Clunk and high speed vibration on right side: '95 F-150 4WD

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terannotterran
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Clunk and high speed vibration on right side: '95 F-150 4WD

Post #1 by terannotterran » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:25 pm

Hi everyone,

I have a '95 F-150 XLT 4WD, manual, with the extended cab and short bed. When I first bought the truck I had horrible wheel hop on the front right wheel. My parents verified it when driving along side on the interstate. Enough to shake the vents till they turn off (I think knocking a servo out of place, it still does this) and even shake the left mirror.

Turned out the wheel bearings were badly shot in the front. I had them replaced. Better after that but still off. It had these 33x12.5R15 large tires on it. Went down to 31x10.5R15 on the factory wheels and had them balanced. Better, but still a clunk and a bit of that vibration.

Found that the front right shock upper mount rubber was gone so it had about an inch of travel where there was no shock engagement. I had been having some shimmy-ing at speed and I think that was related. I orderded a set of shocks and took up the dead space with washers for the time being. The shocks are in rough shape anyway, though.

Still getting the clunk. It feels pretty balanced pressing down at every corner. I can't shake anything with my hand in a way that gets a clunking sound down there. That said, the CV has a tiny bit of side to side play. The bushings for the swaybar are mostly shot. Really, all of the bushings look bad except for whatever the rearmost one is on the front right tire suspension assembly. That one was probably the only bushing on the truck I've seen replaced.

I'd love to just have all of the bushings replaced if I had a larger budget but I'm trying to keep my fixes down to what I need before a 700 mile trip.

The clunk comes up pretty easily. Even backing out in the driveway I'll hear it. I don't hear a clunk just steering in place. Steering does have about 3-4" of dead space at the steering wheel and is kinda vague, but I suspect that is a different issue.

Are the swaybar bushings easily replaced? Looks like I might be able to do it mostly by hand, just with a C-clamp. I've had the radius arm bushings suggested -- which are those?

Thank you for your help and time.

Sincerely,
Teran

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Re: Clunk and high speed vibration on right side: '95 F-150 4WD

Post #2 by ludwig » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:10 am

That shake is probably the 'death wobble' or 'wobble of death' that is a known problem with front I-beam suspensions. You can search the term here on this site and also on the web. It is particularly common on Jeeps. You will find a number of corrections. Most have to do with the front end bushings and the suspension geometry. I had the problem on my 1995 F150. It came up and I was never able to really fix it. The press-in bushings you mention were probably the solution. If you plan to keep the truck, that may be the best solution.
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Re: Clunk and high speed vibration on right side: '95 F-150 4WD

Post #3 by bubba22349 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:23 am

Yes the Radius Arm Bushings as well as in some extreme cases the frames radius arm mounting bracket too are a good place to check out. They are a very common cause for the clucking sound you describe. You will need look under the truck throughly to see if these parts are in good condition. They are one of the suspention points that hold the front end to the chassis. You can see some pictures of these parts in this link https://www.f150forum.com/f10/radius-ar ... ion-86279/

Good luck :nod:
A bad day Drag Racing is still better than a good day at work!

I am still hunting for a project car to build but with my current low budget it's not looking so good. My Ex- Fleet of Sixes these are all long gone! :bang: 1954 Customline 223 3 speed with O/D, 1963 Fairlane project drag car with BB6, 1977 Maverick 250 with C4, 1994 F-150 a 300 with 5 speed.

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Re: Clunk and high speed vibration on right side: '95 F-150 4WD

Post #4 by ludwig » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:20 pm

Bubba x2. I had a clunk on braking with a load in back. It was the radius arm bushings and that solved the problem.

The death wobble was a whole different problem. Seems you have solved that part.
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Re: Clunk and high speed vibration on right side: '95 F-150 4WD

Post #5 by bubba22349 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:30 pm

Forgot about your question on the sway bar bushings, :thumbup: yes they are fairly easy and relatively inexpensive to replace. Good luck on your F 150 :nod:
A bad day Drag Racing is still better than a good day at work!

I am still hunting for a project car to build but with my current low budget it's not looking so good. My Ex- Fleet of Sixes these are all long gone! :bang: 1954 Customline 223 3 speed with O/D, 1963 Fairlane project drag car with BB6, 1977 Maverick 250 with C4, 1994 F-150 a 300 with 5 speed.

terannotterran
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Re: Clunk and high speed vibration on right side: '95 F-150 4WD

Post #6 by terannotterran » Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:12 pm

Hi everyone,

Thank you for your replies. I really think it's the radius bushings now. I initially dismissed it because the bushing looked fine.

Image

However, I did not look closely enough at the back side of the bushing.

Image

Kind of odd to have one half red and one half black, isn't it?

You can see some impressive shade tree mechanic work on the left radial arm bushing, but it actually doesn't seem to give me any problems.

Image

Now I'm having a hard time breaking that nut off. Even with a two foot breaker bar I am bending the bar a few inches and it's still not budging. Added some penetrating oil but still no luck. I don't have an impact gun so I think I may take it to a shop and have them change out just the back part of that bushing.

The bushing feels "gritty" based on the play. I can't replicate the sound pulling back and forth but I think with real world pressures it might be able to do it. And even if it's not, it's clearly shot and should be replaced. Even worse than the swaybar bushings in my opinion.

Will keep you all updated.

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Re: Clunk and high speed vibration on right side: '95 F-150 4WD

Post #7 by ludwig » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:05 pm

Hit the nut with a propane torch and heat it up, periodically tugging on it. Keep the flame away from the threaded shank.

The nut will grow incrementally. If you don't leave the flame on too long, the shank should be cooler. Do that a couple times before you get the guy down the street to do it for pay.
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Re: Clunk and high speed vibration on right side: '95 F-150 4WD

Post #8 by terannotterran » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:32 pm

That's a good tip about the propane torch, thank you. I actually took it by a shop in town. The mechanic looked over it and agreed the bushing was totally shot and probably causing the noise. Wasn't even resting centered in the hole, which I didn't think to look for.

They gave me a quote then he broke the nut with the impact gun in case I wanted to try just replacing the back bushing on my own.

Later on I took off the nut and saw that the bracket had been eaten away. The hole is quite enlarged and I think there's just no salvaging that bracket. The bracket is also loose (bolted and not riveted, thankfully) and I'm sure that's causing some issues.

I decided to accept their quote and add on a bracket to the list. I don't think it'll take them too much time if they can just unbolt the bracket.

Maybe I should attempt it myself instead. If I pull the bracket do I not need to pull the radius arm forward? Almost seems easier to take the bracket off to replace the bushings than to pull it out of the way. At least, if it's not riveted -- then it makes sense that you'd reverse it with a wheel chuck or use a come-along.

The bushings that were in there were actually red at both ends, so I assume a polyurethane type. One of the plastic bits had melted, or so it looked. I almost wonder if the bushing was just too hard and rather than give, it ate away at the metal. Do you have any particular recommendation for such bushings? These feel just like hard plastic. The bushings themselves are actually fine. Strangely, the forward bushing had a rearward protrusion and the rear bushing was flat on the rear. The ones I've seen normally have a protrusion on both ends.

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Re: Clunk and high speed vibration on right side: '95 F-150 4WD

Post #9 by bubba22349 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:19 am

Since the frame bracket is bolted on now instead of having revet's it should be a fairly easy job to do if you have use of normal hand tools, a jack, and jack stands i.e. Safety supports. Yes you may need to pull the radius arm or axle forward slightly just to take some pressure off the bracket about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch or so would be enough it may only need a little pushing forward by hand to do that then place a block of wood behind the tire to hold it. I have not used those type bushings only have used the stock type Ford rubber bushings from Moog, or NAPA auto parts ect. some people like them though because they are hard and don't give. The stock bushing extension is designed to fit into the frame bracket center hole I don't know or can't see in your pictures how those poloy type bushing are made. In my OPIN though they are just too hard for any street type use and are more suited for use on an off road only race truck. Be sure to get your front end alignment checked out up at a good shop after you get it fixed. How is the bushing on the other side? Good luck on your pick up. :nod:
A bad day Drag Racing is still better than a good day at work!

I am still hunting for a project car to build but with my current low budget it's not looking so good. My Ex- Fleet of Sixes these are all long gone! :bang: 1954 Customline 223 3 speed with O/D, 1963 Fairlane project drag car with BB6, 1977 Maverick 250 with C4, 1994 F-150 a 300 with 5 speed.

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Re: Clunk and high speed vibration on right side: '95 F-150 4WD

Post #10 by B RON CO » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:52 pm

Hi, it sounds like you are on the right track. As mentioned, I once put poly bushings in an 84 Bronco, and changed them back to rubber, because the ride was too harsh. Also the steering went from steady and predictable to jumpy. Make sure to inspect the U Joints in the drive shaft (s), this is a common cause of vibration, as is a bad fan clutch. Good luck
B RON CO. Still workin' on it!

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