Grinding/Clicking Noise Coming From Front End

matty02gt

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Jul 5, 2009
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I've got an '02 GT with 63k and have recently noticed that there's a grinding/clicking noise coming from the front end when I've got the wheel turned to the limits. I haven't noticed any noise while cruising on the highway or when I turn the wheel less than full. The direction I turn the wheel determines the side that the sound comes from (left=drivers, right=passengers).
I thought it might have been the bearings, but saw some other posts on tie rods. I'm looking to fix it myself and was wondering if anyone knew of a way to differentiate between the two.
Thanks in advance.
 
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nfsug2cobra

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Dec 20, 2010
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Stock or aftermarket wheels? Is it lowered? The factory has limiters on the rack to keep it from rubbing anywhere. Look for signs underneath. Kind of vague on noise, but that would be where I would start looking.
 

nfsug2cobra

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Also bearing would let the wheel move when you lift the front of the car. Also what is the condition of the brakes? Pads moving in the caliper can do it.
 

LarsD

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Well to check your tie rods, bj's, and bearings, get the car's front end up in the air (use jack stands to secure it!). Once you have it up and stable, put your hands at 9 and 3 o'clock on the tire you want to check. Push/pull back and forth, if you feel any slack, you have a bad tie rod (helps to have a second set of eyes looking under the car as you do this). Next grab it at 6 and 12 o'clock, do the same push/pull motion, once again a helper will make it easier, if you have slack here, it can be a bad ball joint, or hub bearings, the way to tell is have your help pay attention to whether or not the spindle is moving. Spindle moves, bad BJ, spindle doesn't move, hub bearings are shot.
 

matty02gt

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Jul 5, 2009
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I guess the way to reclassify the noise is that it sounds/feels like a "gear" or something is slipping and then catching again (kinda like a pop or clicking). Not like a tranny or anything, but like a bicycle when the chain hops as you're shifting going up a hill. Again, I'm not going fast and it's only when I have the wheel displaced fully to either side. I'm putting in long hours at work this week so I'll try to get the front end up soon and test out the wheels and repost after.
Thanks for the help so far.
 

matty02gt

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Jul 5, 2009
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Ok, just got home and jacked up the car. I tried moving both front wheels in and out from the 9-3 and 6-12 positions and it didn't budge. Also turned the steering wheel and spun both wheels around and no noise...not sure where else to go with this.
Any help is appreciated...
 

cstires

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Dec 9, 2010
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Raise the car up and look at the sway bar, and see if there are any marks there caused by rubbing. I had the same problem when turning at the limits, it was the wheel weight on the rim hitting the sway bar.
 

bigbird04

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Jul 15, 2010
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Are you sure the sounds not coming from your power steering pump? If it has a leak and the fluid level gets low they can make alot of noise when cutting the wheels lock to lock. Just somthing easy to check, if its low add fluid and see if it helps.
 

trombonedemon

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Well to check your tie rods, bj's, and bearings, get the car's front end up in the air (use jack stands to secure it!). Once you have it up and stable, put your hands at 9 and 3 o'clock on the tire you want to check. Push/pull back and forth, if you feel any slack, you have a bad tie rod (helps to have a second set of eyes looking under the car as you do this). Next grab it at 6 and 12 o'clock, do the same push/pull motion, once again a helper will make it easier, if you have slack here, it can be a bad ball joint, or hub bearings, the way to tell is have your help pay attention to whether or not the spindle is moving. Spindle moves, bad BJ, spindle doesn't move, hub bearings are shot.
This.
 

matty02gt

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Jul 5, 2009
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I topped off the power steering fluid the other day and it was only a bit low, so no changes there.
As far as doing the push/pull method...I did it on both wheels and no movement or slack. I'm about to take it to a shop and see what they can tell me, so if anyone has on last idea, please let me know and thanks for all the help so far.
 

Secret Squirrel

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Dec 9, 2010
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Not sure this applies to your year, but my 03 GT had an issue with the two bolts that hold on the rack. First check to see if they are tight, if they are loose this could cause the rack to shift when maxing out the steering (63,000 miles could have loosened them up). There is a metal bushing that runs the length of those bolts if loose it will slide against the K member when you max your steering (metal to metal and makes a noise like you are talking about.



My issue was the bushing on my 03 was too long (Ford did this to a lot of 03s) When the bolt was tight it was metal to metal instead of compressing the rubber. They sold a shorter shaft to fix the issue, I just took out the bushings and grinded them down a tad. Popping and grinding went away. Hopefully you find the bolts loose and tighten them down.



Have someone turn the wheels from side to side while you watch the two front bolts on the rack, if they are loose you will see the rack shifting.



It is a simple fix
 

matty02gt

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Jul 5, 2009
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Well after pulling the front wheels off for the third time today I finally found the problem.
The k member bolts were loose. I had long tubes put on about a year ago and I guess when they put everything back together they didn't quite do it right. Those bolts have nuts that have clips to keep them from vibrating loose and for whatever reason the installers didn't reclip the nuts when they tightened them. Since all four were so loose it was causing the front end to make the clicking noise when I'd turn and put a load on either of the front tires. Luckily I caught it before they came completely out, but it should have been something I checked the first time.
Thanks again for all the help.
Matt
 
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