Popping noise in front end - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 12-27-2013
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Popping noise in front end

I have a double lifted 03 ranger 4x4 with 71k miles. I was driving down the road and went to brake for my turn and had a loud popping noise coming from the front driver side. The brake petal would nearly go to the floor and feels like the ABS kicked in. After that just costing in the parking lot the popping was still there along with a metal grinding noise. It was loud enough to get everyone's attention.

I limped the truck back home and took the front wheel, brake caliper, and rotor off to investigate. I checked the CV shaft, hub, and everything else and found nothing wrong, no signs of grinding or anything.

I put everything back together and went for a test drive ready to get a video of the issue, of course its not doing it right now. I drove 5 miles and nothing happened.

Im certain is something in the front driver side brakes but when I looked I found nothing wrong. It started when I applied the brakes and continued on from there till I got halfway home.

Im taking my truck to an alignment/front end shop Monday cause my 1.2k set of tires are wearing heavy on the inside despite the tire shop I bought them saying my front end is within specs and aligned properly. I may have them look at it if my truck can make it across town.

Any and all subjection will be appreciated in helping me solve this issue.
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Old 12-27-2013
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I'm thinking it's either the CV shaft or wheel hub. Both have been replaced a few years ago, the hub was $140. I would like to know witch one it is before I go throwing around money and parts. Any of the tech guys still around?
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Old 12-28-2013
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Howdy Cuz! It's been a very long time! Happy to hear you've still got her...I've got mine still too.


I had the same sort of issue you're experiencing now a few years back and our trucks are very similar. I'd pull out of my driveway, hit the brakes to slow for the upcoming stop sign and my foot would go flat to the floor...pump brakes and I've got pressure again....problem free from that point on. Turns out, at full left crank, I would be pinching my caliper soft lines. I cured this by finally securing my TJ soft lines and welded up a very small steering stop on the lower control arms. I don't even notice the reduced turning radius.

Just an idea to look into, but yours sound a little deeper than a simple pinched line.
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Old 12-28-2013
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Damn your still around? Been forever since Ive logged on to RF.

Ill look into it but Im having more issues with something in the front end. CV shaft, hub, or the front axle. I wish whatever it is would just break so I know what to fix.

It started squeaking earlier and I tried to get a video of it but all you can hear is wind noise.
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Old 12-28-2013
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I pulled the CV shaft and ordered a replacement. I will have it back together tomorrow and hopefully a new shaft will fix the problem.
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Old 12-29-2013
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Hey Kevin... Yeah I took like a 3 year break before logging back in every few months...now I'm here almost daily. The staff and ownership changed for the WAY WAY WAY better in the last few months. The old RF is back and it's better.


I got to thinking today and re-read your OP. Have you replaced your stock driveshaft yet? The symptoms you've noted have a striking resemblance to when mine took a crap so many years ago shortly after the lift install. If you've already updated it, checking out the U-joints on it might be a place to look at too.
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Old 12-29-2013
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I have the SL shaft in since I installed my lift about over 5yrs ago. I have changed the u joints a few years back. I'm going to install the new CV shaft and pray it's fixed.

Glad to hear the old RF is back. I'll try to check in more often now.
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Old 12-29-2013
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Ive replaced the CV shaft, took out the front drive shaft, replaced the front rotor that was warped, still having the grinding noise. Im going to take it to a 4x4 shop tomorrow and see if they can figure it out. Im tired of throwing parts and spending money on a problem that won't go away. Ive never had this much trouble trying to figure out a problem, Im just sick of working on it today.

Had a buddy drive it and I rode. It's the ******* passager side CV shaft. Makes sense cause all that is factory. I order and new shaft and wheel hub, going to replace it all at once since is nearly 11yrs old. I will report back once the parts arrive and I get them installed.

Last edited by k.blakeley; 12-29-2013 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 12-30-2013
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yea i would have said unit bearing.. they grind when the wear out and possibly some crud in the abs sensor hence the braking issue
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Old 01-02-2014
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Replaced passager side CV shaft and wheel hub and that seemed to fix the problem. Got to put a new rotor on the passager side like I did on the other tomorrow and then the truck should be ready. I still need to have the alignment checked before I wear out these expensive tires.
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