Humming noise / possible wheel bearing going out?

Handling, suspension, and brake tuning discussions

Humming noise / possible wheel bearing going out?

Postby davehatch » Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:06 pm

Hey all....got a 2003 GT with a recent problem. Had four new tires/front brake pads/rotors installed and a four wheel alignment done about two months ago. About a week after getting the new tires on I noticed a slight shake in the steering wheel...nothing major but enough to make me notice. Over the past couple of months it has been getting progressively worse and usually is more prevalent around 50-60mph....over the last couple of days I've noticed a low humming noise coming from the right front of the car. I suspected a wheel bearing going out and did the test of driving about 30mph and changing lanes like I was passing and it didn't get any louder....only seems to get louder going at a constant speed in a straight line....doesn't get louder when I turn the wheel or corner. Could this be a cupped tire from a bad alignment? Could it be an issue with an improper rotor/brake pad install? One other thing I noticed is I drive about 15miles to/from work and after I came home from work tonight I noticed a strong hot smell coming from the right front wheel well, but not from the left front wheel well....

what do you guys think? wheel bearing? stuck caliper? I have an appt tomorrow to have it checked out and would like some kind of opinion before I go in and see what they have to say....many thanks!

Dave

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Re: Humming noise / possible wheel bearing going out? (davehatch)

Postby lannvouivre » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:01 pm

I've heard that an out-of-balance tire will cause the steering wheel to shake, especially at specific speeds http://www.discounttire.com/dt...g.dos...as for the humming, I can't say anything about that.
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Re: Humming noise / possible wheel bearing going out? (davehatch)

Postby star_deceiver » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:15 pm

Check out the tire in question. Is it wearing evenly, aligned, or coming apart?

You could also jack the tire up, grab it at 12 and 6 and see if there's play.

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Re: Humming noise / possible wheel bearing going out? (davehatch)

Postby kostby » Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:22 pm

Some tires are unfortunately built slightly 'out of round' or the tread belt is slightly askew. This can cause steering-wheel shake, even though they're technically "perfectly balanced".

Is the 'suspect' wheel getting hot/hotter than the others? The hot smell could be a brake pad dragging. Does the brake pedal pulse when the brakes are hot? It's an early indication of warped/warping rotors.

As far as the humming/drumming sound at speed, completely unrelated to tire/bearing/brake problems, there are a LOT of plastic panels and plastic fasteners under the front of the car, including the inner fender liners. I popped a few fasteners off in a mid-winter off-road excursion across a snowbank last year, and was amazed to find how many fasteners were missing. (I'm also convinced that not all of them came loose in that incident.) Anyway, the car was MUCH quieter on the highway after I replaced the missing fasteners and got everything snapped back into place. And finally, the exhaust system could be rattling at certain harmonic frequencies.

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Re: Humming noise / possible wheel bearing going out? (davehatch)

Postby sideshowalan » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:04 am

The steering wheel shake is a classic unbalanced wheel. Especially because it popped up right after tire replacement. Have them rebalance until it goes away.

The quality of the balance can vary depending on who's operating the balancing machine. I had a problem tire that took 3 trips to the tire place before they got it balanced right.

That humming sound is a mystery. I was prepared to say it's a bad wheel bearing but it would get louder when you do the lane change test because it shifts the load on and off of the bad bearing.

There are 3 possibilities I can think of.
-As mentioned, an out of round or unevenly worn tire. The tire people should be able to diagnose this for you.
-Rubbing/sticky brake caliper, the burning smell is a good sympton of this.
-Could still be a worn bearing, jack up each tire and rotate it slowly feeling for resistance.

Let us know what you find out.

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Re: Humming noise / possible wheel bearing going out? (sideshowalan)

Postby davehatch » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:25 pm

Found out it was a seized right front brake caliper...unfortunately it ruined my pad and rotor but at least it didn't mess up my new tires and wasn't a wheel bearing....went ahead and replace the rotor/pad and both calipers....drives fine now although the brake pedal is a bit mushy...they flushed the brake system and replaced the fluid so I imagine there might be some air in the line that should eventually work itself out the more I use the brakes....thanks everyone for your feedback! My car is so trouble free that I rarely have to post but I do enjoy everyone else's comments!
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Re: Humming noise / possible wheel bearing going out? (davehatch)

Postby sideshowalan » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:05 am

Your brake lines are part of a closed system, the air will not work itself out. I would have them bleed the brakes again.
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