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Recently got 97 Taurus GL 430,000 Kms. Runs surprisingly well, but shaking in steering wheel and growling sound coming from drive train while driving. New tires got rid of most of the vibration, but some vibration remains and growling/whirring remains. My first thoughts were CV joint or hub bearing. My experience with bad CV joints tells me that they usually click when doing tight radius turns at low speed. Mine does not do this, so now the hub bearing is the prime suspect. How do I diagnose the hub bearing and how can I tell which side is bad?

Is there anything else that I should suspect? Rear wheel bearing or tranny perhaps?
 

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Jack up the car and grab the wheel in the 3 and 9 o'clock position and wiggle side to side. Try the 12 and 6 o'clock position too. Any movement is bad.
 

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Thanks. I will give that a try. Should there be zero wobble detectable?
 

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I've had two bad wheel bearings now on the front right wheel. When the first one went bad, every time I made a HARD left turn the bearing made a loud humming noise. When the replacement went bad 3 months later, it made a grinding noise when turning hard left. Kinda sounded like my brakes were going, but it was actually the bearing. My point is, if it's a bearing, you should notice it when there's more downforce on that specific wheel. You'll know for sure when you pull the bearing off the vehicle, there will be slack on the hub if it's bad. However you may not be able to tell while the bearing is on the vehicle, because the CV joint may be holding the hub tight to the bearing.

By the way, don't buy a Motor City wheel bearing from Advance Auto, they're junk.
 

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Thanks. I'll take that into consideration. My wife has had a similar experience with replacement hub bearings on her Grand Am. Replaced the hub bearing and new one was making noise as soon as it left the shop. Replaced that one and the same thing happened. I don't know the name of the supplier or manufacturer though.
 

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An easy way to determine if a wheel bearing is failing is this - drive down the road at the speed where the noise is loudest. Then weave from side to side. This causes the car's weight to shift from side to side, putting more force on the wheel bearings. As you weave left, you put more weight on the ride side bearing, so if it's worn and noisy, the noise will get louder. As you weave right, the weight transfers to the left side, and will make that bearing louder if it's the bad one. If the noise doesn't change, it may not be a wheel bearing. You can always get the front of the car jacked up and on stands, and have someone put it in gear with the parking brake on so it doesn't somehow roll or shift off the jackstands. Have them run it up to the speed where the noise is usually loudest, and use a stethoscope to listen to the backs of the hubs from underneath. Good bearings are quiet. If one is bad, you'll hear the whirring, rumbling noise with the stethoscope. They don't always get loose before they make noise, so just grabbing them and checking for play won't always determine if they're good. Listening for the noise is the best way.
 

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Another way to diagnose a bearing is this.

1-block both rear wheels

2-put car in neutral

3-jack up front of car

4-spin front wheel while holding on to the coil spring. the spring will vibrate on the side of the bad bearing.

this is the way I check all howling noises that come into our shop. It even works if there is no play in the wheels
 

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chances are its the wheel bearings, both mine were bad but one of them had zero play when wiggling the wheel...however when i took everything apart you could tell its was bad.... check ebay for Knuckles that include the ball joint and wheel bearing....I got a set for $99, ONE wheel bearing is worth that much, great deal indeed....and you replace the balljoints at the same time....cant go wrong. If your down there you might as well pick up a set of rebuilt halfshafts (they carry lifetime warrantys) and get it all done and over with :)
 

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Originally posted by Nidan@Oct 21 2004, 02:26 PM
An easy way to determine if a wheel bearing is failing is this - drive down the road at the speed where the noise is loudest. Then weave from side to side. This causes the car's weight to shift from side to side, putting more force on the wheel bearings. As you weave left, you put more weight on the ride side bearing, so if it's worn and noisy, the noise will get louder. As you weave right, the weight transfers to the left side, and will make that bearing louder if it's the bad one. If the noise doesn't change, it may not be a wheel bearing. You can always get the front of the car jacked up and on stands, and have someone put it in gear with the parking brake on so it doesn't somehow roll or shift off the jackstands. Have them run it up to the speed where the noise is usually loudest, and use a stethoscope to listen to the backs of the hubs from underneath. Good bearings are quiet. If one is bad, you'll hear the whirring, rumbling noise with the stethoscope. They don't always get loose before they make noise, so just grabbing them and checking for play won't always determine if they're good. Listening for the noise is the best way.
Seems you all talking about noise from the bad bearings.

But my mechanic told me I had bad bearings even I never had noise. When I was trying to get an alignment at a garage, the mechanic told me that the front hub bearings were too much worn, that he wouldn't do the alignment on my taurus.

But I barely had any noise from this car. He suggested me to spend 700 bucks to change the bearings. If not, it could be worse later. And he suggested not to drive it any more. Sounds pretty seriou.

So how much is the chance that the front bearings are that bad already? And how to decide how bad it is?
 

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what are the signs for a bad hub? I changed brake rotors and pads and my 97 gl bull is still vibrating when I'm braking at 40 mph and higher...
 

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So, how does one tell the difference between a bad inner tie rod and a bad hub bearing? From what I've heard, they have similar symptoms.
 

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Never go "lock-to-lock" on your steering. It's a sure way to prematurely wear out wheel bearings and CV joints.
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:bs:
 

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I have seen bad wheel bearing that didn't make noise, But I have also seen bad wheel bearing that didn't have any movement, but made nosise.


BY me it would cost about $380 to do both front hubs.
 
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