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Explorer front left wheel locking up and then releasing while in drive...but not in reverse


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caseyosmith
New User

Aug 17, 2014, 6:22 AM

Post #1 of 10 (1102 views)
  post locked   Explorer front left wheel locking up and then releasing while in drive...but not in reverse  

Hi. I have a 2004 Ford Explorer V8 4 wheel drive with 92k miles. Yesterday I was on the way home from a 2 hour drive and was on the expressway at a complete stop on a downhill grade. When I hit the gas, the car started lurching - it would shoot forward, then slow down, then shoot forward, then slow down.

I got the car to the side of the road and called a tow truck. Just to test - while I was waiting for the truck I put the car in neutral and even though I was on a steep downhill grade, it wouldn't roll at all. When I put it in drive - it wouldn't go initially until I had to put a decent amount of pressure on the gas pedal. I reminded me a being at a speed bump that you couldn't idle over and have to give the car some gas to power it up over the bump.

When the tow truck got there - I watched the driver drive the Explorer up onto the bed of the tow truck. What I noticed was this:

The left front tire was completely locked when he was hitting the gas. But when he gave it enough gas, the right tire that was working would push the car forward while the left tire remained locked creating friction on the pavement but the car was still moving forward from the other wheel.

Then after 3 or 4 feet - the left tire would unlock/release and start to rotate - causing the car to suddenly lurch forward. But then after another few few it would lock again. Then release again.

The thing I found odd was that when the driver later reversed the car down off the truck - the left front wheel worked just fine. So the car works perfectly in reverse, but in drive the left wheel locks then releases then locks then releases.

Any advice or assistance on what the problem is would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Aug 17, 2014, 6:44 AM

Post #2 of 10 (1094 views)
  post locked   Re: Explorer front left wheel locking up and then releasing while in drive...but not in reverse  

? Seen one but not this model year do that. Different wheel bearing on that than this but needs checking. Heat somehow and it's rare to be quiet and no warning signs can lock them up and later be free. Either way that wheel needs a total inspection.


Other and actually more common is the brake pad friction lining can separate from the metal backing plate and jam that wheel and some could free up just putting in reverse with or without brakes but the vehicle is disabled if either really with those lurking as the cause.


I suggest fully taking caliper off and bracket such that you can look right at pads and the situation if brake should be obvious and if a wheel bearing issue may show that it's been hot or have to take it off to spin in hand in tough cases.


Other whacked things can happen also. Flex hose can fail unseen inside and not allow fluid back out hence applying brake quite hard and when cooler might turn. Heat evidence would show it vs other side or just bleed out a spit of fluid on one staying on if it releases that would be it.


If brake anything do both sides. Bearing IMO both would be a judgment call for one or both fronts.


Some other strange something also possible but think those are the few most likely and only inspecting will tell. Again, if the flex hose isn't doing it when checked it should show that brake was wildly hot,


T



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Aug 17, 2014, 8:18 AM

Post #3 of 10 (1088 views)
  post locked   Re: Explorer front left wheel locking up and then releasing while in drive...but not in reverse  

Does this v3ehicle have traction control?
Are there any warning lights coming on?



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Aug 17, 2014, 9:42 AM

Post #4 of 10 (1080 views)
  post locked   Re: Explorer front left wheel locking up and then releasing while in drive...but not in reverse  

Wow, HT, IDK why but the pad failure has been common to me either in person or heard of it from friends too far away to see it but told that's what was found. We still don't know squat just yet.


They can do this and NOT set off a warning light. One of many ways parts of pad or whole pads can do this and were fine seconds before and looked fine if even inspected at a glance. All, some moisture got between pad and backing plate showing some older slight rust so was waiting to do something.


One like this..........

Sample of the issue not this exact vehicle. If that chunk can cock just so locking that wheel solid and backing up might fall or move and be free.


Actually hope this shows something obvious or a warning. None that had the pad separate were close to new by age but could have had lots of pad thickness left.........


T



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Aug 17, 2014, 1:33 PM

Post #5 of 10 (1066 views)
  post locked   Re: Explorer front left wheel locking up and then releasing while in drive...but not in reverse  

Yes, I'm just trying to make sure it's not an electronic issue.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



caseyosmith
New User

Aug 17, 2014, 1:52 PM

Post #6 of 10 (1057 views)
  post locked   Re: Explorer front left wheel locking up and then releasing while in drive...but not in reverse  

No traction control and no warning lights came on. Thanks.


caseyosmith
New User

Aug 17, 2014, 1:53 PM

Post #7 of 10 (1055 views)
  post locked   Re: Explorer front left wheel locking up and then releasing while in drive...but not in reverse  

Thanks for the advice. I have a buddy who is a mechanic and we are diving into the wheel repair tomorrow. Will let you know how it goes. Thanks!


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Aug 17, 2014, 2:30 PM

Post #8 of 10 (1054 views)
  post locked   Re: Explorer front left wheel locking up and then releasing while in drive...but not in reverse  

It's good, keep it open to all ideas or possible reasons till more is known. You brought up "traction control" and no specifics on how it's done or was available? Did find with that errant full place could have either manual 4X4 or full time 4X4 (AWD but used same brakes and wheel hub type bearing that's all on those, T



caseyosmith
New User

Aug 19, 2014, 9:28 AM

Post #9 of 10 (1022 views)
  post locked   Re: Explorer front left wheel locking up and then releasing while in drive...but not in reverse  

It ended up being one of the bolts that held on the caliper bracket came off. I had my rotors changed about a month ago and it must not have been tightened securely.

A $4 trip to the hardware store and a couple of hours was all it took - working great now. Thanks for all the help!


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Aug 19, 2014, 9:36 AM

Post #10 of 10 (1020 views)
  post locked   Re: Explorer front left wheel locking up and then releasing while in drive...but not in reverse  

Glad to hear it was a simple fix.

Closing this question now as solved.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.







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