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Front end noise diagnosis

Discussion in 'General Explorations!!' started by dreamr, December 7, 2004.

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    1. dreamr

      dreamr Well-Known Member

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      I have been searching thriugh the archives for about an hour and have given up.

      So here's my question; For about a week now I have noticed a loud moan or hum coming from the front end. At first I thought it was the tires for the sound is very similar, only this was much louder(note I run BFG A/T the noicse is like a thornbird). The moan is always present, but becomes quite loud around thirty and sixty.

      Today while on the freeway I put it in neutral and the sound continued unchanged. I deliberately tested it on a variety of road surfaces to see if it was really whine from tires or the front end. The sound was consistant regardless of the terrain.

      My first thought was that a cv joint may be wearing, but they look fine to me. My next thought would be the wheel bearings. Any input or advice????
       
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    3. EBInterceptor

      EBInterceptor Well-Known Member

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      I've got a similar noise that has developed more and more lately. From what I've read I'm leaning towards wheel bearing. I'm considering rotating the tires as another possible cause.
       
    4. glfredrick

      glfredrick Well-Known Member

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      With a 99, it could indeed be a wheel bearing. They use a one-piece hub that has the bearings pre-installed. You unbolt the entire assembly and replace it. It's an easy job that you can do at home. If you can do brakes, you can do this hub - and if not, we'll talk you through it.

      Autozone.com lists that hub for $175.
       
    5. Skibug

      Skibug Active Member

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      Wheel bearing most likely. If you are sure it is not your tires, then the bearing is the culprit. Try rotating your tires, inflating, deflating tires to see if the noise changes pitch. If not, the bearing is probably wearing. Keep a look out and you can find them cheaper than the $175 a piece. It is an easy job to do, just an expensive one. Like I said I would try rotating the tires front to back and try different tire pressures to see if the pitch of the noise changes. I would hate for you to replace the bearing at such high cost for the noise to just be your tires. Are the tires new or old. If they are new, it may just be a new sound to you. I have a hum and a rore sound also from my tires.
       
    6. dreamr

      dreamr Well-Known Member

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      Thanks everyone!!! I will put her up in the air this evening and see if I can visually verify the problem.

      I will also try rotationg my tire, but I am pretty convinced that they have nothing to do with it.

      175 dollars for a wheel bearing :eek: What are they gold plated.

      Does there happen to be a good write up stashed away somewhere on the site???? I found one for the 1st gen's, but not the second gen's.

      I guess I do have the Haynes manual if needed.

      Thanks again everyone.
       
    7. glfredrick

      glfredrick Well-Known Member

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      Dreamr,

      The hub change out is relatively easy - but not so painless from a finacial perspective.

      Basically, to test, jack up the Ex - (use stands!) remove the wheel - and spin the hub. It should be very smooth feeling with no wobble. If it even feels a little rough, it is shot and due for a new one.

      The price is high becasue it has sensors in it for the t-case and braking system... and becasue the hub is all one piece, not just bearings like the older trucks, but the one piece thing makes it easier to change as well.

      Remove the brake caliper
      Remove the axle nut
      Unbolt the hub from behind
      Pull the assembly out

      Reinstall in the opposite order.

      Your manual will have all the steps illustrated clearly.
       
    8. dreamr

      dreamr Well-Known Member

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      Hmm.. I think I will test it this evening.
      I should change them myself for the experience, but 350 for parts or 200 for a waranty deductible?????

      Guess I'll give ford a call.

      Glad this happened pre-33's or they would have tried blaming the tires. :rolleyes:
       
    9. dreamr

      dreamr Well-Known Member

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      HMM. well I rotates the tires last night and inspected my front end more thoroughly. The passenger wheel seemed to have a little side to side play, as in pulling on the top and pushing on the bottom of the tire. Both sides rotors were very difficult to turn, but didn't make any odd noises or such.

      Oh well 'tis 6:30 a.m. and I am off to the dealer here in a bit. Guess we'll see what they have to say
       
    10. IN2FORD

      IN2FORD Active Member

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      I have the same noise. I have had the wheel bearings inspected twice and the continue to tell me they are good and tight. I know it's not tires. Could it be a bearing in the front axle?
       
    11. stubborn1

      stubborn1 Active Member

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      The side to side play would make me think bad ball joint, but that wouldn't explain the noise.

      If you have a warranty, hopefully they can diagnose both bad bearings and bad ball joints. Gotta stretch that deductible money.
       
    12. mfee

      mfee New Member

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      check brg by

      turning the steering wheel hard right and listen for the noise - did it go away momentarily while in the turn ? then hard left and listen again. If the noise is going away in one of those turns - it is most likely the bearing. If it goes away during the hard right turn i.e., pressure on the right bearing - that's the bad one. Vice versa on the left.

      Took me about 1.5 hours to do the job. There is an excellent picture write up in this forum - look under hub bearing - you should find it. Just remember to loosten the bolts up with WD40 or similar before attacking this.

      good luck
       
    13. glfredrick

      glfredrick Well-Known Member

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      I agree with the potential ball joint problem - and it would make a noise - becasue the tire is hitting the tread differently - making it "squish" instead of roll...
       
    14. dreamr

      dreamr Well-Known Member

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      Well the dealer finally got done, and luckily I didn't get stuck with a cheby rental car this time.

      There assessment was that the passenger lower ball joint was bad, and the driver side wheel bearings/hub asssembly were worn. They replaced these parts and no more problem, plus my front end feels a bit more stable. I guess that ball joint was likely gone a while ago, as it also corrected a clunk that I had associated with end links.

      Still got questions though. If you replace bearings on one side, doesn't it go to reason that the other side is not far behind, and should be replaced as well?

      Obviously ford would prefer to get the deductible twice. Would it be advisable for me to pick up another assembly to have on hand for the other side, should I replace the other side, or just wait and see?

      You see I have this habit of collecting a spare parts to most things that go wrong on me(I never know If I'll be 30 miles into the backcountry when something breaks)
       
    15. glfredrick

      glfredrick Well-Known Member

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      Both theories proven correct... Ball joint and bearings.

      If it were me, I'd just replace both bearings, but you can easily take a wait and see posture - it won't exactly just fall off... You will have similar warning signs long before it gets so bad it can't be driven.

      I've seen Jeep XJ's (have the same type bearing assembly) that have their wheels wobble in a noticable fashion and still make it out of the backwoods... :rolleyes:
       
    16. dreamr

      dreamr Well-Known Member

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      Good to know, thanks gl
       
    17. 01EB5.0

      01EB5.0 Elite Explorer

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      Mine is making loud moaning/howling sound from drivers side hub. It started to squeak very intermittantly about 15,000 miles ago and it pretty persistant now if I am making even the slightest right turn. I dont; have alot of money now due to holiday expenses, but I'm afraid I'll get stranded. Will this type of bearing assemble just gernade itself after a while or do you think I can safly keep using it for another 5,000 miles or so?
       
    18. dreamr

      dreamr Well-Known Member

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      Personally I would not trust it for that length of time.
      The noise alone made me feel like the wheel was wanting to pop off.

      The repair is straight forward. Parts are about 175 per side.
      I went to the dealer for the warranty work. They only replaced one side. I ordered the part for the other and will install soon. I figure if one went the other is close.
       

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