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Old 09-11-2019, 11:24 PM   #1
ErikS
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1999 SL1
Default wheel bearing dilemma

Picked up a 2002 SL a few years ago - 50K miles - Carfax report clean - but the undercarriage is much more rusted than my 99 SL1 with 265K (both cars from same winter salting latitude).
Installed reman front calipers/pads/rotors at 53K, and at 57K bearings started making noise. Replaced both front bearings, and all was good for 10K miles, when bearing noise started again - increasing pitch with rpm. On turning left, noise went away - which indicated left front bearing was the culprit. Swapped out left front bearing again - but after bearing change the noise still remains - still going away when turning the wheel left at speed. Don't think I messed up on the install, and am flummoxed (changed original bearings on the 99 at 216K, and they're still fine at 265K, so can't imagine I screwed up two bearing changes in 10K miles).
Could the rear wheel bearing have the same sound pattern when bad?
Could anything besides a left bearing make noise that increases in pitch with speed and goes away when turning wheel left?
Suggestions?

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Old 09-12-2019, 07:48 PM   #2
hholbein
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1997 SW2
Default Re: wheel bearing dilemma

What brand bearings did you use during the replacement? I think the consensus here is that SKF is the best when it comes to QC, and that buying the hub kit makes most sense -- SKF BR930156K.

Others claim to have had good luck with Timken bearings. Other brands, not so much -- with many, many failures returning in the first 30K miles, which is pathetic and a waste of your time & money in the end.

Also, depending on how poorly the right front bearing was made, it could be a race on that side is messed up.

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Old 09-12-2019, 11:25 PM   #3
billr
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Default Re: wheel bearing dilemma

Yeah, it could be the RF, or either of the rears. There is no perfect correlation between which way you are turning and which bearing it is that stops making noise. When you turn, the loading on all four wheels changes. The other bearings are less likely, but still must be considered.

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Old 09-13-2019, 05:13 AM   #4
onlinebiker
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Default Re: wheel bearing dilemma

CV joint or carrier bearing.

...
92 SC2
93 SC2
96 SC2
97 SL2
97 SC2
99 SC2
01 SC2 x 2 yellow
02 SC2
02 SL2
parts
2 94 SC2 parted out
2 96 SC2
98 SC2 - rusty frame minus engine.

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Old 09-14-2019, 11:01 AM   #5
hholbein
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1997 SW2
Default Re: wheel bearing dilemma

ETCG has a video on isolating wheel bearing noise:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdRpnK5MGQ8

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Old 09-15-2019, 02:40 AM   #6
ErikS
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1999 SL1
Default Re: wheel bearing dilemma

Thanks all. When I did the bearings on the 99, installed Timken bearings with the Autozone hubs. For the 02, used the Autozone Duralast DL518514 kit (prob should have used Timkens there as well). Used the OTC HubGrappler for all bearing changes to date as I don't have a hydraulic press. Pushing the factory bearings out of both the 99 and 02 knuckles was not a problem, but on this last bearing change, the Duralast bearing fell apart, with the race staying stuck in the hub. Had to go to pick-n-pull to get another knuckle from an 02 to finish the job. Guess I gotta now try replacing the right front bearing also - and will be using either the SKF kit, or a Timken bearing.

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Old 09-19-2019, 04:13 PM   #7
Saturn Night
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1995 SC2
Default Re: wheel bearing dilemma

www.car-part.com to source used knuckles. The original bearings were SKF or NSK.

Timken is made in China, now. You get what you pay for.

Replacing the spindle is easier than pressing the bearing in or out.

...
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"He checks the gas, and fills the oil....."

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Old 09-29-2019, 10:32 PM   #8
S-forever
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1997 SL2
1991 SL2
Default Re: wheel bearing dilemma

I had a bad rear bearing that had the same exact effect as a front one when cornering. I could never localize it until it got really bad and then it became obvious. The rears get corroded in place on cars from the rust belt, but popping one out on a southwest car is easy. I just swapped in a pick n pay hub and called it good.

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