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Discussion Starter #1
I was driving around today running a few errands and on my way back home it I kept hearing a popping noise from the passenger side as I would go over bumps. It got progressively worse as I drove on. I was near home so I just slowed down and took it easy. Sounded like loose lug nuts and the wheel would fall off at any moment. It would get louder with each bump. I got home and checked the lugs and they were tight. Jacked up the front end and pulled in and out and up and down and no movement everything was tight. Any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Checked the shocks, lugs, greased front end, checked and re-torqued wheel bearing, replaced passenger radius arm bushing and no luck. Checked rivets and bolts. It's a deep hollow sound definitely coming from the passenger side. Really sounds like loose lug nuts and a wheel bouncing around the lugs. I don't know what else to try. Any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Drove around a little more and it's getting worse. Especially when hitting a bump that also makes it kinda go side to side or when turning and there is a bump. Also getting a little knock on the left side when I back up and cut the wheels. Would ball joints make sense? I've jacked it up and tried to duplicate the noise but I can't. Also unable to move the wheel in and out or up and down to see if the joint moves.
 

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sounds to me like ball joint man, but to check em you will have to jack up under the knuckle so they are loaded. if u just jack the diff up when the joints hang they wont wiggle much for ya. try a bottle jack under the passenger ball joint and then grab the tires top and bottom and see if it gives you any wiggle when u push in/out. When mine were toasted on my ttb unloaded they checked out fine loaded they rattled. Or give the top of the tire a solid kick in the ass when the trucks just sitting on the ground
 

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sounds to me like ball joint man, but to check em you will have to jack up under the knuckle so they are loaded. if u just jack the diff up when the joints hang they wont wiggle much for ya. try a bottle jack under the passenger ball joint and then grab the tires top and bottom and see if it gives you any wiggle when u push in/out. When mine were toasted on my ttb unloaded they checked out fine loaded they rattled. Or give the top of the tire a solid kick in the ass when the trucks just sitting on the ground

We had a F150 that was getting noisy up front but not making sounds like his. I jacked it and tried the same thing he did (and what you suggested) and everything appeared tight / fine. Then had some one jump up and down on the step rail (with it on the ground) and listened around the tires with a tube. The noise was loudest were the ball joints were located.
 

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These kind of problems will crop up during the life of any vehicle. The easiest and quickest way to locate such problems is with a tool called "Chassis Ears"



You can get a set on amazon.
 

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Also check the axle pivot brackets for breaks, cracks, or loose bolts.
image.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the ideas. This one has lived a fairly charmed life, but things do wear out with age. I've been thinking ball joints all along, but I'm not sure who to take it to to do them. I would do them myself and have usually done everything myself, but I simply don't have the time now with a new kid. Any ideas on where I should take it? I'm in the DFW TX area, and I'm sure the options are endless, but I need someone that is reputable and does a good job for a fair amount.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I had a little time today. I got new ball joints and the tools needed to change them out, but I'm still not sure that's what's going on.

I took it to NTB. They said the front was tight. The only noise they found was in the rear. If you pull in and out on the tire, the drum makes a popping noise. I think this is pretty normal. They pulled the diff drain plug and there was gray material on it. I think this is also normal, but will probably change out the fluid. They were eager to do it for me for $90.

I drove it home no issues. I pull in my driveway and it flexes a little and there's the pop again. I back up, hit the brakes and pop. Pull forward hit the brakes and pop. Did it every time. I haven't lubed the sliders yet as someone suggested earlier. Didn't know I needed to. It's making a similar sound that a bad radius arm bushing makes (they are new though), but it is coming from the wheel area. When backing up and applying the brakes the left side would pop. When pulling forward and applying the brakes faint pop in left side and on the right too. What is causing this? I don't want to replace ball joints unless I can be certain that's what it is. I can't see any movement in them with it jacked up and can only reproduce the sound if I'm moving the truck slowly and then apply the brakes.
 

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I'm going to vote for Ball joint as well. I had the same issue with my Mustang GT (I know different vehicle) and it would pop bad when turning sometimes from a slow roll or when going over a bump. Ended up being the joint. On Mustangs it easier to replace the whole control arm assembly at one time then press the joint out. Wish Bronco were that easy :) Good luck with it.
 

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Interesting, I had a similar problem. After checkin all ball joints, brake parts, and bearings..... It turned out to be a bad autolocker.... I swapped with manuals and the problem went away. Hope it helps.
 
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