2000 Explorer horrible steering wheel shake


y2kxplorer
12-10-2011, 01:03 AM
Hi all,
I'm new to these forums, hoping someone can lend some advice. I apologize in advance for the long winded story.
I just recently bought a 2000 Explorer, 4.0 OHV, 4x4 with about 150,000 miles.
I've had the vehicle for about a month, and ever since I bought it, it's had a grinding sound (sounded like wheel bearing) coming from the front right side. I replaced both right and left bearing/hub assemblies, and took it out for a drive. The initial sound that I thought was bearing noise is still there, and at about 65mph I started to get a little bit of steering wheel shake. I took my foot off the gas and it stopped. I accelerated up to about 70mph and it seemed ok. I hit a VERY small bump in the road and the steering wheel started shaking like hell. So bad that I almost lost control. I slammed the brakes and the shake stopped instantly. I took it home and put it up in the air, half expecting to see something loose or broken, and everything looks perfect. I re-torqued everything that I had taken apart for the initial hub/bearing replacement, and took it out again. Same issues.
I never had ANY of these problems before I replaced the hub/bearing assemblies, so I'm completely confused.
I was thinking CV joints, but I have no clicking at all when turning, in forward or reverse, everything is smooth.
Outer tie rods were done about 6 weeks ago.
Any ideas?

Thanks.

shorod
12-10-2011, 10:19 AM
Welcome to the forum!

It definitely sounds like something is not seated or torqued properly. The fact that after hitting a bump it got really bad and then hitting the brakes calmed it down leads me to suspect a ball joint that is not tight, or some other component (like outer tie rod end) that has a tapered shaft. If nothing else, safely support this truck on jackstands, take the front steering and suspension components apart until you find the item that is not torqued properly. But don't stop there, continue to inspect everything really well before you put this thing back on the road!

FWIW, inner CV joints will often cause noise on acceleration when they are failing, outer joints cause noise on turns. So just because you don't have a noise on turns does not rule out an issue with the halfshafts. I don't think that's the issue here though.

-Rod

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