Heavy 'clunking' on take off and stopping

I have a 1998 Ford Ranger, 3.0 4X4. Purchased in early 2002 with a clunking problem which has not gotten worse or better. When I take off it is a heavy double ‘clunking’ like something shifting and the settling. I have had 4 mechanics look at it, have changed the front u joint and have had the motor and transmission mounts checked but the mounts are OK. Can’t figure this out. I talked to a person at a local car parts store and he mentioned that it could involve the ‘yoke’ and that it just might need to be greased but he was just guessing. Any ideas guys?

Automatic or manual transmission? Does the sound come from the front, middle or rear?

Auto transmission and the sound seems to be right in the middle.

It could be what the parts guy referred to as the yoke (I call it the splined shaft), as this does need to be lubricated periodically. Or, it could be the carrier bearing for the driveshaft. If there is more than one u-joint–as I suspect–then the other u-joint should be considered a suspect as well.

I’m with VDCdriver on this one. It is most likely the hanger bearing or the splined slip joint.

Also, the Ford Explorers of this era are prone to have the brake caliper bracket bolts loosen up. This will cause a clunking anytime the brakes are applied and released. Just something else to check.

With your foot on the brake, shift between drive and reverse. If it knocks each time you shift, then it is in the driveshaft, either a U joint or the carrier bearing, but not the yoke. If it was the yoke, it could make the knock anytime you hit a bump. If it only happens when you either press on the gas or let up, but not when you apply the brakes, then the flex plate is the prime candidate.

If it makes the clunk under each of the conditions above, then it could be the transmission mount.

Open the hood so you can see the engine. With engine running, put it in drive, hold the brake firmly and give it a little gas…Do you see any movement or hear the noise?? Repeat in reverse…If you can see the engine/transmission moving around more than 1/2 inch, you have found your problem…

I also have a 90 Ranger 4 x 4 and it is clunked upon take off (from a stop) since the day I brought it home brand new. The dealer told me at the time it was “just the way these trucks drive”. It is now 14 years later and I have 254,000 miles on that Ranger, it still clunks, but still drives great.