Mechanics

FRONT SHUDDER/VIBRATION WHILE DRIVING

1999 Ford Explorer

Other Category problem
1999 Ford Explorer 6 cyl Four Wheel Drive Automatic 166000 miles

I have a 1999 Ford Explorer that periodically develops a nasty shudder and vibration at the front right wheel of the vehicle. Initially it came and went and when I took it to my local repair shop it would not duplicate the shudder. This shudder is really big when it is happening and I could not understand why it would just go away? The one morning when it had started I made a hard right turn off the highway and it went away? Since that time I have had the shudder come back twice. I experimented and found if I went into a large parking lot and drove in circles both directions I could make the shudder go away? They say the third time is the charm. The shudder is back for the fourth time but the circles are not making the shudder go away any more? I intend to get this truck fixed as it has been a real good vehicle but would like to know what it might be before I have ten different things repaired. Help or ideas anyone?
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JDEJR1
December 14, 2007.



Does it shudder when turning? Going striaght? Stepping on brake? Acceleration?
Just a bit more if you can.

Merlin2021
Dec 14, 2007.
It is the darndest thing. The shudder seems to be brought on by driving on highways that have worn ruts or shallows in the pavement. Once the shudder begins the truck will shudder more under acceleration and the front right wheel will actually vibrate and dart. As if it is loose. When I park it and jack it up I can find no play in it as well. I have had mechanics drive it after driving it to them and they can not replicate the shudder? If it is parked after an episode it can go away for a period of time. Some times months? I have had the discs and brakes done on a regular basis and the shudder is not present under braking. It really has me stumped. I am thinking it could be the steering box or pinion or is the half axles? This might account for why turning tight circles in a parking lot fixes it for 2 or 3 months?

Tiny
JDEJR1
Dec 14, 2007.
Raise the front off the ground, both wheels at the same time, shake the tire with your hands at 3 and 9 o'clock position, Any movement? Now do it with hands at 6 and 12. If you have a floor jack support the lower contol arm to take the load off the ball joints. Then use a good size bar, or length of pipe and try to push up on the tire, any play? If the front end is OK Check the upper and lower control arm bushings, any rubber being shaved off? If they are good, you may simply have a bad shock on that side!
Lastly have a look on your right knucle, is there a vacuum hose attached to it? If it has a break anywhere the wheel bearings can go out of adjustment.

Merlin2021
Dec 14, 2007.
Thanks Merlin I will try and check all of these

Tiny
JDEJR1
Dec 17, 2007.
Final Update. I was able to take pressure off the front ball joints and found the right front one had about a half inch of play and the left a quarter inch. I brought the truck in and was having them replaced. Still not convinced that this would create such a violent shudder. As the pulled the front end apart they found a small tear in the CV boot on the inside of the front right axle! They had looked 3 times before. When they opened it up they found it packed with dirt and mud. Just goes to show you that sometimes you have to commit to labor to find a problem. Two ball Joints, One new front axle and a speed balance rotation and alignment later the truck seems to be back to normal. $662

Tiny
JDEJR1
Dec 21, 2007.