Since this is a two-wheel-drive, there will be a little play in the wheel bearings that allows the tire and wheel to move in and out a little on top. This is normal. Over-tightening the bearings will squeeze the grease out from the rollers and lead to bearing failure from lack of lubrication. But; if you can actually SEE sideways movement in the upper joints when someone moves gently on the tire, the joints could indeed be worn. I would expect the cause to be a lack of lubrication or a plugged grease fitting. Some ball joints don't even have grease fittings anymore. Blame that on GM and Ford.
A little slop in the upper ball joints won't make a noise that you are likely to hear. A "funny" noise is impossible to diagnose without hearing it. A metal-on-metal clanking could be broken anti-sway bar links. A rattle is often loose brake pads. The rattle will go away when you lightly apply the brakes. A muffled thumping sound could be rubber control arm bushings but those are rare. Other important clues have to do with when the noise occurs and whether or not you can make it do it. Turning, braking, and bumpy roads are the common things to consider.
A buzzing noise could be front wheel bearings, (although not on a two wheel drive truck design), or air in the power steering system. A hum or rumble, only while driving, could be due to bad tire alignment wear. If you're hearing a clicking or crunching sound that you might also feel in the steering wheel when you alternately accelerate and brake in a parking lot, suspect the two-piece steering shaft. There is a lot of slop between the two halves until it is extended to its installed position. Sometimes the looseness causes noise when the rubber-mounted cab flexes on the frame of the truck.
Thursday, April 9th, 2009 AT 6:43 PM