Ford Repair Questions? Ask a Mechanic for Answers ASAP
Typically when we see a pickup with a bad shake after a pot hole or bump the first thing we look at is ball joints. The best way to check them is to lift the vehicle off of the ground from the chassis so that the front suspension is unloaded- then put a pry bay between the control arm and the steering knuckle and pry up or down to check for movement in the ball joint. If the ball joint can be seen moving at all it probably needs replaced. When ball joints go bad they will make the front end shudder and shake badly in reaction to bumps. Sometimes if it gets bad enough the suspension will start to oscillate causing the entire front end to jump uncontrollably. We call this the "death wobble"- it's very scary for the driver. Fortunately they have to be fairly worn for the wobble to occur, unless the vehicle is a dodge.
Check you ball joints and let me know how they look.
I would probably replace them both. You can do just one at a time, but it makes sense to have them wear evenly.
The most likely cause of the shudder over bumps/pot holes? I would suspect the ball joints. If the tie rods are bad you would feel a clunk or play in the steering.
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