Question about 2003 Ford Explorer

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I have a 2003 Explorer that has movement on the right rear wheel when gripped at the 9 and 3 possision. I know to check wheel bearings at 12 and 6. Could this still be a bad bearing or something else?

Seems to have a lot of movement at the toe link ball joint. Could this be as simple as a bad toe link?

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Did you not answer your own question?

Your the one under there--looking & pushing
& pulling on the suspension

Now the question is---do you have the tools &
experience to replace parts?

Posted on Nov 30, 2012

  • Bob Rentner Nov 30, 2012

    Yes, I have the tools and I am perfectly capable of doing the work. I came to this forum looking for advise that could help. I wasn't looking for cryptic answers and sarcasm. If thats what this forum is all about, I will figure it out myself.

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Front end shimmy @ 65-70 mph


I would look at replacing your ball joints and/or tie rod ends, either can cause those symptoms. The balls joints should be check by a professional.

To check your tie rods jack one front side of your car check it, then do the other;

Move the front wheels. Placing your hands on the tire at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions, move the tire back and forth rapidly. A properly tightened front end will give no signs of excess movement and should give you the feeling of the entire wheel moving back and forth tight to the hub. If there is a movement, ask a friend or partner to ascertain where the movement is coming from. There could be many places that excess movement in a front end could be coming from. The tie rod ends are the easiest to check. Generally, if there is movement in the outer tie rod end, you will see it moving near the ball area where is sits down into the knuckle of the control arm. Excess movement there will require replacement of the outer tie rod. As far as movement on the inner tie rod, place your hand on that while your helper is moving the tire in the same motion described above. Determine how excessive the movement is, if any, for an inner tie rod. Some vehicles will give off a little movement in the rack and pinion. Some vehicles will have what feels like excess movement, but have pitman arms and idler arms that will also need to be checked. Those components should only be allowing side-to-side movement.
Take some time and make sure the lower ball joint is not moving. Place your hands on the tire at 12 and 6 o'clock and try to move it up and down. Many vehicles nowadays have wheel bearing hub assemblies, and there should be absolutely no free-play whatsoever. If there is and the lower ball joint is not moving in the knuckle, chances are there's movement in the bearing. Some rear-wheel-drive vehicles have a bearing seated rotor and this can be adjusted to tighten the looseness in a bearing; however, a little movement in that type of application is generally OK.

Nov 25, 2011 | 2001 Buick LeSabre

1 Answer

The 1996 Ford Explorer I bought used makes a droning sound like being in a small airplane when the vehicle is moving. It is gone when I turn or curve to the right and does not make the sound when the car...


Front wheel hub bearings are very common problems with this particular vehicle. Try jacking the vehicle with the front wheels off the ground. Check for excessive "play" as you wiggle the front wheels while holding the tire at the 9 & 3 o'clock position, then 12 & 6 o'clock position. If the movement detected is the same at both positions, replace the front wheel bearings.

Note: This test also allows you to check for worn tie rods and ball joints. Replace as needed. The droning sound points to bad bearings, though.

Apr 07, 2011 | Ford Explorer Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

I just bought an2003 ford explorer 4x4 and i have a loud humming noise coming from the front end tires are brand new it has around 190,000km please help


If the noise is only when the vehicle is moving it sounds lek you have a bad wheel bearing. You can inspect ford move ment or play shaking the tires up and down and left to right while lifted up on hoist or jack. If there is no movement doesn't necesarily mean the bearings are okay, however if there is movement in bearing replace and drive again. Antoher way to determine Which wheel bearing is bad is to drive and turn to the left, if the noise gets louder than it mens the rightside wheel bearung is bad. If you turn to the right and noise gets louder replace driver side front wheel bearing. Also Rub your hands across your tires, does it feel wavy or uneven, you could have cupped tires, I DON'T KNOW HOW NEW THEY are but cupped tires will also make this noise. One way to see if it is the tires is to do a rotate If noise changes at all then you no its a tire causing noise. Hope this helps.

Oct 19, 2010 | 2003 Ford Explorer

1 Answer

How can I tell if a wheel bearing is going bad.


Wheel bearings in the front or back will howl when going bad, and might even click and clack when going over bumps.

One can jack up the car and move the wheel in the 9 and 3 o'clock positions and the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock positions to see if there is excessive movement of 1/4" or more.

Also, if a hub wheel bearing is bad, and the ABS light goes on for it, then sometimes the whole hub assembly must be replaced on the wheel affected to get ABS Braking back.

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Have 2002 ford explorer,right rear wheel feels loose. checked lugs, all tight, pulled wheel and rotor is wobbly, losse. what's the cause?


You need a wheel bearing....don't drive it. Tow it to a dealer.! Ford wheel bearings are cheaper than aftermarket.
250-300 dollar fix.

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I would just replace the bearings, They're not that expensive and they're quite easy to replace. After replacement, if it happens again on the same wheel, you probably have a bent semi-axel. I had this exact problem on a '93 200tdi disco.

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The problem is most likely a damper door actuator that has a stripped gear. I replaced mine in my Explorer and it appears to be a common problem. To replace it you must remove the side panel which is held in by the door seals and spring clips. This will expose the rear a/c unit. Then you must remove the bolts securing the a/c housing to allow you to pull the housing away from the fender to get access to the actuator. The actuator is bolted on and will require a small socket to remove it. You can hear and feel the actuator thumping to determine which one it is. When replaced, the actuator shaft must be aligned with the damper door which is inside the housing. The part number for mine was YL5Z*19E616*AA and lists for $68.18 at the Ford dealer. I found it later online for $35.

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1 Answer

How do I know if my front wheel bearings are going out in my car


Jack up the car (SAFELY) so one wheel is just clear of the ground.

Grip the wheel with both hands and see if there is any movement when you "pull / push" the wheel.

If there IS movement ..... you need new bearings.

Good luck.

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