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Discussion Starter #1
Just took my truck 4 wheeling last night and got on the street and noticed that my truck seemed to bind when turning. Turned out to be nothing and went away this morning. But the real problem is that when I turn I have a loud clunk or pop noise from the front end and I can feel it at my feet. It happens at all speeds and almost feels like a spindle problem but both spindles are fine and the ball joints were replaced last year. The front u joints are all okay and the hubs are both free not engaged. Help please cuz I need this fixed before I lose a wheels.
 

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Gotta be the hubs. are they manual or auto? If either, did you back up straight for as long as possible, to really make sure they are open? lift the front end and spin the wheels, observing the other wheel in comparison. if all that fails, remove front driveshaft to isolate the issue. Doubt its in the transfer case though.

CV axles, really check them out. maybe you tore a boot and are getting crap in there/grease out. All I can think of. Or maybe its really the rear diff, staying locked up or some sort of witchcraft
 

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radius arm bushing/bracket
 

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Discussion Starter #4
As far as bushings go I just did the motor mounts Friday. I did radius arm bushings and pivot bushings last weekend. The only one I haven't done is tranny mount. Sway bars out so it can't be making a clunk. I've got manual hubs and as far as I know there free spooling right now. That's what I thought at first was that they were still locked but they are definitely set to free. I checked the radius arm bushings to make sure I didn't split them again but there still good. Pivot bushing are still good and I had the cv axle apart when I did those and added some grease so the slip joint should be good. And the boots not tore up so I know it should be fine. The brackets seem fine. Nothing appears cracked or broken. Which leaves the tranny mount which may or may not be bad. I don't suspect the rear end cuz i hear the clunk from the front/center of my truck about where my feet are I can sometimes feel it at my feet. Which would also point tranny mount. I haven't got under there to check it yet. It also happens multiple times in the same instance I feel and hear it a second or two apart. But not as rough. All I know is I can't figure out for the life of me what it is
 

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My truck does this sometimes, and i believe it is the radius arm bracket on the drivers side that needs replacing.
 

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Holy $hit this thread killed way too many of my brain cells. Broncos don't have a cv joint. I would start with a "dry park" front end check.
 

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If you're lifted re-tighten every single bracket nut and bolt that was put in place for your lift, and a few that were factory (transmission crossmember, motor mounts/brackets, pivot arm if using bolts, etc). I have to tighten my bolts to spec with a torque wrench every so often. Also recheck things like your u-bolt nuts as they tend to loosen quite a bit, it can take months of tightening them before they stay to spec. I had the exact same popping and clunking, specifically it was the pivot arm brackets that were to blame for me, now I just retighten them every few months.

When you replace factory rivets with bolts, per Ford's instructions, you're suppose to tack-weld the nut in the end, they also call for ridiculously high torque for the bolts, twice what most lift-kit manufacturers call for.

edit: there is also a TSB for the transmission cross-member and for the factory frame rivets. For the tranny cross member, look up the TSB, it really helps your chassis feel better after it's done. The TSB for the rivets calls for drilling them out and then putting nuts and bolts in their place, it's a huge PITA so hope that you're not dealing with loose rivets.
It's also common to crack your frame near your steering box, this will cause popping and creaking. It's hard to notice the crack, have someone turn your wheel and check for excessive flex in your front left section of frame, this might also point to loose rivets near the steering box as well, which are pretty darn common.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yea your right it's more of a slip yolk than a cv joint in the front axle. And checking for loose brackets and such will gimme a place to start
 

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Discussion Starter #11
so after driving home from a friends house just now i have determined a few things-
this clunk happens regardless of whether i am accelerating or braking
it happens when i go straight down the road or when i am turning, regardless of speed
and turning is difficult almost due to this problem

i crawled under and looked. gave things a good shake, nothing. everything seems to be okay. i looked at steering box for cracks on frame. looked at radius arm brackets and the bolts appeared to be holding and they werent noticeably loose. the bushings are all okay. didnt see any damaged anything. i think i can eliminate tranny mount because it feels like my driver side front tire is repeatedly rubbing the wheel well. sounds like it too. the feel i got is somewhat similar to what i would describe as if my radius arm bracket is held in with one bolt and its just flopping around. but all the bolts are in place.

it will happen recurring at any time during any driving condition. but the only constant is that it feels like its binding when im turning and i get that same clunk a few times during the turn. on a straight open stretch i clearly felt and heard it at about 45 mph. it popped several times while i slowed down to make my turn and the last one popped at about 20 mph. then during the turn i felt a slight bind in the wheels. but its definitely front end. i am a hundred percent positive of that. because every pop i get i can feel under my feet and i hear it at the drivers front tire. steering linkage seemed to be all okay. i crawled under with the wheels turned each way and nothing looked out of the ordinary. and with the wheels turned straight there is no allignment problem. tires sit in the wheel wells just as they should and the camber seems to be dead on. toe seems to be fine but thats impossible to tell. with them turned they both turn as they should. the inner wheel turned slightly more than the outer. when simply turning the steering wheel there is no noise or issue there.

which leaves me at a couple of assumptions-
a bracket is loose or cracked in some invisible way
or the bearings are possibly toasted
or the hub
or im clearly missing something....

i do know is that the thing is a little scary to drive currently...
 

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I'd say it's the radius arms, they may look good and may not move when you gave them a good shake but may been to be retorqued. Start the truck and let someone turn the wheel all the way to the right and then all the way to the left and repeat, them go watch the other size. If you see the radius arms move where the bushings meet the bracket, you either put the bushings on wrong or need to torque the end nut down again.
 

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Clunk from front end?

Check the wheel bearings inner and outer both sides. Any damage to the spindles replace them along with wheel bearings.
 

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TIE RODS AND DRAG LINK!! wiggle them if theres to much play then there u go although normaly u will have a small amount of play maybe 1/8 inch
 

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Discussion Starter #15
checked steering. drag link and tie rods are all tight.

i will get my truck up on jack stands tomorrow or friday and check out for loose brackets rivets and bolts. and at the same time check for play in the bearings/ball joints. hopefully its something simple and inexpensive. i'll take bearings or loose brackets over spindles or ball joints.
 

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For the brackets you wont feel them loose at all, just put a torque wrench on them, set to spec required for brackets and turn them to make sure they're tight. Tighten every bolt and nut for every cross member, frame, mount or bracket under the Bronco. I'm almost sure even if it isn't the cause of your clunking, that some stuff will need tightened.
 

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I know you said the front u-joints were good but were you referring to the ones on the front axle shaft that run through the beam/either end by the wheel? The shaft ends on mine were pretty worn and when i changed the u's I noticed that no matter how much i screwed around with them I couldn't get the u-joint to pivot smoothly in all directions - I ended up going to the hard and getting "new to me" ones - big difference. They were giving me a funny clunk sound too although mostly when I turned. Sometimes when I was going straight it would feel like it was pulling left and then it would clunk and track straight again - I doubt that's it but I thought I'd mention it. I have to say, I don't think it's the radius arms, I have one bolt not even done up - just floating in the bracket and mine make NO noise and don't flex, (yes, I need to put a nut on that bolt right away, I know). Before I replaced the bushings, it was very obvious, you could feel the play in the brake pedal - radius arms affect the whole axle, you should feel it all over, steering , brakes, etc.
 

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i know this sounds dumb but i had the same problem about a week ago and all my front end components have been replaced so i didn't know what it could of been and it turned out that when i had my new tires mounted on rims a few days before this clunk noise and that the shop i took it to forgot to torque down my lug nuts and my wheel fell off the truck. so its most likely not the cause but it couldn't hurt to check
 

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Although it's impossible to say without driving it or at least hearing it in person, it sounds to me like it's somewhere in the front axle...possibly u-joint on your stub shaft. Jack it up & check your hubs 1st. Just because your manual hubs are set to "free", doesn't mean they actually are. If they seem ok, just work your way inwards. I don't think you're going to find the problem until the front wheels are up in the air. Jack it up and turn the tire to see if the axle turns, if so the hub is engaged. Check the spindle to make sure it's tight, then wiggle the wheel forwards and backwards...if you hear a "clunk", it's probably an axle u-joint.
 
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