Mechanics

CLUNKING WHEN TURNING

1997 Ford Explorer

Steering problem
1997 Ford Explorer 6 cyl All Wheel Drive Automatic 156 miles

My 97 explorer makes this clunking noise when I turn the wheel. It is completely random, I have owned this one for three months and it has only happened twice. It seems to correct itself. I have heard that the akle shafts were broken, but would that make it happen all the time? I have also heard the gear box, which would make sense, as well as the hubs. I am afraid that it will be the transfer case or something that will cost more than a grand to fix. Any ideas? I have taken it to three shops and not one of them including the dealer can figure it out. Please help befoer I spend too much money.
Avatar
Joe12251979
April 17, 2008.



Does it happen on tight turns? Wheel held all the way over, going up into a driveway? If yes, lubricate the stops. These are rounded nubs that contact indentds on the frame.I use axle grease on them and it quites right down. Of course you dont want to hold the wheel forced all the way, let it back off a wee bit, or the steering pump and other parts will be ruined!

Merlin2021
Apr 17, 2008.
It does not seem to be happening when turned all the way, though the power steering pump whines a little all the time, like there is excessive strain on it the lurching does act a lot like the stops need to be lubricated but it is not turned to lock. Aside from that it feels like it is mechanical, like a gear is not quite meshing, or a u-loint is binding. I really cant explain it since it has only happened twice in three months but thank you for trying to help me, with the run around that I have been getting you have no idea how much of a relief it is that somone would try.

Tiny
Joe12251979
Apr 17, 2008.
If your pump is whining it could be weak, or your serpentine belt might be slipping whenthe problem occurs, 156,000? It's time for a belt and tensioner anyway!

Merlin2021
Apr 18, 2008.
The belt and tensioner were replaced, and as of yet there has not been a problem. The pump, although does need to be replaced, well I just spent al bunch on the other parts and since it still works, I am going to have to save that for another day. Before I had the work done, I turned the wheel lock to lock and did not feel anything in the wheel, I also got under it and grabbed the axles and there is no play in them aside from what I imagine is normal. Side to side maybe an 16th or less play, I trid twisting it and there was nothing there, so I dont think it is the axle itself, since it is happening at random and I cannot duplicate it, I seem to be back at square one. Coupld the link where the axle meets the hub be bad and binding? There is a boot over it, I am wondering if I should move it to see if there is any damage there that might cause it. Any other ideas are welcome as I am not a pro (obviously) and trying to learn how to diagnose this outside a shop (and considering the four shops I have been to now dont know either). Thank you again for taking the time to help me. I really appreciate it.

Tiny
Joe12251979
Apr 18, 2008.
Not a good idea to remove the boots! only an experienced mechanic with the tool to put a new boot clamp on should do it...I will tell you, not being able to hear it, it's hard to diagnose, that said if it is a clunk, that usually involves either a motor mount or an inboard cv joint, called the plunger...you should have no play twisting or pushing and pulling. If the clunk is in only the steering whell there is a tech bulliten about it, here's the fix for that.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/62217_Clunk_Fix_1.jpg


Merlin2021
Apr 18, 2008.
He again, thank you for that, though I cant quite make out what it is. Where can I either see that on the net or you you be able to tell me where I can get the parts needed and where that was pointing to put it. Thank you again, I sure hope this helps

Tiny
Joe12251979
Apr 18, 2008.
That's the steering wheel, and under the cover on the left side ONLY! Do not remove both sides! Part is available at ford dealer. It's just a piece of plastic that goes in before the screw to take up slack. Sorr the part number was cut off, and I will need to look it all up again, will get to it in the am.

Merlin2021
Apr 18, 2008.
Bulliten # 98-14-5
Part number F87Z-3C549-AA Steering column spacer
time to install 0.3 hr.

Merlin2021
Apr 19, 2008.
Thanks merlin, I wlill go and check it out, and will write if it does it again, thanks again

Tiny
Joe12251979
Apr 19, 2008.