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Squeak creak while turning left

So for about two years now I have had this creaking, squeaking noise coming from the left side of the truck. It only happens when turning left(such as 90° turns). It doesn’t happen over bumps or while turning right. if you turn slowly the sound is minimal or not there. When it rains and there is water on the road the noise usually stops all together. The noise is not constant. Almost sounds like a shopping cart with bad wheel.

We replaced all the ball joints, tie rod ends, shocks, sway bar links, tires, sway bar bushings, and brakes(not all because of the sound, just taking care of maintenance along the way). My mechanic did my alignment about two months ago and could not pin the noise down and didn’t see anything binding. Suggested to change out the sway bar links, but that didn’t stop it.

Anyone have any suggestions?

So, what is the year of the Explorer and how many miles has it?
Is it 4WD?
Does it have leaf springs anywhere? Have you tried lubing them?
Has all this work included the rear suspension, or only the front?

  1. 250k miles. 2wd It does have leaf springs. All work has been done to the front aside from a master cylinder on the passenger side rear. Been focused on the front because that is where the noise sounds to be coming from.

Noise can propagate and sound like it’s coming from an area where it isn’t.

To the leaf springs, leaf springs can develop squeak creaks as they age. The leafs actually slide on one another and within the shackles, and that can begin to creak, often under only a specific load condition. Try spraying penetrating lubricant on the described areas and see if that helps. I’d try one area at a time to try to localize the spot… if in fact the penetrating lubricant works. It certainly can’t hurt. Post the results.

So none or little of this noise if turning extreme left at slow speed, but definite noise if turning at the same extreme angle but a little higher speed? When you are turning left at higher speed it puts more force on the right side of the vehicle making the body and associated suspension components move downward, while the other side has less force and moves upward a little. I’d guess it has something to do with those vertical movements. Shocks and springs would be a suspect. I wonder if you could push down on each front corner with the car parked in neutral, engine off, see if you notice the sound.

Tell your mechanic to use his chassis ears. Click and Clack actually mentioned this tool a few times, I believe. Just thought I’d mention that :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

It makes tracking down noises MUCH easier. The tool isn’t that expensive, and it’s easy to use

IMO any shop that does suspension/steering work should have one of these in stock, or something similar

It makes it easier to find the cause of a noise, often without calling another mechanic over for help

That’s a good idea, db. I’m unfamiliar with the ones in the link, ,but most shops should have piezoelectric accelerometers that can be attached to key spots on the chassis (like the leaf springs) that will post traces on a laptop as the car drives. Squeaks and creaks can be identified by a properly trained tech by their traces. With modern technology, the traces can be saved and analyzed back at the shop. Generally a tech will mount a number of these sensors at the same time using a waxlike substance.

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When I left the dealership over 7 years ago, such devices as you’re describing were not on hand. And that was at a well equipped Benz dealership!

Question for the mechanics currently working for pay . . . meaning not DIY guys

Are any of your shops equipped with such devices as mountainbike described?

From the description, they should be very easy to use, but all I’ve ever personally seen were those old school chassis ears, from my link

FWIW . . . on the steelman website, and that’s who makes the genuine chassis ears, they don’t sell any such devices. Perhaps it’s not even an auto tools manufacturer that would make such tools? It almost sounds like something that might be used in a research lab, perhaps by the engineers and scientists who are actually designing and fine-tuning new cars for the manufacturers

We had them in our automotive technology degree program at the college I retired from. The use of them was taught in the program. They can be really useful for those hard-to-find creaks and moans. I don’t know if there’s an automotive nomenclature commonly used to describe these systems, ergo I fall back on an engineering-type description. It’s a bad habit of mine. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I went back and looked at your link, by the way. It’s basically the same thing except that accelerometers replace the microphones and traces can be recorded for analysis. It’s sort of a more precise and direct way of “listening” to noises. It also requires a bit of learning on how to interpret the traces. What WILL they think of next! :scream:

Let’s see if I understood you correctly . . .

Your auto technology program had the ones YOU were talking about . . . the ones that send the info back to the laptop, so that the data can be saved and analyzed?

That sounds a little more high-tech than the ones from my link

Those are called chassis ears, a trademarked name, I believe

I’ve even used the wireless kind . . . they’re also on that same website . . . but I find them to be less reliable than the old school wired version. Specifically, the selector box on the wireless version is trouble-prone, IMO

Well I made the noise go away. So hurray!
I looked at the rear suspension components and didn’t see anything loose or broken. Sprayed the leaf springs down, but no change. Sprayed the sway bars and shock connections, still nothing. While down there banging my head against the undercarriage getting frustrated… again, I finally noticed my body mount bushing.
The one at the mid section between the front and back doors (where the noise seemed to be coming from in retrospect) was crumbled and gone. This is point C I believe. The bushing is gone and the discs look rusted.
I sprayed white lithium grease on the discs and around the bolt. The noise is now gone, at least for the time being.
Does anyone know where to find replacements for just one of these? Or a way to silence the noise for good?

Try LMC Truck’s website.

That is correct, db.
They’re a bit more high-tech than the ones you linked into, but regardless whether one is using the “ears” or the accelerometers, IMHO your suggestion was a great idea.

For the record, I left out something in my post suggesting the springs as a possible source. IMHO the best way to test this is to jack the truck up until the axle is hanging from the springs, allowing the springs to arc as much as possible, and spray some penetrating or silicone lube into the ends of the leafs (leaves?) as much as possible and around the shackles. If the creak is coming from the leaf springs, that might alleviate it.

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I like your way of thinking


Thanks. I hope it helps the OP! :grin: