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Stupid Mechanic....

Viro

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Joined
August 11, 2008
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City, State
Leamington, Ontario
Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 Sport Trac XLT 4x4
1.) Took my truck in to a mechanic last month and now I notice after giving my car a quick wash that he didn't reinstall the inside piece of the front wheel wells...

So my question is...what the hell is that piece called so I can call him up and ream him out (I know him, good guy, he's good for replacing it)? LOL....

You got the main wheel well inside 'fender' and then there's another piece that's removable to take a look at the crap behind it (control arms, ball joint etc).

2.) After bringing it in for what I thought was a wheel bearing problem but he indicated got to be a tire problem....

I was getting this vibration/rumbling kinda of noise from the front end so I brought it in to have him look at it but he was pretty adament that mechanically, there is nothing wrong....wheel bearings looked good, front end suspension and components were good/tight. He rotated the tires around and it was still there....

He thinks my tires have cupped which I guess could be possible because I took a long trip in the last part of summer (about 2200kms) in the heat and the truck was fine before the trip and about a day or two after returning I noticed that vibration/rumbling sort of noise.

Is it possible to have more than one tire cup? I have 75000kms on my goodyear wrangler (factory tires) and they still have good tread life....

Originally after having my tires rebalanced when I started noticing the noise, and was told the tires still look good (by someone else) I was honestly expecting a wheel bearing problem and to have a mechanic look at my truck for close to 2 hours trying to find something wrong and not is quite weird....I'm not indicating that he didn't want my money, mechanics will fix everything and anything if nothing is wrong, but he was pretty sure nothing is mechanically wrong....
 



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I think you mean the splash shield. They do get in the way but he should have put it back. I wouldn't worry a lot, if he doesn't have it you can get one from any Explorer or Ranger in a junkyard and couple of the plastic buttons from AutoZone.
If everything else is okay, it could be the shocks. They are too soft to begin with and when they get worn it will cause cupping.
 






I think you mean the splash shield. They do get in the way but he should have put it back. I wouldn't worry a lot, if he doesn't have it you can get one from any Explorer or Ranger in a junkyard and couple of the plastic buttons from AutoZone.
If everything else is okay, it could be the shocks. They are too soft to begin with and when they get worn it will cause cupping.

Okay atleast I know what to ask for and if I had to get 'em I was going to the junkyard anyway. I realize you gotta take 'em off to get to the ball joint and stuff. I'd rather have 'em on to keep the snow/salt outta there.

Is it obvious to notice the cupping if I run my hand around the tires? Is it common for it to happen to more than 1 tire?

It seemed so much like a wheel bearing problem but I had jacked the truck up and there was no top to bottom play in the wheel. I was kind of dissappointed when he told me that he couldn't find anything wrong and he said he spend over 1.5hrs on it and rotated a couple of tires but the only thing he could come up with was tires.

I'm just dreading replacing all the tires and still have that noise/slight vibration.

Are there any other signs to tell that the tires are cupped in terms of driving the vehicle....as in alignment etc?
 






I just googled up the splash shields...don't know if that is the right piece I'd want. They show the whole innner shield not the smaller piece that hides the ball joint, control arms etc....

There is the main shield but the piece I'm missing is fastened to the large one that lines the whole wheel well under the fender
 






run your hand along the tread of the tire...

-it should feel smooth, i.e. all tread same height
-if the outsides of the tire are worn more, the tires are under inflated
-if the inside(middle) of the tire is worn more, there is too much air
-if just the inside(closest to the motor) of the tire is worn, that could be alignment
-if you run your hand along the tire's tread, like from the front of the vehicle to the rear of the vehicle and it feels rough, like certain points are higher than others, then that could be related to shocks/ball joints
-if none of these are present, have your tires "road-forced" at a place that balances tires...instead of using weight to balance a tire/rim, you break the bead of the tire and spin it to a perfect balance(the machine tells you where to re-mount it for perfection).

Hope this helps at least a little bit
 






Is it obvious to notice the cupping if I run my hand around the tires? Is it common for it to happen to more than 1 tire?
Yes. If it is a mechanical problem like a ball joint, tie rod end, or wheel bearing then only that tire will be cupped. If the shocks are worn, then it can happen to all of them at once. And Sport Trac shocks are pretty soft to begin with.
I would get four new shocks and an alignment. Since your tires have pretty good tread I would rotate them every 2000 miles for a while until the cupping is gone.
My old '05 Trac came with the smaller splash shields, but earlier Tracs came with the full-sized ones. I ordered the full-sized ones from the dealer and installed them because I did go off-roading in it. I think I paid $13 each if I recall correctly. There is a member project on this at www.mysporttrac.com with part numbers.
 






run your hand along the tread of the tire...

-it should feel smooth, i.e. all tread same height
-if the outsides of the tire are worn more, the tires are under inflated
-if the inside(middle) of the tire is worn more, there is too much air
-if just the inside(closest to the motor) of the tire is worn, that could be alignment
-if you run your hand along the tire's tread, like from the front of the vehicle to the rear of the vehicle and it feels rough, like certain points are higher than others, then that could be related to shocks/ball joints
-if none of these are present, have your tires "road-forced" at a place that balances tires...instead of using weight to balance a tire/rim, you break the bead of the tire and spin it to a perfect balance(the machine tells you where to re-mount it for perfection).

Hope this helps at least a little bit

I'll give that a whirl Gregg, thanks. I'm not trying to avoid fixing anything here, I just wanna make sure I get the right thing fixed and not dump loads of money before I do get it fixed. I'm not saying the tires aren't bad but I think I'll take it into a good tire joint and have them check the balance like the way you mentioned after I see if I can feel anything.

My other option was to take my wife's tires and switch them up on my truck. Hers are 235/70/R16 to my 255/70/R16's which should atleast let me see if my truck is still doing the same thing. Her tires are fine so if it's my tires, I shouldn't hear anything on my truck with the swap. That actually be my best but most inconvenient option.

My old '05 Trac came with the smaller splash shields, but earlier Tracs came with the full-sized ones. I ordered the full-sized ones from the dealer and installed them because I did go off-roading in it. I think I paid $13 each if I recall correctly. There is a member project on this at www.mysporttrac.com with part numbers.

Hey Johnny, I looked up what you suggested but those aren't what I'm talking about. I've been trying to find a picture but not having any luck....

Basically, if you were to take your tire off, with just a jack and stared at it from ground level, all you would see is your wheel hub/breaks. My mechanic took a piece off that inside wheel fender (the hard plastic stuff)...now you can see the wheel hub/brakes as well as your shocks, frame, ball joint etc. It's a smaller removable piece part of the whole inner wheel fender.

I may have looked at the wrong thing on the site you mentioned but those to me are mud flaps and I don't have those.

Going back to your shocks thing, my shocks could still be good but they led to this possible cupping? Why after 70000kms and not sooner? I've only had the truck for 10 months total and this problem didn't show up until after the long trip I took....again, as far as my mechanic is concerned, there was nothing worth replacing because it all looked good in the front end....shocks, wheel bearing, control arms etc....

Just wish the truck could talk to me! LOL

I don't know, maybe that original counter balance the had to be replaced was the culprit all along and did the tire in....
 






Worn shocks let the tire and wheel bounce too much which causes cupping. First Gen Sport Trac shocks are too soft to begin with and wear will only make them even worse.
I don't know how many miles 70,000 kms is but on my old '05 Trac I replaced the shocks at only 12,000 miles because I couldn't stand to drive it any more. Got sideways at 70 mph when I hit a ripple on the NY Thruway. Not a fun thing to experience.
 






hxxp://cpwstore.carpartswholesale.com/catalog/?Ntt=ford+explorer+sport+trac+replacement+splash+shield+f222163

I got a picture for you guys to look at but it isn't the piece I'm looking for. After talking to my mechanic this morning he doesn't have anything left over (go figure).

Anyways, from the pic on the site, there is another piece which I think would be made out of the same material that actually covers up more of that wheel opening to cover the shock/spring/ball joint, engine frame etc.
 






I: took a pic of it off my truck but I can't post the image so I guess I can't get you guys to give me a better idea of what the freak this is. ...

I'm gonna try and um, feel my tires up today...lol
 






http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=210435

OKay I found a usable image for you....second pick of the thread is the wheel well...

Do the '04 Sport Tracs not come with something that covers all that stuff?

From the pic you can see the holes where it looks like some sort of piece goes on to cover that whole assembly.

I wash my truck a lot and especially give the wells a washdown and could have sworn all the mechanical stuff showing there is covered with something.....

Thanks for the help so far!
 






http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=210435

OKay I found a usable image for you....second pick of the thread is the wheel well...

Do the '04 Sport Tracs not come with something that covers all that stuff?

From the pic you can see the holes where it looks like some sort of piece goes on to cover that whole assembly.
That's exactly the piece I was talking about. There were two different covers, a small one on later models and a larger one on earlier Tracs. Ford switched to the smaller cover apparently because of cooling issues. I swapped the larger ones onto my previous Trac. Ford dealer parts dept should be able to get them for you, like I said they don't cost much.

The project is at www.mysporttrac.com in Projects, just click on All Projects and scroll down to the one that says "Full Wheel-Liner/Skirt Installation".

Here are the part numbers:
Parts Required:
Ford Part # XL2Z-16102-AA Right Full Wheel Liner for Explorer Sport Trac/Sport.
Ford Part # XL2Z-16103-AA Left Full Wheel Liner for Explorer Sport Trac/Sport.
Plastic "Push-Pins" (supplied with liners - 6 each, for a total of twelve). These are flat-head plastic "bolts" with a "Christmas Tree-like" flexible threads.
 






That's exactly the piece I was talking about. There were two different covers, a small one on later models and a larger one on earlier Tracs. Ford switched to the smaller cover apparently because of cooling issues. I swapped the larger ones onto my previous Trac. Ford dealer parts dept should be able to get them for you, like I said they don't cost much.

The project is at www.mysporttrac.com in Projects, just click on All Projects and scroll down to the one that says "Full Wheel-Liner/Skirt Installation".

Here are the part numbers:

Thanks JohnnyO...finally on the same page as you! LOL

I was taking a look at my tires and realized what exactly it was. It's just a flexible skirt.

I'm almost sure that I had them. There are only two small pieces on either side of the truck, kind of like that last picture shows on the first page of that project.

Maybe it really didn't have 'em in the first place????

Anyways, I hosed my tires down and I got two tires for sure that on the inside of the tire (motor side) I feel a bit of a dip or two in them which makes me feel a little better knowing my tires are bad.

The two that I really felt something enough to be sure of it, are both on the driver side of the truck. All in all they felt smooth but I definitely felt a dip/bump or two on the two tires on the driver side. The also felt somewhat jagged like the edge of the treads pointing into the motor had kinda raised. It wasn't exactly smooth. I'd hit the dip or two and it'd be kinda of jagged on the motor side but basically smooth on the outside of the tire.

So the question is....is it just the alignment and if I go get one can I expect it to help or is it just not worth it until I get new tires? Or to buy some time, do I just have those two tires rotated such that they are both in the back?

Open for suggestions....
 






So the question is....is it just the alignment and if I go get one can I expect it to help or is it just not worth it until I get new tires? Or to buy some time, do I just have those two tires rotated such that they are both in the back?

Open for suggestions....

Without seeing it, it's hard to say. An alignment wouldn't hurt, at least you'll see if that's causing the problem if it's out. Ball joints and wheel bearings have a tendency to crap out on these vehicles as well. Depends too on how much tread is left on your tires. If you're going to get new tires in the next few months then I wouldn't bother. But I'd still get new shocks first. If the alignment isn't right and the shocks are worn, you'll just end up doing the same thing to your new tires.
 






Without seeing it, it's hard to say. An alignment wouldn't hurt, at least you'll see if that's causing the problem if it's out. Ball joints and wheel bearings have a tendency to crap out on these vehicles as well. Depends too on how much tread is left on your tires. If you're going to get new tires in the next few months then I wouldn't bother. But I'd still get new shocks first. If the alignment isn't right and the shocks are worn, you'll just end up doing the same thing to your new tires.

Alignment is definitely going to happen with the new tires and I'm just gonna have to pony up and have the shocks/struts done before I lose another set of tires. As it stands, I'm probably looking at $1000 Canadian to do all four.

I bought this puppy used and in pretty good shape. This tire thing is a pain.

I got pretty good tread left, I'd say half a penny maybe, something like that.

Another question......assuming the shocks are O.K (just assuming here) would I expect the tire cupping to get worse or stay the same? I know a couple places that have tire sales in the spring, and well, we're two months away from that.

I might try to rotate those two bad tires to the opposite sides to the rear (one on passenger, one on driver side) if I can. Pretty sure that's not gonna work anyway as I'm sure the fronts to backs won't be balanced right but I'm pretty sure the last time I had them rotated in the summer after that trip they swapped front to back, I think but what do I know. I could have sworn my truck had those wheel skirt/liners!
 






Couple years ago I got four shocks, installed, on my Trac for about $200 US at Sears.
Just drive over the border for shocks, your money is worth more here than ours is. :p:
If you don't change anything, the cupping will only get worse.
Your Trac came with splash shields. Somebody at some point took them off to work on it and didn't bother to put them back, whether it was this mechanic or previous to when you bought it.
 






Couple years ago I got four shocks, installed, on my Trac for about $200 US at Sears.
Just drive over the border for shocks, your money is worth more here than ours is. :p:
If you don't change anything, the cupping will only get worse.
Your Trac came with splash shields. Somebody at some point took them off to work on it and didn't bother to put them back, whether it was this mechanic or previous to when you bought it.

I got know problem going across the border but I know a few people who've had the tire joint call the border saying they made a purchase. That ain't kewl.

Yeah my Trac came with shields....the 1/2 shields. LOL. Not sure where the rest it went! LOL

Seriously, the 1/2 ones are on there, not sure how you'd securely put the full ones over top of them.
 






They don't go over the half shields, they replace them. I think there are 3 tabs on both of the small ones, so I would assume the full shield would mount up with those 6 tabs
 






They don't go over the half shields, they replace them. I think there are 3 tabs on both of the small ones, so I would assume the full shield would mount up with those 6 tabs

Yeah, I guess I didn't have em...I have the half ones. Don't know what truck I was looking at though.
 



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