Intermittent knocking feeling/sound on front-left - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource

Suspension Tech General discussion of suspension for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 07-08-2014
C_Red90's Avatar
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Location: Overland Park
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Intermittent knocking feeling/sound on front-left

Ok, so I'm kinda new to working on this truck, and the suspension is the next chapter in my learning.

My 2002 Ranger is a 4.0 SOHC 2WD with whatever the top-of-the-line differential is. 102k miles

The only suspension parts that have ever been replaced are the lower ball joints (at 82k) and, just recently, the front shocks (100k miles on the stock shocks ). It has been through numerous alignment fixes and wheel balances, but mainly because a shop near me does $40 4-wheel alignments and $5 wheel balances.

To be blatantly honest, at roughly 75k miles I was out driving drunk in the winter () and drove over a median (concrete island with grass in the middle, not the wall ones) at about 45mph with my front-left end and cleared the median with the rest of the vehicle.

Since about 80k miles I have noticed a knocking sensation in the front-left end, and every mechanic I have taken it to doesn't feel it. It gets worse every year, and seems to be more noticeable during the summer. Sometimes when I drive I never feel it, but most of the time I'm afraid that something is going to snap and my truck is going to hit the pavement.

Things I've noticed:

I can feel it in the steering wheel and the floor.
It is more prominent when going over bumps, but is still very noticeably knocking around when driving straight on flat road.
The front-left end occasionally groans when I enter the vehicle.
Replacing the front shocks did not make it any better.
My upper control arms are rusting and the bushings are worn (it's on my list of upcoming maintenance).

Looking at my Haynes book, there is a component of my suspension that links the left and right ends that I could not find in the diagrams. It is covered in some type of oil on the left end, but is bone dry on the right. I will take pictures of this tomorrow and post them.

I've heard from multiple of my mechanic friends that with newer suspensions, the coil spring part of coil-overs never needs to be replaced as long as you replace the shocks in appropriate intervals, and assuming that the coils are not damaged. Is this true?

Thanks in advance! I know I may sound noobish since I'm not doing any crazy modifications...
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Old 07-26-2014
C_Red90's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Overland Park
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Sorry for the delay, here are the two pictures I promised. The oily one is on the driver side of the vehicle. I have yet to clean it off and see if the issue reappears, however every time I have looked at it the oil looks fairly fresh.

Like I said I can't find anything in the Haynes manual for where this tie-rod end connects to. Is the steering knuckle where the grease/oil leak is originating from? I don't have enough experience with suspensions to make any assumptions with this vehicle.

Thank you
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Old 07-27-2014
cheese_man's Avatar
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Location: arthur
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from what you describe , it sounds like you damaged the ball joints on that side of your vehicle

ball joints are not made to encounter solid impacts , only road divets

also take a close look at the frame mounting points of the upper and lower control arms

you may have sheared some control arm mounting point welds
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Old 07-27-2014
C_Red90's Avatar
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Location: Overland Park
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I'll take a close look when I go to overhaul the front-end, and possibly post more pictures. Still waiting on parts; there will probably be a mountain of boxes in front of my house tomorrow.
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