Front end problem
I just recently started having a rubbing and thumping and squeaking noise in the right front side when driving and turning (doesn't matter which direction). I have a 2000 Ford Explorer Sport with 200k odd miles on it.
Going by what you wrote I would look for a rubber bushing on one of suspension parts that was wore and now has shifted or is now missing.
Control Arm bushings (2) upper per side, need grease or replacement. There should be a zerk fitting right up the middle of the bolt, if you've got a grease gun, and this is still the way they do things- loosey goosey, should tend to this before it causes an accident.
I've owned three explorers from 96 to 99. Your is basically the same suspension., I believe torsion bar was still in the 2000 mode. At around 80K the ball joints required replacing, both upper and lower. Might as well rebuild the entire front end while you have it torn apart. About Six hundred bucks plus alignment should do the trick. About 5hours work if you are average witha set of wrenches. Way less than half the price if you take it to the local repair shop.