Ranger makes clunking sound

My 2002 Ranger XLT Supercab Edge makes a clunking sound, but not every time, when I start going from a stopped position. It’s coming from underneath right behind the cab. The Ford dealership could find nothing wrong. Any ideas on what this could be?

I would suggest that you have a mechanic put it up on a lift, and have him check the u-joints on the driveshaft. Your description is characteristic of a bad u-joint.

The Ford Dealer Didn’t Mention TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) 02-19-1 ?

These bulletins are written for Ford technicians to help more easily remedy unusual customer complaints.

The bulletin is covers 2001-2002 Range 4x2 Super Cab Edge vehicles. It instructs technicians to diagnose the noise to see if it’s coming from the driveshaft slip-yoke and to possibly replace the driveshaft with a revised unit and to lube the driveshaft slip-yoke.

Ask them and see if this bulletin was heeded when they looked at your vehicle. They love it when customers help them with oversight. :blush:


@“common sense answer”

“Ask them and see if this bulletin was heeded when they looked at your vehicle. They love it when customers help them with oversight.”

I agree that it’s not a bad idea to ask the dealership if the bulletin was referenced, as part of the diagnosis

However, as a former longtime dealership mechanic . . . red flags often went up when a customer came in with a TSB in hand and told you to perform the procedure, because “it must be right.” Never mind that the cause might be something completely different, or maybe the TSB doesn’t actually apply to the customer’s car. Wrong model year, engine, etc. Even worse is when a customer comes in and says they were talking with strangers on the internet, and they said it’s probably such and such

My response was “Thank your for that information, but I’m going to diagnose it my way. And it’s possible the actual cause is not what’s on that piece of paper you just handed me.”

Very often, the TSB that the customer found had been superseded many times, and the diagnosis and repair was completely different. About half the time, the TSB the customer found didn’t apply to their vehicle, as I mentioned above. And conversations from car forums was usually not worth the paper it was printed on. No offense to this forum. This forum is great. But we all know there are a lot of useless and just plain wrong car forums out there. Some of the other guys shouldn’t even be allowed to hold a wrench in their hands, much less a code reader or scanner.

What if OP’s problem is not the driveshaft?

What if the dealership guys actually read the TSB and inspected the truck, as per the TSB, and didn’t bother mentioning it to the customer, because the driveshaft wasn’t the problem, anyways?

I wouldn’t be so quick to assume an “oversight” was made

My Ford truck – 40 + years old – does this too. There’s a little play in the rear differential. If it gets worse I suspect a bad u-joint in the rear driveshaft. I’ve had to replace several bad u-joints over the years.

It’s possible there’s no problem except that your idle rpm is too high, so check that first. Higher than spec idle rpm can cause this symptom.

hmm… what else? Well, if something has come loose in the exhaust system this can result. When you start from a stop it places a torque force on the engine, so the engine rotates a little, and if something is loose in the exhaust system the resulting movement can make clunk sound.

I expect whatever it is, it should be easy to diagnose and not cost an arm and a leg to fix.


I Could Not Agree More. I Respect Your Expertise.

That’s why I said, “It instructs technicians to diagnose the noise to see if it’s coming from the driveshaft slip-yoke…”

I didn’t intend to indicate that’s what it was, but the evidence is that there was an issue with this sound and this particular model that led to a “revised part.”

Having many years of work experience at car dealerships I know it can be offensive when a customer assumes they know more (“oversight”) than the technicians. You’ve seen the signs… Labor rate $75/hr, if you watch $85, if you help $100.

However, I’d want to know that lubing the slip-joint was tried or why it wasn’t called for and also to see if this truck is a candidate for a “revised” (improved, corrected) driveshaft. I have personally found that some smaller low-volume dealers are not up on some of the current info, as are larger, high-volume shops.

One does need to approach this politely and tactfully so as not to ruffle feathers, as you have illustrated.


Some people’s feathers are too easily ruffled…

When a customer is concerned with the safety and reliability of their car I can’t fault them for using everything available to them to take care of the problem. And often a shop blows off a customer’s concern and effectively tells them to “sit down and shut up. We’ll call you if we want you.” And that attitude is more common at dealerships. I have made repairs to cars after informing the owners that the problem was covered by their warranty. Go figure.

As for that Ranger though. Yes, the slip joint or hanger bearing or U-joint or the rear axle torquing over. But the dealership mechanics are likely allowed 15 minutes to diagnose the problem and after the 15 minutes they are working for free and no one likes to work for free.

TO OP is it only when you frirst start in the day? My ranger was prone to brake pads rusting and locking up, giant clunk as pads broke loose, one day seemed fine, but leave it sit 2 or 3 days, clunk there it is. If so ask if there is evidence of rust on the rear rotors, or drums as the case may be.

"often a shop blows off a customer’s concern and effectively tells them to “sit down and shut up.”

Is that shop run by Chris Christie?
“Sit down and shut up” is his favorite line to yell at…grandmothers…decorated veterans…teachers…and anyone else who asks a question for which he doesn’t have an answer.

if a shop or politician told me to sit down and shut up, They would loose my vote and business. Excepting of course that restaurant in Miami revered for rude waitresses. Or maybe from ed debevics…“You know what grandpa, if I was nice to you, I’d get canned. If you want good service, you go somewhere else. I know Hooters is probably more your speed, but you came here on purpose,” she said as she took their order.

Can you imagine if Chris Christie were president . . . ?!

His “sit down and shut up” attitude wouldn’t go over too well when dealing with Netanyahu or Putin . . . :fearful:

Well trump would just call anyone a looser, but it is a long way from a ranger clunking sound. course Ben carson might…

Well I heard that Sarah Palin was scheduled to attend a race at Bristol but demanded that the cars run the track clockwise… You know, Right turn after Right turn after Rught turn.

Thank you everyone for your helpful replies! A friend (male) actually told me I was imagining it…how rude! I’ve driven a few vehicles in my time and have never had this problem before. I just bought this truck 11/4 with 129,800 miles on it. I actually heard this sound on the test drive, and the salesman told me it was probably because we were at a stop sign on a slight incline. I didn’t worry about it cuz I needed a truck badly, and it met all my other “must haves”.

To GeorgeSanJose, the idle I think is OK. It’s about 1100 when cold and about 600 when warm. The service tech said that was ideal. It’s encouraging that it shouldn’t cost a lot to repair. And congrats for still driving a 40+ year-old Ford truck. I loved my 99 Ranger XLT Supercab and would still have it if I hadn’t hit a tree in the road 10/2. My insurance company totaled it and gave me $4700 for it which I thought was pretty good. Mileage was only 169136.

To common sense answer, I did fail to check for any recalls re: the driveshaft. I will look into that ASAP.

To Barkydog, this happens all day, not just first thing in the morning.

So again, THANKS TO ALL WHO RESPONDED!! You have given me a great starting point. I don’t think I will tell the Ford people to check the U-joint or the driveshaft or the exhaust system but see what they come up with on their own. If still nothing, I will make a polite suggestion. I go there a lot and don’t want to make them my enemy!

It is unlikely that a visual inspection of the driveshaft will spot a slip yoke thump, this is something that must be experienced during a road test. I would expect a general mechanical inspection was done at the previous visit and before the vehicle was sold. Were you able to demonstrate the noise to the technician?

BTW I have replaced a number of driveshafts under warranty (Toyota) for this problem and none showed any signs of play in the slip yoke or joints.