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Front End Noise

Thread in 'Noise, Vibration, Harshness Issues' started by Mark Bentley, May 23, 2017.

  1. Mark Bentley

    Mark Bentley Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    My 2005 ST has a squeak in the front end that is getting to be annoying. I replaced the shocks a couple years ago but not sure if it's coming from them or not. It's coming mostly from the driver side. I also replaced the front sway/torsion bar bushings about 2 years ago as well and I sprayed some lubricant on them but that did not make any difference in the noise.



    I was sitting in a parking lot the other day and another ST parked close to me and I noticed the same noise coming from it.



    I know this isn't much to go on cause it could be anything but any ideas?

    Thanks
     
  2. Richard L

    Richard L Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner

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    Hard to tell what is squeaking, but it sounds like it may be suspension or steering related.



    Generally I would take the shotgun approach and use a silicone spray lube on all the rubber bushings in the front suspension. Spray the sway-bar bushings, shock mount bushings, control arm bushings, etc. Give it a little time to soak in and see if that solves the problem.



    If you still have the squeaking, it may be some metal to metal contact....check for loose bolts/nuts, and grease any shiny spots where there is evidence of metal to metal contact.



    Sometimes bouncing each side of the vehicle can help isolate the problem squeak to one side of the vehicle, and allows you to inspect that side with a more critical eye.



    Occasionally you may encounter a loose bolt or nut that is not related to the suspension or steering,,,,so be sure to check for loose accessories/brackets on the engine.



    ...Rich
     
  3. Todd Z

    Todd Z Well-Known Member 2nd Gen Owner V6 Engine V8 Engine

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    Lower ball joints......



    Todd Z
     
  4. EddieS'04

    EddieS'04 Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    I have found that most sqeeks come from dry bushings.

    At times my swaybar bushing have to be remooved. Cleaned and regreased. Penatrent sprays dont get in if they are tight fit.
     
  5. Richard L

    Richard L Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner

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    Todd Z,

    Squeaking is not a common symptom of bad ball joints on most vehicles. Most ball joint failures will have a clunking or banging sound, especially when going over bumps or dips. They are often accompanies by steering issues...such as sloppy or stiff steering. Another tell-tale sign is abnormal tire wear and possible vibration while driving on smooth straight highways.



    As Eddie said...front end squeaks are typically caused by dry-bushings in the suspension. That is always the first thing I look for and my shotgun approach of lubing all the rubber bushings is designed to eliminate the most common causes, quickly and with minimal cost or labor. Lubing all the bushings is better than doing one bushing at a time.



    Eddie,

    I agree that some bushings must be removed to clean and lube them. especially those sway-bar bushings. If you have the time then, remove clean and lube is the best solution.



    But that is also why I said that you should allow time for the lube to soak in. Most silicone lubes will eventually penetrate into the bushings, but it may take a few days of driving and flexing for the lube to penetrate the bushings.....but you may have to repeat the process on those really tight bushings. Then one day you wake up and realize that the squeak is gone..:grin:



    ...Rich

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2017
  6. Todd Z

    Todd Z Well-Known Member 2nd Gen Owner V6 Engine V8 Engine

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    Rich,



    I don't have time to give long winded answers.



    This is a sport trac site, he is asking about his 2005 ST. Not "most" vehicles.



    Most "common" squeaks in the front end on a ST are lower ball joint related.



    He sprayed the sway bar and replaced shocks. Not much left.



    most shops check front ends for free.



    Todd Z
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2017
  7. Mark Bentley

    Mark Bentley Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I'll try and check out everything mentioned and report back what I find. I sure hope it isn't the ball joints but we'll see.



    I also have a rattle in the back end but I think there is just something loose back there. I looked under there once and didn't see anything obvious. I'll recheck it too.



    Thanks again and have a great weekend and holiday.



    Mark
     
  8. Mickey Luis

    Mickey Luis Member 1st Gen Owner 4 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    Like Todd, my front end squeak on my wife Explorer was the lower ball joints. I greased the hell out of everything else and it the final verdict was the ball joint. :)
     
  9. douglas brandin 3

    douglas brandin 3 Member

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    If, as he says, he is sitting in a parking lot and the other sport trac is parked too, then I would suspect engine noise, not suspension noise, since nothing under there is moving unless they are both turning their steering wheel at the same time.
     
  10. Mark Bentley

    Mark Bentley Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    The other sport trac was driving by looking for a place to park. It only happens when it's moving and hitting bumps. Thanks for the input guys. I'll definitely check the lower ball joints.



    MB
     
  11. Richard L

    Richard L Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner

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    Todd Z,

    Does not matter if it's a Sport Trac....Ball joints are ball joints and they are diagnosed the same way. Bad Ball joints can only be diagnosed by lifting the weight off the wheels and checking for excessive movement at the top or bottom of the wheel. Any good mechanic will look for the simplest solutions before assuming the worst. Not every squeak is a failed ball joint !



    That is why I said that spraying a lubricant on all the rubber bushings is my first choice. and I also said that you may need to let it soak in a while or even repeat the application several times.



    The Sport Trac's may have ball joint issues, but I would guess that the clunking or banging preceded the squeaking and probably still exist. Those signs are often ignored since they occur only when going over speed bumps, curbs or potholes.



    I am retired, so I have time for long-winded answers...where necessary. :grin:



    ....Rich
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2017
  12. Mark Bentley

    Mark Bentley Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    I've not heard any clunking or banging thus far. I have replaced both of the front wheel bearings not to long ago but at different times. It's just an irritating squeaking almost like a coil spring would make.
     
  13. swshawaii

    swshawaii Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    Also inspect the BODY MOUNTS, especially the orange foam mounts below the firewall and "B" pillars. Extremely common failure with 2001-05 ST's. Many threads, just search.



    http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/index.php?threads/body-mount-bushings.404608/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2017
  14. Mark Bentley

    Mark Bentley Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    Will do. Thank you.
     
  15. Yardsale

    Yardsale Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    I can share with you my experiences.



    On mine, the anti-sway bar center (frame mounted) bushings squeak a couple of years after being lubricated. I do as noted - remove them, clean, inspect and lube.



    I have replaced the ball joints, twice (neither time did I hear any squeaking). The first time (118,000 miles on parts) with Moog upper control arms and lower ball joint replacements not requiring new lower control arms. The second time (129,210 miles on parts) with new upper and lower control arms due to worn bushings, not bad ball joints. It was mainly the upper control arm bushings, and they did squeak - pretty much any time the front suspension cycled.
     
  16. Mark Bentley

    Mark Bentley Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    I only had time for a quick look under the truck this past weekend but I did see that the front sway bar connecting bolts were loose. Right after I had purchased the truck I noticed they were completely gone so I bought a replacement kit from NAPA. I assume they are to be tight? I'll snug them up soon and clean and lub the frame bushings.



    I also found in the rear of the truck a shock that was loose. I could turn the small part of the shock and the lower mounting bushing was loose on the bolt. These are Monroe Sensa-trac shocks I bought at NAPA with a lifetime warranty. I'll see about getting it replaced.



    So, as soon as I get the opportunity I'll try and repair the obvious things and see if that fixes either of the noises. Thanks for all the advice and help. I appreciate it.



    MB
     
  17. Richard L

    Richard L Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner

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    Yardsale,

    Amen !

    Squeaks are hard to pin down....and you can never assume anything just because others say that was their problem. Proper diagnosis is what too many shops fail to do. I always look for the simplest easiest solutions first and work my way through the more complex and expensive solutions.



    It's easy to tell someone to jack up the vehicle and check for excessive play or looseness in the upper/lower ball joints, but if you don't know their skill level, do they really know what they are looking for? That's why my shotgun approach to lubing all the bushings is simple, easy and cheap. If that does not work you may need to repeat the process. If that still does not cure the squeak, then you may have too look deeper and that may require expertise beyond ones ability.



    ...Rich
     
  18. Mark Bentley

    Mark Bentley Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    The front end noise apparently was coming from the bushings on the front sway bar. I unbolted them and greased up the bushings, plus tightened the connecting bolts on the end of the sway bar and the noise is gone! But, I can push down on the fender and still hear a slight "creaking" sound but nothing like what I heard before. I may unbolt the connecting bolts completely sometime and push down on it again to try to further isolate the weaker noise. Could be a shock or something else.



    Thanks again for all the responses. Have a great weekend.



    MB
     
  19. Richard L

    Richard L Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner

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    Mark,

    Sounds like you are taking your time and diagnosing the problem...which is a good thing. It still could be the swaybar end-links or even a loose or dry shock bushing? I think that disassembling the Swaybar mounting and lubing them as Eddie said was the way to go to quickly determine if they were the cause of the squeaking. :grin:



    It still could be the ball joints, but the more diagnostics you do to eliminate or fix other possible causes, the you are saving money if you can cure the problem without replacing the ball joints. :supercool:



    ...Rich
     
  20. Mark Bentley

    Mark Bentley Member 1st Gen Owner V6 Engine

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    Most of the sqeaky noise went away by lubing the swaybar BUT as I was parking in my drive the other day I notice a similar squeak when I turned the tires. It just wasn't as bad as before. Further diagnosing is needed and thankfully this little inconvenience does not keep me from driving it.



    Have a great week.



    MB
     

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