger side side, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Drivers side a bit less.

That is from the time I slid the Jack under, to the time I was washing my hands.
Keep in mind I have a Spindle Socket and slide hammer to get the Spindle off the Knuckle. Separating the Spindle from the knuckle can be the most frustrating part of the job without the right tool.
They offer two 'U' joint sizes for the Explorer axle. Mine '91 was the 1 3/16" size.
http://www.autozone.com/autozone/ca...&categoryDisplayName=Drivetrain&parentId=12-0
 






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