Popping in front end 2003 Ranger 2WD - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 03-21-2010
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Popping in front end 2003 Ranger 2WD

I ahve a 2003 Ranger 2WD with coil springs and 80,000 miles. I have been having popping in the front end for about a year now. The popping happens when I I am stationary or moving and turning the wheel (more popping to the right than turning to the left). It is not supper loud but it can be heard and just very slightly felt in the steering wheel. It also does it when just going straight down the road and coasting (must be a lower speeds to hear it though). It will also pop when I let off the brakes after a fairly hard stop...and also sometimes when taking off hard (i.e. when the front end dives or raises). The noise is almost always there, but sometimes does get quieter and other times louder.

I noticed the left outer tie-rod end and both lower ball joints had cracked boots. So I replaced both outer tie-rod ends and the lower ball joints (used Moog parts). However the popping sound is still there. I have gotten under the truck with someone else turning and it feels/sounds like it might be coming from the left end of the rack (around the area where the big rubber boot is). Any ideas on what this could be? I think I have eliminated sway bar bushings because I disconnected the sway bar and it was still making the popping noise. Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 03-21-2010
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sounds like it could be inner tie rod ends to me...fenech627's truck does this
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Old 03-21-2010
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I was thinking the same thing. But I thought when they were bad you would have some play. I have no play at all.

Are these easy to replace? Autozone has a tool that they say is used to replace inner tie-rods without removing the rack. I assume it is just remove the outer, take the boot off and use that tool to remove the inner.
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Old 03-21-2010
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correct, replace the hog ring clamps with zip ties and youll be good to go
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Old 03-21-2010
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One of the new tie rod ends (the right) ended up having a small cut in it that I didn't notice until I had it on. So I had to take it back off. I jacked up that side and removed it. Then I moved the inner tie rod joint around and it felt fine. It takes some effort to begin moving it, but once it is moving it is very smooth and there is no play or roughness at all. Then while I had that side up and the tie rode end removed (and with the left side still having tire mounted and on the ground) I turned the steering wheel back and forth and there was no sound at all. Makes me think it may not be the inner tie rods.
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