front end pop and steering wheel shake - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 02-21-2015
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Icon4 front end pop and steering wheel shake

hi, i'm open to any and all suggestions as i am completely lost. on my '97 ranger a few days ago i had a loud pop. as the day go by it is happening more and more often. now a while back i had this same noise but it would repeatedly do it every time the wheel went around. i solved that by tightening up the wheel bearing nuts. this time it will only do it once or twice in a row. when it does it the right wheel will drag (not completely) but it's enough to pull the steering wheel to the right. the last time it pulled it to the right, stayed there for a couple seconds, popped twice and came free again. like i said any suggestions?
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Old 02-21-2015
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Did you remove the rotors/hubs and inspect the inner and outer bearings?

Do you have Auto or Manual locking hubs?

The popping is something binding up and then releasing, this could be bearings but usual bearing issue is hum noise not pop.
Locking hubs can pop as can the u-joints on the front axle, these are not used unless the hubs are locked, but if hubs are locking without your knowledge then they could pop and put drag that wheel

Lower ball joint could be the issue as well but you probably would have noticed extreme tire wear on that side.

Here is a good read on your front axle: The Ford Ranger Dana 28 & Dana 35 Front 4x4 Axle
You should have the Dana 35 in a '97 4x4 with 4.0l engine

There are also attachment points that could be loose but the "popping" would be during braking or accelerating in most cases.
Since you say the passenger side drags(right wheel???), focus on that but when problem is found check and replace the same parts on opposite side.
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Old 02-21-2015
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they are manual lockers, i did remove the hub. i did not remove the rotor and bearings as i was afraid of them falling apart (like the last set did) when i pull them out and i don't have the money to replace them now. i did rotate the rotor and feel for any anomalies but did not feel any. i checked the hubs right after it happened and both were unlocked. i hear no classic "wheel bearing going out" noises but i'm not ruling them out. it just seems odd to me that it will only happen a few times a day. i can feel the pops in the steering wheel when they occur. after it happens, no noises, drag, nothing. drives perfectly smooth until the next time. it will happen whether braking, accelerating, coasting, bumps, or no bumps.

Last edited by wevuzy; 02-21-2015 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 09-23-2017
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ron is close , but i will say it is the passenger side brake caliper is temporarily seizing up then releasing

i would advise you to switch over to ceramic brake pads and rotors

ceramic brake pads do not transmit heat from the rotor to the caliper piston like semi metallic pads do

hence the caliper piston seizing

how long since you have had the OLD brake fluid flushed out with fresh fluid
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