My E99 F250 has long been developing a "clunk" in the front end. It is typically felt/heard when going over significant bumps at any speed, and is largely unaffected by whether or not the hubs are locked or if I am in 4x2 or 4x4. The only thing that really changes it is the size of the bump.
The sound/feel is best described as a gremlin with a medium sized sledgehammer 'tapping' beneath the driver's side floorboard. Wheel bearings and ball joints needed replacing and I did exactly that, however the clunk remained.
I have checked everything I can think of for play, going so far as to pry at each joint in the steering linkage/suspension with a prybar looking for something that is loose. So far the ONLY thing I can find is the front axle stub has a little bit of up/down & side to side play (the U joints seem good, but the whole U joint assembly moves a small amount (I am approximating 3/32" , I have a dial indicator but didn't bother using it at the time.)
This has been going on for almost a year, and now that it's warm out again I am thinking it's time to tackle the problem, especially since it seems to have gotten slightly louder over time. When I checked it last week, the wheels are very tight when I jack it up and use a pry bar to try moving them - no noticeable slop. It should be noted I have an occasional
squeak in the front end when going over bumps that accompanies the clunk.
My ideas/thoughts so far:
- Ball Joints/unit bearings (both replaced due to being worn out, no effect on the clunk sound, did get rid of the growling of the needle bearings though).
- Front drive shaft: but it doesn't appear related at all to being in 4x4 or 4x2, nor is there any appreciable slop.
- Front Axle Stubs worn and not properly resting on needle bearings? Maybe, but wouldn't it be worse when in 4x2?
- Shocks need to be replaced - maybe the end bushings are shot as well and I will be pleasantly surprised upon completing replacement.
- The plastic inserts between the leaf springs might be shot (though they appear to be ok at first glance).
I was hoping to order parts this week, any thoughts/comments would be greatly appreciated.