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 10-24-2003, 15:05 Post: 67010
kwschumm



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 Ford ranger chassis problems

Anyone here have a Ford Ranger 4x4 pickup?

I have a 98 that has 5k miles left on the extended warranty and there are a couple of problems the dealer hasn't been able to fix. I'm wondering if anyone here has similar problems.

For one, there is an intermittent loud chassis groan when accelerating from a standing start on an incline while turning left. Since I have to make a turn like that every day when leaving our house I notice it all the time, but the dealer can never repeat it. I mean this groan is LOUD. It went away for a few months after they put a new engine in (under warranty), but it's back. Sometimes it goes away for a few weeks and sometimes it happens several times a day. Sometimes I think it may be the exhaust system binding up somewhere. Ideas?

The second problem is the rear leaf springs. They squeak like crazy when climbing in the truck, standing on the rear bumper, etc. I complain, the dealer lubes them, it's ok for a couple of weeks then the squeak starts again. Isn't there supposed to be some sort of isolation between leaves of the springs? Like a teflon or plastic strip to keep metal-on-metal contact from occuring?






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 10-24-2003, 15:28 Post: 67012
AC5ZO

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 Ford ranger chassis problems

I haven't had a Ford for a while and I have not had your specific problems, but here goes anyway...

I would look at the body mounts for the groan. When you get this sound, it may not be simply the left turn etc. that is causing it but may include the general twisting that the turn causes on the frame and flexing at the body mounts.

I have had lots of leaf springs on many different vehicles. Some have squeaked and others haven't. On the squeaky ones I lubed them with oil. I had better luck with motorcycle chain lube lasting a bit longer, but since it is open, it will wear off. I have never seen a truck leaf spring with isolation pads. That doesn't mean that they aren't done, but I don't know anything about them. I have had Fords, Toyotas, GMCs, ...

I do tend to like the high performance polyurethane bushings that are sold for leaf springs. If you have some metal to metal contact at the mounting site, this may help and will last longer.

Now that I think about it, you should also check the bushings on your anti-sway bar on the front of your truck. That could make a groan if you twist the truck frame and the bushings are worn so that the bar is contacting metal.






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 10-24-2003, 18:53 Post: 67027
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 Ford ranger chassis problems

Thanks for the ideas. I'll have to power wash the underside and crawl underneath to examine everything to see if I can see any trace of metal-to-metal contact. It has had the groan since new so maybe one of the bushings wasn't right from the factory. If I don't see anything I guess I'll start replacing bushings until it goes away (or not).






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 10-25-2003, 00:41 Post: 67040
AC5ZO

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 Ford ranger chassis problems

If it has been doing it since it was new, I would start with a little silicone spray. I had an annoying noise on the H2 and it turned out to be the hood sliding over the rubber stops when the frame flexed. A little silicone did the trick.

Your problem seems to be more related to a specific configuration. Besides, the hood noise sounded like it was coming from up high.






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 10-25-2003, 08:29 Post: 67057
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 Ford ranger chassis problems

My gut tells me this can't be fixed with something as simple as a shot of silicone spray. The chassis groan is very loud - it sounds like a steel building is twisting and collapsing. The groan easily drowns out the radio when it's playing loud. It's not reliably repeatable which makes it very hard to find.

I'm curious if anyone else with a Ranger has this problem.






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 10-25-2003, 09:49 Post: 67067
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 Ford ranger chassis problems

Apart from the good advice that AC5ZO has given I would look at the lower ball joints (king pin) on the front end. Today most of these do not have grease fittings and will groan if dry or thump. I have a Volvo today with on bad one. As the second owner I traced it through warranty sheets and had existed from new. Even the high price mechanics could not find it.
It is a task to get them out and in without the special tools. Not always done without profanity. So I have had the new one for a couple of years listening to it slowly get worse. I have replace a number on older cars, but some as low as 50K, like on a Dodge Omni I inherited with the wife.
It is a little difficult to analyse from 2 thousand miles with out hearing. The play in the joint can be so slight that you do not see it with the standard wheel movement with the pry bar.
It will not always repeat so the mechanic will not necessarily hear it.
There are 360 degrees of failure so the joint can groan on stopping, one direction turn or acceleration after the brakes are released.






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 10-25-2003, 10:20 Post: 67071
AC5ZO

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 Ford ranger chassis problems

If the groan is that loud, I am sure that you are correct about the silicone.

I am still inclined to believe that it has something to do with the suspension. I don't know what kind of front springs that has, but if they are coils, look for a coil that is not straight and might be hitting some frame metal when it is compressed. You can cure this sometimes by rotating the coil or replacing it. I don't think this has torsion bars, but if so, they pass through frame elements and can make sounds there. The antisway bar is still a possiblility.

The fact that it is not reliably reproducible probably means that it is a combination of steering linkage and suspension. But, it could be suspension alone, since the action of the A arms changes with a wheel in a turn.

Peters is right, this is pretty hard to diagnose from afar. I have found some pretty wierd body squeaks before, but I was right there. A very loud groan is not likely to be a "body squeak."






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 10-25-2003, 12:34 Post: 67076
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 Ford ranger chassis problems

Hey Ken, my wife's care is a 95 Ford Taurus. The car was making a horrible creeking/groaning noise when turning. I got up underneith and found that the steering linkage ball joints were making the noise. They have the rubber grommets on them but no zirk fittings for greasing. I had it at the dealer fixing another screw up they made and they injected some lube grease into the rubber grommets and it quieted down the ball joints. Very poor design. Unless Ford offers a pickup with a Cummins or Catarpillar engine, will be the last Ford I EVER buy. What a piece of junk!






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 10-25-2003, 16:11 Post: 67079
AC5ZO

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 Ford ranger chassis problems

They call those joints on the linkage, "rod ends." They could be making noise, but I would not settle for just squirting some grease under the rubber. If they are to the point that they make a growling sound, it is probably time to replace them.

I have personally never had a problem with a rod end failure. We do select HD units for our racing buggys, but I think we use Chevy units on the VW linkage.






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 10-25-2003, 17:11 Post: 67082
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 Ford ranger chassis problems

I have replaced the odd rod end in my day. The last was a Ford F250 I owned. I was a work truck and although low miles was a rig pig truck in Northern Alberta. The dust of the desert is bad but I think the fine mud of the rocky foothills has to be the worst at least for wear.
When you drive the roads in spring as the frost comes out of the ground there is nothing but mud all over the car. The mud is light and fine and get down into every hole in the car or truck. After I got the truck I clean about 2 inches of mud from the bottom of the inside of the doors.






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