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Old 01-02-2011
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Name that noise?

Hey everyone, I noticed today that my truck is making a metallic clinking/rattling sound when I'm driving, and I'd like some help figuring out what the problem is!

I'm guessing it started today, but I can only hear it with the window down so it's possible it's been doing it for a while and I just never noticed. Anyway, here is what I know!

- Metal on metal sound. Not rubbing or grinding, but more of a clank or rattle.
- Only makes noise when the truck is moving.
- Usually starts around 20-25 MPH. Wind/road noise does or would drown it out at higher speeds, so I don't know if or when it stops. I tried reverse and didn't hear it, but I was also going at a slower speed.
- Doesn't change any with engine speed (revving while stopped doesn't make the noise).
- Doesn't seem to change much with vehicle speed, but the sound isn't rhythmic or constant, so it's hard to tell for sure.
- Can't hear it unless the window is down (either side, but driver side (naturally) seems louder).
- Can't feel it, no shake or stutter or anything - if the windows weren't down, I'd be completely unaware of it.


I did take the truck out in the dirt for the first time since I bought it - nothing impressive, but 4 and 4-low got a little bit of use for the first time. They've been engaged before of course, but more just to make sure they worked - didn't have any real throttle going to them until today. Maybe something got bumped loose somewhere along the way.

I also replaced the spark plugs and wires, but I don't think the problem is related.

Ideas? Things that are easy to check/confirm or cheap/easy to fix? :)

It's an '04 FX4 L2 with 145,000 miles on it - so when I say it was the first time in the dirt, I mean it was the first time since I bought it about a month ago. But I'm fairly certain it didn't make this sound until very recently.
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Old 01-02-2011
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check the front brake callipers and pads you may have broken spring clips on the pads alowing them to rattle. the other thing to check is front sway bar bushings and the links where they conect to the lower control arms they could be worn out or broken.
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Old 01-02-2011
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does the noise get louder when applying the brake? by turning the wheel while its making the noise, does that make it louder?
sounds like something in your front wheel region. did you sustain any hard drops or jolts to the front tires, could be something loose.
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Old 01-02-2011
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If the weather holds out I'll check on the brakes and hubs, and I'll crawl around a little and see if I can find anything that's obviously broken underneath.

No change in the noise while braking or turning that I can notice. It's not a constant sound and not even necessarily the same sound every time. It also seems to happen more or less often at random, even when keeping a constant speed.

The biggest impact the wheels took was coming off a little ridge about the size of a normal street curb (at slow speed, probably less than 5 MPH). That was the biggest single bump of the day, but there were lots of deeper washboard type roads too, so I guess something could have vibrated loose.
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Old 01-02-2011
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Ok, found a likely culprit. One of the heat shields that clips on had come un-clipped!
Stuck that back on and went cruising around a little with the window down (always fun in 28 degree weather) and wasn't hearing the same sound - still some squeaks and clinks when going over bumps, but it's a truck with 140k+ miles so I would expect that sort of thing.
I didn't see anything else under there that was obviously broken and the brakes looked OK (the clips were in the normal spots at least - I didn't take everything apart).

Anyway, I'll keep an ear on it for a while and see what happens!
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