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Mustang5L5 - please tell me you have made some progress. I haven't and it's starting to annoy me. Of course it doesn't help that it's rained every day I've been off work so no more time for diagnostics.
 

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Mustang5L5 - please tell me you have made some progress. I haven't and it's starting to annoy me. Of course it doesn't help that it's rained every day I've been off work so no more time for diagnostics.


I kept checking back and didn't see an update, but I will give you an update on mine. Replacing the bad hub helped some but it was still definitely there. I put the car on jack stands with the tires on and went to wiggling some more. I found that my passenger front lower control arm's bushings and ball joint were in bad shape. I replaced the control arm, got an alignment and it was problem solved.
 

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Discussion Starter #23 (Edited)
I still haven't gotten to mine yet. Every time i get a day to do it, it downpours. The weather has been non-stop rain here and making it difficult to get it done.

Warmer weather has caused the issue to lessen. When it was 10 degrees out, a lot of movement was felt, but now that it's 50-60's it's MUCH less. It still moves, but nowhere what it was before.

I do have knocking in my front end down low, and i fully suspect it's the bushings here..just trying to find time to get it done. It's absolutely driving me nuts though and i need to get it done ASAP. I'm looking at my calander and seeing what's in the forecast for rain so i can take a day and get this done.


Where i notice it the most is in sweeping left hand turns on the freeway. Take a left and give it some gas and something in the front end will change making the car turn in slightly more. Release the gas, and it will drift outward of the turn slightly. Highly annoying.


So - turns out the problem is not gone. It has changed and it is not as severe as it was before - but it is certainly still there.
Do you have any noise in your front end? Knocking over bumps and such?
I have jacked the car up and done a quick pull-push and inspect. No movement at all in the hub or steering. I've peeked around and seen nothing that looks like it's on the verge of failure. The tie rod ends and inners are new, and don't move at all. I can rock my steering wheel and there's no slop, but obviously something int he front is causing a change in toe. I always suspected it was the rear bsuhing on the control arm, but could it be strut mounts as well?
 

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Discussion Starter #24
So Update. I had enough time to poke around under the car, but not actually perform a repair.

Got the Gopro out and strapped it under the car looking at the rear control arm bushings. Had someone drive around while i watched the video on my phone. I didnt really see any significant movement of the bushings, and the small rattle over bumps didn't seem to match up with the movement the bushing did have. The bushing moved...but not like some of the vids i posted earlier.

Got back home, pulled the wheels off and tugged and pulled with prybars. Noticed the pass side did have a "clang" when i hit it with hammers or kicked the tire.

Had someone grip the steering wheel tightly while i checked steering components again. I did check this in the winter, but decided to try it again. Sure as hell, the pass side inner tie rod end had play.

This is a Ford motorcraft part that's LESS than 1 year old. It was pretty significant movement, but no idea why i never noticed it when i checked steering over the winter.

Last year this time, i replaced both inner and outer tie rod ends. I did moog outers and Ford inners for some reason. Needless to say, i ordered a Moog replacement. I should do both...but it's been ONE YEAR.

I'll rent the tool this week and try to tackle this this weekend. Tie rod ends are easy on this car if you rent the proper size tool. Use an OEM Tools 27178 kit, and the proper size (for the OEM and Motorcraft ends at least) is 38.4mm.

I figure i deal with the low hanging fruit and see if that solves my issue. I'm getting frustrated with this car. I know these are all minor issues, but i also feel that under 100K i shouldn't be dealing with any. I've never had to touch a thing on any other car i've owned under 100K.
 

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Discussion Starter #25 (Edited)
Not the tie rod ends.

Got under the car and pulled things apart. What I found is that there was enough play in the steering rack to cause the clunks I've been hearing and possibly be the cause of this side step. Tie rod ends (a year old) were fine.

What's funny is the rack has slop only on the pass side. I can see it moving in and out slightly with the boot off. Drivers side is solid. Makes me scratch my head a bit as those racks are typically one piece.

Time for the dealer. I need to decide if I fix this....or put the money towards trading it in.

Googling the explorer forums and I see this issue does happen enough to find a few threads with same symptoms


Oh...the sidestepping? Virtually non existent right now. If you try and replicate it you can feel it slightly, but if someone else drove my car they would never notice it. It's that subtle now. I haven't done a thing


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
Update: Made an appt on the 25th to replace the rack. It needs to be changed, but lets see if this sidestepping was a result of the rack having play in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Quick update. Car goes to the dealer next Tue. Not even going to attempt to do this repair as i don't have time to deal with it if i get stuck for whatever reason. Never got a clear answer on using Forscan to program it...even though it should work. I also just have way too much going on and would rather just spend the money and have it done. I've lost my enthusiasm for the car. While less of a rush once i fix this issue, i am starting to make my plans to replace this vehicle. It will not be another Taurus.


Car still sidesteps, but it definitely feels a lot looser now. It's definitely play in the steering as i can see it if i jack up the front and shake each wheel at 3 and 9 o-clock with the steering rack boot removed. The play is in the actual rack. Highway driving feels like driving on a windy day with the car gently drifting side to side requiring oh so little correction. If i roll onto the throttle, the car will begin to drift left.

Steering/suspension has a noticable clunk in it under 10MPH. If i'm driving straight and rock the wheel side to side, you can feel/hear the clunking. Reverse is VERY noticable. This is something that has definitely gotten worse in the last 1-2 months even though i've been trying to figure out this sidestep issue since last fall. Over 10-15MPH, there's enough force pushing the wheels back that all play is gone and i can hit bumps and the car feels good..other than the slight drift side to side.

Ambient temp/humidity seems to affect it. Not sure why. Cooler, dry days...it's quieter and less play. I can almost convince myself there's no issue at all except i know it's there. Humid hot days feels like hammers are banging away under my feet at slow speeds.

I still drive the car, but not on the highway. Mostly my comnmute to work which is backroads under 40MPH usually. I don't feel unsafe, but highway driving requires me to constantly make corrections so it gets annoying. On nice days, i drive my Mustang to work. On the weekends, we drive my wife's Traverse and the Taurus sits.

Tue car goes in. I'll report back if this fixes the sidestep issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #28 (Edited)
Well, issue resolved.


Steering rack was fine. Seems i never greased the tie rod ends when i installed them. Was so simple that i completely overlooked it. Sent the car off to the dealer asking them to look for play in the rack and they came back and said they shot some grease in the zerk fittings (Moog tie rod ends) and the play went away.

I went in there expected to pay $2500 for a new rack...they charged me $0.

Picked the car up, and it's never driven better. No more noise, tracks straight on the highway, and the sidestep is gone. Still beating myself up over not catching that and how i came to the conclusion it was the rack. Sometimes a second set of eyes is a good thing to have. I did check them a while back and didn't find any movement. However, like i said in a previous post, ambient conditions did affect how bad it was. There were days when i was convinced there was no issue at all and there was no play in the steering when i checked. Then there were days i could rock the steering wheel side to side and it clunked away loudly under the car. Very odd.


Of course, driving like that for almost a year probably put a little more wear and tear into the end links. The pass side had a LOT of play on the dry endlink, that went away when grease was shot in it. I will be proactive and replace both sides anyway.

Conclusion: Play in the steering (in my case, ungreased MOOG tie rod ends) contributed to the sidestepping behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Well, best way to confirm an issue is for you to be able to replicate the issue.

Within 500 miles, the grease in the Moog tie rod ends pushed it's way out because the knocking returned. With it, the play in the endlinks. I can now move the wheels by hand again. And...as a result, the sidestepping is back.

SO just confirms my suspicions anyway that these endlinks are now junk. Were they junk to begin with? or just junk from me installing them dry? Who knows.

I've got a pair of new Ford endlinks, so looking for a day to install them and get the car realigned.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
I've got a pair of new Ford endlinks, so looking for a day to install them and get the car realigned.
So just to update. I got around to replacing these a few months back and haven't been back to the board.

The issue is still present. I greased the moog endlinks a few times, and then swapped to some new Motorcraft endlinks and had the car aligned. Drove it for a while and thought the problem was fixed.

Nope. Still does it.

Alignments are getting expensive, and my free time to throw the parts cannon at the problem is non-existent. Unsure if anyone else made some headway here.
 

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Funny - I got fed up with the issue last week, so got my car up off the ground and checked all kinds of bolts and bushings and ... Finally attached a ratchet strap from the lower control arm forward to a convenient hole in the sub-frame. After applying initial tension, I was easily able to "move" the whole right wheel back and forth about 1" due to play in the front lower control arm bushing. The left wheel did not budge. I reattached the strap behind each wheel and could not move either backwards.
A new lower control arm front bushing arrived at the end of the week - now I need to get the time to swap it in.

(Yes - I know - I would have been much better off if I had just swapped the entire LCA instead of just the rear bushings the first time I was in there.)
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Interesting. For some reason I did think you swapped the entire control arm, which is why i never pursued replacing mine.

Let me know how it works out. This think is driving me nuts. What's funny is it's entirely dependent on ambient conditions and the extent of which it does it changes. Some days it's all over the place..other days you can barely notice it. I imagine weather/heat/humidiy is changing the stiffness of the bushing
 

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Wow. lookin at SHOs to maybe buy brought me here. I'm excited to see how this story turns out.



Has your purchase been a worthwhile investment?
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Has your purchase been a worthwhile investment?
My experience? Yes. Despite the minor issues i've had, parts are dirt cheap and i was able to fix them relatively cheaply and easily. I have a feeling that this issue will be fixed once i finally just suck it up and change out the lower control arm. Already have the part.

I'm at 104K miles. Car still runs and drives like it did when it had 10K miles, other than this little suspension issue i'm dealing with.

Would i buy another (SHO)? Ehh....i dunno. The water pump issues scare me off.
 
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