2003 Ford Explorer Popping sound while in 4X4

Tiny
TC38632
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 FORD EXPLORER
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 165,000 MILES
I took my Ford Explorer 4X4 off road yesterday. While I was out in the middle of the field I thought I might need 4X4 so I engaged it without any trouble but when I needed to make a few sharp turns the front end would make a loud popping sound and the front end felt like it was binding. When we got back on pavment and I turned off the 4X4 the truck acted fine again.

Are my U-joints going out on my front drive shafts? That's my guess but I've never owned a 4X4 before. Is this an expensive fix? If I were to attempt to fix it myself would I need any special tools?

Thanks,
Terry
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Sunday, November 29th, 2009 AT 7:03 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
MATHIASO
  • MEMBER
Hello TC38632

To answer to your questions, can you take your explorer to an empty parking place, do not engage 4x4, turn the steering to the right full stop(untill steering stop turning) and drive in cercle: notice if any noise.
Do the same, but now to the left, drive in full circle with steering to the stop, notice if any noise.
Drive straight and brake suddently, notice if any noise.

Next, drive at higher speed, (do not get ticket) notice if any noise.
Do not engage 4x4, drive back to the pavement, raugh road. Notice any any noise.
Try to pull a load, or climb a hill, notice if noise.
Get back with what you find, because can be tricky to diagnose.
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Sunday, November 29th, 2009 AT 11:44 AM
Tiny
TC38632
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Thank you so much for taking the time here. I did what you said this afternoon and the only time I can get the popping sound is when the 4X4 is engaged.

I tried it in 4X2 with the wheels fully turned and several other ways and the truck simply will not pop until you turn the 4X4 switch on.

Now here is something new, after I tried 4X2 and when I engaged 4X4 and turned the wheels all the way to the right. Not only does it pop but it also feels like it's climbing a hill before it happens. It feel like the right side of the car raises slightly and then I get the popping sound.

Terry
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Sunday, November 29th, 2009 AT 6:42 PM
Tiny
MATHIASO
  • MEMBER
It is time to raise the vehicle and look for the following likely problems:
Defective or misaligned U-joint

there are 2 u joints spider that need to be check(#9 and #7) for loseness or binding


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/46384_0900c152801def49_2.jpg



Explorer models use a locking mechanism mounted in the differential. This system is called a vacuum disconnect axle lock. there may be a problem inside the differential.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/46384_0900c152801def83_2.jpg



check those out and repport what you find.
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Sunday, November 29th, 2009 AT 9:19 PM

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