Ford Ranger 2004 Clucking noise

I own a 2004 Ranger 4x4 V6 4.0 Liter engine with 118,000 miles. This summer it has been experiencing a clunking/knocking noise for the first time. The noise only happens during days where temps are above 90 degrees and I’ve been driving for at least 10 minutes. I can hear and also feel the low pitch clunk through the steering wheel. It is more pronounced if I hold the bottom of the steering wheel. I park on concrete and have not seen any fluid leaks under the engine. The power steering fluid is not low. I’ve jacked up the truck to test tires. The tires do not wobble. A Ford mechanic has inspected the suspension and cannot find anything wrong. Of course when I took the truck to the mechanic is was a cooler morning. Any ideas or shared experiences would be helpful.

Have someone check the front locking hubs for the 4WD system.


Is it a single clunk or multiple clunks?

The clunks occur when the truck runs over uneven sections of the road or over bumps. When the road is smooth then no clunks.

Strut bearing will rattle and clunk when going over bumpy roads. My Camry does this especially when it’s cold.

The noise might be from a worn lower ball joint.

To find out, place a floor jack under the lower control arm and raise the tire off the ground so there’s about six inches between the tire and the ground.

While watching the ball joint, have someone take a pry bar long enough to move the tire up and down when the pry bar is placed under the tire. A length of 2X4 works good.

If the ball joint is worn, you’ll see the joint move up and down in its socket.


Have you ever replaced the shocks/struts on the truck?

I wonder if the intermediate steering shaft is worn . . .

I have to side with Tester on this one. Sounds like a lower ball joint.