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#4482614 - 08/08/17 11:18 AM Rotational noise in front wheel
WA1DH Offline


Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 56
Loc: Rhode Island
I need some help diagnosing a noise that seems to be coming from my driver front wheel. I had an intermittent issue with my front driver side brake partially locking up. One day the brake completely locked. I continued driving to work, figuring I was going to replace the caliper/rotor/pads anyway. It was full on locked, brake smoking/burning. On the ride home it had partially unlocked (or pads burned up). I replaced caliper/rotor/pads. Now I have a slight rotational 'rubbing' or whir-whir type noise that is loudest around 25-30 MPH, gets louder when cornering to the right, and gets quieter when cornering to the left. The noise varies with wheel speed and fades into a constant hum at highway speeds. When braking I don't feel any pulsing in the pedal, but if I do a hard stop the steering wheel vibrates coming down through 25-30 MPH. I checked the suspension and there is slight play in the inner tie rod on the driver side. I'm guessing that may be the cause of the vibration during hard braking, but I can't explain the rotational noise.

The car is a 99 Ford Escort with 226,000 mi on it. I replaced the passenger wheel bearing around 160k but never the driver side. Does this sound like a wheel bearing or something else? Are there any other parts that could have been damaged by the locked up/overheating brake?

Thanks.
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#4482621 - 08/08/17 11:22 AM Re: Rotational noise in front wheel [Re: WA1DH]
ARCOgraphite Offline


Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 11970
Loc: N.H, U.S.A.
Brake install gone wrong ,or> Toasted wheel bearing.


Edited by ARCOgraphite (08/08/17 11:23 AM)
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#4482625 - 08/08/17 11:26 AM Re: Rotational noise in front wheel [Re: WA1DH]
Srt20 Online   content


Registered: 07/14/14
Posts: 495
Loc: Wisconsin
Thats typical wheel bearing sound.

Wrecked it from the heat from the stuck brakes.

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#4482649 - 08/08/17 11:56 AM Re: Rotational noise in front wheel [Re: WA1DH]
JMJNet Offline


Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 934
Loc: TX, USA
Just have to do the wiggle test with the tire on and tires not touching the ground.
Put your hands on horizontal (3 and 9 o'clock) and vertical (12 and 6 o'clock) axis and rock the tires.
If they are rocking on both positions, the wheel bearing is toast.

Check youtube on video on how to do it.


Edited by JMJNet (08/08/17 11:58 AM)
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#4482652 - 08/08/17 11:59 AM Re: Rotational noise in front wheel [Re: JMJNet]
Srt20 Online   content


Registered: 07/14/14
Posts: 495
Loc: Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: JMJNet
Just have to do the wiggle test with the tire on and tires not touching the ground.
Put your hands on horizontal (3 and 9 o'clock) and vertical (12 and 6 o'clock) axis and rock the tires.
If they are rocking on both positions, the wheel bearing is toast.

Check youtube on video on how to do it.


This does not always work.

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#4482674 - 08/08/17 12:15 PM Re: Rotational noise in front wheel [Re: WA1DH]
KrisZ Offline


Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 7468
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Th easiest way for me is to jack up the side that is suspect, just enough for the wheel to spin freely. Start the engine and put the tranny in gear. Even at idle speed the noise will be very pronounced, since there is no load on the bearing.
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#4482692 - 08/08/17 12:36 PM Re: Rotational noise in front wheel [Re: KrisZ]
zorobabel Offline


Registered: 01/27/11
Posts: 478
Loc: Anaheim, CA
Originally Posted By: KrisZ
Th easiest way for me is to jack up the side that is suspect, just enough for the wheel to spin freely. Start the engine and put the tranny in gear. Even at idle speed the noise will be very pronounced, since there is no load on the bearing.

Really bad advice here...
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#4482741 - 08/08/17 01:20 PM Re: Rotational noise in front wheel [Re: zorobabel]
Lolvoguy Offline


Registered: 02/06/14
Posts: 2336
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: zorobabel
Originally Posted By: KrisZ
Th easiest way for me is to jack up the side that is suspect, just enough for the wheel to spin freely. Start the engine and put the tranny in gear. Even at idle speed the noise will be very pronounced, since there is no load on the bearing.

Really bad advice here...


I agree, not only in regards to safety, but often times you won't get noise unless there's weight on the bearing.

I honestly cannot comprehend the logic in purposefully "burning up" a set of pads, rotors/calipers. So many things could affect the safety of the driver and others on the road. Really silly move on the part of the OP of this thread. bop
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#4482743 - 08/08/17 01:21 PM Re: Rotational noise in front wheel [Re: WA1DH]
ARCOgraphite Offline


Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 11970
Loc: N.H, U.S.A.
We used to set wheel bearing with some play - that is a simple front axle with out drive. You can usually feel the brinelling in the race, but don't confuse with BRAKE rotor edge rust hitting the pads.

Experience helps here.
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#4482764 - 08/08/17 01:54 PM Re: Rotational noise in front wheel [Re: Lolvoguy]
KrisZ Offline


Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 7468
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: Lolvoguy
Originally Posted By: zorobabel
Originally Posted By: KrisZ
Th easiest way for me is to jack up the side that is suspect, just enough for the wheel to spin freely. Start the engine and put the tranny in gear. Even at idle speed the noise will be very pronounced, since there is no load on the bearing.

Really bad advice here...


I agree, not only in regards to safety, but often times you won't get noise unless there's weight on the bearing.


With you sitting in the car and the wheel fully bolted on, what's your safety concern exactly?

Also, although not in all cases, the bearing will make noise, mine certainly did and it could be easily heard from the cabin. This is just but one of the suggestions, there is no universal way that is known to work on all bearing failures.
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#4482839 - 08/08/17 03:12 PM Re: Rotational noise in front wheel [Re: WA1DH]
PeterPolyol Offline


Registered: 03/06/16
Posts: 1345
Loc: toronto
+1 for a possibly toasted bearing

Also, why did your caliper lock on? I'd dealt with an issue like that recently where the caliper would 'stick'. Changed the same parts you did, thought it was solved but eventually it did it again. Turns out it was the hydraulic line itself. It passed through a tight bracket that had begun to corrode inside, exerting pressure on the line effectively shutting it off. Applying the brakes could pressurize the caliper piston, but the passive return pressure was unable to be released from the line and caliper piston, effectively holding the brake on.
Previously, I'd dealt with a line where the internal rubber layer had expanded in length more than the outer layer, causing the inside rubber layer to bunch up, acting like a check valve! I'd advise to change your hydraulic line(s), they're cheap and there even might be a Wholesaler Closeout on them for your car at rockauto.

With 226K on original bearing that was recently BBQ'd, I'd change it for sure. There is a wholesaler closeout on the bearings too!

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#4482921 - 08/08/17 05:28 PM Re: Rotational noise in front wheel [Re: Srt20]
rsylvstr Offline


Registered: 01/01/07
Posts: 2499
Loc: Oneida County, NY
Originally Posted By: Srt20
Thats typical wheel bearing sound.

Wrecked it from the heat from the stuck brakes.


That's what I would say.
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#4482984 - 08/08/17 06:36 PM Re: Rotational noise in front wheel [Re: PeterPolyol]
Arob Offline


Registered: 12/09/06
Posts: 41
Loc: Iowa

"It passed through a tight bracket that had begun to corrode inside, exerting pressure on the line effectively shutting it off. Applying the brakes could pressurize the caliper piston, but the passive return pressure was unable to be released from the line and caliper piston, effectively holding the brake on."

This is an issue that has happened to me on several ford front calipers with the bracket and brake hose.

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#4492300 - 08/18/17 08:56 PM Re: Rotational noise in front wheel [Re: WA1DH]
WA1DH Offline


Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 56
Loc: Rhode Island
Update:
It was the wheel bearing. I could feel it grinding as I rotated the hub once I took it apart. All repaired and quiet once again.

On a side note I went ahead and replaced both front brake hoses (caliper to metal line) as there was some visible dry rot and cracking. I also lightly greased the pins holding the pads in the calipers and ensured that everything on both sides is moving freely.

Thanks.
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1995 GMC K1500 5.0 V8 146k mi
1999 Ford Escort 2.0 I4 223k mi

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