What Does A Bad Halfshaft Sound Like? - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-14-2006, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Hello - new to the list. I've been on v8sho.com for a few years now - I had an AX4N blow up on me a few years back and they helped me out.

Anyway - now I'm hearing (and feeling) a low, repetitive rubbing noise/vibration that varies with vehicle speed from somewhere in the suspension that feels like it might be coming from the front end. I have ruled out tires (replaced each one with the spare and drove it after each one was replaced) and warped rotors (replaced each front and rear with a new one and drove it after each one was replaced), and I am still getting this noise/vibration. Searching other posts makes me wonder if I have a halfshaft going bad.

The noise starts at about 20 mph, and continues noticeably up to 70, with it being almost unbearable from 40-50 mph. Braking has no effect on making the sound louder or quieter or changing the vibration. It does however seem to get quieter when I turn slightly to the left, and get louder when turning to the right. Its all aligned, and doesn't pull any direction, braking or not. I just replaced the inner tie rod ends earlier this summer, and this noise has only started in the past month or so.

The only other thing Ive noticed (and this may be normal), is that there seems like a lot of play in the halfshafts. When in park, if I lift one front wheel off the ground (and the other side is on the ground), I can spin the free wheel about 10 to 15 degrees. Is there supposed to be that much slack in the halfshafts? Lots of miles on this car and never replaced halfshafts.

Any insights would be appreciated!


97 Sable LS
3.0 Duratec 24V
193k miles
replaced AX4N pump @ 168k
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-14-2006, 11:25 PM
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have u changed your bearings? it could be that.
try this, jack one side of your front wheels up and start the car and put it in D
then try the other side. if its on both sides it could be bearing or halfshaft or both. if its on oneside it could just be a bearing.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-15-2006, 01:25 PM
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That's a lot of miles on original half shafts (they are original, right?) The test for CV joints is to take the car into an empty parking lot and do 360 circles at low speeds. That puts the most extreme pressure on the joints. If the CV joints are worn, you will feel and hear clunking. It's usually the outer joint that causes problems. 10-15 degrees is quite a bit of wear and could easily cause that kind of vibration at higher speeds. However, if the boots have never been broken, I'm a little confused as to how that much wear could occur if they retained their grease. But, I've seen many weird things in this business over the years.

Half shafts aren't that difficult or expensive to replace. You can get them at most parts stores for about $55 each. To replace, all you need to do is remove the axle nut, disconnect the lower ball joint and tire rod end, and use a crow bar to snap the shaft out of the transmission. Reverse the procedure to install the new ones.

Your problem could also be wheel bearings. But that's a more difficult job. The hub is pressed into the inner race of the bearing and the bearing is pressed into the hub. You have two options on that one. First, you can remove the entire steering knuckle and take it to a machine shop and pay them to press out the hub and bearing and put the new one in, or you can try to rent a Hub Tamer or Hub Shark tool and do the whole job yourself. The bearings aren't that expensive. It's the labor that kills you.

Retired ASE Master/L-1 Technician.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-16-2006, 02:47 PM
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Sure sounds like wheel bearings.

It it was the half shaft or the CV joints you would hear clicking when turning with the wheel turned all the way.

Paul Nimz
'10 Red Genesis Coupe
'08 Hyundai Accent
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-16-2006, 03:51 PM
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Gonna have to say pass side wheel bearing. Dunno if its the same on the toro as my probe, but i replaced my wheel bearings, tie rod end and ball joint at the same time couple months ago. What I did was get another hub from the jy, cleaned it up and had a friend press in a new bearing (he works at a machine shop). That way I wasn't out of a car for a day waiting for a shop.

Wasn't too hard to do overall, just a pain dealing with old rusty and worn out parts.

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