thumping, squealing and grinding coming from 02 ford explorer XLS 4WD....help, help,help

Asked by Aug 11, 2013 at 10:53 AM about the 2002 Ford Explorer XLS 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

02 ford explorer...the front upper control arm bushing has no boot (completely torn off).  But from what I have read the ball joints should 'pop' or 'click' when I turn.  NO popping or clicking when I turn..
It has a loud whirring sound (but only intermittently-seems to happen when it gets hot  (but I have no play in the wheel (bearing)when jacked up-so don't think it can be the bearing)...when Im driving 45 or higher it starts making the noise and when I put it in neutral (coasting on the interstate) the whirring is still there and also accompanied by a thumping feeling (almost like the tire is warped) -the whole truck feels like I'm going over a bridge hitting the joints in the road-thump-thump-thump....almost feels like the wheel is binding.
Bought a new front bearing and not sure if I should take it apart to put it in as Im not sure that this is the problem.  So am I correct in thinking that it could be the trans or motor mount? Is it the bearing? Is it the bushing? Is it the control arm?
I must work tomorrow and must get the right fix on it as I have spent my last monies on the bearing.....anyone, help...help...please and thank you

3 Answers

23,835

Upper Control Arms: You'll be looking at new ones soon - very soon. Ball Joints do not always make noise when worn - sometimes they break off when going up a driveway. Ball Joints and Control arms tend to allow the vehicle to wander when driving straight at Highway speeds - constantly correcting the steering. The sealed wheel bearings on these vehicles do not develop looseness - they will "whirr" and seize up but do not, and can not, go loose. There will be no indication of failure by jacking up the wheel and spinning it. If they aren't sealed bearings, the opposite is true. Engine and Transmission mounts generally cause a "Thump" on acceleration of deceleration and may allow the the whole vehicle to vibrate at a stop in "Drive".

Tracy,,,,thank you. Ironically enough my name is Tracy also! So, when I shake the wheel (jacked up) form 12-6 in and out and no movement it can still be the bearing?

Also: no wandering on highway. From what I'm reading it seems possible that the front drive shaft could have loose u joint....would try taking it out but it appears that I need some special tools. day is running short and must complete today

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