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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

I have been noticing a humming sound for the last several days as I approach 40MPH or the 60KM range. It almost sounds like the RPMs are high but as it look at the tachometer, the RPMs are fine.

I am hoping it is a wheel bearing and not a tranny issue. Is there any sort of way to test for a possible wheel bearing issue without having to remove the actual wheel bearing?
 

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Most likely it's one or both of your half-shafts (axle) starting to wear.
 

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Hub TEst

Hello All,

I have been noticing a humming sound for the last several days as I approach 40MPH or the 60KM range. It almost sounds like the RPMs are high but as it look at the tachometer, the RPMs are fine.

I am hoping it is a wheel bearing and not a tranny issue. Is there any sort of way to test for a possible wheel bearing issue without having to remove the actual wheel bearing?
Put front on jack stands. Take off front wheels and rotors. Start it and put it in drive. Close the door. Doors will self lock if you have that option.:lol2:

Look for spare key.:angry:

Then you can listen to each front wheel bearing at the hub, and maybe something else.

Of course, chock the rear wheels. Some cars have automatic parking brake release.

good luck.

-chart-
 

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If it is the wheel hubs, you will notice some play in them. I just went through this in November when the screaming just became too much. My hubs on my 98 were completely shot and there was plenty of movement in them. I could jack up the front driver's side and move the wheel from right to left and feel the play. Same goes for the passenger side front wheel. The hub bearings came out in pieces and the bearings were nice and fire colored. Changed the ball joints while I had everything apart.

For me, I had the whine from 40 to 50 mph and it pretty much went away from 50 to 60. Breaking 60 meant listening to a horrible scream from the car that would be so loud that I could not hear my kids in the backseat. Of course, I let the problem get pretty bad over the 5 months I waited to address it.

You can do a google search on hub bearing symptoms. That is what I did and what allowed me to pinpoint the problem. At first, I thought it was the CV joints, but the symptoms were nothing like those for a bad CV joint.

Edit to add: The tell tale sign of a bad CV joint is a clicking noise when making sharp turns. Go to a parking lot late at night and start doing tight circles to the left and then to the right, and do the same thing in reverse. If the CV joints are bad, you will hear a clicking noise. Again, a high pitched whine is usually not the CV joints.
 

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Hub Bearings

If it is the wheel hubs, you will notice some play in them. I just went through this in November when the screaming just became too much. My hubs on my 98 were completely shot and there was plenty of movement in them. I could jack up the front driver's side and move the wheel from right to left and feel the play. Same goes for the passenger side front wheel. The hub bearings came out in pieces and the bearings were nice and fire colored. Changed the ball joints while I had everything apart.

For me, I had the whine from 40 to 50 mph and it pretty much went away from 50 to 60. Breaking 60 meant listening to a horrible scream from the car that would be so loud that I could not hear my kids in the backseat. Of course, I let the problem get pretty bad over the 5 months I waited to address it.

You can do a google search on hub bearing symptoms. That is what I did and what allowed me to pinpoint the problem. At first, I thought it was the CV joints, but the symptoms were nothing like those for a bad CV joint.

Edit to add: The tell tale sign of a bad CV joint is a clicking noise when making sharp turns. Go to a parking lot late at night and start doing tight circles to the left and then to the right, and do the same thing in reverse. If the CV joints are bad, you will hear a clicking noise. Again, a high pitched whine is usually not the CV joints.
In my 8 Taurus/Sables, I have never replaced a wheel bearing.
But I did help a friend with a rear in a Toy Echo. 160K. That sound was similar to a bad tire. Could see no issue in the tire tread so I told her to take it to a shop. It was a bad rear. $$$$

Wheel bearings failure is often caused by water.

But then, my daughters Buick Van had rear brake issues, hotter than should be and brake dust. Under warrenty they found what as I remember, called 'clunky' loose wheel bearings. No noise in the vehicle. So, there are 2 possible issues with bearings. Loose, and worn out. Different clues. Front wheel bearing preload is set by the torque on the half shaft nut. Accurate torque here is important to life.

-chart-
 

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I've had to do wheel bearings in 2 of my cars over the years. It will be a low tone, a drone that intensifies with speed. If your car sounds like a large truck, like a dump truck...it's the wheel bearings. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've had to do wheel bearings in 2 of my cars over the years. It will be a low tone, a drone that intensifies with speed. If your car sounds like a large truck, like a dump truck...it's the wheel bearings. :D
Just curious, will driving with bad wheel bearings affect fuel economy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I had a mechanic take my vehicle for a test drive over the weekend and he confirmed that it was bad wheel bearings in both the front left and front right wheels. Old Betsy has 190000KM.

The car has significant drag and it pretty much sounds like i am driving a Mack truck when i get about 80KM/h. I ordered 2 Timken bearings from Rock Auto.
 

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Fuel Ec.

Just curious, will driving with bad wheel bearings affect fuel economy?
If they get loose, they will cause the brakes to rub and drag you down.

My daughter's Buick Van, under warrenty, had loose but not noisy rear bearings and the brakes got hot under normal driving. They were not noisy but the shop told her they were "clunky" loose. That fixed the hot brakes. Rear disc. Glad GM was paying $$.

-chart-
 

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I've had to do wheel bearings in 2 of my cars over the years. It will be a low tone, a drone that intensifies with speed. If your car sounds like a large truck, like a dump truck...it's the wheel bearings. :D
I've got this exact sound from the front end of my 2001 Mercury Sable LS. How can I tell if it is the driver or passenger side causing it?
 

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I've got this exact sound from the front end of my 2001 Mercury Sable LS. How can I tell if it is the driver or passenger side causing it?
If you turn the steering wheel to the right while driving at 40-45 mph and the noise increases, it is the left bearing that needs replacement.

If you turn the steering wheel to the left while driving at 40-45 mph and the noise increases, it is the right bearing that needs replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wheel Bearings

If you turn the steering wheel to the right while driving at 40-45 mph and the noise increases, it is the left bearing that needs replacement.

If you turn the steering wheel to the left while driving at 40-45 mph and the noise increases, it is the right bearing that needs replacement.

LOL, I get noises when I turn both ways... My step-bro is going to change both sides this weekend. Seriously, my Taurus sounds like I am driving a Mack truck.

I hope this solves the problem!
 
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