Amazingly Bad Sound - Wheel Bearings? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Amazingly Bad Sound - Wheel Bearings?

Chris Thies

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August 4, 2018
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City, State
Philadelphia, PA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 6cyl Explorer
Newbie here however I have many many years working on vehicles.
This is a 2005 6cyl Explorer that is basically driven by my soccer mom girlfriend.
152,000 miles
Truck passed inspection today however when I drove it there was a HORRIBLE sound in the front end along with a terrible vibration. It appeared to be warped rotors. The sound ONLY HAPPENS after I apply the brakes. It is rotary in nature and happens on once per wheel revolutions. Higher speeds means more frequent vibration and the vibration slows as the vehicle slows. It is imperceptible below 10mph.

I just finished changing the brakes. NEW ROTORS AND PADS for both sides on the front end.

Test drive and the problem still exits! It may be one of the front wheel bearings. The issue seems to be from the front driver side but I am not certain. I can only barely feel it in the brake pedal and it does not feel like warped rotor. I feel it more from my *** in the seat.
What have I done to test:
  1. 2WD Braking from any speed moving forward - ISSUE EXISTS
  2. 4WD Braking from any speed moving forward - ISSUE EXISTS
  3. 2WD Braking from any speed with Transmission in NEUTRAL moving forward - ISSUE EXISTS
  4. 2WD Braking while going in reverse as fast at the tranny will let me - NO VIBRATION OR SOUND
The front CV Axles are fine. The front suspension was replaced 1yr ago (new control arms, struts, ball joints, tie rod and sway end links). Tranny has zero slipping and front differential does not appear to have any issues.

I am now thinking wheel bearing but there is no bearing sounds when driving forward or backward. This ONLY happens when I brake and the vehicle weight is transferred to the front..
Any thoughts??

Any questions??

Thank you for any assistance.
 



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I don’t think it’s a bearing. I’ve never had one fail that didn’t sound bad during freewheeling, and would change with steering load.

I would pull the wheel off and check all the brake and caliper hardware again. I’d also check the front driveshaft.
 






I don’t think it’s a bearing. I’ve never had one fail that didn’t sound bad during freewheeling, and would change with steering load.

I would pull the wheel off and check all the brake and caliper hardware again. I’d also check the front driveshaft.

I agree that every wheel bearing I have had fail sounded bad during free wheeling.

PLEASE correct me if I am wrong but does the front driveshaft spin when in 2WD? Is the 4WD activated inside the transfer case or inside the front differential?

Here is some more information:

With 100% new front end brake hardware I would assume the issue would END or maybe be reduced. Neither happened.
1. Backer plate is not in contact with any parts.
2. The caliper bracket is solid and was tightened to Ford specs
3. Caliper pin bolts were not seized and I cleaned and regreased them. The slide as required.
4. New rotors are not warped
5. The front driver side OLD rotor had signs of grease on the inside face that mates with the hub plate with the lug nuts.
6. Rear Rotors are not warped.
7. Rear passenger side brake pads had about 20% more wear than the driver side rear

With the front being NEW I am puzzled how it could be the brakes. I know bearings usually roar when going bad however I just came across bad wheel bearing on my Subaru. I would get a horrible sound when backing up and it was from the wheel bearing. The internal grease had complete dried and it caused a grinding sound when backing up. That was the first time I had seen a bearing fail that way.
 






I’m not positive about the 3rd gens, but the 2nd gens have a ‘live’ front axle and everything spins in 2wd. I assume that it also freewheeeled the driveshaft. That may not be correct, and it could be entirely different with the 3rd Gens.

Sounds like you’ve checked everything on the front end to rule out everything but the bearings and the differential itself.
 






I'm guessing you bought china junk rotors that are not straight or they were installed on a uncleaned HUB with rust making it not seat flat on it.
 






I'm guessing you bought china junk rotors that are not straight or they were installed on a uncleaned HUB with rust making it not seat flat on it.
If the were warped or not true wouldn’t it do it in forward and reverse?
 






So if you were in a large wide open parking lot, got it to about 30mph, let off the gas, turned right and left without hitting the brakes, would it still make a noise? Is it only when you hit the brakes? It doesn't make the sound if you just let off the gas and coast? If it makes noise on the first test, that would point to the hub. If it only makes noise on braking, no matter the steering load you are putting on it, that would suggest braking problem of some sort.
 






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