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Rotor or wheel bearing?

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Phase 1, November 14, 2017 at 11:12 PM.

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    Brakes rotor or wheel bearing?

    1. Brake rotor

      0 vote(s)
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    2. Wheel bearing

      100.0%
    3. Something else

      0 vote(s)
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    1. Phase 1

      Phase 1 New Member

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      Location:
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      City, State:
      San Angelo, Texas
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      99 Explorer Sport
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      KE5PNR
      I have a 99 explorer sport with a 5-speed 2wd with around 125,000 miles. I have crazy humming coming from the front right wheel well/engine compartment that's slowly been getting worse. It starts around 40 mph and gets louder the faster I go, anything slower and it’s silent. So question of the day is what can I do to determine if it is the wheel bearing or the brake rotor (or anything else)? Hate to just throw parts at it.


      Misc info:

      Brake lines all flushed and clean

      Brake pads evenly worn and at about half life

      No pulling to either side

      No pulsation when braking

      Steering wheel shudders in time with the humming
       
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    3. Anticitizen1

      Anticitizen1 Elite Explorer

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      1998 Explorer 5.0 XLT
      I'd say wheel bearing. I've fixed a lot of these over the years, will the humming above 40mph go away when turning left? If it does, it's probably the RIGHT hub bearing. By turning the opposite direction of the humming, it temporarily reduces the stress on the bearing and gives you a fairly concise indication of the side with the problem, since at times it can be hard to trace. About a month ago my front passenger hub bearing was humming like all hell, turning left it was dead silent. If I may make a suggestion, if it is in fact the hub bearing, use a MOOG replacement. I used the Autozone Duralast bearings for a couple years, and they failed at least every year and a half. The Duralast bearing has a 1 year warranty, while MOOG has a 3 year warranty. That's convincing enough for me who has confidence in their build quality haha. Hope this helps!
       
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    4. Phase 1

      Phase 1 New Member

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      I'll have to check it when I get off and drive home but I can't think of it getting better on one side or the other. That said I haven't been looking for it either ha.
       
    5. Phase 1

      Phase 1 New Member

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      Update, so I took it up to around 40ish and did some turns and it definitely gets quieter while turning left. Looks like I'll be getting some wheel bearing work done.
       
    6. Gary Crist

      Gary Crist New Member

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      Location:
      TEXAS a whole different country
      City, State:
      TEXAS
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      1997 AWD
      Callsign:
      KI6FG
      Sometimes those wheel bearing noises are tires singing too. Tires are meant to make more
      noise as they wear out. It helps you to decide to change out before the last 2/32nds.
       
    7. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      I’d bet on the wheel bearing.

      I don’t think that’s by design, I think it’s a symptom of the tread becoming uneven.
       
    8. Anticitizen1

      Anticitizen1 Elite Explorer

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      I'm still definitely for the wheel bearing, been there done that more times than I'd like to remember haha. That said, bad tires can definitely cause many issues with noise vibration and harshness though, they're definitely worth checking any time those conditions are present. Tread wear, uneven wear, pressure, dryrot, missing wheel weights or bent wheels, or even defective tires can cause an enormous amount of vibration and noise at any speed, and should be addressed as soon as possible since it is an inherent safety hazard. If you have a noise up front, no noise from the rear and suspect the tires, move the rear tires to front and front tires to rear, without switching sides. If it is indeed the tires, the noise should now be present in the rear and the front should be quiet. I still think it's the hub bearing. Another tip, if you replace the hub bearing, KEEP THE ABS SENSOR. They are often reusable, and very expensive to buy if they go bad. It is held in to the hub bearing with an allen head socket cap screw, easy for you or your mechanic to remove and save for a rainy day. Some have shims to space them from the hub, they're worth holding on to. Good Luck!
       
    9. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      It's a 2WD. No hub bearings.
       
    10. Anticitizen1

      Anticitizen1 Elite Explorer

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      You know what I actually missed that he said it was a 2WD truck. I'm from CT, the 2WD version is so rare up here I don't think I've ever seen one, guess that would change the type of wheel bearing. Still sounds like a bearing issue to me, thanks for pointing that out.
       
    11. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      I grew up in CT too. I miss it, but not the snow, cold weather and rust. I owned a few 4WD SUV's and cars before I moved south, but for most of my driving life I got by with 2WD's and honestly don't ever recall getting stuck in the snow. Of course the towns and state did a good job of keeping the roads clear. In GA a 1/2" of snow paralyses the state and I just choose to stay home until it melts.

      I'd say the OP should just replace the inner/outer front wheel bearings, races and seals on both sides. They're relatively cheap, even for quality bearings, and if one side is bad the other side's not far behind. I don't like spending money on unneeded parts either, but loosing a front wheel bearing at speed can ruin your day and (provided you don't crash, or injure someone else) it'll end up costing you a lot more money. If your front rotor's are worn you might want to bite the bullet and replace them as well. Then you wont need to bother installing the new bearing races. I just did this job on my daughter's '00 2WD 5.0L Mountaineer this past spring (as PM), along with front rotors, upper/lower ball joints and say bar end-links.
       
      Last edited: November 16, 2017 at 9:06 AM

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