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Drewbabich

2011 Lincoln MKZ creaking when doing slow turns left and right? Is that likely ball joints?

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Is this likely ball joints making noise ?  I plan to grease them with a grease gun and needle but don’t wanna pierce my ball joint rubber if im wrong !

2011 Lincoln MKZ hybrid with 140,000 miles creaking when doing slow figure eights in parking lot. First half of video im doing a 5 mph right turn then I do a 5 mph left turn

No noise when turning the wheels while stationary or when going over 10 mph. 

Nothing seems to be rubbing in the fender wells.

When turning left or right it’s the same noise. 

The suspension feels tight and quiet over horrible roads at speed. I have no idea what this creaking noise is.

Is this likely ball joint control arm issues? Power steering rack related? I’m stumped

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=38tQrKIQWEs

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Hi Drew.  Could be ball joints, control arms, strut mounts etc.  Can you determine if the noise is coming from the left or right side? Next step would be to put the car up on a lift and see if anything is loose/damaged.

Let us know how you make out and good luck.

Edited by bbf2530

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My focus made a similar noise once. It turned out to be strut mounts. Check those, sway bar links, and tie rod ends. 

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I remember back in the early 90's when I had a foxbody Cougar with a squeak / creaking noise up front, I unbolted the outer tie rod from the suspension point and when I lifted it up, I found the culprit...the inner tie rod end was creaking.

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I jacked up the front end and checked for play and couldn’t find any.  

I figured out this car has a pretty sophisticated suspension with 6 front ball joints

I was convinced it must be ball joints so pumped grease via a needle into the 4 lower ball joints....  no luck though  

it still creaks when I’m doing slow figure 8s in a parking lot.  

It creaks whether I’m hitting bumps or not while hard turning.  Creaks on smooth pavement.  Sounds terrible but the car rides great.  Doesn’t wander on highway and tread wear looks even.  Can’t imagine it’s tie rods

Im new to ford, I’m used to doing bearings galore on my Toyota’s Highlander’s. 

Ive replaces worn stut bearings but never a strut mount, that’s def possible.  

It seems to be coming from the right side but makes same noise on hard left and right turns equally.  There are so many things to scratch my head at and question if that’s the issue 

I’m real stumped.  I’ve taken several toyotas as taxis between 265,000 and 400000 miles and I’ve never had this creaking before.  

This MKZ rides great and know it will go the long haul I just gotta learn this suspension better 

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Questions on strut bearing noises vs ball joint vs rubber bushing noises? 

My inner right Tie rod had some play in it so I replaced that just now (I was excited hoping it would fix my issue )but it still makes the noise.

to be more specific:

It only makes a noise when the wheels are turned anywhere between 100 to 80 % fully turned left or right.   And it’s not like it only makes noise while I’m cranking on the steering wheel to change tire angles.  

When I hold the wheel steady at a set turn angle , say 80% turned left or right it creaks creaks creaks.   

Is that typical of a bad strut bearing?  I don’t hear aaaaany noise when I make small turns or turn the wheel while stationary. 

Only while wheel is at near full turn. 

 I crawled under the car and put my hand on each lower control arm while another person Turned the steering wheel trying to feel any play in the control arms to control arm-bushings or ball joints 

I could not feel anything like I felt on the tie rod. That was obvious 

My sway bar and sway bar links felt tight 

-online I’ve read that it could be rubber bushing related And some people have success spraying the bushing with WD-40 or lithium grease?

- I have also read that the front forward lower control arm ball joint seems to be the infamous cause of a lot of peoples Mystery noises....if I was gonna throw parts at my problem and say a prayer that is where im leaning to next.... but I’d rather know I’m fixing the right stuff first 

- or is it more likely strut bearings? (I Would think strut bearing would make a lot of noise while you are actively turning the steering wheel, not when you are moving through a steady turn....)

 

Edited by Drewbabich

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Don't spray bushings with WD-40. A, it's not a lubricant and B. it dries them out 

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Strut bearing normally make a popping or creaking sound no matter the position. Just anytime turning. I would suspect the lower control arms as the most likely culprit. It could be the busing that’s on the opposite end of the arm. Not the ball joint side but the subframe side. I’ve seen plenty of techs change both control arms per side. That can be a hard noise to pinpoint from front arm or rear arm. By the way those suck just an FYI. The ballpoint press to get them out is about useless. They have sleeves that are in the knuckle and sometimes the sleeves come out with the ball joint and sometimes they stay in. If the sleeve stays in, that’s the best way because it’s easy to put back together. If the sleeve comes out with ball joint, you will have to get the sleeve back in. However, since you would be replacing them, it won’t matter if you damage the old joints getting them out. 

Edited by fordtech1

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Sweet thanks for that info ford tech 1.

What’s the best trick to getting them out?

cant you just wail on it from the nut side with a bfh and replace the sleeve with new if it pops out?   Ive seen the ball joint press used online.

I’ve also seen you need to be careful that it does not fly straight up and smash into your cv joint boot.

What do you do advise to protect from that?

what does a ford tech do to best diagnose if the control arms are in need of replacement or not before ordering the new parts installed?  

And lastly I see motorcraft forward lower control arms for 120 and moogs and mevotech and Dormans for 40 to 60 bills.....  I’m planning to run this forever... should I go motorcraft ?

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In my experience, do not use Moog/Doorman. The ball joints in them are TERRIBLE. Replaced them 3 times in my Focus before I gave up and went with Motorcraft. That's the one thing I haven't had an issue with since.

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That’s good advice on the moog Doorman motorcraft parts.

10 years ago when I last had a ford (zx2) I remember not being that  impressed with moog tie rods, but I can’t remember for sure if they failed early.  

How long of service life were you seeing with doorman and moog ball joints vs the motorcraft ? 

With a good quality pickle fork, smashing out these ball joints looks pretty easy.  You just leave the lower bolt on loose to protect the cv shaft.  The front forward one looks the easiest with no requirement of dropping the subframe.   I’m thinking I’m gonna order that part and play the guessing game with that first.  

Another question:

does the upper ball joint rarely fail? I haven’t seen anyone discussing this upper control arm causing issues.

 

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When I get home I’m gonna open up the hood, lay across the engine bay with my head over the strut mount and have my gf drive in figure 8s in the parking lot to see if I can confirm which side and rule out the strut mount as well.

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8 minutes ago, Drewbabich said:

When I get home I’m gonna open up the hood, lay across the engine bay with my head over the strut mount and have my gf drive in figure 8s in the parking lot to see if I can confirm which side and rule out the strut mount as well.

Well that is as dumb as it sounds...you would achieve the same results by jacking up the car, and place jack stands under the lower control arm so that the car is resting on the suspension but the tires are off the ground and then turn the steering wheel left and right. 

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Thanks for insulting my intelligence.  I know this thread is getting long.... but as I’ve said I’m not hearing noise while diagnosing in the driveway stationary but they sound off like crazy while driving very slowly. 

 But I would be happy to try putting weight on the control arm and moving the steering wheel.  Is that ok to put all that weight on these individual control arms that are only each supported by one bushing and one ball joint?

-When I turn the wheel while stationary on the ground and also while jacked up I don’t hear any noises. 

- I’ve held the control arms while the the wheel is turned, I can’t feel any wear or play in the bushings or ball joints.

- I ONLY hear noise while the car is being driven left or right in slow short radius circles.  The noise is steady while the wheels are held steady at a sharp angle in a turn.  The noise is posted in the link in the first post.

 

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So going with your diagnostic recommendation I should sit the car on each control arm one at a time and turn the steering wheel lock to lock till I hear any clicking/shifting movement noises?

i do like that idea.  I just want to make sure that’s what you mean and that that is ok on the existing control arms 

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21 minutes ago, Drewbabich said:

Thanks for insulting my intelligence.

Not my intent, just the suggestion of riding around lying on top of the engine bay while someone drives that car in figure 8's is not a wise move at all.....never seen any properly trained tech at any reputable repair facility ever do something and I am sure Ford will not recommend that type of diagnosis technique.  

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25 minutes ago, twintornados said:

Not my intent, just the suggestion of riding around lying on top of the engine bay while someone drives that car in figure 8's is not a wise move at all.....never seen any properly trained tech at any reputable repair facility ever do something and I am sure Ford will not recommend that type of diagnosis technique.  

They use chassis ears.

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3 hours ago, Drewbabich said:

That’s good advice on the moog Doorman motorcraft parts.

10 years ago when I last had a ford (zx2) I remember not being that  impressed with moog tie rods, but I can’t remember for sure if they failed early.  

How long of service life were you seeing with doorman and moog ball joints vs the motorcraft

With a good quality pickle fork, smashing out these ball joints looks pretty easy.  You just leave the lower bolt on loose to protect the cv shaft.  The front forward one looks the easiest with no requirement of dropping the subframe.   I’m thinking I’m gonna order that part and play the guessing game with that first.  

Another question:

does the upper ball joint rarely fail? I haven’t seen anyone discussing this upper control arm causing issues.

 

My last set of Moog ball joints lasted less than 6 months. 

Removing the control arm out from the knuckle is a breeze once you get the pinch bolt out. Stick a pickle fork in there and give it a few good whacks with a hammer. It will pop right out. You shouldn't have to drop the subframe to remove either of the rear bolts. 

You don't have upper ball joints, there's only one control arm. The strut/bearing assembly serves as the upper ball joint. 

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