Looking for opinions and/or actual experience with ball joint noise:
Got a POP noise when I hit the brakes. I have to apply some pressure for it to make the sound. Does it once when going forward. Doesn't do it again until I drive a few minutes, then it does it again.
If I go back and forth between reverse and drive, it does it every time as I hit the brakes, but only once until reversing direction again.
Takes some moderate pedal pressure to make the noise.
If I turn the steering wheel to either side, it doesn't make the noise.
I've gone over the brakes, nothing there is wrong, and besides it wouldn't go away when I turn the wheel.
Nothing is loose in terms of tie-rod ends, wheel bearings, nothing.
It's not bad enough yet to be able to see movement in the ball joints when the wheels are off the ground.
IS THIS THE BALL JOINTS?
(I know, as a DIY shadetree mechanic, I really DO know that it's the ball joints. Just looking for some experiences from other members to make absolutely sure it's most likely the problem and not some other dumb thing)
Did you look over the sway-bar links? From what you are describing it makes me think of the sway-bar. Most, again not always but most of the time when you unload and reload a ball joint is when you will get that popping sound (going over bumps) But I have had ones that were worn so bad that when you turned the wheel they binded and popped.
I side with F350-6, make sure to use a pry bar. I would recommend taking the tire off. The last set of ball joints I replaced was last summer and I had a horrible grinding sound when I turned the wheels. I checked for up and down movement and it seemed solid. But I knew it was the ball joint, I could feel the vibration with my hand at the joint when the wheel turned. After I removed the tire, rotor, and hub bearing I found that the hub could move side to side about 3/16" on the lower ball joint!
With how much our trucks weigh, it's amazing how the smallest abnormal movement can make so much noise.
Had my son push the brakes as hard as he could with the engine running, and put a long bar between the studs on the hub and tried to move the entire assembly, because it's rotationally related. I also whacked the tires with a sledge hammer in all directions. Nothing.
Funny thing is, I just put Energy Suspension bushings on the front sway bar.
The key thing is, it happens ONCE when applying the brakes, until it's driven a few minutes (bumps).
And, if I stop somewhere where it's safe, and go in reverse, hit the brakes, it does it ONCE even when repeatedly doing it in reverse. Then go into drive, it does it ONCE. Go back into reverse, it does it ONCE. Back to drive? Does it again - ONCE.
If it was sway bar end-links, it would do it every time.
It's not driveshaft or otherwise driveline related, it only happens when applying the BRAKES. And it takes a moderate amount of pedal pressure to make it do it.
I do not feel anything in the brake pedal, nor the steering wheel, I only HEAR it and feel it through the floor (chassis).
I noticed that it doesn't want to stay straight on the highway anymore. It's either left or right (like it lost castor on one wheel). Yesterday and today, it's not making the noise whatsoever, and it drives straight on the highway.
A ball joint has the ball, the socket, and an intermediate shell. I am theorizing that the shell has a worn spot and it rotates sometimes so that the castor is not effected when it's not in the right spot.
I'm thinking you're over-thinking this. Just for grins, when's the last time you greased your slip joint? One time clunk sounds after going into D or R are nothing new around here. I think we even refer to it as the Super Duty Clunk.
My truck is doing it now, and I traced it to the ps shock. Doesnt do it first thing in the morning but after a few minutes driving it will squeek and pop when brakes are applied or go over a speed bump or something like that. Off the subject, do I get the 5100's for a leveling kit or go with 5200's?