Rubbing and clunking when i turn ( in 2wd ) | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Rubbing and clunking when i turn ( in 2wd )


May 21, 2010
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City, State
Cranbrook, BC
Year, Model & Trim Level
HEy got some problems with my explorer and I'm a little confused so hopefully someone has an idea...

92 Explorer, 4x4...

When driving if i turn the wheel slightly there is a rubbing noise ( simular to oversized tires rubbing ),and I mean slightly, not even enough to change lanes. If I turn it further to change lanes there is a loud clunk, it shakes the front end and then its quiet for a few minutes until it does this again. When driving straight there is absolutely no noise's, vibrations, rubbing, clunks or anything. Oh, this is when in 2wd...

I've checked the ball joints, tie rods, changed the calipers, jacked it up on axle stands and turned the wheels full in both directions, I've done this both with the tires on and off and there is no noise. I've spun the tires by hand and they make no noise ( with the hubs on and the hubs off the vehicle ). Brakes are new and there is absolutely no sign of rubbing anywhere....

Any idea's?

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hate to sound like a broken record as ive said this on a few post recently... but what did your wheel bearings look like?

I didn't pull them, I spun the wheels with it jacked up and there was no noise. Also turned the wheels back and fourth from end to end with it in the air and on the ground, no noises.
I dont have many tools with me, visiting my parents right now so all of my tools are about 300 km from here

really sounds like a bearing, it is very common for them not to make noise when not under a load (ie on stands) id check there first...

Ok, thankyou I'll do that in the morning. Would that make the clunk and the jerking tho? What exactly am I looking for? When the bearings went in my ranger I heard a low pitched rubbing noise and thats all.... Should I expect to be able to see any damage,etc when i pull them? And if I find one bad one, I should probably change all of them in the front end right?...
I'm just double checking here, my copy of mitchels is at home

it can come out as a clunk especially if they have worked loose, look for the usual signs when u pull em, chatter marks, shavings, out of round ex... if u find a bad one id just change both on that side (but then im REALLY cheep)

ok, I'll pull them. And if they're ok, where should i look? ( just in case )

you have pretty much looked at all the things i would have started with, so next i would say to start looking at the axle, i really hope u dont have to go there :(

yeah me to lol, I'll post what i find, thankyou

so i didt pull anything apart yet, it was still raining out until lunch time or so. But i did attempt to record the noise well driving Now that its warmed up the noise is gone....there's a slight rattle down there but i cant tell exactly where its coming from. Also i forgot to mention that yesterday when i put it in 4wd the noise dissapeared.

Does this still sound like bearings?

i still think its a good chance its the bearings, as narrow as ford made our spindles bearings are a major issue... i may be wrong but it isnt too hard to check and cheep to fix

My own thought, especially where the clunk goes away in 4H is a hub problem (if you still have the stock auto hubs). It almost sounds to me like the hubs are trying to engage in 2H when they shouldn't.

I thaught about that, so when i had it jacked up i spun the wheel and watched the ujoint to see movement ( with the hub connected ) I figured if the hub was engaging it would move the ujoint, but there was no movement.

Would there be any harm if I just removed the hubs and drove around like that to see if the problem is gone? ( that hubs were rebuilt by a local shop, and sat on my shelf in my shop for a year or so, recently changed them over and removed the defective ones when i got the explorer )

dont think there would be an issue with a quick run around the block to see if that helps, just dont go down any dust roads :)

Update :

I rechecked the bearings, there was some play in the rotor, so i put new bearings in. I did both sides inner and outter..... Good news, no more clunking ( i only drove it around the block ), BUT....bad news is the grinding type noise is now like something dragging. Predominantly when i turn the wheel to the left, I rechecked everything its all tight,etc. BUT, the axle on the drivers side can be pushed in and out about 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch??? Is this normal?

it has to have some play to account for movement of the wheel up an down i think 1/2 to 3/4 isnt bad, but im no master tec....

ok, also I read online if the ujoints are binding there should be excessive heat there? When I checked after driving around, they werent any hotter than normal, would this sound like they should be ok?

The noise being there, with everything else being tight, I'm thinking spindle bearings now?

Ok, so now I'm about ready to beat my head against

I test drove it tonight, it made the noise within 1 block, so i put it in 4hi and drove about 2 blocks, bad for it i know, but....I was thinking about it ( plz correct me here if I'm wrong ), but the spindle bearings should only spin when in 4x4 right? The wheel bearings spin always except when engaged in 4wd. So therefor if it is a bad spindle bearing or ujoint it would make excessive racket when in 4wd. So when in 4wd, there was drove normal with no noises abnormal vibrations,etc. So I pulled over and went back to 2wd and drove the rest of the way with nothing abnormal happening, drove about 6KM, stopped went got groceries and came out. I drove over to an empty parking lot, figuring I'd take the hubs off there ( probably better than doing it around the block i live, you need a 4x4 in the winter to get down the street here ). I stopped, drove 30 ft, it made the noise but a little quieter this time, so i stopped had my g/f get out and listen.....I drove in circles, straight, hard and slight turns for about 45 minutes....I couldn't get the damn thing to make the noise again, so i drove home,....still no noise at now I'm like wtf? Any ideas? ( Oh, when i heard the noise it was definatly coming from the drivers side now )

Problem solved :) took the hubs off the drive around, had one in my hand and the guts fell out...... drove with no hubs and no more noise at all :) thanks for all the help :)

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glad u got it figured out!