Popping Noise 2001 Ram

This concerns my 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 Regular Cab Short Box 4x4. Lately when I hit a bump or railroad tracks, a popping noise comes from my front end. When I turn a corner, it very seldom does it. Hitting a
pot hole or anything rough does it. I have been thinking it's shocks, but i'm not sure. The originals are still on it. There is 46,000 miles on it. The only work I have done to the front end is replace the u-joints, with greaseable ones. The ride is fine going straight done the road, but I've noticed that you feel every little thing now. Any help is appreciated.
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Check the lower shock mounting bolts, and make sure they're good-n-tight. Then check the upper mounting nuts (gotta hold the stem while you tighten the nut). A loose shock mount is a common cause for the 'single clunk when hitting a bump' noise.
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Tom, I'll check that out. I know where the nuts are on the top and bottom...but what do you mean when you say "gotta hold the stem while you tighten the nut"? I have never had to tighten them down before, so this is new to me. When I do go to tighten them, do I need to be careful as to not to over tighten them? Makes me wonder if road salt through the last few winters is why I have the problem now.
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The top mount is a stud mount - meaning the shock rod turns into a threaded stud. There's a couple of flat spots on the very tip of the stud. If you don't hold the stud from turning, you won't be tightening the nut - you'll be spinning the entire rod. This won't hurt the shock, but it won't get the nut any tighter, either. This will make more sense when you look at it.

Rule of thumb on this is to tighten until the bushings squeeze out even with the washers.
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I got talking to one of my co-workers today and he had an idea of a ball-joint going bad. He got a hold of a mechanic at a Dodge garage somewhere and he said they can be noted for it. I raised the front end of the truck up so the tires where 3 inches off the ground. I put a bar underneath each tire and lifted up on it. All I could feel was maybe a eighth of an inch of play up and down. There was no play side to side. Both upper ball-joints are greasable, and I've always greased them. They came like that from the factory where the truck was built. This same guy has a GMC extended cab...and thought of the idea of a ball joint, when he was replacing a ABS sensor. He lifted the truck up (not knowing a ball joint was bad) and the tire dropped down. Luckily that's where it happened. Maybe this gives you a new idea to think about Tom? Thanks for the help so far.
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I'll check that out Tom. I've never done this to the truck before. I'm not sure what you mean when you say to hold the stem when tightening the top section.
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I'll check that out Tom. I've never done this to the truck before. I'm not sure what you mean when you say to hold the stem when tightening the top section.
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