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Old 05-11-2013, 11:36 AM
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Question Front End Clunk/Pop Noise

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.
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Old 05-11-2013, 07:46 PM
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Sway Bar Bushings?
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Old 05-11-2013, 08:36 PM
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Maybe?

You know, that might be possible. I did take a prybar and tried to see if the sway bar end bushings were loose, but never thought to try the frame bushings. Overall it felt tight when I was prying on it (nothing obviously loose) but I would imagine that might change if I tried prying on it while the front end was jacked up off the ground - in your experience is it easily detected when prying on it, or is it one of those components where you say "it looked fine, but when I went to replace it I realized just how far gone it really was"?
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:22 AM
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I Just Know When Mine Went Bad They Made The Same Sound At The Same Times You Described.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:10 AM
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It's your sway bar bushings. Make sure you rent/borrow a ball joint press to do the job.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:12 AM
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I had the same issue. Replaced sway bar bushings and end links for good measure. Sound is all gone now.
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:23 PM
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Thumbs up Thanks

Ordering sway bar bushings tonight... will see how much the end links are and might nab those too for good measure. Thanks to all the folks who chimed in - sounds like its the problem and with as many miles as I have on the truck, it can't hurt.

Zaairman: 10-4 on using a ball joint press to put them back in. Just the justification I need for adding to my odd tool collection I have borrowed the one from O-riley's about 5 times now and just need to fork out the cash for one of my own.

Thanks again - I promise to report back in a few weeks when I get the parts installed.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:02 PM
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You don't need it to put the bushing back in, you need it to get the old ones out haha. I switched to Energy Suspension bushings. So far so good. I was able to reuse my factory links.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:05 PM
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Wink Funny

Zaairman, thats just too funny. I assumed it was needed for install of the bushings since elsewhere on the forums I had found that some folks are just taking a torch to the bushing until it becomes supple enough to push out with a hammer and socket, but to seat the new one they were using c-clamps. Either way, I have a means to rationalize purchase of new shop widget Starting my online hunt for bushings momentarily. Will be looking for the energy suspension brand to start.
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:21 PM
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Did replacing cure your clunk noise?? Its got me puzzled!!!

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