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Discussion Starter #1
2004 Taurus 211k miles. On a very smooth road, driving at about 30 mph, I can hear a "woo . . woo . .woo" noise. It is wheel speed, coming from the back although I can't tell if it's one side or both sides.
It's not just at 30 mph, just that at that speed on a smooth road there's very little engine or wind noise so I can hear it clearly.
I think it's either wheel bearing(s) or tire noise. I have experienced both with a somewhat similar noise. Tires are fairly new Yokohamas, with no apparent damage. The wheel bearings have 211k miles. Any opinions? Thanks, John Kenneth
 

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you might try rotating the tires to see if it changes and at the same time you can visually inspect brakes. when the wheel is off the ground give it a spin to see if you can hear or feel the rubbing.
 

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Jack up the front end and secure, grab the left and right side of the tire and give it a good wiggle. Then grab the top and bottom and do the same. It should be totally solid with no slop.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
How long do rear wheel bearings last? Should I expect to change them with 211k miles on the car?
 

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I don't think your wheel bearings are going bad. They make much more noise even at low levels of damage. You'd hear it on most roads.

Except for the seals, they aren't a wear item. They can last forever.
 

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Bearings fail mostly due to contamination from water and other stuff like sand or salt.
The sound of a noisy bearing generally is not speed sensitive. It just makes a sound. Tire usually change depending on the pavement and speed.
I have had/have 9 Bulls. Never replaced a rear bearing. Not a big job. Just need to do the nut torque accurately. It preloads the bearings.
-chart-
 

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According to the customer narrative of the warranty bearings I've examined, nearly all state they hear moaning, groaning, or growling, which is most noticable at 30 to 50 mph.

True, water intrusion from failed seals are probably the most likely cause of bearing failure. The water mixes with the grease, diminishing grease effectiveness.
 

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I thought I had a bad bearing on a Ford 500 in the rear. Rotated tires and the noise move to the front, bye-bye tires.
 

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Perhaps a radial pull on the tire, same problem on my 99 wagon, pulled the rear tire and noticed the bulge on the inside sidewall.
 

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How long do rear wheel bearings last? Should I expect to change them with 211k miles on the car?
Absolutely! You could very likely need tie rods, ball joints, and struts as well. It's not terribly expensive to order cheap parts online yourself if you have the tools to fix it. You can find videos on how to fix anything nowadays. While it may be an old car that isn't worth spending a bunch of money on parts, having a safe front end is very important regardless.
 

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Jack up the front end and secure, grab the left and right side of the tire and give it a good wiggle. Then grab the top and bottom and do the same. It should be totally solid with no slop.
On the front its the top and bottom wiggle for wheel bearings...the left and right could be wheel bearings or tie rods or both... the rears dont steer so it doesnt matter as much and the rears should spin fairly easily. I had a rear one that wasnt making noise(yet) but when it was off the ground to rotate tires, it really did not want to spin...
 
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