By September 14, 20072 Comments Read More →

1997 Ford Ranger Front End Thumping Noise and Left Pull

Reader Question Hi,

A couple things: 1997 Ford Ranger Front End Problem

1. My steering wheel is pulling to the left.

2. When I turn the wheel to the right I hear kind of a loud thumping or cracking sound coming for the front end. (I think its the drivers front) It makes me wonder/worry a bit.

What are these the symptoms for?

Hey there Mike

I would have a mechanic check the front end of the vehicle for wear. You could have worn out radius rod bushings, which is pretty common on this vehicle and year model.

These plastic bushings basically hold the front end in place and keep it tight. Problem is, they located these bushings next to the hot exhaust system, so the plastic melts and loosens up over time.

Common complaint is a rattle noise or thump when you hit a bump or when you step on the brake during a harder than normal stop. If the bushings on one side melt, the vehicle will pull to one side and the steering wheel will be off center.

Inspecting these bushings is cheap and easy to do. Replacing them costs about $350 including a new alignment. This repair can be hard to do so I would not recommend a do it yourself project unless you have access to a vehicle lift.

Continuing to drive with worn out bushings will cause premature tire wear and can cause the I-beam that the bushings are installed on to wear down to wear replacement is needed…at an extra expense.


Austin Davis

Posted in: Front End Problems

2 Comments on "1997 Ford Ranger Front End Thumping Noise and Left Pull"

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  1. cat spencer says:

    so i think I have worn out the radius rod bushings on my 1997 ford ranger pu, 4cyl. does this make the steering wheel lose, and make my gear shifter shake? It is pulling to the right, I also smelt a plastic burn smell tht seemed to come from the air vents. So do I need to but the radius rod bushings for both sides? What exactly is the name of the part I would need to buy? I really appreciate your time and thank you for helping, I would be lost without have finding this website.. god bless! Cat Spencer

    • Austin says:

      Common complaints with worn out radius rod bushing are.

      1. Knocking, banging noise mostly on stops coming from under the vehicle….more so on the passenger side because the exhaust system is so close to the plastic bushing it causes it to melt.
      2. Hard right pull in front end because right/passenger side bushing has melted
      3. Worn tire on passenger side

      it should not make the steering wheel loose or cause your shifter to shake……those sound like wheel balance problems for shaking issue which might also make your steering wheel feel loose???

      You can replace just the passenger side bushing if the driver side is ok, then you need to get an alignment and would be a good time to balance and rotate all 4 tires.

      God bless you too!

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