Our Community is 940,000 Strong. Join Us.


04 Explorer 4WD handling problems Help


95astroman
10-23-2013, 08:59 PM
My 04 Explorer 4WD sways left and ten to the right over and over when driving 60-70 mph and steering slightly to the left. Feels like something might be loose. It veers to the left then suddenly back to the right until I drive straight. Seems better at slower speeds and driving straight ahead.

shorod
10-23-2013, 10:32 PM
First make sure all tires are properly inflated per the door sticker (not the tire sidewall rating). Assuming the inflation is correct, the issue could be due to a bad tire (such has one with a separated belt), but you certainly should confirm that there is nothing loose in the steering and suspension. If there is anything so loose that it causes the behavior you mention, you really should stop driving the vehicle until you get it fixed.

-Rod

95astroman
10-24-2013, 01:33 AM
Thanks for the reply. 4 new tires were installed 2 weeks ago. The car drives just fine going 65 mph straight but when the road veers to the left the Explorer sways back and forth as if I was slightly turning the steering wheel left and right over and over. Can this be a sway bar issue?

shorod
10-24-2013, 08:04 AM
It is possible I suppose that if the anti-sway bar had bad end links it might contribute to this issue, but I don't think it would be the primary cause.

Let's start with the basics.

Did this problem occur before you installed the new tires?

Did you install OEM tire sizes?

Did you have an alignment performed after the new tires were installed?

Did you confirm that the new tires are properly inflated per the door sticker on your Explorer and NOT the tire sidewall?

Does it do the left to right movement on any stretch of road with a slight left turn when traveling 60-70 mph, or only a particular stretch of road?

Have you inspected the steering and suspension for any loose parts?

-Rod

aleekat
10-24-2013, 08:33 AM
Thanks for the reply. 4 new tires were installed 2 weeks ago. The car drives just fine going 65 mph straight but when the road veers to the left the Explorer sways back and forth as if I was slightly turning the steering wheel left and right over and over. Can this be a sway bar issue?
Seen brand new tires be bad off the rack. Answer Rod's questions to narrow things down.

95astroman
10-24-2013, 10:57 PM
Thanks again for the help!

The problem wasn't there before the new tires (255/65R-17 Yokohamas) were installed. Same tire size as the Goodyears they replaced. The Goodyears were worn evenly but down to the wear bars so alignment wasn't thought to be necessary. AmericasTire was kind enough to replace the right front tire and rotate the other 3 tires to see if it was a bad tire but problem still there. Americas Tire sent us out to get alignment checked and the technician said the car needed upper and lower front ball joints and control arm bushings. He said it would be easier to replace both upper and lower, right and left control arms complete with ball joints and bushings for $1500.00. He didn't mention sway bars or tie rods or even if the rear suspension(4WD) could be causing this. The car has 146K miles on it but not driven off road only freeway and not abused. Took it to a Ford dealer and they quoted us $3500.00 for the work along with a mcPhearson strut replacement and a right rear wheel bearing that wasn't making any noise. I understand that suspension parts do wear out but I believe there is probably one thing causing the rocking back and forth.
The rocking action seems to start after driving over uneven payment and veering left. Veering to the right doesn't seem to be an issue. Could a bad rear strut or sway bar links cause this problem.
Thanks again.

shorod
10-25-2013, 07:37 AM
So apparently America's Tire found something with the new right front tire that caused them to try replacing it. Interesting.

Since the replacement tire and rotation didn't seem to change things, I'd still like to know if anyone confirmed the tire pressure is correct per the door sticker.

At this point though I'd be more inclined to think the issue is due to a different tread pattern making the effects of worn control arm bushings and/or ball joints more obvious.

-Rod

95astroman
10-25-2013, 05:57 PM
Guess what...left rear wheel bearing shot completely but it didn't make any typical wheel bearing noise. The wheel wiggles terribly and I'm surprised nobody caught that. Americas Tire doesn't do alignments but was doing anything to make us happy and we thought we had a bad new tire. I commend them for that:smile:. Interesting that the alignment shop didn't even check the rear wheels at all and wanted us to spend $1500 to rebuild the front end....and that wouldn't have fixed the immediate more serious problem.
Thanks again for your help:smile:

Add your comment to this topic!