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Discussion Starter #1
I've had a rubbing noise for quite some time now when I drive. It comes from the front and used to only come in when taking a left turn. Now I have it when taking lefts or driving straight and it completly dissappears when taking a right.

It's not shaking the car, but more of causing a deafening drone that sorta "shakes" the dash...more like the feeling of humming and putting your hand under your jaw...but loud. I recently took off my summer wheels & put on the winters. The passenger side wheel was worn to the belt on the inner wall, which is an alignment issue...

When I took it to a dealer for them to ask what might be the probable cause describing exactly as above they said they would have to put it up (and charge $$ of course) and take a look because it could be an Axle, CV Boot, Tie Rod or Bearing. Weary of this I declined for the moment (I had to be at work too).

My question is how can you tell if your having a problem with wheel bearings as opposed to the axle? What side would the problem be on if the drone goes away when taking a right turn? I'm looking to go in with the most knowledge so I can say "I need xx on the x side of the car replaced."
 

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Well the axle is just a straight shaft. The thing that makes noise, axle-wise, is the CV joint. And it makes a rhythmic click-click-click that goes faster or slower depending on how fast your wheel is moving. The tie-rod, as well, is a solid bar. The joint on the end makes noise, but again, only pops when a load is placed on it or taken off it.

A drone like you describe seems to me that it would be a wheel bearing, hands-down.

PM Sled - he's done a wheel-bearing swap recently, and can describe the symptoms pretty well.
 

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Seems like you took the words right out of my mouth when describing your problem. From your description, it seems like you had the exact same problem I had about a month ago. My humming noise was my right bearing which I had to replace. Then the noise came back about 2 weeks later, and that was my left bearing. Seems that they both failed around the same time. Then I went to go get a wheel alignment and balance from all this, and the the tire place told me I needed a tie rod in the right wheel. Now a month later, I have vibrations when I drive like 65+, so I need to check that out.

Hope my experience helps.
 

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few ways you can tell. Jack up the car and take a firm grip on the top of the wheel. see if you can push it back and forth. rotate it and try again. If there is anymovement that's your problem child.

Or... when you turn the bearing that has a problem will grind when a load is put on it. So if turning left and it grinds it would be the right bearing, since that is where most of the stress is. vise versa for turning right.

Good Luck
 

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I had the exact same problem, it's the wheel bearings. Mine didn't move like normal wheel bearing symptoms either. However, I replaced the hubs/bearings/spindles and all was good. There's a tsb out for the hubs, they will need to be replaced, too.
 

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With the passenger front wheel jacked up see how much play is in it. Just a warning, I had a wheel bearing replaced at 78k, then the same one at 90k and 96k before finally getting the whole hub assembly replaced about 5k miles after that. Could have saved some trouble just getting the whole hub assembly done at that time, it cost about 200 bucks more than just a bearing though.
 

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ok- personally Ive done 4 of these (two per car, 2 cars) and while it is hard to say without hearing it in person I would guess wheel bearings. Not terribly difficult to replace luckily...if you can do springs its basically the same thing with maybe a couple added steps. Mine, when rotating the wheel while lifted, would make a little noise like beebees rolling around in a can...well, I guess this is pretty much what is happening inside the bearing but you get the idea. My vote is if you can at all afford it (the parts are expensive) then have the dealer do it...otherwise do it yourself. I think I took an hour or so per side the second time I did it. Good luck and please PM me again if you have any questions ( I can drop you my cell number so you can call if in the middle of the install and need some advise- just remember I am NOT a mechanic...just someone who is good at following directions ;) ) Slade
 

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Originally posted by: PizzaSlut
With the passenger front wheel jacked up see how much play is in it. Just a warning, I had a wheel bearing replaced at 78k, then the same one at 90k and 96k before finally getting the whole hub assembly replaced about 5k miles after that. Could have saved some trouble just getting the whole hub assembly done at that time, it cost about 200 bucks more than just a bearing though.

This is exactly right...if you haven't upgraded your hubs to the updated ones, you'll start replacing bearings quite often. If you're doing it, get the hubs, too.

I'm not sure about other sources, but through the dealer you have to buy the spindle/hub/bearing assembly as a whole piece. I redid mine and it made a huge difference. Smoothed out a lot of drivability issues that I had attributed to an old car.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've been riding on this, hard to admit, for almost 7 months now.

My dad has a friend who gets Ford parts cheap. He got me the wheel bearing I need for $30. Could I just replace this and be done with it for a while or do I need to replace the whole setup as someone mentioned (as Ford sells).
 

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I rode on mine for quite some time, too. Basically it'll just keep getting worse until the bearings sieze and your wheel doesn't turn.

You can replace just the bearings, but do realize that they will probably go again in 6 months or so and you'll have to replace them again. Basically the problem is the hub was manufactured with too large of a tolerance, allowing play in the bearings inside the hub. The new updated hubs have much less tolerance and keep the bearings in place. I had mine replaced in February and not a problem since.
 

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There is no "updated" wheel bearing. A new bearing from Ford is the same part they have been using since 95, no updates. FYI
 

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Strange, they showed me the tsb and everything. Unfortunately I don't remember the number since that was way back in March or so. I don't know what else to say, I can only go off what I was told by the dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm going to be replacing the bearing this Saturday. I'll take some pictures for the How-To and post the part # for just the wheel bearing. Tho you may not pay $30 like I did since my dad has a hook-up.
 
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