FWIW, my sway bar end links broke before they made noise. If any suspension component is making noise up front replace it. Just because it stops doesn't mean its ok.
I waited to about a 120k to replace my ball joints, and they were very loose. To the point of possible falling apart.
If you have 100k or more and never replaced any ball joints. I would start planning and or saving to make that happen. Also for the 4x4 guys wheel bearings don't last much past that either. I spent roughly 600 to do ball joints, tie rod ends, and wheel bearings. I did all labor myself, and I was shocked on how bad the ball joints really were after removing them. On a side note I gained about 1 mpg city after changing wheel bearings. doesnt sound like much but going from 15 to 16 is a big deal too me.
99 x-cab 4x4 4.0l auto
mods, cranked t-bars, silencer delete, k&n drop in, Rebuilt trans ,Trans Go stage 3 shift kit, 3200stall Fuddle Racing Torque Converter,
VANIR 63mm TB, Roush split rear exit exhuast, E-Fan, JBA Headers
Auto up/down both windows, OHC, EATC (soon to be modded)
03 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor