2000 Explorer, Horrible steering wheel shake

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  #1  
Old 12-09-11, 09:56 PM
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2000 Explorer, Horrible steering wheel shake

Hi all,
I'm new to these forums, hoping someone can lend some advice. I apologize in advance for the long winded story.
I just recently bought a 2000 Explorer, 4.0 OHV, 4x4 with about 150,000 miles.
I've had the vehicle for about a month, and ever since I bought it, it's had a grinding sound (sounded like wheel bearing) coming from the front right side. I replaced both right and left bearing/hub assemblies, and took it out for a drive. The initial sound that I thought was bearing noise is still there, and at about 65mph I started to get a little bit of steering wheel shake. I took my foot off the gas and it stopped. I accelerated up to about 70mph and it seemed ok. I hit a VERY small bump in the road and the steering wheel started shaking like hell. So bad that I almost lost control. I slammed the brakes and the shake stopped instantly. I took it home and put it up in the air, half expecting to see something loose or broken, and everything looks perfect. I re-torqued everything that I had taken apart for the initial hub/bearing replacement, and took it out again. Same issues.
I never had ANY of these problems before I replaced the hub/bearing assemblies, so I'm completely confused.
I was thinking CV joints, but I have no clicking at all when turning, in forward or reverse, everything is smooth.
Outer tie rods were done about 6 weeks ago.
Any ideas?

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 12-10-11, 04:24 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Have you checked the steering stabilizer shock?
 
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Old 12-10-11, 09:05 AM
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hah, the death wobble... know exactly what it feels like. like as if the car is falling apart.

so, I have 2000 Silverado that had exactly same issue. It'll drive Ok on straight, but hit a small bump with steering slightly turned - bam, it's an earthquake!
this is what took to fix it: driver side hub bearing, steering idler, and steering shock add on. been well over a year and it's ok.
this is for the old style parallelogram steering systems though. also, Pitman is very likely to be bad. those systems do not tolerate ANY looseness.
if you have rack and pinion, then you do not have all those parts. then it's either ball joints or control arm bushings, or both.
 
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Old 12-10-11, 09:07 AM
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From my experience bad CV joints do not always make a clicking sound. I had one that was seizing up and would only cause vibration under power and not make any noise. Is there any evidence of contamination due to a torn boot for instance. Even if not I would not discount a bad CV joint as being the cause at this point. It could very well be, assuming that all other steering and suspension parts are not loose or worn beyond their usefull and safe life. Not saying this is what it is, but I am saying to consider it still as a possibility.
 
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Old 12-10-11, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
Welcome to the forums!

Have you checked the steering stabilizer shock?
to his point, some vehicles have factory steering stabilizer. mine does not, hence I added it. it's a possibility, if that's what he's referring to.
 
  #6  
Old 12-10-11, 10:41 AM
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I did a little product specific surfing and found that with that Ford product, it appears according to some owners that air can leak into the rack and pinion steering causing exactly the same driving issues you are talking about. Some talk about air leaking in when the steering is operated manually without the engine on for example, including after a brake service. I never heard of this before but there could be something to it based on more than one owners comments that I found. You might check your reservoir level, the condition of your fluid, including if you see any air bubbles in it. You can turn the wheel to full lock one direction and hold for a minute, then to full lock the other direction, hold for a minute and then check if the fluid level is low etc. and top up as necessary. I am now thinking this is a possibility since all was fine in this regard until you changed out the hubs and bearings and most likely did move the steering manually. Hey, it's worth a try at least.
 
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Old 12-10-11, 02:34 PM
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some vehicles have factory steering stabilizer. mine does not
I'm not familiar with his vehicle but every 4 wheel drive vehicle I've owned has had one.
 
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Old 12-10-11, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
I'm not familiar with his vehicle but every 4 wheel drive vehicle I've owned has had one.
my Silverado is 4x4, steering stabilizer is optional. Not as in buyer can order it, simply - it's installed on some vehicles and not on others. My steering geometry is pitman, center link, steering idler for long one, tie rod ends. those are very long by themselves.
entire configuration, consisting of long metal rods, moving parallel to the front axle, is very sensitive to any wobbles coming from tires.
very similar to this:

 
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