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2003 ford expedition: 80k miles..highway speed..intermittent grinding…

Customer Question
my 2003 ford expedition with...
my 2003 ford expedition with 80K miles has begun to clunk (does seem to be a quicker clunk at highway speed). apparently there was some intermittent grinding like somethig was rubbing that was not location specific first. First noticed on a wednesday and as of saturday - no grinding just a clunk. Doesn''t matter speed, which gear, in AWD or 2H nor uphill/downhill.
Submitted: 14 years ago.Category: Ford
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Answered in 2 hours by:
2/24/2008
Ford Mechanic: Chris (aka- Moose), Ford Technician replied 14 years ago
Chris (aka- Moose)
Chris (aka- Moose), Ford Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 77,528
Experience: 24 years of experience diagnosing & repairing
Verified

Do you only notice this at or above 40mph?

Can you duplicate it doing 5mph on bumps or swerving?

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Customer reply replied 14 years ago
Reply to Chris (aka- Moose)'s Post: At speeds from 5 mph on up to highway speeds. Straight line "clunks" did occur. Felt as if the duration of the "clunk" was much quicker at the higher speed. Hard to differentiate between
.1 seconds or .01 seconds. Just felt like the clunk was diminished at higher speeds. Did note that as I pulled in the driveway last night and went over uneven ice/snow/driveway that at a crawling speed it "clunked" 4 or 5 times and quite loudly.
Ford Mechanic: Chris (aka- Moose), Ford Technician replied 14 years ago

Hello I'm Chris a Ford Employee and Certified Engine/Transmission Specialist.

Thanks for asking your question. I am eager to get your vehicle back up and running correct, I am here to help you out for a small fee far less than a dealership and easier on the wallet, so if this information is of aid PLEASE PRESS ACCEPT and help me out financially by paying the small fee (which you selected). Please reply if further discussion is needed.


At this point I am leaning towards suspension or steering issues.

Have someone shake the steering wheel left to right with the key in the run position with the engine off. Now you need to grasp each steering joint under the front end and feel for slack. Now you need to jack up the vehicle. You need to do one front wheel at a time. Jack it up under the front lower control arm as close to the wheel as possible. get the wheel 1 inch off the ground. now grasp at 12 and 6 on the wheel and shake it to check the upper ball joint and wheel bearings. Now use a pry bar to lift the tire up more. This will check lower ball joints. Do this for both front wheels. If any joints are found loose replace them. Also check the stabilizer bar bushings and end links ( the end links break often). Now check all your shocks for leaks and good firm mounting.

I started to lean towards a AWD transfer case trying to engage until you said it does it in 2wd as well.

Check all this stuff and do reply if needed?

Chris (aka- Moose)
Chris (aka- Moose), Ford Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 77,528
Experience: 24 years of experience diagnosing & repairing
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Customer reply replied 14 years ago
I went for a ride to see what was going on with a fresh mind. As I backed out and my tires were going over the ice hump at the end of the driveway, my engine revved and the tires were not spinning. More RPM and then then something "clunked" and I was moving again. As I pulled forward there was what I would describe as binding in the back end and 'popping' vs 'clunking' with a chatter or shudder. I noticed there are a number of TSB's out on this issue but I can't see any details. There is something online about changing the Rear end fluid and adding friction modifier to it. What do you think now? (there's absolutely nothing wrong with the front suspension/steering).
Ford Mechanic: Chris (aka- Moose), Ford Technician replied 14 years ago

With this new info sounds like you are feeling the transfer case lock in or the front axle lock in.

If you are at a stop and turn the wheels full left then right and accelerate and you feel popping and chattering then this is the rear axle limited slip clutches grabbing to much which requires new clutches to be installed.

The rear axle clutches cant cause any issues above 20 mph and no way possible when going straight unless on snow or ice

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