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Front end popping Creaking, I've tried it all!

've been going crazy trying to figure out what is causing this insane popping/Creaking noise front my front drivers side. I’ve recently noticed it only happens when I’m turning my steering wheel right, even if it’s just slightly. Even yesterday I just parked and rocked the car side to side and it made the noise, but only if I was sitting in the driver’s seat… If I got up and tried to rock it from the outside, no noise… It’s going to drive me crazy and probably cause my wife to leave me because I won’t shut up about it! I’ve replaced the drivers wheel bearing, new Sway bar bushings, New Sway bar end links, new upper control arms with ball joints, new lower ball joints, the only thing really left I’m thinking are the tie rod ends, body mounts, which looked fine plus I don’t think they’d make noise when only turning right, or the CV joint. I’m thinking that’s what it is but before I go spend more money on the part I’m wanting to make sure that’s what it is.

ford explorer
Model-Year, please?

2005 Explorer 4x4 v6 4.0L

A CV joint is the likely culprit. Or the front drive shaft has a bad U-Joint.

At 17 years old I wouldn’t be surprised at all.


Do you think a u joint would cause it just make the awful noise when turning right? I’m leaning more toward the CV axle since its only when turning right

Not discounting @Yosemite 's suggestion - and its a good one to check.

What I am going to suggest may just make things worse but… a broken weld or 2. Flexing of the frame or body with a broken weld can cause a popping noise that is murderous if not impossible to find. You’ve already covered most of the other things and replaced the parts so what is left? Searching with a prybar, a mallet and a flashlight may find it but it will be very tough to find.

The noise you hear might be from a worn upper strut mount.

Have someone place their hand on the strut tower while rocking the vehicle. If the mount is the problem, it should be felt.


Totally forgot to mention I had the front shocks/struts replaced as well…

You do realize the front struts can be replaced without replacing the upper strut mounts?


It was a complete assembly with shocks, struts, and mounts, sorry

If you’re able to recreate the noise while the vehicle is stationary, the vehicle is high enough where someone is able to slide under it with a creeper.

So rock the vehicle while that person feels the steering/suspension components, and I bet they find the source of the noise.


Believe it or not I was going to mention the upper strut mount. At least as something to not discount. I replaced my front struts but not the mounts and would get a knocking sound under some turning and road conditions. Replacing the mounts took care of it, but of course its like doing the struts twice so now I’d just replace them at the same time as the struts.

Took it to the Ford dealership, they kept it for 2 days and tried it all. They could replicate the noise, but couldn’t figure out the cause… Really sucks, I guess I’m out of things it could be and the thing only has 86,000 miles and I just want to drive it off a cliff

For a faulty CV joint, that symptom is usually a clicking noise when turning at slow speed, like making a turn after stopping at a stop sign. The inner CV joint can produce a different sound usually notice more at higher speeds, but not the one you are saying. It would be rare for a CV joint problem to make a noise when the vehicle is standing still and turning the steering wheel. That’s more like a problem with the tie rod end play.

Since the ford dealership can’t find it either … hmmm … maybe best to just live with it until it gets worse. Remember that movie 2001, a space odyssey? That’s what they did when they had a computer problem they couldn’t figure out. And indeed it did get worse … much worse … but that’s science fiction.

I decided to put it in 4 wheel drive today to see if that did anything, it made the sound worse and when starting to move forward or turn it sounded like dry metal rubbing together or something was warped or something… I’m not sure but it seems 4 wheel drive makes it worse

Motor mounts? …longshoot

I fixed it! I managed to duplicate the sound and it was coming from the driver side body mount, the mount was in good condition, simply unscrewed it and screwed it back in… Wasted a bunch of money for it just to be that… But I’m happy!

Good for you. Seems we’re seeing a bunch of stubborn problems finally being reported solved here today.